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You are right, there is a pre-occupation with controversial attention-grabbing headlines. However because of that, every sentence uttered needs to be scrutinised closely to see if it can be misinterpreted.

Personally I disagree with IDS, as I believe we cannot ignore even 1% of parents, although that figure seems a massive over-estimate. We do not know what effect having homosexual parents might have on a child. I suspect it could well influence the sexuality of at least some children and for that reason it should be discouraged, and certainly not supported by the state. I also think IDS was right when he supported section 28. Since its abolition we are now seeing new laws coming in which are having the effect of making the promotion of homosexual lifestyles compulsory in our schools.

Unfortunately there are some homosexuals who are not satisfied with being left to get on with their own lifestyle, but they want it promoted to everyone. Since IDS softened his stance no one, it seems, has stood against them.

Totally agree.

Section 28 was a flagship Tory policy which was supported by the vast majority of Conservatives, parliamentary and grassroots. Conservatives in the Lords were fighting in the last ditch to retain it.

The anti-S28 element who post here can be dismissed in the words of Burke.

Because half a dozen grasshoppers under a fern make the field ring with their importunate chink, whilst thousands of great cattle... chew the cud and are silent, pray do not imagine that those who make the noise are the only inhabitants of the field; that, of course, they are many in number; or that, after all, they are other than the little, shriveled, meagre, hopping, though loud and troublesome insects of the hour.

IDS' choice of words was certainly unfortunate but his vital work on family policy must be heard over this trivial kind of 'Gotcha' journalism.

I agree with Umbrella Man about importance of what IDS was seeking to say.

IDS is surely seasoned enough to have prepared for this line of questioning. Journalists are not there to just take your message and repaet it as you would want - they seek controversy, its what pays their wages. He also fell into the "Ken Clarke" trap of elaborate simile - why Richter Scale? Why not just "there are too few gay parents for me to make any inferences and given the scale of the social problems we need to address the huge majority of children suffering from heterosexual relationships failing".

Melissa Kite's agenda was gay rights, IDS's was family breakdown. He needed to close off her questioning but without eaving hostages to fortune. She was trying to create a damaging Cameron/IDS split - her view seems to be IDS is a conservative Catholic, he'll be anti gay rights, for the traditional family values so I'll bring that out to show the Tory Party is split on this. IDS needed to prepare for this line of questioning.

There would have been no need for Section 28 had schools been given more autonomy and parents given a say over what went on in them. By only confining Section 28 to homosexual materials the Tories also made a grave error.

I think that's fair criticism, Ted.

Richard: "By only confining Section 28 to homosexual materials the Tories also made a grave error." That was the point of IDS' replacement policy. Rather than abolishing the protections for schoolchildren provided by Section 28, the replacement policy would have widened the protection to cover other materials likely to sexualise children.

I'll bring that out to show the Tory Party is split on this

_____________________________________________________

I don't know where you live Ted, but among my longstanding Conservative colleagues I'm not aware that there's any split at all on the issue.

It's not a question of being anti-gay. As a Christian I believe that the only proper environment for bringing up chldren is in marriage and that is the line the party should take.

It will be interesting to see how Dave Blameron reacts to this. Will he support the sensible and reasonable views of IDS (which echo those of the vast majority of us), or will he distance himself from IDS like a true Toynbee-hugger? If he does the latter, then it will be another nail in the coffin for our party, as one less reason (are there any left after the family) to continue membership?

Melissa Kite has long been a twerp........but Duncan Smith has the capacity to do much good and I think the silliness of our yellow press will bounce off him. The public are tired of teenage scribblers

Kite

I have had my run in with Ms Kite and she reacted like a scalded cat, but the sooner Blogworld puts these metropolitan neophytes out on the street the better

It won't surprise anyone here, but I happen to agree with Iain Dale. Sadly, IDS and his demented friends in CCF have never understood that gay men and women, although most do not have children of their own, play a major role in the average family structure. The language IDS uses if based of ignorance and bigotry and is deeply offensive. Shame on him! I'd be fairly hacked off if I were David Cameron…

Go VG!

I agree with Tory Loyalist. The only sensible place for bringing up children is in the family home of their married parents. I cannot see how homosexuals, who too often seem to be troubled by unbridled introspection and narcissism, can find time to give the emotional support that children need. Apart from that, if it is at all possible, a child should have an adult male and female in his life so that he/she grows up aware of the happiness and comfortableness of the life of a married man and woman.
Of course, Mr Cameron might see matters differently.
Cue the tree and Toynbee huggers.

The diffficulty here is that IDS has plenty of form on gay reform issues - all of it opposed. Accordingly in the new Cameron gay friendly Conservative party, this was a pink elephant trap in the making and IDS stepped into it.

The issue of the welfare of children must surely come down primarily to the interests of children. Such evidence that there is relating to gay parenting, that mainly comes from the US, shows that gay parenting has no negative on the upbringing of children.

From my point of view if parenting determined sexuality why do heterosexual couples produce gay offspring ??

Editor,

The British press is getting worse. Jack-of-all-trade journalists appear increasingly unable to look into the meat of a story. All they want is a cheap and dirty headline.

You are so right.

Incidentally, though in the past you've not seen eye-to-eye, on this subject you are at one with Euroferendum's findings as shown here (http://eureferendum.blogspot.com/2006/08/corruption-of-media.html) and here (http://eureferendum.blogspot.com/2006_11_01_eureferendum_archive.html).

