Lez Miserable: "Is a lesbian coup about to hit Britain?"

Welcome to the Sapphic Republic of Great Britain.

The Lesbian Apocalypse is upon us. According, that is, to the President of the Center for Marriage Policy, David R Usher. The CMP is an American right-wing Christian group and one of the many voices against marriage equality in the US. Usher has warned us, in his column for Renew America, that if same-sex marriage is legalised in all fifty states, the men of the US will be doomed to enslavement by Machiavellian lesbian sex-maniacs. These women will, according to Usher, underhandedly get pregnant by men and, in doing so, entrap them economically. Sounds like the plot of a porn film written by a heavily armed survivalist from the safety of his bunker, right? But what if Usher has a point? What if Valerie Solanas’s man-hating SCUM Manifesto was actually a Nostradamic prediction of a new world order? And since same-sex marriage was legalised in the UK this year, is a lesbian coup about to hit Britain?

Cat flaps are being installed in the Houses of Parliament. Burly women in hardhats are replacing Big Ben with a mildly nauseating, yonic art instillation. The rainbow flag flies atop Buckingham Palace, which has been converted into a giant performance poetry and “knit your feelings” venue. Led by Jane Hill, an army of lesbian journalists have seized control of the media. The streets run with soy milk and gin. The sound of atrocious Tracy Chapman covers has become grasshopper-like background noise. Welcome to the Sapphic Republic of Great Britain; the Big Mother state.

So, what’s on the political agenda in the SRGB? I think I can safely say that lesbians are a bunch of lefties. Granted, conservative gay women are a thing. I met one once. It was strange. But let’s say the lesbian takeover happens tomorrow. Military intervention in Syria? Yeah, right. Nationalisation of pretty much everything? You’d better believe it. Hell, we’d nationalise cake. And state produced Ms Kipling fondant fancies would be more than exceedingly good. It would be nice if we could retain a democratic system, but hey, we’re trying to install a matriarchy here and could really do without the likes of Cameron and Clegg manning shit up. So, apologies to all you ballot fanatics out there, I’m afraid we’re talking one-party state. Don’t you worry though, lesbians know how to party.

The Sapphic State would be policed by formidable, Amazonian types who would arrest anyone found selling overheated lattes (bad coffee is offensive to lesbians), dancing non-ironically to Robin Thicke, or watching the kind of lesbian porn where women with long nails jab at one another’s fannies with cucumbers. These dissidents would be sent to Group Therapy. This is where you’re forced to sit in a “trust circle” with other enemies of lesbianism and, fuelled only by herbal tea and sesame snaps, talk about your feelings until you pray for death.  

Now, hetero folk – fortunately for you, being straight will be legal in the SRGB. In fact, we have no problem at all with your bizarre sexual practices. Sure, a lot of us would rather you kept it between the sheets. But the SRGB won’t discriminate, except against cat-haters, perhaps (they’ll be sent to re-education centres where they watch hilarious YouTube cat videos until they crack). You know what though? We’ll even let straight people get married. What’s more, the state will provide support groups for those struggling with their love of the opposite sex. There are going to be a lot of support groups in the SRGB. You’re absolutely right, David R Usher, the lesbians are coming for you.


In the Sapphic Republic of Great Britain, the streets will be paved with rainbow. Photo: Getty

Eleanor Margolis is a freelance journalist, whose "Lez Miserable" column appears weekly on the New Statesman website.

Photo: Getty Images
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The buck doesn't stop with Grant Shapps - and probably shouldn't stop with Lord Feldman, either

The question of "who knew what, and when?" shouldn't stop with the Conservative peer.

If Grant Shapps’ enforced resignation as a minister was intended to draw a line under the Mark Clarke affair, it has had the reverse effect. Attention is now shifting to Lord Feldman, who was joint chair during Shapps’  tenure at the top of CCHQ.  It is not just the allegations of sexual harrassment, bullying, and extortion against Mark Clarke, but the question of who knew what, and when.

Although Shapps’ resignation letter says that “the buck” stops with him, his allies are privately furious at his de facto sacking, and they are pointing the finger at Feldman. They point out that not only was Feldman the senior partner on paper, but when the rewards for the unexpected election victory were handed out, it was Feldman who was held up as the key man, while Shapps was given what they see as a relatively lowly position in the Department for International Development.  Yet Feldman is still in post while Shapps was effectively forced out by David Cameron. Once again, says one, “the PM’s mates are protected, the rest of us shafted”.

As Simon Walters reports in this morning’s Mail on Sunday, the focus is turning onto Feldman, while Paul Goodman, the editor of the influential grassroots website ConservativeHome has piled further pressure on the peer by calling for him to go.

But even Feldman’s resignation is unlikely to be the end of the matter. Although the scope of the allegations against Clarke were unknown to many, questions about his behaviour were widespread, and fears about the conduct of elections in the party’s youth wing are also longstanding. Shortly after the 2010 election, Conservative student activists told me they’d cheered when Sadiq Khan defeated Clarke in Tooting, while a group of Conservative staffers were said to be part of the “Six per cent club” – they wanted a swing big enough for a Tory majority, but too small for Clarke to win his seat. The viciousness of Conservative Future’s internal elections is sufficiently well-known, meanwhile, to be a repeated refrain among defenders of the notoriously opaque democratic process in Labour Students, with supporters of a one member one vote system asked if they would risk elections as vicious as those in their Tory equivalent.

Just as it seems unlikely that Feldman remained ignorant of allegations against Clarke if Shapps knew, it feels untenable to argue that Clarke’s defeat could be cheered by both student Conservatives and Tory staffers and the unpleasantness of the party’s internal election sufficiently well-known by its opponents, without coming across the desk of Conservative politicians above even the chair of CCHQ’s paygrade.

Stephen Bush is editor of the Staggers, the New Statesman’s political blog.