Wednesday, May 29, 2013

A young couple walk hand in hand in Tonbridge....

The other day in Tonbridge I saw something I'd never seen before in the 24 years that I've lived in the town. As I walked through the shopping arcade I saw two young men walking hand in hand. Not overtly petting or hugging or snogging or anything really other than just holding hands in a way which clearly showed that they were a couple. Having been born in the early 1960s when, in point of fact, homosexuality was still, technically at least, illegal, was I supposed to feel, even in some small way, remotely shocked or disgusted or feel any sense of revulsion? Well if I was then I certainly didn't. In fact, it looked just normal and actually quite sweet. I wouldn't go as far as to say that it looked no different than any other hetrosexual young couple holding hands otherwise I probably wouldn't have felt moved to write anything here about it but it did make me feel quite warm inside that they felt confident enough in themselves, in Tonbridge town centre that day,to just express their tenderness for each other in such a natural way. It made me feel quite proud, even if just fleetingly, that we live in an infinitely more tolerant society to the one in which I grew up. I walked past them and they probably didn't even notice me, and why would they? I don't really wish to open the can of worms which is the debate about gay marriage, and I have no idea what the Tonbridge churches' view on the subject is, but seeing this apparently very loving normal young couple, obviously in love, did make me wonder what the problem would be....

5 comments:

Robert Morschel said...

The same is true of race. 18 years ago Tonbridge was a sea of pale, whereas now there are lots of races and languages floating about. Really nice to see.

Paul Bailey said...

Multi-culturalism can, and often does enrich a community, and in moderation I would be amongst the first to endorse this. However, there is a flip side. The Blair-Brown administration had a policy of openly encouraging mass-immigration, particularly from the Indian sub-continent. The motives behind this are unclear, but some observers have since argued it was a cynical experiment in social engineering; an attempt, if you like, to breed the indigenous population out of existence.

I have no idea whether or not this is true , but for multi-culturalism to work, there has to be integration between different community groups. This has not happened with one particular group (we all know which one I'm referring to here), who keep themselves apart, virtually isolated from other communities, set up their own schools (nothing inherently wrong with that), and then start demanding (and often get) special treatment, their own laws (based on their religion) and for meat slaughtered in a particular (and rather barbaric) way to be served in schools, hospitals and other institutions.

We now have a situation where many inner city areas have become "no-go" areas for both the police and "non-believers", and more and more cases coming to light of vulnerable, young girls being preyed on and exploited for sex by gangs who cynically abuse their religion's contempt for western values alongside its well-known treatment of women as second-class citizens as an excuse for their crimes.

Of course, none of this applies to Tonbridge, where tolerance and respect for others is the order of the day, and long may it continue! We do, however need to guard against those who would take advantage of this country's long tradition of tolerance, and of welcoming to our shores people of different faiths, backgrounds and cultures, and using it against us for their own twisted ends!

Tim James said...

I agree with you Paul. We are far too lenient, and even worse, liberal to the extent of bending our laws to fit in with the people who choose to settle here,and honestly, I can only guess as to the reasons why this is.
Could it be that in the past, Britain, throughout history has gained a reputation for imposing our own religion and rules on other countries and continents? The crusades for example, where we, and France attempted to destroy the Muslim religion in the far east and convert all to our own christian beliefs? Tolerance is a wonderful thing, as is acceptance, just so long as you don't have to practice it on your own doorstep.

Tim James said...

As for the original message, about the gay couple, and I've no idea how this thread degenerated into a race thing. Two people in love should be able to go about their business freely with no question. I don't understand why natural human emotions should be a political issue. In fact, why would even be mentioned in the first place?

Paul Bailey said...

Tim, I too have no idea how the original post degenerated into a discussion on racism, especially as it was a bit of a "non-story" in the first place.

Going back to the crusades, for a minute; I'm not sure it was an attempt to destroy the Muslim religion, but more a camapign to restore the Holy City of Jerusalem to Christian rule. Atrocities were committed by both sides, and ultimately none of the three? crusades were successful in achieving their long term goal. Futile really, like most wars.

Britain achieved its world dominance in the 19th Century mainly through peaceful trade. Sure there was the odd bit of coercion along the way, but nothing like the wholescale slaughter carried out by the Spanish in South America a few centuries before.

I'm not quite sure where this comment is taking me, so I'll call it a day, apart from saying "Two wrongs don't make a right!"