Thursday, 16 June 2011

Patrick Harvie - A Worthy Complaint?

Many civilised parliaments have, during the working day, a short time devoted to prayer or some form of meditation.

The Scottish Parliament has a short period at the beginning of each day which is referred to as the Time for Reflection session and guest speakers, from all religions or none, are invited to address the members.

Yesterday Professor Cecil Samuelson, president of Brigham Young University in Utah was one such guest. It's my understand his speech was well within the guidelines which state 'all contributions in the chamber must be consistent with the principle of equal opportunities for all and should not include remarks or comments which are discriminatory'.

But MSP Patrick Harvie, the leader of the Green Party, accused the parliament of inviting the Mormon leader of a 'homophobic' university to address Holyrood.  Mr Harvie is openly gay.  His objection was that Mr Samuelson should never have been invited.  He continued:

"Parliament is an institution for the whole of Scotland and this platform must never again be given to someone with this kind of attitude to Scotland's gays and lesbians."

The Presiding Officer, Tricia Marwick replied saying that all speakers were advised of Parliament's policies and their speeches had to fit in with those.  She added: "I would remind you that Time for Reflection contributors are guests of this parliament and should be shown courtesy by all members. Any member who heard the speech would take no issue with it."

A number of Brigham Young students are working as interns for MSPs.

Patrick Harvie himself contributes a great deal to the Scottish Parliament but on this occasion I think he's not done himself, or Scotland's lesbian and gay community, any favours.  His objection sounded trite.  At times I think the gay community should reign in their protests because they are not irrelevant to a situation.  This was one of those occasions.


English Pensioner said...

Parliament is an institution for the whole of Scotland and this platform must never again be given to someone with this kind of attitude to Scotland's gays and lesbians."

If you extend this argument one might consider that, if, say, an Atheist were asked to address parliament it would be reasonable to say "Parliament is an institution for the whole of Scotland and this platform must never again be given to someone with this kind of attitude towards Christians." Or vice-versa if a Christian was to speak.
Taken to its logical conclusion, it follows that no-one should be allowed to speak about anything unless the whole of Scotland agrees with the sentiments, and then what is the point of speaking.
At one time, I couldn't care less whether someone was gay or not unless it affected me in some way, but with these militant gays continually ranting about homophobia, my attitude is changing, and not in the direction they would want.

Joe Public said...

Does anyone ever boast about being 'openly heterosexual'?

[Or are they the ones obtaining super-injunctions?]

Nikostratos said...

has any Muslims spoke at the Time for Reflection i mean we know there views on Homosexuality..

A number of Brigham Young students are working as interns for MSPs.

Err you wanna see what that approach done to politics in Utah and other church of the latter day saints states that one worries me a really should look it up

subrosa said...

I agree EP. My tolerance level is becoming slightly frayed round the edges regarding this subject entering into every section of life.

subrosa said...

Not that I'm aware of Joe. Then maybe folk my age don't speak about it. We're comfortable in our non-ironed skins.

subrosa said...

I'm not sure Niko although I think this is the first time a complaint has been made about a speaker.

Have you a link please?

Jo G said...

The problem with Patrick Harvey is that he represents freedom but only within boundaries set by him.

Anonymous said...

Why don't they just get on with their work. The've no business having prayers or "thoughts for the day". It's not what we pay them for. It's just an excuse for someone to do some entertaining at our expense.

If they want to pray then they should do it in their own time to whichever diety they feel drawn; if they want to listen to someone talk there is always Radios 3 and 4both of which have interesting talks. "Thought for the Day" on the Today Programme at ten to eight each morning is a religious/philosophical, 2 minute interlude, listening to which would be far cheaper than importing people from Utah.

In my experience mormons can be extremely offensive in thier views about all manner of things that don't suit their very strange religious point of view. I clearly have no idea what he said to upset Pat Harvie, who himself has a reputation for bad manners, but I've met a few mormons in my time and the only way to get rid of them is a two word phrase.... the end part of which is "off"

RMcGeddon said...

Just ask the mormons if they're wearing their magic underpants. That usually gets rid of them.

