Tuesday, April 06, 2010


The most ridiculous story over the weekend, which was loyally hyped up by the BBC, was the controversy over Chris Graylings remarks about whether B & B owners should be allowed to choose whom they allow in their establishments. His opinion was that whilst it would be unacceptable for a hotel to bar gay couples, B & B owners should be allowed to. This seems unexceptional to me for the following reason:


Whilst I can understand that some people view the matter differently there surely cannot be anyone who doesn't understand the point that Grayling was making there is a fundamental difference between how a purely commercial establishment operates and how a private house operates, Even if they decide that the discrimination laws should be applicable to both equally no one can be so dense as to not understand that it's a dilemma.


Incredibly the BBC said it would raise questions over the Tories commitment to 'tolerance'. Does tolerance have some new meaning that I've missed? Tt seems obvious to me that whatever the merits of not allowing establishments to select their clientele 'tolerance' is not an argument that bolsters the case. I wouldn't object to gay people sharing a bed in my home, although I do have a strict no fisting rule, despite what the computer shop may happen to find on my computer. Enforcing the state's standards of morality is intolerant, whether it is a necessary level of intolerance is a matter for debate. Personally I don't believe that it is, in fact I think B&B owners would be perfectly entitled to deny someone entry for wearing mixed fibres if it conflicted with their beliefs.


If gay couple want to open B & B's and exclude bible reading on their premises that is also ok.


I don't recall the BBC lambasting the Conservatives for intolerance when shadow minister Alan Duncan threatened to murder US beauty queen Carrie Prejean for respectfully expressing the view that marriage is between a man and woman when asked. Ironically her response was almost identical to Barack Obama's answer to the same question, so if Obama comes to visit Cameron in Number 10, we could well see the first presidential assassination since 1963, if Alan Duncan is in the government. So threatening to murder someone isn't intolerant but saying that people should be allowed to choose who enters their home is.

I've lost a lot of sympathy for gay rights activists over the last 12 months to be honest, they often compare their fight to the civil rights struggle, but they've already won equality in the Western world and are now trying to hype up non issues into major grievances. If a comparison to the civil rights movement is to be made then the activists are more Al Sharpton than Martin Luther King.

The gay rights movement obviously has serious work to do in the 3rd world such as Uganda, where the government wants to introduce the death penalty for homosexuality, but in the West the "civil rights" struggle seems to consist of demanding entry into people's homes, launching hate campaigns against beauty pageant contestants and genarally demanding a right not to be offended in any way.

When Graham Norton can be officially rebuked for homophobia isn't a sign that things have gotten a little bit crazy.


JuliaM said...

"...and genarally demanding a right not to be offended in any way."

Which seems to be one aspect that the mainstream can get behind!

Anonymous said...

It may be their fucking house (I thought that was a brothel by the way) but when they open it to the public they have to obey the law. Or find another business where they don't have to even LOOK at a *shudder* gay man or *shudder, shudder* two gay men.

Letters From A Tory said...

Sad, isn't it. Apparently, you can't even express your own religious views and air your own preferences in your own house under a Labour government.

Anonymous said...


How can I put this simply? If you rent out a portion of your house to the public then that part ceases to be your home. It's subject to the laws of the land with regard to trade.

Similarly you may not erect a sign saying "Kill all Paedophiles!" in your front garden, or hang a banner from your eaves calling for a new holocaust of the Jews, even though they're YOUR front garden and YOUR eaves.

Should you have any more difficulties on this, do consult your local statute book or pay a lawyer to explain it to you.

asquith said...

I'm sure there is a principled libertarian case against anti-discrimination legislation, but the fact is that Grayling isn't making it. He hasn't the slightest intention of changing the laws, the fact that he vaguely hinted as much testifies to his incoherence rather than any philosophy he cherishes or policy ambitions he nurtures.

Did you read this?

Anonymous said...

@ Anonymous 11:39

So presumably I can wander into any B & B in the land and smoke, can I? It's a legal product and the Health Act 2006 (Smoking Ban)does not cover hotel rooms. So I can lamp up anywhere I like because "It ceases to be their home."

But I can't. No trade law prevents me from doing so yet I can't. Why?

BECAUSE (as has already been stated) IT'S THEIR FUCKING HOUSE.

When even one of the most draconian infringements on private property rights of recent years recognises that hotels and B&Bs can dictate what goes on in their property, you must realise this whole argument is a complete non-starter.

Anonymous said...

"Lamp up" anywhere?

No, to repeat: "If you rent out a portion of your house to the public then that part ceases to be your home."

That's the last of my free legal advice. From now on you can jolly well pay a lawyer to explain the niceties to you.

James Higham said...



Ross said...

Anon- I do understand the argument you are making, but to take that example further, would someone taking in a lodger be obliged to accept any behaviour under anti-discrimination law?

Asquith- you're right about Grayling's position being confused.

Anonymous said...


You and others are moving the goalposts now. The issue concerns sexual orientation, not behaviour.

asquith said...


Ross said...

Anon- I don't think I am moving the goalposts, the ledger example is just an extreme version of the B&B case. Also I disagree that the issue isn't behaviour, I couldn't imagine even the most anti-gay God botherers would object to two people who were gay staying in separate rooms.