The sad part is, as we can already see, that the debate will be about what the journalist said rather than the report itself.

But then Newspapers are primarily about selling newspapers.

It may well be the case that children are best brought up in a traditional marriage, but surely any form of stable family is better than languising in an orphanage? In any event, I thought that we were in favour of delegating decision-making to professionals with direct experience. It is far better to allow adoption agencies to apply their specialist knowledge and decide what is in the best interests of the individual child rather than having a blanket ban imposed from Westminster: or are Burke's "little platoons" so easily dismissed?

"Greg Clark's recent use of a Polly Toynbee quotation to describe poverty is headlined as if Tories had embraced the Guardian columnist's whole political outlook"

If Clark's use of Toynbee's caravan-train analogy did not indicate an embrace of socialist political philosophy, that means he profoundly misunderstood the point of her analogy, ie that society is 'purposive' rather than 'civic'. Which ignorance is worthy of condemnation in itself.

"I'm disappointed that Iain Dale has rushed to judgment, too." - Tim

Disappointed, but not all that suprised really? I'm certainly not.

"The issue of family breakdown is the pressing issue in Britain - not gay rights."

Agree with this 100%. My feeling as regards adoption is that I think a heterosexual couple is generally preferable to a homosexual couple for most children, but a homosexual couple is generally preferable to local authority 'care'.

Gee, thanks, Simon.

How very gracious of you!

I'm not interested in being 'gracious'.

Just to annoy the heterosexuals too: I also think marriage is greatly preferable to cohabiting, and I would generally support adoption by a married homosexual couple over adoption by an unmarried heterosexual couple.

Britain 2006..........tail wags dog

Tory Loyalist - though I have doubts on both parts of your moniker- as a Christian I note that Jesus Christ never commented on homosexuality but did in the most forthright terms attack family breakdowns and divorce and those who harm children. This subject has nothing to do with gay rights but the the feckless behaviour of many hetrosexual adults who put their self-indulgence in front of the needs and interests of their children.

IDS has a strong message on the social costs of family breakdowns, drugs and poverty but most be careful that the core of what he wants considered is not obscured by echoes of John Major's ill fated back to basics. Otherwise all we will read is Tory MPs leaving their wives, having affairs or otherwise misbehaving.

As Jack W points out in a rare but welcome serious post the evidence on gay parents shows little difference in outcomes - but it doesn't really matter whether gays are 0.5%, 6% or 10% the big problem lies with lack of parental responsibility whether the parents are staight or gay. IDS is better when when he approaches this from the facts and the statistics - rather than be sidetracked into moral judgements. Let the audience make those.

OK I'm going to ignore all the silly crap about homosexuality - really this website should be called "Tory Homosexual Identity Politics" sometimes.

Our press is appalling. Just listening to Parkinson on Radio 2, some sort of journo attempting to suggest - as the Times did too I think this morning - that IDS proposals are in opposition to Cameron (though social responsibility must mean social inclusion) and that IDS is trying to lead a throwback to Victorian Values. I despair, I really do, since I don't see how it is possible to read the compassionate writings of IDS and the Centre for Social Justice and come to the conclusion that it's a front for a stern Tory campaign of villification for anyone not living according to the perverted norms of Daily Mail leader writers.

Thank you Graeme. I'm particularly grateful for your intervention and your common sense decency.

Exactly, TomTom. The constant, narrow focus on minority rights is effectively stripping all of us of our general rights. So for example in this case, I'm far less interested in the right of adult homosexuals to adopt children than in the right of all of us, including homosexuals, to go about our lives free of the fear of crime.

Fully agree Graeme. IDS must despair at the way this is being spun. The same happened on Sunday AM this morning saying we're anti gay and this is a return to back to basics.

John Coles: "I cannot see how homosexuals, who too often seem to be troubled by unbridled introspection and narcissism"

I cannot believe that these, quite frankly bigoted, views have gone unchallenged. What an utterly ridiculous thing to say, effectively 'most homosexuals have a personality disorder'.

While I think that at this stage a hetrosexual couple are more often than not preferable to a homosexual couple, that won't always be the case.

It looks like IDS's irritation at the interview being sidetracked has been translated as curt dismissal of gay rights in general. Not very fair perhaps, but as a professional politician he should be well aware that such remarksd would be interpreted as being unwilling to state his true beliefs.

On the other hand, if he does believe that gay parents adopting is a problem, there's an easy route. Something along the lines of: "from first principles, I would take the approach that the welfare of children are the priority. Given that, does an unconventional upbringing have the potential for harm? If so, society must determine that the welfare of the child supercedes the rights of the potential parent".

Simple and direct - you simply state a potential problem and why it would prevent homosexual adoption, in terms that nobody can object to. It also diverts the journalist....

Personally I tend towards the view that family structures need to evolve. The economic revolution over the past 30 years has torn apart so many aspects of society, yet we're still largely leaning towards a social base predating that. Divorce, immigration, mass long-distance transit, global culture and communication, etc etc - it's a completely different world, so no wonder previous norms are failing us.

For conservatives the approach should be to preserve if possible, but not to fossilise what's already dead. The social consequences of economic changes 25 years ago are really coming home to roost, yet all we do is firefight the symptoms.

David Cameron has just issued this statement:

""Iain Duncan Smith and the Social Justice Policy Group have produced a powerful and convincing report about the extent of family breakdown and the damage this causes society. It demonstrates clearly the links that exist between social breakdown, family breakdown, educational failure, indebtedness and drug and alcohol abuse.

