Thursday, December 20, 2007

A Compassionate Conservative Shows His Compassion.

The always interesting Britain & America blog (note to self update blogroll soon), has a post about US immigration policy with respect to HIV carriers. A Conservative MEP, Charles Tannock, has complained about it thusly:
"If the new proposal becomes law it could mean that people who are HIV-positive are denied the chance to be reunited with family members and partners, or to work or study in America. The measures amount to an entrenchment of discrimination, in particular because they will disproportionately affect thousands of gay and bisexual people. I've raised this issue in a written parliamentary question to the EU Commission and Council because collectively they are likely to have considerable clout with the US authorities on this particular issue. The US is one of the only countries to place travel restrictions on people living with HIV and AIDS. America's policy places it alongside countries such as Saudi Arabia. It's unworthy of a country like America, with which we share common values of liberty and equality."
I don't have any strong views on the issue itself, although it isn't really the place of British politicians to lecture friendly countries on their immigration policies. There is a balance to be struck between liberty and public health and it may be an over reaction to restrict travel or it might not. It certainly seems a little bit pointless though in the context of the USA having few controls on illegal immigration from Latin America but I digress. The comment thread that subsequently unfolds is what interests me. Another MEP, Roger Helmer writes:

We really must get away from this concept of "indirect discrimination". The fact is that action against Aids is a legitimate public health measure. If it happens that a disproportionate number of Aids sufferers are homosexuals, that is no responsibility of the regulators, and no reason to dilute public health initiatives.

You might as well argue that our smoking ban in buildings is "indirect discrimination" against men, since more men than women smoke.

A reasonable point, one which you can either agree or disagree with, but it is well reasoned and cogently expressed. At which point another poster by the name of Justin Hinchcliffe who appears to be the Chairman of the Tottenham Conservative Association jumps in:
Sadly, and once again, Roger Helmer is showing his ignorance, lack of compassion and outright bigotry. He's a disgrace to not just the Conservative Party, but to the human race.
Er, OK. This must be one of those new fangled compassionate conservatives who believe that any disagreement over whether allowing carriers of an infectious disease into one's country is a reasonable risk to take becomes sub human.

7 comments:

Justin Hinchcliffe said...

Hello and thanks for the 'name check'. It's the British government's job to protect and promote its citizens abroad - something Helmer does not see to grasp. Helmer's views and language are incompatible with today's Conservative Party.

JuliaM said...

"Er, OK. This must be one of those new fangled compassionate conservatives who believe that any disagreement over whether allowing carriers of an infectious disease into one's country is a reasonable risk to take becomes sub human."

Well, why argue against your opponent's view with logic or facts when you can just scream 'Bigot!!' (or 'racist') at them instead...?

"Helmer's views and language are incompatible with today's Conservative Party"

That's the party that is transforming itself into a touchy-feely PC clone of NuLabour under Dippy Dave, then...?

Small wonder it's losing staunch supporters hand over fist if this sentimental drivel is what it considers to be 'making tough decisions'.

DJ said...

Hey, the Nu Tories are just standing up for the fundamental human right to enter somebody else's country. I think it's in Magna Carta.

Ah no...I've just checked: apparently, 4 July is actually Independence Day, not Grovel To Eurosnots Day, so I guess we'll have to leave entry to America in the hands of Americans.

Ross said...
This comment has been removed by the author.
Ross said...

Justin,

Helmer's language was extremely mild, I don't see how anything he said could be taken as remotely inflammatory. Your view that differing opinions on public health disqualify someone from the human race genuinely are extreme.

jenny said...

It's hardly about ordinary citizens for gay,bi,lesbian...
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Bretwalda Edwin-Higham said...

So reasonable, in fact, that I can't disagree with anythng.