Monday, 6 August 2007

Happy Home(land)

I found an interesting article in the Dutch (officially Christian but predominantly leftist) newspaper Trouw ("Loyalty") today. It's called "Beyond Gay Glamour". Its tone is rather strict and disapproving, but I'm used to the lefty press acting like this when one of their traditional interest groups seems to jump ship. It's a bit like a CiF rant.

Anyway, it's about an interesting phenomenon that seems to be shifting in Britain too: gays predominantly vote for the right and most prominent openly gay politicians are Liberals (as in the classical, un-Hillaried sense) and Christian Democrats. The latter are a party that officially disapproves of and voted against gay marriage, legalized as a world first in 2001 by a secular government (for once I'm proud), and is led by a prime minister who openly disapproves of it but whose predecessor as leader allowed dissident MPs to vote for it.

The Christian Democrats (CDA), unlike the Republicans, have been clever enough to spot broadly growing tolerance of homosexuality in Dutch society (also happening in the US, according to The Economist's Lexington column) whilst being on the wrong side of it politically. They did what the Republicans broadly failed to do: keep gay issues out of the campaign, quietly accept gay marriage and promote hugely talented gay politician Joop Wijn to the cabinet as a possible next prime minister, as well as Gerda Verburg (not pretty, I'd say NSFW). This has given the CDA gay credibility and an aura of sexual tolerance, even though the Liberals still lead in votes as well as prominent gay politicians, and have the edge ideologically.

Right-wing populist and former Marxist Pim Fortuyn, who was assassinated in 2002, was openly gay, won by a landslide amongst gays, and could have become prime minister if he wasn't killed shortly before the elections that year.

In the Trouw article a few left-wing local politicians comment snidely that gay life now largely centres around hedonism. Suits me fine, but apparently this is supposed to be a bad thing. They go on to complain about the lack of interest in homosexuality in the third world, there's a particularly nasty reference to German SA leaders being gay and a faintly Marxist rant about "settled, rich gay men who care mostly about possessions and pensions" (again, this seems to match with what I would not mind being later in life). Starts to sound like a "code red" on the left!

We're not done yet: "solidarity" with women and gays of foreign descent (the latter is a major issue, I agree) is mentioned, without citing facts; another complaint about consumerism and the "right to have safe sex" comes up (how can that be a "right"? Use a goddamn rubber!) and the relevant and important point of violence and (largely muslim) intolerance is left to the end, almost as an aside, a random detail.

It's not. Apart from economic issues (DINKs) and maybe creativity (which comes with freedom), this is, I think, the clincher.

I will expand on this later on: this post is much too long as it is.

And read Bruce Bawer. He used to live in Amsterdam so he knows much more about this than me.

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