March 6, 2010
I was in England earlier in the week where people were still talking about a Tory Member of Parliament called Sir Nicholas Winterton. In the wake of the MP expense scandals this man said he was “infuriated” by the suggestion that MPs should not be able to claim for first class travel. He did not want to travel with people from “a different walk of life” and might have to stand “when there are no seats”. This is not good stuff for a conservative party on the eve of an election that most pundits say is “theirs to lose”. He manages to show an extraordinary disregard for his party’s efforts to show that they are not the party of the privileged. He wins my first ‘dinosaur’ award for the week.
The second goes to the Retired U. S. Air Force Chief of Staff (1990-94), Merrill A. McPeak who penned a column of the New York Times last Friday. He argued in favor of the ‘don’t ask, don’t tell’ policy for the military (which he helped craft). His main point was the tired old unsubstantiated point about ‘unit cohesion’ in teams on the battle front. He believes that the presence of open and honest homosexual soldiers would be a problem for others. The military in this country have been at the forefront of introducing cultural change and reducing, if not eliminating, prejudice in matters of race. That expertise could easily be put to good use in helping build ‘cohesion’ among military personnel who may still be prejudiced about gay and lesbian people as is Merrill McPeak.