Monday, April 05, 2010

What News from Cameron on the Acceptability of Same-Sex Couples in B&Bs

Chris Grayling's the Conservative shadow Home Secretary comments about it being acceptable for B&B owner to turn away same sex couples first came to light late on Saturday evening. That has given leader David Cameron a whole 36 hours to issue the following comment (I'm posting it in full):



Grayling himself has issued the following apology:



Has this had an impact? Well Pink News were in the middle of running their second monthly poll on the LGBT community's voting intentions and it certainly has done. The Lib Dems are now the most popular in the overall LGBT vote on 29% up 5% while the Tories are down 5% to 20% a direct swing as Labour remain unchanged. Amongst first time voters they also drop 5% to 35% just ahead of the soaring Lib Dems at 32%. The poll was about half way through when Grayling's revelation came to the attention of the press, as Pink News says:

"The poll had already begun prior to the publication by The Observer of comments by the shadow home secretary Chris Grayling where he appeared to back the rights of bed and breakfast owners to ban gay couples. But the swing from Conservative to Liberal Democrat did increase markedly in the early hours of Sunday."

So the swing Conservative to Lib Dem may well be bigger than that indicated as a result of Grayling's comments but for people already casting their vote. The Conservatives have kept silent at the top end too long over this, they are haemorrhaging votes that they are unlikely to regain in the time between now and the election from a part of the electorate they had been courting.What is encouraging for the Liberal Democrats and Nick Clegg is that the support appears to be shifting straight over to us, with no leakage to Labour.


yorker said...

The State and political busybodies have no business telling B&B operators that they must cheerfully tolerate disagreeable practices in their own home.

Huhne and the rest should be ashamed of jumping on this grubby bandwagon. Cameron would do well to treat the fuss with the contempt it deserves.

Jess The Dog said...

I think this is a storm in a tea-cup. Grayling is wrong in principle, but this is more to do with the increasing regulation of small businesses, the undermining of the "Englishman's home is his castle" principle and the marginalisation of Anglican Christianity in particular.

There are faultlines in society where tectonic plates collide and this is one of them. B&Bs are a peculiarly British tradition, both home and small business. Of course no-one should be able to turn away same-sex couples because they don't 'like their sort' with the abject humiliation and degradation this entails. No-one forces anyone to open a B&B and anyone who wants to turn away gays has poor business acumen as well.

However, there may be a justification for Christian guest houses....there are vegan B&Bs, Buddhist B&Bs/spiritual retreats, women-only B&Bs, also gay B&Bs. I can imagine a niche demand for Islamic B&Bs with prayer rooms and halal food....but at the end of the day, the market will only support so many establishments. In wider society there are gay bars and clubs, pubs with women-only nights and so on, so there is perhaps a need for one's own cultural space and time at certain moments and I think this is fair enough. (It doesn't really affect me, my only prejudices are against chavs and celebrities, and I wholly endorse both gay rights and religious rights, admittedly as a spectator).

We all need to get on together in society, most of us (of all traditions and cultures) get on very well indeed, but the fact is that some elements of society are 100% opposed to other lifestyles and/or beliefs, and this needs toleration and compromise.

So Grayling should apologise, clarify and move on. Of more significance is the prospect of civil partners (rightly) getting the same tax benefits as married couples...follow the money, after all.

Stephen Glenn said...

So yorker you are saying that a B&B can ignore fire regulations and hygience regulations if they want to. These are also laws that they have to comply with to open a public service that offers food and accomadation.

As for disagreeable practises one wonders how often a B&B owner thatt turns away a gay couple asks for the marriage certificate of every heterosexual couple that stays. Aren't B&Bs renowned for being the escape for the weekend of the cheating couple?

Jess an Englishman's home may well be his castle, he can decide who he invites into his home. But when he/she opens a B&B and touts for trade that becomes a business premises and he/she is providing a service. By law that service cannot be withheld on grounds of race, religion, gender or sexuality.

As for the gay bars, guest houses etc all of these are open to people of all sexual orientations. Indeed many advertise as being straight friendly. There is no door policy at any gay club I'm aware of that says 'no straights allowed', because that would be discrimination.

You may think it is a storm in a teacup but it is reaching hurrican proportions. Dave told us he had changed, went a courting the LGBT vote. Then he formed a new group with open homophobes in Europe, stumbled and got iritated over a simple question in Gay Times, and now this from his Shadow Home Secretary.

That last point is the issue. It is not some backbencher who is stepping down, it is possibly the man who will be in charge of the laws of this land who has said some laws are there to be broken.

yorker said...

Well I don't accept Glenn's definition of the issue is since it seems to me to be about what's acceptable conduct by guests under one's roof.

The fuss has reached hurricane proportions simply on account of two pushy gays who are high profile LibDems in Huntingdon. I doubt if they have done their local party any electoral favours.

Stephen Glenn said...

The two customers, and let us not forget that is what they were, had paid a deposit, turned up and were turned away.

I'm sorry this has not reached hurrican proportions because of what you have said. It has done so because the SHADOW HOME SECRETARY has come out in favour of the B&B proprieter. He was missing in action yesterday at the Conservative campaign launch tellingly.


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