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Coinciding with the demonstration outside Conservative HQ this afternoon, George Osborne has announced new plans to tackle homophobic bullying in faith schools.
In summary they are:
• Freeing heads to exclude homophobic bullies
• Giving teachers the power to stop violent homophobic incidents (“Teachers are often unable to break up violent homophobic bullying because of the lack of clarity over use of force”)
• New guidance on bullying aggravated by prejudice (“non-violent bullying aggravated by prejudice like homophobia should result in tougher punishments than other forms of persistently disruptive behaviour...we believe that all forms of violent bullying should continue to lead to some form of exclusion”)
• Recording incidents of homophobic abuse
The first week of the Conservative Party's election campaign has reminded me of the series of books entitled Where's Wally?, in which readers are challenged to search for a glimpse of an individual who has been made almost invisible. Since the Shadow Home Secretary, Chris Grayling, was recorded attacking the rights of same-sex couples, the Tories have kept him in the background, despite his senior position in their party.
The conviction and £1,000 fine imposed on a homophobic Christian street preacher in Glasgow has been condemned by the human rights campaigner Peter Tatchell, as "an attack on free speech and a heavy-handed, excessive response to homophobia."
There are many words that I could use to describe the front page headline in today’s Daily Telegraph. “Inaccurate” is one of the most polite, although it rather understates the problem.
Several members of the House of Lords were probably already in bed by the time their colleagues voted last night to allow the use of religious elements in same-sex civil partnerships. But those of us who have long waited for this vote were wide awake.