Yet another political own goal has been recorded in the increasingly tense days before Pa Broon is expected to fire the starting gun for the General Election. The unfortunate party on this occasion is the Tories, but the event could prove beneficial for Young Dave, despite the sensitivity of the subject.
Cameron’s shadow Home Secretary Chris Grayling has been caught on audio apparently saying that it would be OK for the owners of a B&B – rather than an hotel – to decline admission to gay couples. Grayling, making his remarks to the Centre for Policy Studies, a right of centre “think tank”, gave as an example owners who shared a Christian belief.
Following the release of the tape, there has been a predictable range of comment: that from Labour and Lib Dem has been stressing – perhaps a little too much – the suggestion that the Tories are still not free of their homophobic past. The “libertarian” right has, though, defended the idea of discrimination, as this is what their particular dogma sees as “freedom”, their argument being that market forces will triumph over the forces of bigotry.
But the “libertarians” are, as so often, talking utter drivel: in their world, we would never have needed legislation on race relations or equal pay, but we have. Free market ideology is little comfort for those humiliated by intolerance.
And there is now a problem for Young Dave: what to do with the underperforming and gaffe-prone Grayling? Here is Cameron’s silver lining: an opportunity to bin someone seen as a less than totally effective member of the Shadow Cabinet, and show that the Tories are as modern as he says they are, at one go.
But who would replace Grayling? Well, Cameron could always bring back David Davis – no point having your big guns underemployed come General Election time.