"It underlines my belief that the family is the most important institution in Britain and that if we are serious about tackling the causes of poverty and social breakdown then we must look at ways of supporting families and also supporting marriage so that couples are encouraged to get together and stay together.

"Families, to me, are not just the basic unit of society, they're the best. They are the ultimate source of our society's strength or weakness. Families matter because almost every social problem that we face comes down to family stability. If marriage rates went up, if divorce rates came down - if more couples stayed together for longer, would our society by better off? My answer is yes. And so I will set a simple test for each and every one of our policies: does it help families?”

"For conservatives the approach should be to preserve if possible, but not to fossilise what's already dead. The social consequences of economic changes 25 years ago are really coming home to roost, yet all we do is firefight the symptoms."

Then how do we deal with the social breakdown that has come about as a result of the decline of the family? The statist approach of throwing money at the problem has failed. Smashing up the welfare state might have more success but the electorate will never vote for it.

Have you bought idshome.com yet Editor? ;)

On Friday's ConservativeHome frontpage there were two articles linked regarding David Cameron's Europe speech. The Guardian painted Cameron as abandoning the 'hostility' to the EU of past Tory leaders and engaging 'constructively' with the EU. The Sun said Cameron handed 'a rocket' to the 'disaster EU'. The stories could hardly be more different as they picked up the parts of the speech which fitted their own worldview to the utter exclusion of balanced commentary. But if commentary about the EU is polarised, then commentary on social breakdown tends to face even more cynicism. Remember the ludicrous 'hug a hoodie' spin -- by the time it filtered down to the BBC News at 10, David Cameron had given a "hug a hoodie" speech and that was that. This is understandable to some extent. Nobody likes to be told how to live their lives, and often with good reason. Groups which come under pressure most frequently are obviously likely to be the most touchy -- gay and religious groups, single parents etc. It's a political minefield. But the press love it because it's a minefield -- they want to see the big explosions, and damn the importance of the debate. I feel that this area is where blogging, internet TV and direct communication tools are going to be utterly vital to communicate ideas intact, as well as the discipline and media canniness the Conservatives have been developing of late. IDS is doing sterling work and I wish him all the best.

I agree with Michael. There are unforunately a considerable number of people on this site whose opinion of gay people is not moulded by experience or interaction but simply by predjudice, assumption or, ironically considering the topic of this thread, media stereotypes. Those who tack on 'I'm a Christian', as if to justify it or excuse it are even worse. As a gay, Christian, Conservative I find that fact an embarrasment when trying to justify my political beliefs. However, on the bright side, I learned along time ago that the comments page is not representative of the party on the whole.

Graeme Archer @ 12.16 - well said.

Cllr Lindley @ 13.32. Tim does not pretend to be a dispassionate observer - this is a blog, its author has opinions. Do you have thoughts/comments on those?

For conservatives the approach should be to preserve if possible, but not to fossilise what's already dead. The social consequences of economic changes 25 years ago are really coming home to roost, yet all we do is firefight the symptoms."

Brazil is a lot further down this road than Britain so let's see where we could go next..............

Children

Millions of children continue to suffer from the poverty afflicting their families, must work to survive, and fail to get an education. Schooling is free and compulsory until the age of 14 and is available in all parts of the country. The education system does not exclude any groups; however, 1.1 million children between 7 and 14 years of age did not attend school in 1999.

In September UNICEF reported that nearly 100,000 children die each year before their first birthday, almost half during the peri-natal period. While the national infant mortality rate declined from 50.8 in 1989 to 36.1 per 1,000 live births in 1998, in some states, such as Alagoas, it reached 72 per 1,000. Some municipalities have a rate of 110 per 1,000.

According to a UNICEF report, over 20 million children and adolescents, or almost 35 percent, live in poverty. About 2.9 million children under the age of 15, including over 375,000 between 5 and 9 years old, continue to work (see Section 6.c.). Many work together with their parents, most often in agriculture. Many other children beg on city streets. According to the most recent government figures released in November 1999 and confirmed by UNICEF, the number of children working has decreased steadily since 1993, while the number of children attending school has increased. However, the overall level of child labor remained roughly the same between 1998 and 1999, because progress in reducing it was hampered by a rise in agricultural production that year. The Federal Government administers a total of 33 programs under 5 separate ministries aimed at combating child labor. The Ministry of Social Security and Assistance's program for the eradication of child labor provided supplemental income or "school scholarships" to the families of 390,000 children in rural and urban areas who, in return, must attend school. The federal scholarship program is supplemented by a number of similar programs administered by municipalities and NGO's. Some of the largest such programs are in Campinas (Sao Paulo state), Belo Horizonte (Minas Gerais), and Olinda (Pernambuco).

There are no reliable figures on the number of street children. Some are homeless, but the majority return home at night. Disparities in the numbers of children living on the street reported by children's rights activists indicate the difficulty of arriving at accurate estimates. The Center for the Defense of Children and Adolescents (CEDECA) in Belem, in the state of Para, reported that in 1998 a total of 2,328 youths under the age of 18, or 0.5 percent of the youth population, spent their days in the streets. CEDECA estimated that 97 of those youths lived permanently in the streets.

