Monday, November 13, 2000

It's the buggery, stupid

The fun in Florida never ends. It seems that in Duval County, 9% of the ballots were tossed out, mostly in black Democratic neighborhoods, suggesting that it's not just the butterfly ballots (another good name for a rock band) but something seriously wrong with Florida elections. Going on past history, the Republicans (motto: With Election Machines, Nothing Can Go Wrong Can Go Wrong Can Go Wrong Can Go Wrong) (come on people, Westworld, let's keep up with the references here) may be right to suggest that Florida aspire to the integrity of Cook County.

Given the Florida secretary of state's intransigence in trying to force an abandonment of the recount by tomorrow, you should catch up with one of the biographies of her, in Salon, for example, but the London Times has one so everyone must. Trust Florida to elect someone previously caught in campaign finance law violations to oversee their elections.

Meanwhile in Britain, the House of Lords votes for the 3rd time to veto the Commons' vote to lower the age of male homosexual consent to 16 to match the heterosexual age of consent. Under the Parliament Act of 1911, the law should go into effect over the Lords' objection sometime this year. Here is a hilarious account of the debate by the Times's parliamentary correspondent, himself a former Tory MP and homosexual.

A pleasure peers ought never to be denied

THE Bill equalising the age of homosexual consent must not pass. It must stay in the House of Lords forever, batted around in perpetual debate. Talking about unusual sexual practices affords peers such pleasure that it would be wrong to deprive them (or Britain) of the fun. One baron started fantasising about an anal spliff.

The Baroness Young could not stop saying buggery: far more important, she said, than the Dome.

The trim Baroness had devised amendments of such fiendish complexity that to explain them she had to say buggery repeatedly.

Buggery in England with men and women, buggery in Scotland with girls under 18, buggery at 17 in Northern Ireland with either sex . . . on and on she went. For variety the Baroness would sometimes say sodomy.

Then she would toy with anal intercourse. Lady Young coined the phrase the age of buggery, which I momentarily supposed to be her grand summary of the epoch, England having made the sad and Gibbonesque decline from the Age of Empire and the Age of Steam to the Age of Buggery.

"Now I turn to girls," she said, rather severely. The press gallery (infested with sketchwriters) was by now giggling disgracefully at imagined double-entendres.

"For girls the position is quite different." We were unclear what position Lady Young had in mind, "but my amendments maintain the position." More giggling. Of all types of lovemaking (she advised), anal intercourse is the most dangerous sexual practice.

"Not in my experience," came a fearsome growl from the Independent's seasoned sketchwriter, who has been to New Zealand.

"Let me quote from the manufacturers of Durex," continued Lady Young, remorselessly. Condoms seemed to excite their lordships and ladyships greatly. One wonders whether the Baroness Seccombe, in her days as a deputy chairman of the Conservative Party, ever realised where it would all end: hitting on the web, then leaping to her feet in a crowded Chamber to trill that condoms are available in all sorts of colours, shapes, flavours and sizes as peers reeled back, aghast.

Lord McColl of Dulwich, too, wanted to talk about condoms: specifically slippage rates. In trials (he said) the slippage rate was 21 per cent. Peers longed for Lord McColl to tell them exactly how the trials were conducted, but on this he was vague.

And then there was Lord Selsdon, who took the opportunity (these are rare) to share his thoughts on things you could put up your bottom.

Drugs, for instance. You can, he revealed, stuff them up your rear end. Nostrils (he added) were another orifice you could insert things into, though we trust he was only talking about drugs here and perhaps jelly-babies.

"I find it difficult to use the word buggery for the first time in this House," he said, rolling the word teasingly around in his mouth, "but then I thought back to my days in the Army and how it used to be a friendly phrase -- well I'm buggered!".

The Earl of Longford insisted that homosexuals should not be condemned. The Earl (94) illustrated what he meant by not condemning: homosexualism was a sad disorder, he said, like schizophrenia and chronic alcoholism. Seduce a girl of 16, he added, and that was a dreadful shame. But seduce a young man and he would become a rent boy.

Lord Selsdon said that he had eaten the private parts of a green monkey.

Please, Mr Blair, don’t take this Bill away from them.

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