Scottish Bigots

“There can be no place for prejudice and discrimination if we are to ensure Scotland’s future success as a welcoming, modern nation.”  That’s what Stewart Maxwell, the Scottish National Party’s Communities Minister said in 2007, and which is quoted on the party’s website. The party identifies sexual orientation as one of the six key equality areas.

Despite this promise, ‘prejudice and discrimination’ has found a warm place to snuggle down – inside Mr Maxwell’s own party.

For example, in 2006 after Channel4 aired a programme on gay Muslims, Osama Saeed posted a recomendation on his blog for an antigay group – Eye on Gay Muslims– which monitors gay Muslims, advocates cures for homosexuality and calls on gay Muslims to repent. Saeed said the site had been set up to “discuss these issues and has a critique of the programme”. The position of the group Saeed promoted is this (from their own website):

“You cannot justify homosexual activity in the light of divine revelation, and no doubt it is all sinful. Understand Islam properly, realise that even the identity of being “gay” is problematic and un-Islamic, and repent to Allah, who is Forgiving, Merciful.”

After Sir Iqbal Sacranie’s bigoted outburst, Saeed appeared not only to endorse his views but again promoted a homophobic organisation, this time an “ex-gay” Muslim group – The StraightWay Foundation – on his blog.

Yet, Osama Saeed is a rising star in the Scottish National Party. He’ll be contesting the Glasgow Central seat for the SNP in the next General Election. Evidently the views he endorsed on his blog – most offensive to his prospective ‘sinful’ lesbian and gay constituents – don’t bother the party.

Nor do the views of Kenneth Gunn, a Scottish National Party councillor for Selkirk. On Monday, it was revealed he had said live on air on BBC radio:

“When we all went to church on a Sunday morning and prayed to Jesus Christ, this was a much better country. Look where it’s going now. We’ve got so-called gays, who are really very sad people, and we have non-believers and heathens running the country and running down Christianity.”

Has the party suspended Mr Gunn? Nope. Has the party expressed horror at his his statements? Nope.

In fact, the party has refused to take a stand against Mr Gunn. According to The Scotsman newspaper, an SNP spokeswoman has said: “Mr Gunn’s religious beliefs are a personal matter. The comments do not reflect a party position, nor was he speaking in a political capacity.”

So once again, it seems the famous German Formulation is at work. Politicians can be bigots. As long as its about gays. And they can give a religious reason for their hatred.