NGO's in Rio de Janeiro have made 28 shelters available for homeless children, but some children prefer the freedom and drugs that street life offers. Drug use, particularly glue sniffing and crack, is increasingly prevalent among street children. NGO's report that extreme poverty at home or sexual abuse by fathers and stepfathers are the principal reasons that many children choose to live in the streets. A national study of rape cases carried out by a group of Sao Paulo academics indicated that family members committed roughly 70 percent of rapes within their own homes. A study by the Brazilian Geography and Statistics Institute (IBGE) reported that 47 percent of Sao Paulo street children come from families that earn less than $200 (350 reais) per month. Nationwide, the Inter-American Development Bank estimates that some 30 million children live below the poverty line and increasingly come from households headed by women.

In the October 1999 case of a child prostitution ring in Maranhao that involved police, judicial authorities, and elected officials, charges were brought against the owner of a bar, a local judge, a high-ranking police official, and two attorneys. At year's end, trials had not yet taken place.

Youth are both victims and perpetrators of violence. Of all deaths of 15- to 19-year-olds, 72 percent are due to causes such as homicide, suicide, and traffic accidents, which reduces by at least 3 years the average life expectancy of men. During the first half of the year, 50 young people died as a result of manslaughter in the state of Sao Paulo alone. Approximately 85 percent were victims of commercial sexual exploitation and ranged from 12 to 17 years of age. Homicide is the leading cause of death for children aged 10 to 14, and only 1.9 percent of murderers are serving prison sentences.

A 1999 study by the Information Network for Violence, Exploitation, and Sexual Abuse of Children and Adolescents (CECRIA), an entity within the National Human Rights Secretariat, states that government efforts to combat sexual exploitation of children need to be better tailored and coordinated. It cites 40 separate programs operated by national and international NGO's, some in partnership with Government entities, but notes that most of the programs face shortfalls in resources and personnel. In association with the Ministry of Justice, the NGO ABRAPIA has since 1997 operated a telephone hot line to register complaints of sexual abuse against children and adolescents. ABRAPIA also administers the "SOS-child" program in Rio de Janeiro state that registers complaints of domestic abuse against children and provides medical and social assistance.

Sexual exploitation of children and child prostitution remained a significant problem throughout the country. The CECRIA report indicated that patterns of sexual exploitation of children correspond to the distinct economic and social profile of the country's region. In the northern Amazonian region, sexual exploitation of children centers around brothels that cater to mining settlements. In the large urban centers, children, principally girls, who leave home because of abuse or sexual exploitation often prostitute themselves on the streets in order to survive. In the cities along the northeast coast, sexual tourism exploiting children is prevalent, and involves networks of travel agents, hotel workers, taxi drivers, and others who actively recruit children and even traffic them outside the country. Child prostitution also is developed in the areas served by the country's navigable rivers, particularly in ports and at international borders. In port cities, crews from cargo vessels are a primary clientele.

Brazil

During the 1980s and 1990s Brazilian 'death squads' made up of off-duty police officers routinely murdered street kids.

Udi Butler, a leading researcher into Brazil's street children from the International center for Research and Policy on Childhood (CIESPI), believes these squads are now less common.

"Organized extermination groups specifically targeting children on the streets don't still seem to be operating like they did in the early 90s," he says.

But for street kids like Jefferson the threat seems no less real.

"The other day the police turned up here and asked if we had homes to go to. My friend said no, so he started attacking him with a stick. I said I was from the Morro dos Prazeres - a slum in central Rio - but he beat me anyway."

The execution of seven under-18s in Nova Iguaçu last month again underlined the dangers facing young people in Brazil's poorer communities.

"With the rise of the drug gangs, you have another kind of extermination," says Butler.

"The boundary between police and the drug gangs has become very blurred and the killing of young people is happening all over the place, whether they are members of the drug gangs or not. People on the streets have been caught up in the escalating violence relating to this," he added.

http://www.brazzil.com/content/view/9282/76/

The problem doesn't go away - but if we continue to shy away from facing up to it, maybe in years to come police officers will be liquidating street problems here too

TO: David Cameron

This has nothing to do with policy. The real problem is the lack of PR planning in preparing how that obvious question should have been answered. IDS had not thought it through because he was not prepared for it. He means well but is not a devious politician who deflects questions. We all know that he needs help with the press. This major statement has been let down just because of lousy PR planning.

There is a common theme here.

Greg Clarke & Polly Toynbee
David Cameron & the love a hoodie
IDS & gay couples

All illustrate the complete failure by the PR advisers to properly think through, brief, co-ordinate and prepare for the reactions.

It is very simple to fix. It needs professional PR people. Simple to see, when will the penny drop?

I am not a Christian but a Jew, and I do not accept that homosexual conduct is sanctioned by scriptural law. It is, indeed the same law that governs both Christians and Jews so Afleitch is guilty of theological error if he believes otherwise.

In common with others here I did not join the party in order to "celebrate" homosexuality. Nor have I ever been aware of a time when the majority of Conservatives were favourably disposed towards it. I would say that most of us follow the line of "live and let live" but that is not what is proposed by Mr Hinchcliffe and his friends

The rot seemed to set in with Portillo. Frankly, if my son were of YC age (or whatever they call themselves nowadays) I would have serious doubts about encouraging him to join.

Contrary to the statement by Afleitch, I have had more than usual professional experience of dealing with homosexuals with personal problems and it is my very strong opinion that their lifestyle has a detrimental effect upon both mental and physical health.

Of course I have encountered homosexuals who have been healthy and well-balanced and heterosexuals who have been exactly the opposite. But the balance is strongly as I have stated and it is absurd to pretend otherwise.