Harvie was complaining about an RC speaker a few years ago aswell. Saying he was homophobic or something.
I don't remember him slagging off an Islamic speaker but I may have missed it.
His constant droning on about how we should all reduce our consumption and carbon footprint is just hot air. His website is full of 'green vision' rubbish. If he really believed all that CO2 rubbish I doubt if he would have gone on his 14,000 mile 6 week trip of a lifetime to the USA.

Surreptitious Evil said...

Is that a stray double negative in the penultimate sentence?

William said...

I don't like Patrick Harvie but given that Parliament is looking to introduce laws that will jail people for up to 5 years for criticising the Pope online, it's worth nothing that Parliament has no problem inviting actual bigots to address Parliament. Indeed, Parliament has appointed an actual bigot - Roseanna Cunningham - to oversee anti-bigotry legislation.

It is rank hypocrisy.

subrosa said...

Well said Jo.

subrosa said...

I did think that I also need time for reflection Tris but can't afford the luxury of a renowned individual coming to speak to me.

Have never had a bad experience with Mormons but I don't have any within my social circle. They gave up knocking at my door years ago and now it seems they're employed by our politicians.

subrosa said...

Oh RM, I've split my coffee. :(

That's a green politician for you. He is a good speaker though in comparison to some in the parliament.

subrosa said...

It was SE, it was and thanks for pointing it out. Shows last minute editing shouldn't be done. :)

subrosa said...

Taking your point William, does that mean people who aren't parents shouldn't have a job involving children?

Anonymous said...

Can I ask William (because I honestly don't know) why you consdier ms Cunningham to be a bigot? I know she's a republican, but I don't know anything else about her.

William said...

She wanted to introduce legislation banning gay people from adopting children, Tris.

"does that mean people who aren't parents shouldn't have a job involving children?"

I don't know what you mean, SR.

Anonymous said...

William. Thanks. I didn't know that.

Jo G said...

That doesn't make Cunningham a bigot for goodness sake. A lot of concerned folks were uneasy that children were being presented as a "right" for same sex couples and felt that children should not be seen in that way. What about the rights of children. What about children who want a mum and a dad, not two dads or two mums? Are they bigots too?

subrosa said...

William, many people don't agree with gay people adopting children yet now they're too scared to voice their concerns. Some people think a child should, ideally, be brought up with a female mother and a male father.

It takes a very brave person these days to criticise gays in any way, yet hetrosexuals can be pilloried without protest.

subrosa said...

Ooops Jo, I agree as I've said above.

Jo G said...

"....looking to introduce laws that will jail people for up to 5 years for criticising the Pope online,"

William, you really are a mischevious rascal. The law (whenever it comes about)will deal with people who behave in a sectarian manner. That works across the board.

Jo G said...

Subrosa, you are right about having to be brave to say anything now. I despise homophobia: it is wrong and I condemn it.

The word however is now possibly the most over-used in the English language and nine times out of ten is used out of context, deliberately. As soon as you raise a concern about, say the adoption issue, you are labelled with the homophobe word. The definition of homophobia is "the hatred or fear of homosexuality and homosexuals". To express particular concerns is to hate neither of those things yet the world is used to silence people because, when levelled, it is very damaging indeed. I think it is a dreadful thing to use a word like that, or the threat of it, to ensure no opposition.

subrosa said...

Jo, my attitude towards gay people is the same as it is towards the rest of the world, fairly tolerant. I detest the word homophobia because it redefines the word phobia which is mainly used as a medical term. People who suffer from medical phobias can suffer horrendously, both physically and mentally. It's usually based on fear not hatred.

I just don't understand why sexuality has to enter into so much of our daily lives these days. Call me old fashioned.

William said...

SR and Jo, of course it's 'acceptable' bigotry in your eyes - and Roseanna Cunningham's. That's why we have a law and not the personal whim of ministers - or at least we used to.

If Cunningham had proposed a law that no Protestants could adopt children, or Hindus, or people with ginger hair, would that have been acceptable? Seeking to discriminate against a section of the population purely on the basis of your own prejudice, as Cunningham did, is bigotry by its very definition. Yet she has the cheek today to pontificate to the media that sectarianism 'shames us in the eyes of the world'. Presumably her prejudices don't.

