EDIT: In the original version of this post, I mistakenly said that Lowri Turner had issued divorce proceedings against her ex-husband, Paul Connew, on the grounds of his adultery. This was based on a misreading of a report about divorce – in fact, the "Lowri" refered to was Lowri Hartson, ex-wife of Wales footballer John Hartson. The report when on to quote Lowri Turner in the next paragraph – hence the mistake. In fact, the divorce was granted to Paul on the grounds of Turner’s "unreasonable behaviour". Paul was also granted joint custody, care and residence of their two sons. Apologies to Paul for the mistake, and for any embarrasment or offence it might have caused.
Paul was kind enough to email me to let me know of the mistake, and I’m happy to correct the posting – the amended version is below. Lowri, alas, has yet to respond…
This strays briefly beyond the realms of technology, so if that’s all you come here for, head off now. A couple of people sent me a link to a column for the Western Mail by Lowri Turner, TV presenter and… erm… TV presenter.
Ms Turner’s thesis is simple: Gay people shouldn’t be allowed to "run the country" (ie. be prime minister or party leaders) on the grounds that:
"their lifestyles are too divorced from the norm. They are not better or worse, but they are different… Gay men face challenges of their own, but they do not face those associated with having children which is the way most of us live. My gay friends have not sat in accident and emergency with a small child. They have not had to make the decision over whether to give them MMR. They have not struggled to get their child statemented or gone through the schools’ appeals process. Without these experiences at the sharp end of our public services, they do not know how they function."
It may surprise Ms Turner to note that many gay men and women have children: some even (shock, horror) adopt, in the hope of giving an unwanted child a better life. Of course, what she’s saying also applies to those who are single, without children: presumably, therefore, had Simon Hughes been single but straight he could also have been disqualified from office by Ms Turner’s prejudices.
It may also surprise her to note that many gay men and women are teachers, doctors, nurses, and police officers and thus have a rather sharper perception of what goes on at "the sharp end" of public services than do most politicians – or, for that matter, most television presenters.
But, no matter how much Ms Turner protests that "not only are some of my best friends gay" (not for much longer, ducky) and pleads that she’s not arguing because of prejudice, that’s exactly what she IS arguing from: ignorance, and its twin brother prejudice. Let’s take, for example, the cutting-edge analysis that’s inherent in her statement that:
"Frankly, I don’t trust a man who says he swings both ways, unless he is a spotty teenager who hasn’t sorted himself out yet. aten is 41 and Hughes is 54. If they think they are old enough to run the country then surely they are old enough to work out which gender they fancy?"
Yes, Lowri, of course it’s an either/or. Poor woman. Then there’s the classic "Well, have you ever heard of a chap with a public boyfriend who has women on the side? Of course not." Actually, yes, I have, on occasions, just as I’ve known bisexual women with girlfriends who have men as a bit on the side.
In LowriWorld, the only people capable of representing the nation are, therefore, white middle-class hetrosexuals with 2 kids. In my world, I’d rather have someone as smart as Mark Oaten, or as hard-working as Simon Hughes – and certainly, I’d never want anyone as bigoted as Lowri Turner.
But Lowri herself, of course, is not fit for office by her own criteria: Far from being the hard-working mum who does everything herself, Lowri has had a somewhat unusual approach to childrearing. Instead of getting involved with the raising the children herself, her former husband acted as a house-husband while her own career took off. And, despite her published wishes that she had spent more time with the children, when the couple split she instead handed them off to a nanny, and sold her former home in Islington for over £700,000. All, of course, far from typical experiences.
Perhaps the collapse of her marriage while following this different path has coloured Ms Turner’s view of relationships that are in any way different. I certainly can’t blame her ex-husband for divorcing her.