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As we all "celebrate" Gay Pride this weekend a look back to Ambridge 2002, a small landmark in the dismal decline of the BBC

Tom Winnifrith
Saturday 8 July 2017

The BBC, Channel 4 and the rest of the liberal media are telling us that this weekend is when we are "celebrate" pride. There is a massive event in London and a march has just set off here in Bristol. I am sure there are events across the land.

Alongside all the usual and predictable straight virtue signallers from the media, political and artistic bubbles, marching will be hundreds of thousands of LGBT folks who in the UK really do have equal status these days. that is something we should celebrate. Homosexuality was a criminal offence until the year before my birth, 1967 and the Silverman Bill. In my youth I protested against the loathsome clause 28 of the local Government Bill introduced - to her shame - by Margaret Thatcher which banned the promotion of homosexuality in schools. That was its stated aim. In practice it legitimised homophobia and made the experience of "coming out" as a teenager even tougher than it already is. At least the Tories made amends with same sex marriage and today we truly do live in a tolerant land which is wonderful.

On the other hand why does the BBC insist that I celebrate Pride? I celebrate St Patrick's Day (in a sober fashion) but do not expect any of you to do so unless you are of Irish descent and even then it is not compulsory. I celebrate Easter and Christmas but again do think anyone else should be forced to celebrate or even to view those days as a reason for celebration. that is what makes a diverse society. I am a straight man of vague Christian beliefs and of Anglo Irish descent so can celebrate my son's Christening, Christmas day and St Paddy's Day. Graham Norton will be celebrating St Patrick's Day and Pride. Alan Duncan MP celebrates St George's Day and Pride. we are all different, we all celebrate different things as that is who we are and what makes a tolerant a d diverse society such a great place.

But on this weekend we are repeatedly told by the media that "Bristol is celebrating Pride" or similar phrases. That is wishful thinking it is not true and nor should it be. The word would be such a dull place if we all celebrated and thought the same way. But over the past twenty years the media has been on a mission to educate and to ensure we do all think the same way.

My mind goes back to 2002. It was the year of the Countryside March when more than a million of us marches through the streets of central London protesting about the proposed ban on fox hunting and also about the way that the metropolitan elites and political classes just did not give a shit about the numerous threats to the old ways of rural life. From every village across the land folks came to London that Saturday some for the first time in their life. Apart from one village that is, the village of Ambridge, the setting of the BBC's drama programme about rural life. In Ambridge the march was not mentioned once. On the other hand Ambridge did have a representative of that year's Gay Pride march in London and that was much discussed in the village and in generally glowing terms.

The BBC drama represents rural life not as it is but as the BBC would like it to be. Because those who run the BBC believe that if they push that message often enough then folks will accept their normal as the new normal. And thus villagers across the land will stop hunting and fishing and take up cottaging instead. It won't happen of course but this small incident in 2002 was another small landmark in the decline of our national broadcaster for which you and I are forced to pay whether we watch its propaganda or not.

I wish all on Pride today all the best. I won't be joining you equally I shall not be expecting you to join me in celebrating the anniversary of Mrs Thatcher's birth (13 October) or St Patrick's Day. Nor will I regard it as unacceptable if you don't. Diversity is great is n't it?

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About Tom Winnifrith
Tom Winnifrith is the editor of When he is not harvesting olives in Greece, he is (planning to) raise goats in Wales.
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