"The law (whenever it comes about)will deal with people who behave in a sectarian manner."

Aye, so they say. But knee-jerk laws rarely provide satisfactory justice and the sectarianism bill being proposed is a complete dogs breakfast.

We could potentially have the situation where singing that you don't like your rivals at a football match will see you do more jail time than simply stabbing someone in the kidneys.

Jo G said...

"If Cunningham had proposed a law that no Protestants could adopt children, or Hindus, or people with ginger hair, would that have been acceptable."

William that example is completely absurd and I'm sure you know it.

subrosa said...

So I'm a bigot for thinking (and knowing from experience) that children develop better in a home with a female mother and male father William. Auch well, so be it. Mind you the modern way is anything goes and it'll come back to bite future generations no doubt.

I agree about the current proposals being far too speedy. That's not good government.

See? I can agree with you. :)

Anonymous said...

I agree it's terrible.

You can't say anything bad about gays and you can't say anything bad about women on pain of censure.

Women in particular can do what they want. A man in the English parliament was put out the other week by that pompous little idiot of a speaker, for not wearing a bloody tie...and yet some of the women go in there looking like they should be standing on a street corner touting for business.

It's the same in my place of work. We have to be smart wearing exactly the same stuff winter and summer, but women are allowed t shirts in the summer, no tights, sandals and by the same token they are allowed woolly jumpers in the winter.

When I complained I was told that that was the way it was... by my female boss, looking like she'd fallen off a dustcart on her way to do a day’s cleaning.

It's time everyone could take it on the chin a little more. Women and gays alike.

As for the point in question I see no reason why a happy stable gay relationship is any less good a place for kids to be brought up than any number of vile households I’ve come across in my work where the “father” is replaced every few weeks and the real one of course isn’t known; where drink and drugs are consumed and, for example, this month’s father figure jumps up and down on the child’s chest and kills him while his mother is out looking for a trick so she can buy a baggy... I’m talking Brandon Muir.

And yet that woman stills has a child, and presumably another “father” by now. That type only ever last a few weeks without one.

subrosa said...

I agree with you about women Tris. The female MSPs are perhaps the worst dressers in the political scenes we see on television. So many look as if they've never seen a comb far less a mirror.

During my working life I never had a job where I was allowed bare legs in summer or trousers. In fact one of my employers stipulated dress and jackets at all times, no sandals but peep toed shoes were permitted. Legs must be covered at all times 'as bare legs were undignified and not acceptable in the business world'.

I did say ideally children should be brought up in a female and male home environment but of course in a stable environment.

You know Tris, the older I get the more I become so weary with so many people thinking they can have their heart's desires because it's their right.

Anonymous said...

I suspect you may be right, life is a bucket of crap and then you die. But thankfully, it takes some time to come to that conclusion. Otherwise we'd all be wanting assisted suicide at three... then what would the rich do for servants? ;¬)

It seems your employers were a little more sensible than many. I can remember being lectured about wearing my tie right up to my neck by a woman boss dressed in a sleeveless t shirt, summer skirt, no tights, and sandals on a boiling hot day.

Needless to say my retort was less than friendly, and involved me making reference to an elderly version of Olivia Newton John as Sandi in Grease (before she became a tart).

And I agree. The most important thing for a child is to be loved and cared for. Yes, I wouldn't disagree that a mum and dad, who love the kid and each other is ideal (and rare), but a loving single parent or a couple of loving gay parents of either sex, is a million miles better than so many situations I've seen.

It angers me beyond measure that people who don't want kids, don't have the time for them, or are too busy with their careers, are allowed to have them, and neglect them.

Jo G said...

I have gay friends who surprised me with their views on the issue of intimidation.

