Daniel Lawson: a few quick thoughts

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I’ve just been made aware of yesterday’s edition of Daniel Lawson’s Daily Mail column (scroll down for relevant bit). For a neater summary of the article in question, see here.

I don’t read the Daily Mail, and my attention is only ever brought to it when a controversial article has been written that my friends are angry about, as is the case here.

My friend posted about Daniel Lawson’s analysis on the links between the same sex legislation and (hideously-named) Brexit. A lot of people seem very angry about this piece, but I would like to look a little deeper and offer a slightly different perspective on it.

I don’t think Lawson’s analysis in this piece is fundamentally wrong: the problem is that it is just worded horribly in an attempt to sensationalise it and make an unnecessary connection. What Lawson is essentially saying, I think, is that when the act to legalise gay marriage was passed in 2013, a lot of Tory MPs reacted badly. As a result, the party was split, and some Tory MPs defected to UKIP. Because of this, Farage had the upper-hand. Cameron wanted to try and win back the loyalty of MPs (or at least dampen the disquiet of other Tory MPs who had stayed with the party but were threatening to leave or otherwise rebel), and, recognising that many Tory MPs were Eurosceptics, Cameron decided to offer a referendum on Britain’s membership of the EU.

Lawson is saying X caused Y and Y caused Z – but it’s worded in such a way that it implies that X caused Z, which is not the case. By using phrases that make it more sensationalist, like “if it were not for David Cameron’s decision to legalise marriage between people of the same sex… Britain would not now be on her way out of the EU”, Lawson has wholly discredited his argument. It is never okay to imply that the increased rights of a persecuted minority are to blame for the repercussions of a distantly-related political decision.

I don’t think that Lawson’s analysis is wrong: but I do think it was wrong to write this piece and word it in the way he has. This will inevitably be read by some as “gay people being allowed to get married caused the meltdown of Britain!”, which is only going to serve to fan the flames of hate which is the last thing we need in the current political climate.

We don’t need critical analysis of the political game-play that led to an EU referendum being held in the first place. What we need right now is to unite, to show solidarity to anyone who is affected by the increase in hateful vitriol post-Brexit. So let’s stand together, fight those who have created this intolerant society and focus on the real issues at hand.

The Author

Bristol-based artsy liberal feminist. Mama to three ferrets.

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