Following Welsh rugby captain Gareth Thomas’s courageous self-outing there is an interesting television documentary to be made about the reasons that professional sport lags behind the rest of society in its toleration of homosexuality. Unfortunately, last night’s Tonight programme, Afraid to be Gay wasn’t it. The ITV show instead attempted to prove that society is still intolerant of homosexuals by using precisely the same disingenuous tactic employed by Panorama to prove that Britain is still racist.
They took a couple of pretty gays, dressed them in tweedy boyband suits and Jedward haircuts and with hidden cameras followed them parading about the streets holding hands and snogging, until they had collected enough footage of name-calling from male teenagers to ‘shock’ us. The ITV producers performed this stunt not in London or another metropolis where the sight of a gay couple wouldn’t raise a single eyebrow; but in Wigan town centre, carefully selected for being a chav hotbed. In other words, they went fishing for idiots in a pond swarming with them and, not surprisingly, they caught a few. In Wigan town centre, merely sporting spectacles and wearing anything other than trackie bottoms and a crew cut will be more than sufficient to elicit name-calling from teenage male chavs; the snogging was quite unnecessary.
The treatment of the lost British white underclass is a national disgrace. Ignored by the political class, especially Labour which should be its champion, it has been left to stew and turn septic in a hopeless, inescapable swamp of welfare dependency and lawlessness. I hope this is what Cameron-Clegg mean when they talk about ‘deep social problems’. The chav-fishing method employed by Panorama and now Tonight says precisely nothing about our national attitude to race and sexual orientation – which by any reasonable comparison either to previous decades or to other nations, is exceptionally tolerant – but everything about the media class’s attitude to the white poor. They are either exploited and dehumanised by Jeremy Kyle or vilified by the London hipsters for hate crimes, and every year the chasm between the underclass and the rest of us widens, and the prospect of any particular poor boy or girl successfully leaping it diminishes.