The inability of the British government to handle the Brexit process is providing plenty of ammunition for satirical cartoonists around Europe, but Brexit is by no means the only sign of dysfunction with the Tory party.
On Wednesday night Theresa May became the first seated Prime Minister to make an appearance at the Pink News Awards, run by the leading LGBT+ newspaper. In her speech Mrs. May committed her government to LGBT+ inclusive sex and relationships education in schools. “We’re determined to eradicate homophobic and transphobic bullying,” she said. She also pledged to reform the Gender Recognition Act, despite an intense media campaign against any further extension of trans rights.
On Thursday her Universities Minister, Jo Johnson, pledged to fine universities unless they provided a platform to any speaker who wished to encourage homophobia and transphobia. These new rules would not allow universities any control over the value or intellectual content of talks. All anyone would have to do is invite someone to give a talk, and then say they’d complain they were being “censored” unless the talk was allowed to go ahead.
So what exactly is the government’s position? Does it want to eradicate homophobia and transphobia, or does it want to make promoting those attitudes a special sort of protected speech that everyone is required to listen to? I certainly have no idea. I rather suspect that no one in the Cabinet does either.