Coffee House

Gay marriage vote: where’s Cameron?

5 February 2013

1:31 PM

5 February 2013

1:31 PM

As soon as the government announced plans to bring in gay marriage, it was clear that the press was going to turn the vote on it into a referendum among Tory MPs on Cameroon modernisation. Even, though, it is a ‘free vote’, a failure to secure the support of at least half the parliamentary party for the bill was going to be treated as a blow to Cameron’s authority. But rather than leaning into this fight, Cameron has shied away from it. Absurdly, he isn’t even on the front bench for the opening of today’s debate and one has to go back months for his last major public statement on the issue.

Cameron’s decision to vacate the field is a mistake for several reasons. First, no one explains the Conservative case for gay marriage better than him. His absence has denied Conservative campaigners on this issue their best weapon. If he had led, more Conservatives would have followed and voted yes tonight.

[Alt-Text]


Second, if Cameron had made clear how important he views this issue as more Conservative MPs would have supported it. Certainly, I suspect it would have changed the calculation for a fair few of those MPs who are voting no to keep their constituency associations happy.

Finally, this reticence is all too typical of how the Cameroons back away from a scrap. This failure means that there’s now a peer pressure to rebel in the Conservative parliamentary party. It is, in a dramatic change from the 1980s, loyalist MPs who shrink from going into the tea room or to meetings of the 1922.

Number 10 have made other mistakes on this issue. They should have reassured Tory MPs about their motives by making clear that a marriage tax allowance would be introduced as soon as gay marriage was through; demonstrating that this is about strengthening the institution of marriage rather than just political symbolism.

The result of all this is that those counting the votes for Number 10 now expect that they’ll fail to secure the support of a majority of parliamentary party and that there’s a considerable chance that more Conservative MPs will vote against it than for it.

More Spectator for less. Stay informed leading up to the EU referendum and in the aftermath. Subscribe and receive 15 issues delivered for just £15, with full web and app access. Join us.




Show comments
  • David Lindsay

    This is an extraordinary debate. We have just heard yet another very unhappy Labour speech.

    There will be a majority for this at Second Reading, which is little more than a vote on the principle. But there would not be for this Bill at Third Reading, to turn a specific final text into the law of the land.

    Which, therefore, it will probably never reach, since it cannot be done in any other specific legislative terms than these.

    • the viceroy’s gin

      You and your Millipedal brethren are foursquare in favor of this, I notice.

      I always get a chuckle when you pontificate on “social conservatism”.

      • David Lindsay

        Plenty of them didn’t sound it, even if they said that they were going to force themselves to vote for Second Reading. And wait until we see who the 75 abstainers were.

        As I said, Second Reading is little more than a vote on the principle. And there were still 75 abstentions. But Third Reading is a vote to turn a specific
        final text into the law of the land. This will never get that far.

        Not least, it will be quietly killed off in order to avoid the indignity of a Labour line to abstain, coupled with a green light to backbenchers to vote against an unbelievably badly drafted Bill which cannot be any other way in order to achieve its basic objective.

        Labour left this one alone. Cameron should have learned the lesson.

        • the viceroy’s gin

          None of the LibLabCon clones are educable on this or any other portion of their common agenda.

          I’m just chuckling that you somehow seem to fantasize yourself and the Millipedes as “social conservative”.

          • David Lindsay

            No one needs any lectures on ineducability from almost any American, never mind a Tea Party supporter.

            • the viceroy’s gin

              You need lessons from anybody with a brain, if you continue fancying yourself and your Millipedal brethren as “social conservative”, son.

              • David Lindsay

                Again…

                Leave these things to your betters. I am not joking.

                • the viceroy’s gin

                  Well no, that’s false. You are joking, as you’re claiming you and your Millipedal comrades as “social conservative”.

                  That must be a joke, as nobody with a brain would be claiming that.

  • LondonVicar

    British democracy at its worst:
    Not in manifesto.

    Denied by prospective PM just before election.

