It seems that the slightest hint of stepping outside the bounds of the political orthodoxy has officially become anathema:
David Cameron was urged to sack one of his frontbench team who said the age of consent for homosexuals should not have been lowered to 16 because it put teenage boys at “serious physical risk” and in danger of catching HIV.
Julian Lewis, the shadow minister for Defence and Conservative parliamentary candidate for the Hampshire seat of New Forest East, wrote to a constituent last week saying he had been “very strongly against” lowering the age of consent for gays from 18 to 16 because of the “seriously increased risk of HIV”. He appeared to compare it with the decision to prevent service personnel aged under 18 from fighting on frontlines. Last night, Dr Lewis reiterated his view, telling The Independent that anyone aged 16 to 18 who had unprotected gay sex was “at risk, and potentially at risk of their lives”.
His outspoken views have reopened debate about the party’s stance on gay and lesbian rights. Two weeks ago, the shadow Home Secretary, Chris Grayling, suggested that owners of bed-and-breakfast hotels should have the right to turn away gay couples.
Outspoken views? For daring be concerned about young people? This is hardly controversial stuff, because we all know that not every teen is going to go out there with a sensible head on their shoulders when there’s a surfeit of casual sex up for grabs. We do all know that, don’t we?
It’s hardly like Dr Lewis suggested that homosexuals need to be deprogrammed or isolated from society. Has society become so utterly beholden to a hegemonic form of thinking that we can no longer even utter a contrarian thought?
(And really, where does the Independent sit on the matter of exclusively homosexual bed-and-breakfast hotels that discriminate against straight couples? Are they kicking in the doors of these establishments, demanding equal rights for straights?)