I can think of a number of homosexuals whom I very much admire. Sir Ian McKellen and Sir Derek Jacobi come to mind. On the other hand there are a number of Tory MPs who have been identified as homosexuals and without exception I would say that they belong to the neurotic type. These men do not deserve admiration.

I would prefer to see the party move away from this unwarrented leftwing flirtation. For this reason Mr Duncan Snith's comments are very welcome.

So much ground covered on this thread, where to start?

To start at the beginning, I agree that this is a function of the modern media. Journalists are there to do a job, which is not to sell our agenda for us, but to sell newspapers. We're well aware of this, but somehow still get caught on the hop.

This was a policy commission event, as I understand - perhaps they are too arms-length for their own good in terms of the help and support that the Party machinery gives them?

HF's point is quite correct and well-made. How much press-prep do we do for policy group events? How much time do we spend rehearsing Q&A with the people involved, with experienced operators there to throw in both the expected topics and the googlies? Do we have people on hand at events to talk through or talk back problems like this off the record with journos before they leave?

It always seems to be most acute with the Sundays, who have the greatest power to produce a print story that gets rolled into the news cycle of the broadcast media for the rest of the day. It was one of the factors that drove Campbell's Downing St media op to focus so relentlessly on the Sundays.

I genuinely don't believe that comment from IDS was intended to be crass or offensive, but we were off the ball for just a minute. It is sad, however, and has contributed to the decline of mature political debate, that you have to think more than ever about what happens when someone takes a single phrase or groups of phrases out of their wider context.

On all the tangantial issues here, I have to agree completely with Graeme@12:14 and Afleitch@13:42. I mentioned crass and offensive above, and I saw this:

John Coles: "I cannot see how homosexuals, who too often seem to be troubled by unbridled introspection and narcissism"

Can I just substitute the object of that sentence?

"I cannot see how reactionary, right-wing "traditionalist" so-called-Tory bigots, who too often seem to be troubled by unbridled introspection and narcissism..."

Sorry about that. See now, it's not nice, is it?

"I am not a Christian but a Jew, and I do not accept that homosexual conduct is sanctioned by scriptural law."

Larry, not all Jews hold the same beliefs on this (although the Orthodox do of course). I belong to Liberal Judaism which has a very open and welcoming approach. The synagogue I attend has a large number of gay and lesbian members and there is even a special service for civil partnerships. As a straight woman I welcome this tolerance and wish all sections of the Jewish community could share it.

He's supposed to be an experienced politician. This was just another reminder of how incredibly gaffe prone he is. The journalist was just doing what all journalists do - there's no point blaming her. And I honestly say without any spite that it is, I'm afraid, just a reminder of how incompetent the man is in dealing with the media. A horrible flash-back to the painful days when was leader.

Larry Green -

Your comments are truly very sad. What a shame that, as a member of a faith that has suffered so much persecution, you should find so little empathy with another group of people who, through not fault of their own, has also suffered persecution. Sometimes, of course, that persecution was shared when others were only too willing to use 'scripture' to condemn others.

I want to pick up on Alex W's reference to children being better off in a gay couple's care than an orphanage.

I am a family lawyer with a lot of experience of adoption and I have helped gay adopters to secure Adoptions. I have no objection in appropriate cases. You need to factor in however that there are only about 6000 adoptions a year and the "orphanage" alternative no longer exists as policy or practice. The difficulty of placing children for adoption these days is that the Human Rights Aspects protecting families from state interference ( which in this context I am less unhappy with) means that children who have to be removed from families are now arriving older and with more problems. The previous "supply" of children for adoption has dried up with abortion on demand. It therefore follows that sometimes a child who has been cared for by either gay foster carers or gay family members are receiving the best and most stable care for that child. We need to be open to that. Having said that we ought to be able to "discriminate" and say that generally two adults of opposite sexes are the best context for children and I doubt IDS is saying much different from me on this.

On the issues of faith and homosexuality I suggest that it is best to keep views to yourself. The CofE is tearing itself apart on this one.

Time will solve it rather than soap box positions.

More than 90% (probably 99.99%) of the problem kids are going to come from heterosexual couplings. That is why homosexual couples are an irrelevance when talking about how to tackle the problems of heterosexuals children.

We need to focus on the facts.

One does not have to be an Orthodox Jew to reject the peculiar interpretation of Mosaic-Talmudic law entertained by Sally's Shul. She must answer to her own conscience on that question. I will not comment further.

In common with many other Jews I strongly object to being bracketed with "sexual" minorities.

I recommend that Gareth read the excellent book "Pink Swastika" written by two US Jews. It shines a searchlight into the deviant heart of Hitlerism and gives many more good reasons why all Jews should reject attempts to claim equal victimhood for homosexuals.

We should be helping families rather than marriage.
I don`t think single parents, gay parents or hetrosexual parents or there children should be treated any differantly because at the end of the day there is little differance between them.
We should have policys that will help families live together and stop getting all moralistic about what we see as society`s ideal family.

"The previous "supply" of children for adoption has dried up with abortion on demand." Which is why the adoption agencies have gone round the bend, eg telling our white middle class married heterosexual friends (with one child plus many miscarriages) that they couldn't adopt a black child, even though they were very willing to do so and there were lots needing adoption. I expect in the future they'll identify the gay children and only place them with appropriate gay couples.

You know Mr Green, I'm actually very pleased you made the comment you did about 'The Pink Swastika' and what you so revealingly call the 'deviant heart of Hitlerism'. It allows me, with a smile, to see that there is no point whatever in attempting to reason with you.