    Sham consultation.

    Free vote when whipped/threats behind scenes.

    Can it get any worse?

  • David Ossitt

    “First, no one explains the Conservative case for gay marriage better than him.”

    There is no such thing as the Conservative case for homosexual marriage, non whatsoever.

  • huktra

    Are we not dealing with a matter of conscience and should we not see a contra vote as a sign of backbone.

  • Chris lancashire

    Following the unbelievable fuss over the policy now comes the unbelievable fuss over Cameron’s whereabouts. As you obviously know (or should know) Mr Forsyth, he is currently meeting with the VP of the USA. I suppose if he’d been in the Commons and left Cleggy to greet the VP your headline would have been “Cameron snubs USA VP”. Do give it a rest!

    • HooksLaw

      A rest? No chance. They have an agenda to plug and of course they know which bells to ring to get the loony toon pavlov dogs barking .

      And plus he is also also chairing the National Security Committee. But there you go Cameron neglecting the nation and concentrating too much on all those gays – the nutjobs say it so it must be true..

  • the viceroy’s gin

    This will go down as Dave’s signature and supreme act of moral cowardice.

    No conservative would agree with ramming this thing through as is being attempted, but those who are doing the ramming should just get on with it, leaving the significant issues of the day unattended for as short a time period as possible.

    Instead, this coward not only forced this issue onto the public and the body politic, wasting precious time away from important issues, but he then fled the argument.

    This guy and his Cameroonian friends are unfit to govern. It’s that simple. They are illegitimate, now proven so.

    • Fergus Pickering

      Why exactly is it cowardly? He said he would do it and he’s done it. What is cowardly about that?

      • the viceroy’s gin

        The coward fled the argument and the vote, after having rammed it onto the agenda.

        • Wessex Man

          Must agree with Fergus on this one.

          • the viceroy’s gin

            Yes, cowardice will always have its patrons.

            • HooksLaw

              You have the backbone of a blancmange – when faced with reality you retreat into fantasyland. Life is easy there.

              • the viceroy’s gin

                You seem particularly agitated today, son.

                Perhaps with good reason. The Speccie lickspittle seems to recognize the significance of your guy Dave’s cowardice today, and your elevated levels of rage indicate you do as well.

        • HooksLaw

          There you go ramming again. Anything you want to own up to?

          • the viceroy’s gin

            Homophobia expressed in an allegedly anti-homophobic political rant? .

            What do they call double-down irony?

            • HooksLaw

              I think it was you being accused of the irony. And indeed of being terribly agitated.
              I mean
              Biden’s a drunkard,
              ramming this thing through
              supreme act of moral cowardice
              those who are doing the ramming
              coward not only forced this issue onto the public

              Your pretence that Biden’s visit has been manufactured really just about sums you and all your ilk up. Calling him a drunkard is the icing on the cake.

              • the viceroy’s gin

                My, such visceral hysteria! Are you sure you don’t need medical attention? I mean, Call-Me-Dave’s moral cowardice today seems to have set you into quite a spell.

                Best you lie down and think peaceful Cameroonian gay marriage thoughts, son.

      • Chris lancashire

        Exactly right Fergus.

    • HooksLaw

      Hilariously inept logic. And of course totally baseless.
      It was in the 2010 manifesto and we are half way through the parliament.

      On the one hand you say this is taking place instead of other issues and then you complain that Cameron is not there because he is meeting the VP of the USA (a man who might be the next President) and is also chairing the National Security Council. Priceless

      And I am sure someone like Freud would have a field day with some of your terminology.

      • Wessex Man

        Oh right, Hooky, I trust you are absolutely livid that the nasty Lib/Dems have dropped so many then

      • the viceroy’s gin

        It’s predictably sad, watching you shill for this coward.

  • maurice12brady

    More germane to the current debate — Dave’s homily on ‘marriage’. Apparently it’s a wonderful institution for — & I quote: ‘A man & a woman, a man & a man, a woman & a woman’ Taking this idiot’s penchant for perfidious reasoning — How long before it’s ‘A man & a donkey’ or ‘A woman & a weasel’ Have we truly become so unprincipled?

