I was deeply shocked today by today’s report, and editorial piece, in the Sun. It claimed that I had said “It’s fine to despise gay people”, that “being gay is a mental health issue”, and that I had suggested that “homophobia is OK”. None of these propositions is true, or remotely relates to my views.
I was phoned (as I was driving, and concentrating, at least in part, on the traffic) by the Sun’s deputy political editor Steve Hawkes, who asked about my views on homosexuality.
In the course of a short conversation, I simply made the point that people were entitled to their personal preferences. It is morally acceptable to prefer heterosexuality over homosexuality, or vice versa. Most of us prefer one or the other. So let’s look at the Sun’s claims:
“It’s OK to despise gay people”: How the Sun gets from “It’s OK to have personal preferences” to “It’s OK to despise gay people”, I’m not sure.
“Being gay is a mental condition”. In about thirty seconds I was able to identify two blog posts in my extensive blog archive in which I make the point explicitly that homosexuality is not a disease.
“Homophobia is OK”. As a technical linguistic point, I have questioned the use of the term “phobia” in this context, since it has a specific meaning in psychiatry which does not (it seems to me) apply in this case. But I have also written very clearly (and in the same piece) that prejudice, hostility and violence against homosexuals are wrong, and totally unacceptable.
UKIP supporters will recognise the principle at work here: the mainstream media are engaged in a feeding frenzy against UKIP, and are prepared to twist the facts to suit their agenda. It seems that prejudice and hostility are alive and well at the Sun. This journalist’s boss is (I assume) the Sun’s Political Editor Tom Newton Dunn, the son of Bill Newton Dunn, the Lib-Dem MEP whose seat is under threat in the East Midlands.