For those readers of this blog who don't know, 'The Pink Swastika' is a notorious hate-book popular in extreme right-wing cricles in the US in the late 1990's (we're talking proper loonies here, the sort of nutters who make the right wing of the Republican Party look Lib Dem). It comes from that peculiarly American form of publishing - the conspiracy theory. Essentially, the thesis is that the Nazi Party was one great, big homosexual gang-bang. They were all at it apparently. What's more, their homosexuality was also, these a-historical idiots claim, the basis of their anti-semitism.

OT as this subject has nothing to do with religion, we are talking about social policy in a civil society - but following on from Sally Roberts mail, There is a good website called www.religioustolerance.org which examines the Biblical statements on homosexuality from conservative & liberal viewpoints. It's worth reading as it shows the difficulty in translating ancient texts out of their historical context and how many interpretations there can be.

It has a sad but probably statement on the front page which is "We have been unable to change the beliefs or actions of any .....people on even one point related to homosexuality. Their views appear to be fixed. It is doubtful that much progress towards compromise on homosexual rights can be made by means of dialogue."

Jack, there is a difference between single parents and couples - a single parent is one parent (plus in some cases transient boyfriends or less usually girlfriends), while a couple are two parents. In the past it was considered a misfortune if a woman lost her husband and was left to bring up the children on her own. Now it's virtually a badge of feminist honour. Unfortunately while there are excellent single mothers, statistically the outcome for the children is poorer even with state aid.

Ted, thank you for providing that web-link. What a fascinating site! I recommend that people take a look. The statement that people are unlikely to change their viewpoint is sad but true and for that reason I not going to respond any further to Larry Green except to say that as far as examining my conscience on this issue is concerned, I have no cause for concern.

I agree with much of the editor's comments regarding IDS's interview.
But the fact remains that journalists want a contentious headline grabbing angle on any often heard political argument.
Instead of uttering a comment like "They're irrelevant" he should have pointed out that while not being a big factor in family breakdown they could offer a valuable contribution when trying to tackle the problems outlined.

I don`t think single parents, gay parents or hetrosexual parents or there children should be treated any differantly because at the end of the day there is little differance between them.

You're just confused Jack Stone and have no idea what is actually happening on the ground. There are vast differences in family structures and if you don't know what effect matriarchy has had on Afro-Caribbean families I suggest you move to Peckham or Brixton.........or maybe you should go teach in an inner city school say in Brixton or Peckham or Tottenham and see what the end-product of chaotic families looks like.

Sally Roberts.........why don't you become a Christian ? Seems your Judaism is so liberal you could embrace a Judean Mesiah

Quite right Scotty. Also HF spot on - there seemed to be a lack of communications savvy in the release of this important report. IDS has done us all a valuable service with his group's painstaking research into the most pressing problem of our times. The crucial question politically is whether to take the leap and focus solutions around marriage, about which IDS has credible arguments and statistics, or whether to follow the political consensus of the past 20 years and target help at families with children regardless of marital status. That is what we should be debating - not as IDS says the very small number of gay parents.
It is a shame that so much of today's blogging has followed the press agenda rather than IDS's.
PS as for you Larry Green, I celebrate your right to free speech but might I suggest that an evangelical site be a more relevant channel for your views than a blog about a report into family breakdown?

Tom Tom funny you should say that!!! Actually my background is that my mother was Catholic and my father Jewish - I WAS brought up Catholic - and became Jewish! I'm very happy where I am now.

"The journalist was just doing what all journalists do - there's no point blaming her."
I'm not sure I agree. As my mother used to say - it doesn't matter if everyone else does it, that doesn't make it right.
Perhaps if journalists took a more responsible approach to reporting we might have a better-informed public. This is a serious subject which cries out for responsible reporting not petty opportunism. I agree with Tim: Melissa Kite should be ashamed of herself

No I agree with the Editor on this. Of course papers have to sell and reporters have to probe. This is different than actively trying to create news by creating a non-existent split. This is not informing the public it could be construed by some as decieving the public. Whether that was the situation with this item I don't know but it is with other items. None of this helps our country in which those reporters live. It is having a corrosive effect and undermining democracy and making the public think all politicians are worthless. Boris Johnson made a similar comment when he became a politician and was asked by the press why. I repeat none of us expect the press to be supine, of course not, and we do need investigation but real investigation is expensive and there are very few true investigative reporters left. This is leaving a vacuum for some reporters to pretend to be investigative and probing with trivial stirring,

Matt

As always the best and the worst of Conhome on this thread, from the Larry Green/Tory Loyalist bigotry to the snide sneering of Hinchcliffe and Lindley about fellow Conservatives.But a lot of good stuff in between.
Perhaps in an ideal world IDS should have chosen his words more carefully but in a way I'm glad he didn't. This story will die quickly because there really isn't a story there. Not even Melissa Kite whose objective remember is not truth but to sell a few more copies of her rag will be able to make much of this.
Listening to Cameron recently I get the feeling that he and IDS are in broad agreement about much of the work of the CSJ and I predict that much of what the CSJ proposes will become party policy in the coming years.

I note Margot James' says Larry Green’s comments would be better on an evangelical site. Maybe this reveals prejudice about “evangelicals”, and might indicate she wants, not only some uncomfortable facts, but also the traditional viewpoint on family and morality out of the general public domain (so much for free speech). If so, she would want to exclude views on the morality that has been the accepted norm, and that underpins a better society and tackles poverty and social disadvantage, until recent years when we have been told to accept the promotion of alternative lifestyle choices.