    • Smithersjones2013

      How long before it’s ‘A man & a donkey’ or ‘A woman & a weasel’

      Well to get there one has to get around an animals lack of ability to consent. Somehow I don’t think putting Rover’s inky paw on a document would count.

      I think that one is beyond possibility somehow, However I’m sure one day some bright spark in Westminster might try…….

      • the viceroy’s gin

        Well, first they’ll have to drop the age of consent about 10 years or so.

        There’s a certain religious group which may be of help in knocking that one through.

    • HooksLaw

      Indeed tell us – how long will it be before it will be between a woman and a weasel?
      Lets truly maintain the standard of this blog. Don’t hold back.

      • Smithersjones2013

        Lets truly maintain the standard of this blog. Don’t hold back.

        Priceless! You are so unintentionally funny!

        • HooksLaw

          Well don’t then. Set a date.

      • Wessex Man

        Hooky, we find that hard to to, you keep popping up!

    • Adam

      Forgive me for stating the obvious, but it’s not quite the same thing, is it?

      • maurice12brady

        No — The fanciful propositions I conjure have more realistic possibilities of sexual relief to the perverted mind than the man/man or woman/woman scenario — My point is – If we start allowing homosexuals to marry – Why stop there?

        • Adam

          Because it’s a stupid argument that distracts an otherwise serious debate with silly extremes. Unless, of course, you can produce a talking donkey?…

          • maurice12brady

            You, my friend, fill all the requirements of the ‘talking donkey’ — People such as you & the hoards of politically correct Neanderthals, have so annihilated the English language as to render it incomprehensible from any form of puerile gobbledygook! The terms pervert & degenerate have been eradicated from said language because they offend the prevailing etiquette — Having a serious argument as you describe it, is the very definition of an oxymoron — The lunatics running the asylum — Two men getting married to each other is nearly as abominable as — say — Two women doing likewise — Failure to recognise all this is a failure of society.

            • Adam

              You’re missing my point. By focussing your “No” statement on matters of “sexual deviancy” and drawing parallels with bestiality you end up delegitimising any argument you may have and ultimately looking like a right old plonker.

              Do you really expect people to take that type of silly tripe (and you) seriously as a result? Of course they won’t – and you’ll be seeing a couple of newly-wed blokes walking out of your local church in the not too distant future as a result.

              • maurice12brady

                You’ve made my point — Who, in the name of all that’s holy — Uses a word like ‘delegitimising’ ! — Two men ‘loving’ each other seems pretty bestial to the silent majority of the cowed & browbeaten heterosexuals out there — Afraid of the lunatic homosexual organisations, who in their deluded presumption that black is white, believe all should admire the ’emperor’s new clothes’ — The homosexual relationship has nothing more than sexual gratification at it’s core — That of itself is perfectly acceptable — But, to introduce marriage is an affront to all right-minded people — There can be no natural progeny, no basis for a true unification — All that’s on offer is an imitation of reality, an artificial concept — An hypothesis if will. To dignify this with marriage is an insult to marriage. Future generations of children (either adopted or artificially produced) will have no orientation whatsoever & will have the likes of you to thank for their utter bewilderment.

                • Adam

                  You still don’t get it.

                  The last part of your paragraph (if you can call it that) is where you should be focussing your argument instead of making daft points about donkey shagging!

                  Does that make sense, or should I draw it in crayon for you?

                • maurice12brady

                  You display a definite paucity in you’re grasp of literacy & ability to communicate an effective discourse — Invective is your only mechanism & you wield it execrably — So I’ll leave it there. As an addendum — On checking the approval/disapproval rates — People invariably seem to side with me.

                • Adam

                  “You display a definite paucity in you’re grasp of literacy & ability”

                  Oh dear. Do I need to point out the glaring error in your critique of my literacy & ability?

