It was like a scene from Ruddigore as the ghosts of the Thatcher years waved their shrouds and rattled their chains in the House of Lords this week as they debated the gay marriage bill.
While the Gay & Lesbian Chorus sang outside, the Anti-Gay & Lesbian Chorus of Westminster wowed the crowd with all the old routines, featuring some impressively unhinged solos from some of the great stars of yesteryear, specially exhumed for the occasion.
Let’s hear it for Jill Knight! I just love teh gays, trala trala she carolled, with patronising honeyed venom, Such lovely people, so delightful, so artistic.
Clearly not quite not delightful enough to be trusted to fix up her hair and a frock, obviously, but wonderful servants otherwise. But we mustn’t be too nasty to the old dear, must we?
After all, who was she anyway? Only the architect of the infamous Section 28, that stifled progress for so many years. Really, a minor crime in the overall scheme of things.Unlike that frock.
Unfortunately, she said, through torrents of crocodile tears, she couldn’t give us equality even if she wanted to (she was in no hurry). You see, God’s already decided we’re inferior, so we’ll just have to lump it, darlings, won’t we?
Come on down, Norman Tebbitt! Even before he rose in the House he was in fine monster raving loony form,conjuring up a nightmare scenario of a monarchy rendered illegitimate because a future lesbian Queen’s offspring would be donor conceived, and fantasising about a spot of same-sex incest.
He could marry his son or some other member of the family to save inheritance tax, he beamed. I quite fancy my brother, he chortled. Oh what jolly jackanapes!
All this inequality stuff is rubbish,”The rights of a homosexual man are identical to mine. Subject to the laws on incest and bigamy, we are each free to marry a woman.” That really had ’em rolling in the aisles.
On and on they came, the superannuated dregs of Thatcherism, shambling up to the podium for their five minutes of bile.
Former Conservative Home Secretary David Waddington accusing Deputy PM Nick Clegg of calling opponents of the Bill bigots: a straight-out lie. Lord Dannatt saying the bill was akin to Ulster terrorism and the Argentine invasion of the Falklands. And more stuff too tedious to relate.
But it was all for nothing. The chamber applauded. The press fawned. Equality campaigners shuddered. And then the vast sensible majority of the Lords rose up like a tsunami and swept the mouldering revenants out into the ocean of history.
They’re still stomping around like playground bullies utering hollow threats.
“Just you wait till we start the Third Reading” they threaten, shaking a quavering fist.
“Then we’ll show you!!”
Oh yeah? You and whose army?