Did anybody see Question Time last night? The panel largely seemed to be competing to out-outrage each other about Donald Trump. And in their great Trump-off most of the guests continued to do that sawn-off shotgun ‘phobes’ thing. Trump as a ‘misogynist, homophobic, racist, Islamophobe’ etc. You would have thought after the second election in a year where people weren’t scared off by such name-calling that people would give it a rest for a bit. But one thing was particularly striking.
You may not like the recording of Donald Trump from more than a decade ago in which he boasts of the sexual opportunities available to celebrities. I thought it was gross, and so does Donald Trump’s wife. But I suppose that, as a result, if you so wish you could spend the next four years insisting that Donald Trump viscerally hates the female half of our species. But where the hell did all this ‘homophobia’ stuff come from? Here is the grating Tasmina Ahmed-Sheikh of the SNP having her very first bite of the cherry last night:
‘America needs a President who is decent, respects peoples’ dignity, respects peoples’ right to have whatever sexual orientation they want, regardless of where they come from. That is what America needs and that is what America doesn’t have right now.’
Let’s say that it’s at least debatable whether that – rather than jobs, opportunity, security – is what America most needs right now. Ahmed-Sheikh seems to have mistaken the office of US President for that of Welfare Officer in-Chief. But with a lack of humility worthy of the man she was attacking, here is how Ahmed-Sheikh went on:
‘In the debate in Westminster Hall [calling for Donald Trump to be banned from Britain] I had the bravery to stand up and call him out for what I thought he was…I wish more people had listened. I wish more people had seen the alarm bells that were set ringing. And now we find ourselves with a man who has these views. And we’ve just witnessed on Channel 4 News a journalist from the Washington Post, an openly gay, black journalist crying because he’s scared.’
Jesus. I hope all the poor beleaguered gays – who just burst into tears whenever we are at all upset – are grateful to Ahmed-Sheikh for standing up for us. But seriously. Can anyone tell me where all this comes from? Where does this endlessly repeated claim that Donald Trump is so anti-gay as to make grown men cry actually originate? What is the source of the claim? Or the evidence?
You could be forgiven for wondering if Ahmed-Sheikh, Yvette Cooper and the American professor of histrionics Sarah Churchwell really believe everything they’re saying about Trump and just use the charge as another useful baton to beat their way to victory. ‘Racist’ is best. ‘Islamophobe’ next (possibly in a tie with ‘misogynist’). But ‘homophobe’ is useful too. The ‘Trans community’ should accept that they’re a bit further down the line. But oh, oh, oh. If the election of Donald Trump does something to help these people wear out their insults then it’ll be one achievement of his Presidency. Perhaps it’ll be achieved even before he’s sworn in.
Subscribe to The Spectator today for a quality of argument not found in any other publication. Get more Spectator for less – just £12 for 12 issues.