They felt the militant wing, claiming to be representing them, had done great damage and that there was actually more resentment now because of the aggressive manner of campaigning and the blatant abuse of the "homophobe" word any time a person opposes them. They thought such tactics were damaging and undemocratic and that a different kind of (silent) resentment was building, not connected with homophobia, but as a result of this intimidation and aggression. They said, interestingly, that gay rights people cannot truly say they have massive support when those nodding agreement could be vastly outnumbered by others who are simply too afraid to open their mouths out of fear of wrongly being labelled a homophobe.

Jo G said...

Tris, here's a thing you've reminded me of. In the last couple of weeks I've had people in my work place use the phrases "care in the community types" and "retard" in my hearing. I like both of these people very much however I was appalled that they so comfortably came out with such things in the workplace. Had the comment been an offensive term about a person who was homosexual or about a woman they could have been in big trouble. But people with learning disabilities are still a safe target.

I also heard the same "care in the community" term used a couple of times on sit-coms.

It is very sad that some groups are clearly exempt from being shown respect don't you think? No equal rights for them.

Anonymous said...

Yes Jo G. It would be good if people would lighten up on all of it. I’m not suggesting that it would be a good idea for us all to go around insulting other people because of who or what they are. Indeed the legislation was enacted because people’s lives were being made miserable by being signalled out for maltreatment: I’m not having THAT in my hotel; it’s a poof; I’m not employer her, she’s a woman, she’d always be off; I wouldn’t have a foreigner working in my company; No Jews allowed in this establishment, etc.

But I the words moron, imbecile and cretin, for example, are technical terms for the measure of IQ and they were been used when my granny was at school.

Everyone should have the right not to be abused because of religion, ethnicity, sexual orientation, gender, disability, mental capacity and much else, but the militants who read insult into every small thing are making life so complicate, don’t you think. There are militant women, every bit as much as there are militant gays, or Muslims or Catholics.

Jo G said...

Yes but Tris, the point I'm making involved words like "retard" and the phrase "care in the community type" made in a workplace in front of others with no censure forthcoming.

We all know now there are certain things that cannot be said any more yet for people who have Learning Disabilities it still seems ok to ridicule them or make them part of a stand-up routine to get laughs (and it gets laughs, sadly). I'm saying their right to be respected has been ignored if people can still publicly ridicule them without being punished severely for it and that the law should protect them too just as it has been used to protect others.

subrosa said...

Jo, I've known two gay friends for 20 years now and I never even considered if they were gay or not. They don't live together but close to each other. Then, a few years ago when the intimidation started (I think it was something to do with Tatchell) one of them was so annoyed she said he certainly doesn't speak for them. It took a while for the penny to drop here and we had a good laugh about that.

Still I keep thinking why some gay folk think their sexuality matters so much to the general public. They're undoing a lot of good work which has been done over the years.

Then of course there's the David Laws business. Did he honestly think his parents, family and friends didn't know?

It's all about labels Jo. Our public servants have been ordered to tick-box us and I suspect that's something to do with it.

subrosa said...

Living in Dundee you'll know all about militancy Tris. I'll never forget working there for six months about 15 years ago. Every little thing was controlled by the union rep and endless, useless meetings held. Had never seen anything like it in all my working life.

The union people did no work and spent the time wandering around causing upset. They wouldn't have been able to get away with 95% of their behaviour in Germany or Switzerland.

subrosa said...

Part of the problem there Jo is that folk with difficulties have carers in many cases. The carers are far too busy looking after them to become militant protestors.

I think the Princess Trust for Carers could do far more. As it is they're paid lip service every now and again.

Perhaps it's time it took a few tips from the Tobacco and Alcohol quangos.

Jo G said...

No Subrosa, the rights of those people are already enshrined in law - they are disabled - and they too are entitled to respect. They shouldn't have to get their carers to do it. It isn't up to the Princess Trust to do it. If we as Scots utter words that insult such people then it is ourselves we need to look at. We should not need legislation to make us stop using such language.

Anonymous said...

It’s strange Jo, what words can do.

I agree that no one should ever be called a retard, and if I heard someone referring to a person as such to their face I'd say something to them about it.

It's unacceptable. But sometimes with use a word becomes acceptable; as in moron or cretin (I think probably because most people haven’t the foggiest notion that they are using a word which is medical classification of low intelligence, as of course are idiot and imbecile).

