Wednesday, 31 August 2016
THE art historian, journalist, and critic, Brian Sewell, died in 2015 aged 84. Four years before his death in July 2011, he wrote in the ‘Daily Mail’:
'Is it true that the lives of heterosexual Mancunians are haplessly intertwined with transvestites, transsexuals, teenage lesbians and a horde of homosexuals across the range? Is Manchester now the Sodom of the North? Where once we had no gaiety at all, we now perhaps, have rather too much.'
Sewell’s article, ‘What have they done to Corrie?' focused on how Coronation Street characters were becoming increasingly gay, something almost unthinkable, in the days of Ena Sharples and Minnie Caldwell. He wrote:
'The Lesbians, Sophie Webster and Sian Powers caught ‘in flagrante’ by Sophie’s mum Sally. Sean Tully, the barman, set to tie the knot with boyfriend Marcus Dent. Middle-aged cross-dresser, Marc Selby and Hayley Cropper, the first transsexual to appear on the screen in 1998.'
Although Sewell acknowledged that the creator of Coronation Street, Tony Warren, was a homosexual as well as scriptwriter Daman Rochefort, he seemed to think that in this age of political correctness and equal opportunity, minorities are given the opportunity to punch above their weight. After all, gay men are supposed to make up just 6% of the British population. More importantly, he pointed out:
'Scots favour Scots, Irishmen favour the Irish, Armenians favour Armenians, Jews favour Jews, homosexuals have always favoured other homosexuals. Its how minorities gain strength through influence.'
Manchester is known for being one of the most LGBT- friendly cities in the UK. It also has one of the highest numbers of people living with HIV outside of London. The City Council recently elected a 44-year-old gay man, to be the Lord Mayor of Manchester.
'Sworn into his historic role - with a quote from disco legends Abba', Councillor Carl Austin-Behan, from Crumpsall, a former ‘Mr Gay UK’, left school with only one GCSE in drama. In 1997, he was drummed-out of the RAF when it was discovered that he was a homosexual. Previously employed with Great Manchester Fire Service, he now runs a cleaning company. Councillor Austin-Behan has said that he’s ‘passionate’ about promoting the achievements of Manchester’s Lesbian, Gay, Bisexual, Transgender, (LGBT) community and will,
'Use his year in office to highlight prejudice towards the Tran’s community and work to make HIV testing more readily available in Greater Manchester.'
The Lord Mayor also believes, that:
'People with different identities and sexual orientations, shouldn’t just be respected in Manchester, but celebrated.'
Just why any of us should pay respect or celebrate someone, because they are of a particular identity or sexual orientation isn’t quite clear, but it sounds like the most conceited nonsense. Surely, respect is something that is earned and not owed to anyone?
While Councillor Austin-Behan is to be applauded for his stance on fighting discrimination and for trying to make HIV testing more readily available, it’s clear, that the Lord Mayor’s horizons are extremely limited. In fact, they don’t seem to stretch much further than Canal Street, the ‘Gay Village’, and what lies in the interests of homosexual’s. To be a successful politician, one needs to be far more circumspect and never forget who is paying you.
Apart from its claim to be a ‘gay-friendly’ city, Manchester also has another claim to fame. In 2011, it was dubbed the child poverty capital of Britain, with some 25,000 children growing-up in severe poverty. In April 2016, more than 50,000 emergency food supplies were handed out to families across Great Manchester who were struggling to feed themselves in the sixth richest nation on earth. For many, living in Greater Manchester, life is akin to living in a Northern Poorhouse rather than a Northern Powerhouse.
What the Lord Mayor of Manchester thinks about this appalling state of affairs, isn’t quite clear, because he’s too wrapped up with LGBT issues. But if anybody deserves our respect and ought to be celebrated, it is in my view, the seven courageous homeless campaigners who Manchester City Labour controlled council tried to jail in September 2015, for up to two-years, for fighting homelessness in the city. I say, give them a medal!