Why am I in such a doom-saying mood? Because of a woman. This woman, in fact:
This woman, readers - though she may appear to be a cruel photoshop mock-up of Jennifer Aniston's hair and Ricky Hatton's nose - is in fact the very real Philippa Stroud, head of the Centre for Social Justice, the thinktank founded by Ian 'the quiet man is turning up the volume' Duncan Smith. These assclowns are the people who gave you the frankly pointless married person's tax credit - you know, the idea that battered women and closet-case husbands will immediately eschew the freedom of divorce when offered a measly £150 bribe. I can see that working. I can picture myself now, in an abusive relationship, flinching as my face is backhanded so hard my neck nearly snaps and punch after punch is driven into my stomach*, thinking to myself that if I just stand and take it I'll be sitting pretty on top of one-hundred-and-fifty extra pounds a year! Such wonder.
(Wheezes like this always strike me as weird coming from the right wing, as well. They constantly go on about how Labour has destroyed us all in the 'social experiment' of multiculturalism, but then what do they propose? A social experiment in seeing whether you can bribe people to stay married. Where's your faith in the free market, cretins? Well, alive and well if the client lists of London's top escort agencies are anything to go by, I reckon, but I digress...)
The fact is, though, we may all be looking back on the heady days of the marriage-bribe carrot as the golden age for our asses, because it seems the exorcism-stick is waiting 'round the corner. See, there's a lot more to Pippa Stroud than a good hairdresser, a set of Palin-lite policies, and a mediocre prizefighter's honker - she's also, according to reports in today's Observer, a crusader 'gainst the forces of Satan himself:
'A high-flying prospective Conservative MP, credited with shaping many of the party's social policies, founded a church that tried to "cure" homosexuals by driving out their "demons" through prayer.'
And it isn't just the homos. You won't be surprised to hear that Stroud's Terminators - er, I mean Ministers - also saw fit to try to pray the queer out of 'Abi, a teenage girl with transsexual issues'. Given the high rate of suicide among trans people, and the fact that many have severe problems with their self-esteem to begin with (this writer, for one, has been known to suffer severe ego-drops at the mere sight of hir five o-clock shadow), I have to question whether telling someone they're demonically posessed is the most useful form of intervention. Admittedly, someone telling the teenage me I was in league with Satan would have been greeted with a loud 'fuck YEAH!' and a \m/metal salute\m/, but there again I wasn't surrounded by evangelical Christians during my adolescence (I was instead surrounded by Catholics who, whatever the priesthood gets up to, tend to be more pragmatic about a teenage interest in the music of Guns 'n' Roses).
Still, Abi's suicide probably wouldn't be any skin off Stroud's brobdingnagian bogey-chute, given that she shrugged off the death of an alcoholic resident in a hostel she ran by saying ' we wondered whether God knew that she hadn't the will to stick with it and was calling her home.' Imagine how you'd feel if some holier-than-thou prick said that about your daughter.
These people are not the aberrations in Cameron's 'New Conservatives'. They're the norm. The party that gave you Section 28 and Operation Spanner is still as bigoted, homophobic, and generally fucked-up about sex as ever, and anyone whose sexuality isn't exactly in accord with that of Philippa Stroud and her hateful ilk has a duty to vote on May 6th to stop them gaining power, and to keep her mammoth nose out of our business**.
* Admittedly I would be more likely to pay £150 for this kind of treatment, but let's leave that out of it, shall we?
** You may accuse me of dwelling a little too much on Stroud's nose, but, let's face it, it's big enough that I actually could dwell on it, literally, and raise a small herd of goats fed on her nasal hair into the bargain. So why not? ***
*** Also, I have to wonder what would happen if we got Philippa Stroud's nose and John Hatzistergos' chin into a room together. Would they breed and produce a race of giant-faced bigots, like an army of Easter Island statues giving Hitler salutes and burning crosses made of their own snot? I think this theory needs to be tested. Right fucking now.