On the other hand, some words, by association become unusable. My granny used to talk about "the crippled woman up the road" and meant nothing more by it than that the woman was unable to walk; thus crippled. There was no slight intended.

It's strange is language. But the language is not really important; it’s what is behind the language that matters. If I say to a friend “you retard” because she forgot to get bread at the supermarket, it means nothing. If I say it to someone who is of sub normal intelligence, then it is unacceptable. It’s quite strange how politically correct we are.

Jo G said...

Oh Tatchell! I remember hearing him say that if a person who was privately homosexual but was in a position of power, Tatchell would use the knowledge of the person's sexuality to persuade him to take Tatchell's own agenda forward. So for Tatchell a person who wished to keep this information private has not right to privacy if they are good blakmail fodder.

Then of course there's the David Laws business. Did he honestly think his parents, family and friends didn't know?

For me Laws used the issue of his sexual orientation as a means of escaping the fact that he defrauded the taxpayer. I found that inexcusable.

Jo G said...

For what its wroth I don't like this sectarianism legislation. I think its rushed and ill-thought out. I just listened to the debate from earlier this week on it and I found Roseanna's approach really rigid. Other Parties were in favour of addressing the issue but not with swift legislation that may not be appropriate and which might also be a nightmare to enforce.

I also thought Margaret Mitchell's contribution was excellent despite being heckled by Ms Ewing and despite it being dismissed by Roseanna as "an ugly little rant". Very bad, ill-tempered show from Roseanna.

subrosa said...

My point is their carers don't have the time to do it Jo, they're too immersed in their caring, plus they don't have militant lobbying groups like the gay community.

Words are difficult because much relies on who says it to/about whom and why. If privately I call a friend a moron because they're being very awkward about something is that wrong?

There has to be a strong line between personal verbal attack and everyday expression. That's why I think this new legislation is badly thought through and far too reactive. How are they going to control the internet and print etc?

If folk want to abuse others in a sectarian manner then they will. They'll use anonymous computers etc.

How is it going to be policed? We can't even stick our weekend drunks in a cell but we can give them to the ambulance service who clog up the A & Es with them.

No it's a step far too far this. In the east here we have little problem with sectarianism. The football teams involved should be the leaders here not legislation.

subrosa said...

Ooops, I just wrote about that. I didn't hear Margaret Mitchell's contribution as I haven't watched the whole debate. Have it somewhere here so will see if I can find it.

Legislate in haste and repent at leisure. This could well start a decline in SNP support.

Jo G said...

Subrosa, I don't have an issue with the word moron, or the others Tris mentioned, really. But the "care in the community type" phrase the "retard" word, other phrases that are still common, "window licker" is another one.

Also learning disabilities people are included with other disabled people in equality legislation which means they are covered when it comes to discrimination, you know? So campaigning for them isn't necessary: their rights are already in place but they're being ignored. Yet if you ignored the rights now in place for say, "hate" conduct against gay people or racism you'd be arrested. YOu know?

Jo G said...

Subrosa do find the Margaret Mitchell part: she is a very good speaker I think. Patrick Harvie spoke too and made valid points about the legislation on sectarian behaviour. He pointed out how long it had taken him to get his own bill through on hate crime against gay people and how long it had taken but he said it was right to do it that way and that this was rushed.

William said...

Assistant Chief Constable Corrigan in the Herald today confirms that people will be arrested for 'sectarian singing' under this legislation but will not publicly state which songs will get you arrested.

So we'll have a law that you won't know you're breaking until the police put you in jail.

If this is the sort of nonsense we can expect in Salmond's independent Scotland then he can shove it up his fat behind.

subrosa said...

Yes Jo and she did speak well. So did Patrick Harvey. Ms Cunningham is a bit of a nippy sweetie and doesn't like being criticised. She's trying to stamp her own mark on this but her reaction proved she was uncomfortable with the comments. She should be.

I do understand and using language like that within a work environment is disgraceful.

Seriously though Jo, I worry we're becoming like a police state with all this control. What are our schools and parents doing?

subrosa said...

