The hounding of David Burrowes
He has also suggested that David Cameron’s support of ‘gay marriage’ is part of his decontamination strategy to show that Conservatives are a ‘modern party’ – socially liberal, ‘with it’ and cool. There are, Mr Burrowes avers, many other ways to demonstrate the demise of ‘the nasty party’ without the Orwellian redefinition of the foundation of civilisation.
In the midst of economic hardship, concerns over health and education reforms, the focus on government cuts, impending drought, the terrorist threat, and the meltdown of the euro, David Burrowes said last month that ‘gay marriage’ was not something ‘people are hammering us on the doorstep to do something about’.
Enter Phillip Dawson, treasurer of Mr Burrowes’ local Conservative association, who has decided to set up a Facebook group demanding that Mr Burrowes ‘listen to the views of his constituents’ on this matter. Mr Dawson is homosexual, and a proponent of marriage equality. He says of himself that he is ‘intolerant of inequality, unfairness and homophobia’. At the time of writing, his Facebook page has c250 members, and his Twitter account has 212 followers, so perhaps c250 homosexuals in a constituency of 86,201 (Census 2001) where, statistically (we are constantly told), there are supposed to be c8,600 homosexual and lesbian residents are now ‘hammering’ their MP on the cyber doorstep over 'gay marriage'.
But membership of this Facebook group is not contingent on being domiciled in Enfield Southgate, so the number of Mr Burrowes’ constituents who are actually ‘hammering’ for equality will be considerably less than 250. At the last general election, UKIP scored 505 votes, the Greens 632, the English Democrats 173 and Independents 391. When it comes to being obliged to ‘listen to the views of his constituents’, there are groups with far stronger cases than Mr Dawson’s ‘gay marriage’ gathering.
As a consequence of the publicity surrounding the mere articulation of his beliefs, Mr Burrowes has received insults and low-level harassment by letter, email and phone. He is coming under pressure to disassociate himself from the ‘hard’ expressions of his faith, and a certain ‘far-right’ Christian charity (ie one which is orthodox and opposes ‘gay marriage’). Gay rights charity Stonewall are very much on his case, publicising his ‘poor record’ on homosexual equality, and urging their supporters to continue writing and emailing to condemn his appalling voting record.
Mr Burrowes has also received a death threat. He is not alone, of course: the Archbishop of York has also received racist death threats following his comment that he believes marriage to be between one man and one woman.
Thus is the intolerance of those who demand toleration. Phillip Dawson protests in the name of tolerance but manifests a malignant intolerance of anyone who opposes his view. As JS Mill observed: ‘Yet so natural to mankind is intolerance in whatever they really care about, that religious freedom has hardly anywhere been practically realised...’.
While Mr Dawson has vehemently denied that he is attempting to deselect David Burrowes as his constituency MP, he is certainly doing everything in his power to undermine him, if not to bring his Party into disrepute, not least because David Cameron is likely to make ‘gay marriage’ a matter of conscience and so a free vote. Mr Dawson is content for his MP to abstain on the issue, but to lead any kind of revolt against the planned legislation is, he avers, ‘unacceptable’. Rather provocatively, Mr Dawson enjoys the backing of Stephen Twigg, the homosexual Labour MP who formerly represented this constituency.
It would matter far less if Phillip Dawson were an ordinary Conservative Party member in Enfield Southgate, but he is an association officer of the local Conservative Association. He manifests his unfitness for office by choosing to lead a revolt in the media and side with political opponents against an honorable Conservative MP on a matter of conscience. Mr Dawson's partner is Cllr Henry Lamprecht - David Burrowes' Constituency Agent and Deputy Leader of the Conservative Group on Enfield Council. This must present Mr Lamprecht with certain - how shall we say - 'tensions' in allegiance.
But this is not a matter of 'persecution': David Burrowes would not call it such, and when one considers what many Christians endure the world over, it is wholly inappropriate to equate such low-level political harassment with the sort of systematic bullying and torture found in the most despotic and repugnant regimes of the world. But Mr Burrowes is being threatened, bullied and reviled...
Blessed are they which are persecuted for righteousness’ sake: for theirs is the kingdom of heaven.Do not attack Phillip Dawson on this matter; instead, pray for him. And pray also for David Burrowes, and thank God that he is being salt and light in Parliament and dares to risk unpopularity, inconvenience and harassment for his good works. His reward will indeed be great.
Blessed are ye, when men shall revile you, and persecute you, and shall say all manner of evil against you falsely, for my sake.
Rejoice, and be exceeding glad: for great is your reward in heaven: for so persecuted they the prophets which were before you.
Ye are the salt of the earth: but if the salt have lost his savour, wherewith shall it be salted? it is thenceforth good for nothing, but to be cast out, and to be trodden under foot of men.
Ye are the light of the world. A city that is set on an hill cannot be hid.
Neither do men light a candle, and put it under a bushel, but on a candlestick; and it giveth light unto all that are in the house.
Let your light so shine before men, that they may see your good works, and glorify your Father which is in heaven.