In Tatchell’s own chapter 9, entitled ‘Questioning Ages of Minority and Ages of Consent’ he asks ‘What purpose does it [the age of majority] serve other than reinforcing a set of increasingly quaint, minority moral values left over from the Victorian era?’
The chapter just after Tatchell’s is entitled ‘Ends and Means: How to Make Paedophilia Acceptable….?’ and opens with an account of sexual activity with two 8 year old boys before describing it as ‘all very normal to a libertarian, even to some open-minded parents’.
Peter Tatchell wrote a chapter in a book published by the Paedophile Information Exchange and this post link was retweeted by Louise Mensch on Twitter today.
Reactions to the involvement of Harman, Dromey and Hewitt in the NCCL when PIE was an affiliated organisation have varied. It was all a long time ago. The past is a foreign country. The 1970s were different. And, for Labour diehards, they didn’t agree with PIE, the affiliation preceded their joining, and so on.
These reactions are based on the idea that it’s jarring, contradictory, unlike them that they might have been in an organisation with links to PIE. I suggest it isn’t.
This is what happens when deeply illiberal people get involved in Liberal causes: they don’t have any instinctive or intellectual basis for judgement. Harman, Dromey and Hewitt are deeply illiberal people. In the 1970s they had the same driving motivation they do today and did when in government. They believe that minorities are oppressed, that most people are wicked and need to be herded by their superiors and that they, personally, are those superiors.
There were civil rights issues in the early 1970s, for women, gays, minority races, on a scale that no longer exists. It was the obvious open goal for the Bossy Tendency. But they weren’t coming at these issues from a liberal perspective, so they didn’t get where the line should be drawn, where the right of adults to sleep with whoever the hell they want in the way they want differed from 50 year old men buggering boys – for this was an extraordinarily misguided association by the NCCL of homosexuality with paedophilia, when it comes down to it.
As for Tatchell, he is similar but not identical. He has consistently championed the right of kids to be sexual. Or maybe that should be the fact that they are. Hormones don’t coincide with legislation about the age of consent in many individuals. But the notion of the age of consent is a good one, the power imbalance between a 50 year old man and a 14 year old girl is too great. And he can be terrifyingly illiberal, as when he wants the fruits of everybody’s labour to be controlled by the sort of obsessive nut who is attracted to full-time politics, something he calls ‘economic democracy’.
So they got the bossiness wrong. But, then, they always do.
UPDATE: Peter Tatchell tweeted me to say: