Thursday, May 15, 2003

On 12 March I reported that John Jenkins, Tory candidate for Llanelli had stood down after it was reported that he had made the following comments: "I hold my hands up and admit to being 'homophobic' if you must label me... I cannot convince myself of anything other than homosexuality being a medical mental condition... I would not harm an individual for being gay but just think that they need medical attention rather than their 'fashionable' display of sexual deviancy being pandered to."

Now John has written to me, in order to put the record straight. He was apparently misquoted by the media. At first I felt special, until I read that he'd also written to Welsh Cake with the same email. Still, in the interests of being fair (and also because I was so bitchy about his looks in my original posting), I am reprinting our email exchange for you to make of what you will:

Dear Lubin,

This is the John Jenkins of "homophobia" fame here. Just want to make it clear that the remarks attributed to me are not my personal views.

If you were to look beyond the headlines (which not many people do, they just scream "homophobe" and "nazi" because the BBC and Western Mail tell them to, hence my resignation) you will find that, during a debate on what constitutes left or right wing, how would you classify a working class man who has voted Labour all his life but held right wing views, the like of which I have heard in pubs I repeated on the internet which the Western Mail, and then the BBC, took as my own personal views.

I resigned because the Western Mail and the BBC were using me - and would have continued to use me - as a tool to beat the Welsh Conservative Party with.

I am not a homophobe.

By the way, if you are interested in my REAL personal views on homosexuality, I am a traditional neo-conservative liberal who does not believe that sexuality is the business of the state and that what two (or more) people do in private in no concern of mine or the state.

I think the age of consent should be equal for all people and references to either sexuality should be removed from all legislation. I am in favour of the reform of section 28.

I hope you will give me the space to defend myself.

John Jenkins

Dear John,

thanks for taking the time to reply to me - although it took me a few seconds to remember what that was about, as this all happened a couple of months ago now.

If you like, I will reprint your email to me at my site, with a link back to the original one.

Incidentally, are you saying the quote "I hold my hands up and admit to being 'homophobic' if you must label me..." attributed to you was a misquote, or that you did say it but retract it, or that you were quoted out of context?




Thank you. Yes, I am saying that I was totally quoted out of context. I was a Conservative candidate who stumbled upon an internet debate on what constituted right wing or left wing. I tried to ask how would fellow debaters class a man in a pub who, despite being a working class life-long socialist Labour voter held vehemently right wing views on asylum and homosexuality (hence the quote of the man who said that he didn't approve of homosexuals and that they needed medical attention which was attributed to me as my own views).

I was stupid as it gave the press the chance to say "Tory candidate says gays need medical attention". The quotes they used were very selective and distorted. I never said they were my views, they are not my views and I was totally quoted out of context, maliciously.

Thank you for your reply. It means a lot to me to have to record put straight.


John Jenkins

I guess if there's one thing I dislike almost as much as homophobes it's media types who misquote people. I'm sure the majority of people who work in the media are honest and decent folk who would never bend the truth to sell a story or manipulate public opinion (ha!) so maybe Mr Jenkins has fallen foul of a rogue journalist with no scruples. Anyway, whatever the case, he has denied making the original quotes.

Mental note to self - you never know who might be reading your web log. Am I creating a secret army of angry celebrities who are going to be incensed at my occasionally throw-away barbs in their direction? If so, I apologise in advance to you all. Especially The Krankies. Who I love. Utterly.

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