A post went up late last night on the ‘Liberal Conspiracy’ blog exhibiting what I can only describe as jaw-dropping bigotry and homophobia.
It concerns some diversion of views they have with a Tory councilor, Simon Renwick, concerning the student protestors’ behaviour in London. But this is barely relevant. What is however is the wanton homophobic schadenfreude they exhibit over completely unrelated difficulties the councilor is having with his employers.
Apparently he is facing a Standards Board enquiry after pornographic images were found in the web browser cache of his work laptop when it was sent in for repairs. Liberal Conspiracy are at pains to point out that this was gay porn. Is “gay porn” somehow more scandalous? To some – usually readers of the Daily Mail – it is, but to a writer for Liberal Conspiracy, assuming the porn is legal, it should hardly matter.
I thought liberals weren’t supposed to care about legal pornography produced and used by consenting adults. Isn’t being so sex-negative what ‘squares’ do? Is LC really hiring “Disgusted of Tunbridge Wells” as a contributor? Who doesn’t use their work laptop for general web surfing?
Liberal Conspiracy also makes a point of noting that he searched for information on social etiquette and for the locations of pubs. Nothing scandalous there, surely? Ah, but it was gay etiquette he looked up, and it was directions to gay pubs he searched for. And isn’t demonstrating a purulent obsession with people’s Google searches just a little thought-police? That is to say: illiberal.
We learn too that the councilor says he’d been ‘struggling with his sexuality for some years’ and that these searches had been conducted in an ‘attempt to find more information and to look for role models’. Sounds plausible, personal, and a little sad. I know many men in this position. They need compassion and encouragement. The Liberally Conspiratorial instinct it seems, however, is to put the boot in. Yes, trust a self-proclaimed ‘Liberal’ to use a common stage in the gay coming out experience as a blunt weapon and a nudge-nudge-smirk opportunity for mocking.
The writer may well have his differences with the councilor. The councilor – for all I know – may be a deeply unpleasant man. But none of this justifies the casual homophobia Liberal Conspiracy have used to express their political disagreements.
“You think Renwick is in any position to pass judgement on anyone?” asks ‘Unity’ in the comments. Why not? Because he’s gay? Because like 90% of all men with an Internet connection, he’s looked at some porn? What precisely is the point LibCon is trying to make? I think it needs spelling out because otherwise it seems pretty much like that old homophobic dog whistle going tweeeeet!
‘iainbhx’ in the comments says:“Except they made the site up. The site is fitlads.net, many of them ain’t fit and most of them well over 25.” Can ths be true? Did ‘Unity’ at Liberal Conspiracy really change the name of the porn site from lads’ to ‘kids’ to create a paedophile smear as well?
I see LC has now removed reference to the alleged website. Suggesting a public figure is accessing child pornography is a very serious matter, particularly since is was made clear by a council spokesman in the media at the time of this affair that there was no question of illegal activity.
I’ve noticed the LC article is been edited on the stone. I’ve pasted the text below as it appeared at midnight last night in case it changes drastically. Obviously someone is very embarrassed.
“Workshy Filthy” Students Tory facing Gay Porn Inquiry
November 10, 2010 at 11:01 pm
Liberal Conspiracy has learned that Simon Renwick, the Fylde Tory Councillor who described student protestors as “Self indulgent work shy filthy people” on Twitter is facing an inquiry by the Standards Board of England after more than 1,000 gay porn images were found on his council laptop.
According to an internal inquiry reportsubmitted to Fylde Council’s Consideration and Hearing Subcommittee, council ICT staff discovered over 1,000 gay porn images in the Internet Explorer cache of a personal, password protected, laptop assigned to Renwick, when the computer was returned for updates in January 2009, identifying the source of many of the images as a ‘gay social networking site’ Fitkids.net.
Renwick denied viewing or accessing the pornographic images stating, during interview, that ‘he has no explanation for the images being on the laptop’ but that ‘he has suspicions that while the laptop was at his former matrimonial home, person or persons known to him accessed the laptop in some form of revenge attack for leaving his wife. He also claims that on the dates – in 2007 – that the images were shown to have been viewed, the laptop was not in his possession as it was left at the marital home while he moved into his parental home. Renwick had previously told investigators that the password for the laptop was known to other members of his family as it was the same one used for his home computer.
Renwick did, however, admit to carrying out Google searches for, amongst other things, ‘gay pubs ettiquet’, ‘gay pubs in Preston’ and ‘how to spot a gay person’ before explaining that he had been ‘struggling with his sexuality for some years’ and that the searches had been conducted in an ‘attempt to find more information and to look for role models’.
This does appear, to me at least. to lend credibility to his claim to be the unwitting victim of a rather unpleasant revenge ‘attack’.
Renwick’s case has been referred to the Standards Board for adjudication on the ground that he failed to maintain adequate security and thereby allowed it to be used to access pornographic images but the internal inquiry concluded that there was insufficient evidence to demonstrate that he had personally accessed the images…
…people in glass houses, eh?