However she does say IDS has credible arguments and statistics that justify creating policies to support marriage, which we need to consider rather than worry about the “very small number of gay parents.”

I'm not a psychologist but it seems obvious that the roles of both Mum and Dad must be needed in a child's development. Sometimes this is not possible due to the absence of one of the partners through illness or tragedy, but sometimes through adults’ lifestyle choices.

David Cameron’s statement posted by the Editor at 1322 is very welcome indeed. Furthermore, he was quoted by the BBC News website on 29 June 2005 as saying “All the evidence shows that children benefit the most from having both parents – mother and father – involved together in (their childrens’) upbringing…” Let’s hope he follows through to make the courageous policy decisions to promote traditional family life – then he and IDS might contribute significantly to the rebuilding of our fractured society. As Mrs T in the 1980s did to the rebuilding of the economy.

I've just got in from the pub - so I'm going to hold my fire.

If Mr Green, a one-sided Zionist, cares to email me at justinhinchcliffe@hotmail.com then I'll take him to task. He seems to be a nasty little individual - but I'm happy to put him right.

Jews (e.g. Mr Green) should remember that gays, gipsies, the disabled and the retarded where gassed by the Nazis – not just Jews. Hitler did not discriminate. Remember this before you espouse further homophobic nonsense.

"It was in that context that he said that less than half of one per cent of Britons were gay. If you look at that context he was clearly talking about the number of gay families with children."

I'm afraid this is just one example of the editor's continuing obsession of supporting the indefensible when it comes to IDS. The context of IDS' statement is clear (and I quote):

"Men and women are the ones who have the children. Gay couples have nothing to do with this at all. If you think that something like half of a per cent of Britain are gay, you are dealing with tiny numbers here."

According to IDS 0.5% of Britian are gay editor, NOT are gay and rearing children (as you seem to imply he meant). Even without accepting the one sided propoganda of Stonewall et al that 1 in 10 of the UK population is gay, it is surely emblematic of a man who speaks with little knowledge of this area when he gets the figure so badly wrong (a more accurate figure is probably about 6%).

How can it be helpful for the future development of Tory social policy to be obscured by such basic ignorance and unprofessionalism? I only hope that the wood represented by the BB report can be seen for the trees, which IDS has so unhelpfully brought into view today.

I'm gay myself but don't subscribe to the concept of the "gay community". I am an individual, capable of judging issues on their merits, not on the basis of “is it good for gays?". The last thing I want is to be treated as belonging to a “minority” and given “victim” status. I’m realistic enough to accept that being gay can bring limitations as well as benefits, but I try to get on with life and enjoy the positive rather that nursing a sense of grievance.

I wasn’t in the least bit offended by IDS’s original comments and I suspect that applies to many non-militant gays. While there are millions of gays in Britain, the number of gays who want to and are suitable to adopt children is very small. No doubt there are some individual exceptions, but, generally speaking, I do think it is preferable for children to be brought up by a hetrosexual couple, because it exposes them to the influence of both sexes from an early age. I’m not denying that gay couples can be caring; but parenting by a same sex couple is, inevitably, a bit “one sided”, for want of a better expression.

I hope I’m not going to be classed as “homophobic”. I don’t have an irrational fear of my fellow gays - I’m just trying to be realistic (that used to be a Conservative virtue) rather than taking the now-fashionable sentimental approach. In that respect, I was rather disappointed in Iain Dale’s initial reaction, which seemed to be more concerned to “hug a gay” than anything else.

Horatius - thank you for your helpful contribution to the debate. You and I would probably not agree on everything, but it was encouraging to read your thoughtful post. Unfortunately it seems to be the "militant" gays that politicians have listened to, including too many of our Conservative ones who have caved in to their demands. Whoever makes the most noise and creates the most fuss in our pressure-group culture...

Morality as a whole is an elephant trap for politicians. Many of whom do not practice what they preach. Morality is an issue where the professionals are no more expert than the amateur and it is no longer sensible to rely on the judgement of MPs alone.
Conservative policy on morality should be to have no policy but to put moral questions to a referendum of the whole nation and to promise to enact the result.
Special interest groups make a lot of noise and often have an influence vastly disproportionate to their numbers. By their nature most are anti-conservative (with a small c). Only by appealing to the whole nation over the heads of the media can we tap into the moderate, generally conservative inclinations of the English public without being pilloried by the chatterati.

Politicians should keep out of morality but Let the People Speak.

Jews (e.g. Mr Green) should remember that gays, gipsies, the disabled and the retarded where gassed by the Nazis – not just Jews. Hitler did not discriminate. Remember this before you espouse further homophobic nonsense.

What an intemperate comment from a silly little man, Perhaps Master Hunchliffe you should research those who passed through the camps............maybe you should realise thatb the Disabled were murdered on the T-4 Program in hospitals not concentration camps - names like Hadamar, Sonnenstein, Hartheim - those "disabled" included depressives (described as "retarded" by Hinchliffe) illegitimate children, not just physically disabled

http://isurvived.org/t4-program.html

You forgot in your attempt to equate the 20.000 homosexuals murdered with the Jews you omitted the 100.000 Communists, the 200.000 Freemasons, 2 million Poles, and the Red Army soldiers, the Allied airmen...........the Serbs.......

I don't see you pushing the claims of Communists for special breaks nor of Fremasons.

