Robert Hampton

Another visitor! Stay a while… stay forever!

12th May 2010

Bird is the word
Posted by at 1.18pm | No responses | Politics, Stage

Canary is a new play by Jonathan Harvey, playing at the Liverpool Playhouse until 15th May before going on tour, taking in Hampstead, Cambridge and Brighton.

(minor spoilers follow below)

The play is an epic story, spanning multiple generations from the 1960s to the present day as the protagonists fight against discrimination and prejudice. In one scene, Margaret Thatcher appears, and I found it hard to resist the temptation to boo, panto-style, as she explained to one of her ministers why the AIDS education campaign wasn’t a priority for her (“it’s pronounced ‘vagina'”).

The whole play is very political and a stark reminder of the bruising battles that the gay community has had to fight to get closer to acceptance and equality.

More importantly, it crystallised for me the reasons why, despite all the huffing and puffing during the recent election campaign, the Tories can never be the party of gay rights. David Cameron can appear on the cover of Attitude, send messages of support to Pride events and give an awkward interview about gay issues: it doesn’t change the fact that the Tories only started favouring gay rights now that it is fashionable. When it really mattered, they were united in pushing an agenda of hate and discrimination to please their middle England base. When police were storming into gay bars and arresting the patrons, where were the Tories? When AIDS was ravaging the community, where were the Tories? When the Sun was running headline after headline screaming about Poofs and Queers and Perverts, where were the Tories? I’ll tell you where they were: holed up in the Cabinet, drafting section 28. It’s going to take a lot more than a few weasel words from Cameron to undo that.

The Labour party can be criticised in many areas, but surely one of its greatest achievements is the massive advancement in gay rights which has happened since 1997. For that, we should all be grateful.

Tags: , , , , , ,

Comments are closed.