William, I'm rather worried my rendering of 'The Road and the Miles to Dundee' will be on his secret list. It could be called sexist I suppose. Seems I'l have to confine my dulcet tones to the shower.

Anonymous said...

Long as I can sing Downtown I'm happy.

It may be a bit rushed, but we have GOT to have something done about this daft religious war going on in a country where about 1% of the population has been in church in the last year.

subrosa said...

All I can say Tris is make sure the windows are closed. :)

Something has to be done right enough, but it won't be sorted overnight by legislation as it's been prevalent for decades.

I'm perhaps rather too nonchalent about it because I've never seen it in the east here other than on Parade Days and most Dundonians kept off the streets then. But I've witnessed it in the west and it's very frightening.

I think the two football teams ought to be told to play behind closed doors until behaviour improves. Of course they won't do that because of money. There again money is the root of all evil.

Jo G said...

I think the legislation is insane and almost certainly unworkable. Then today we have this:

It could get SO ugly. I don't think Mr White has thought out his decision to do the public confrontation thing with Salmond or perhaps he takes that route deliberately. I wish he had requested talks with Salmond on Rangers' position because the point is valid. Both old firm clubs do sectarianism in equally rabid terms. Celtic are not innocent.

When you think about it there is more than one issue, in my view anyway. On the football side the SFA, you would think, would have immediately gone to war with both clubs. They should have made it clear that any future brawls or verbal confrontations between managers, or between managers and players on a pitch, would result in points being forfeited or deducted and long suspensions. Instead they acted initially but then upheld appeals by Rangers people who clearly WERE involved in unacceptable conduct on the occasion in question. One, a player, had abused a manager, ignored stewards and then police to get to his club's supporters. Another player had manhandled a referee which is absolutely a no-no! That really doesn't help. The SFA needs dismantled and replaced by a body that will punish and stick to its guns.

I agree with Rangers however that reports on this issue invariably are accompanied by footage of Rangers supporters singing appalling stuff when, in fact, it happens at Celtic Park too and at various other grounds too. Whatever is brought in has to be across the board. A responsible SFA could deal with all of that without legislation even being necessary.

Jo G said...


"this daft religious war"

It isn't about "religion" or God. Its about something else entirely. You will find that for too many in Scotland, because Rangers and Celtic have supporters the length and breadth of the country and in Ireland, Rangers and Celtic ARE their "religion". It is nothing to do with Christianity.

Jo G said...

On the Celtic side, the club publicly backed Lennon to the hilt at times when his behaviour was disgraceful. Accusing other clubs of lying down to Rangers is extremely unhelpful and Lennon did that. He denied it but he did it. He claimed others "weren't competing" against Rangers. Its the same thing.

I realise that Lennon has had a bad time but I also know that Martin O'Neill played and captained a Northern Ireland side and then managed Celtic without suffering any of the problems Lennon did. O'Neill was widely respected in football throughout the UK. I don't know why that is but I happen to think Mr O'Neill let his feet do the talking and was dedicated to his sport. Mr Lennon frequently allows his mouth and his temperament to create huge problems for him. He must get that under control and Celtic's public position, that he did nothing wrong, is not helpful or honest.

Jo G said...

On the general question of showing respect towards all groups who make up society it is depressing that we have yet more legislation to deal with "hate crime".

I don't think it should be necessary to legislate for specific groups: we should however demand that attacking another person on any grounds is not acceptable and use a straightforward set of laws to enforce it.

We had a phrase once in Scotland, "One Scotland, many cultures." I liked it very much. It wasn't Salmond's but I do recall him saying once that rather than focus on differences Scotland should celebrate diversity. I think that makes sense.

subrosa said...

Did you see the Politics Show at lunchtime Jo? Roseanna Cunningham was on along with 2 lawyers.

Jo have much more knowledge about the football situation so I can't really comment as we don't have the problem in this part of the east.

Jo G said...

Subrosa, you keep saying that, but I'm not convinced. : )

subrosa said...

Well Jo, I'm only speaking from experience. There's never been any sectarian problems between Dundee FC and Dundee United in my lifetime and I've never witnessed any.

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