As for Larry Green - let him express his views without your continual attempts to suppress. Engage and Discuss rather than this thuggish comment

then I'll take him to task. He seems to be a nasty little individual

Actually, he expresses a democratic principle to advance an argument and it requires engagement rather than the Brownshirt response it elicited.

As for might I suggest that an evangelical site

Why would a Jew want to be on an Evangelical (Christian) Website ? I am sure he would be welcome, but it does tend to be dismissive of the world's oldest monotheistic religion and the basis of Western Civilisation.

I prefer not to ghettoise contributors but to debate with them. Lenin made a mistake in 1903 in London when he split his faction from the Russian Social Democratic Party for ideological purity
and had to stage a coup d'etat in November 1918 to gain power when the group he had left won the elections.

To return to the family. Read Hannah Arendt - one of the first things Hitler did when he took power was on Law & Order........two highwaymen who had been hi-jacking motorists entering berlin were executed immediately; and camps were set up throughout the country to deal with teenagers who were running amok and impose discipline on them.

That is how far the Weimar Republic discredited itself with failed social policy; at some stage if politicians in Europe do not get a grip, there will be a harsher authoritarian form of government throughout Europe - democratic parties are on probation

Hitler did not discriminate.

Oh but he did. Get an education and learn the facts especially that only one piece of paper is said to exist connecting Hitler with any of this - he was like a certain Prime Minister - instructions were oral and documents were for Himmler and Heydrich who ran an Executive Agency called the RSHA - and as we know Executive Agencies operate at arm's length from political authority.

I think this thread's current focus on Nazi persecution is as eccentric and irrelevant to the report as the media's focus on gay rights. We need as a party to show that we take domestic social issues as seriously as we have begun to take the environment and international development. IDS's report sets out clearly the main problems and we need to start coming up woth some practical and workable solutions. One is to restore the married persons allowance, so that those parents who choose not to work but to remain at home and bring up children are not penalised by the tax system for doing so. The benefits of having two parents are increased the more time they are able to spend with their children.

Oh Dear, it seems TomTom is reduced to 'not everything the Fuhrer did was bad' arguments at the same time as calling for tolerance of Mr Green who shows so little tolerance for gay people that he cites books which hold them to be responsible for the holocaust. All very odd.

I'd just like to say I agree with every word of the editorial except for:

"IDS could have been more careful with the phrasing of his answers"

I didn't see anything wrong with his phrasing. You shouldn't have to apologise for being maliciously misrepresented.

For Mitzi Link

The repeal of Section 28 which came into effect on 18 November 2003 has been a terrible social disaster. As a 68 year old I had not come across homosexuality until on becoming 21 I had moved to Manchester which was a centre for the activity at that time.
In general no youths had been exposed to this perversion. I had heard the word before when as a fifteen year old; a teacher was explaining the prefix homo. None of my class had heard of homosexuality.
If parents could be in a school today and hear the sex education which is being taught there would be a major uproar. Not even School Governors can easily find what is being taught.
Primary kids are taught about homosexuality many years before they can comprehend what it is all about. The call of “Gay Boy” is common between boys of around 10 and 13. They even know such terms as "fudge pusher" meaning anal sex!
In Secondary Schools they are actually shown pornography and ask to name the sexual perversions taking place. This even includes photos of women being urinated upon I am told.
As the first comment in this thread says:-
“Since its abolition (Section 28). we are now seeing new laws coming in which are having the effect of making the promotion of homosexual lifestyles compulsory in our schools.
Unfortunately there are some homosexuals who are not satisfied with being left to get on with their own lifestyle, but they want it promoted to everyone. Since IDS softened his stance no one, it seems, has stood against them”
The sad fact is that many kids are damaged; those who may have had normal lives with their own family will grow up under the impression that they are “Gay” a misnomer if ever there was. A whole generation of parents have not lost their sons and daughters to sexual deviancy and will have no Grandchildren to look forward to.
The whole trouble stems from Blair’s pandering to every minority group going. As a Prime Minister he has been a disaster beyond all others.

The repeal of Section 28 which came into effect on 18 November 2003 has been a terrible social disaster. As a 68 year old I had not come across homosexuality until on becoming 21 I had moved to Manchester which was a centre for the activity at that time.
In general no youths had been exposed to this perversion. I had heard the word before when as a fifteen year old; a teacher was explaining the prefix homo. None of my class had heard of homosexuality.
If parents could be in a school today and hear the sex education which is being taught there would be a major uproar. Not even School Governors can easily find what is being taught.
Primary kids are taught about homosexuality many years before they can comprehend what it is all about. The call of “Gay Boy” is common between boys of around 10 and 13. They even know such terms as "fudge pusher" meaning anal sex!
In Secondary Schools they are actually shown pornography and ask to name the sexual perversions taking place. This even includes photos of women being urinated upon I am told.
As the first comment in this thread says:-
“Since its abolition (Section 28). we are now seeing new laws coming in which are having the effect of making the promotion of homosexual lifestyles compulsory in our schools.
Unfortunately there are some homosexuals who are not satisfied with being left to get on with their own lifestyle, but they want it promoted to everyone. Since IDS softened his stance no one, it seems, has stood against them”
The sad fact is that many kids are damaged; those who may have had normal lives with their own family will grow up under the impression that they are “Gay” a misnomer if ever there was. A whole generation of parents have not lost their sons and daughters to sexual deviancy and will have no Grandchildren to look forward to.
The whole trouble stems from Blair’s pandering to every minority group going. As a Prime Minister he has been a disaster beyond all others.

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