                  You’re top of the class! Run along now…

                • maurice12brady

                  Oh — I somehow overlooked your lack of ability to read a simple sentence. Silly me.

                • Adam

                  Well done – you used the correct “your” that time!
                  Who says you can’t teach an old dog new tricks…

  • FrankS

    Caneron deals a blow to his own authority with almost everything he does.

    • Patrick

      Cameron did the same with the proposal for elected mayors and police commissioners. Surely if you believe strongly in a proposal, you stand up and be counted. What’s wrong with the man?

  • alabenn

    Its a free vote which means vote on your own personal concience..
    In what way does this matter or count as to Camerons authority. he leads the Tory party not Stonewall, he might lose authority with them but who cares about that.

    • HooksLaw

      The opportunity for the vote was in the tory manifesto. As for the anti Cameron bile – its a manifestation of the profound and nasty intolerance on the extreme right.

  • Smithersjones2013

    As it goes Cameron’s authority has been significantly undermined through his inability to control his cabinet (particularly the yellow part of it). That failure will have seriously contributed to the complete lack of discipline within the Parliamentary Conservative Party as will the rather obvious attempts to force this legislation through at breakneck speed with as little scrutiny as possible,

    If I was a beneficiary of these proposals I would be distinctly dubious as to their integrity. After all if the legislation is what it is purported to be why are they rushing it through?

  • HooksLaw

    What a pathetic excuse for an article. And a pathetic excuse of an article.

    And yes Mr Hatfield, terribly inconvenient of the Vice President of the United States of America to time his meeting in this way. We should tell him where to get off.

    But there is also a meeting of the National Security Council this afternoon (Biden also attending after lunch with Cameron).
    Really the cheek of these people to take up the PMs time! Mr Forsytrh should go round to the Cabinet Office and stamp his foot at them and tell ’em who calls the shots around here.

    • Smithersjones2013

      Aaaaah whazza matter Hooky. Worried people will start calling him ‘Macavity Cameron’?

      • HooksLaw

        I worried that Forsyth will be next editor of The Spectator. Hardly something to look forward to based on this standard.

        But hey you go ahead in all your glorious ignorant proselytizeation – The Vice President of the USA is visiting today at the end of his European tour.

        • the viceroy’s gin

          Nobody in the US cares what that drunkard Biden says, and suddenly Dave has him setting his schedule, conveniently wrapped around this death wish of a vote?

          Sorry, nobody’s buying it.

          • HooksLaw

            Biden is teetotal. Not often you’re right but you’re wrong again
            And he is on a European tour, its shocking I know the things that fall in to a PMs schedule – like chairing a meeting with Afghanistan and Pakistan yesterday.

            • the viceroy’s gin

              Sorry, but Biden’s a drunkard, no matter the length of spells between binges.

              And Dave the Cowardly fled the vote and argument today, using that drunkard as ruse.

              • Chris lancashire

                I was intrigued by your drunkard accusation so I took the time to read Wikipedia on Biden. There was only one reference to alchohol which did, indeed, confirm he is a teetotaller from way back. I suppose you are fairly safe slandering Biden on here as he is unlikely to read your rather nasty comment and even more unlikely to act on it if he had seen it.

                • HooksLaw

                  But it keeps the loony toon happy in his little fantasy world, bless his little cotton socks.

                • the viceroy’s gin

                  Another Wikipedia scholar, I see.

                  Biden’s drunkenness is well accepted in the US. He’s never denied it, and it is others that claim he’s been dry for decades. The rest know better. But you stick with Wiki. I guess it helps deflect attention from your boy Dave.

                • Chris lancashire

                  What a deeply unpleasant, nasty little world you inhabit.

                • the viceroy’s gin

                  Is that what you whine when confronted on your fantasies?

  • http://www.facebook.com/tony.hatfield Tony Hatfield

    he’s meeting VP isn’t he. need some research james

Close
Can't find your Web ID? Click here