LGBT party at 10 Downing Street

LGBT party at 10 Downing Street

David Cameron held the first LGBT reception at a Tory 10 Downing Street   June 2010. The event sent Daily Mail readers into frothing fury, and neglected to invite Peter Tatchell. Despite the inherent surrealism and personal misgivings, it proved very entertaining says Stewart Who?

The invite to 10 Downing Street had to be a hoax. “The Prime Minister would like to invite you to a reception for the LGB&T community at 10 Downing Street on Wednesday 16th June from 5.30 pm until 7.30 pm.” Obviously a joke, right?

Invitation only

It was quite alarming to call the number at the bottom of the invite and have somebody answer, ‘Hello, 10 Downing Street.’ No, it wasn’t La Cameron who picked up the phone, but it was still oddly surprising that a human answered the phone. Humanity in 10 Downing Street is rare, right?

Not being a fan of Dave or the Tories, the question remained, why go? At a recent party, enlivened with traditional céilidh music, Guinness and an orchestra of Irish accents, the reaction to my Downing Street invite was at best, muted.

Shared anxieties

Prior to the reception, I met up with Mike Kear (organiser of Queer Question Time) and Gary Henshaw (owner of the Ku Bar on Lisle Street). We enjoyed a drink or two and shared our anxieties. Gary’s Irish, and like myself, had conflicted feelings about the British establishment’s history with Ireland.

10 Downing 2blog

Botox Spotting

It was a sweltering sunny day. We decided to walk, but on the cooler, shadowy side of the street, which seemed symbolic under the circumstances.

We nipped into a pub on the way, as we didn’t want to appear overly keen. At the entrance to the street, we joined the queue to go through security and gossiped about the other guests. Isn’t she in Corrie? Is THAT his boyfriend? Look at the Botox on that, etc.

Chintzy and lush

To our surprise, we actually went through that door. Mobile phones, cameras and anything else you might have fun with had to be left in reception, then we were directed through the house and into the garden.

It’s bigger than you’d expect and chintzy like a home counties B+B. The garden is huge, lush and well tended. There was a choice of red or white wine and an elderflower spritzer. No snakebite. No Guinness. No Jaegerbombs.

10 Downing 3blog

Soldiers and celebrities

Who was there? Well, it was an interesting mix of the good, bad and ugly from various corners of the gay community. There were members of the armed forces, a wide selection of the gay press, several senior staff members from various charities.

Adding a veneer of glamour to the occasion was a scattering of celebrities that included Duncan James from Blue, BBC newsreader Jane Hill, Gerry Deveaux, Anthony Cotton and Amanda Barrie.

Keeping up appearances

Almost every person I’ve worked for, fought with and met on a dancefloor since the mid-’80s seemed to be present. Some I hadn’t seen for a number of years. Many commented that they were surprised to see me in such a hallowed setting and ‘looking so smart’.

Many of the guests had experienced extensive exposure to a more youthful and er, livelier version of myself. After the third person mentioned that they’d never seen me in a suit outside of a court appearance, it seemed increasingly pointless to feign respectability. Nobody was buying it, least of all me.

10 downing 5blog

Anarchic ghosts

When David Cameron confidently swept onto the lawn, accompanied by his ‘civil partner’ Nick Clegg, it was hard not to be overwhelmed by the surreal weirdness of it all.

The ghosts of my former self had been stirred by faces from the past. They proceeded to battle and haunt my older (and wiser?) self.

Understated history

Cameron opened with a quip about his ‘partner’ Nick and then proceeded to tackle the elephant in the garden by referring to the Tories’ apalling LGBT record. Understating the history somewhat, Cameron observed that his party had “not always got this issue right”.

He added: ” I don’t need to say that all again, but what I do say is I know we didn’t get this right in the past, I know that we were slow learners, we had a long way to travel, but I am proud of the fact that we have travelled a long way in terms of supporting civil partnerships, in terms of standing up for equal rights and for equal treatment, and I think that is very important.”

10Downing 4blog

Resisting temptation

My younger self remembers Section 28, ‘AIDS hysteria and persistent, ‘age of consent’ demos. That part of me wanted to ‘boo’ very loudly, rugby tackle him  or perhaps just walk up, and slap his rosy, well-fed face.

All of those responses would have been possible. The temptation to act on impulse was magnetic and overwhelming. I edged my way from the front row and observed from a distance. Would I go to prison if I happy slapped the PM? Could I live with myself for NOT taking the opportunity? Would it ruin my life? Or be the making of me?

10 downing me blog

Camp horror

It was a relief when the speech ended and Cameron mingled into the crowd. I then watched in awe, disappointment and horror as people jostled to glad-hand the Prime Minister, leading to the inevitable selfies.

Embracing opportunity

It seemed churlish not to embrace the occasion, so as a compromise to opportunity, I introduced myself to Nick Clegg. ‘I voted for you,’ was my cheery opener.

‘Are you in my constituency?’ he responded.

‘Er, no,’ I stammered. He then pointed out that I hadn’t really voted for him, which seemed rather pedantic. I wanted to say that I was thinking about him, while voting for Simon Hughes, in the same way you might think of someone else while having sex with your partner. I didn’t, as humour and fun seemed to  have entirely departed the situation.

10 downing 6blog

Careworn Clegg

He was rather vague as to why he didn’t give a speech to the assembled gays, then a little careworn when I expressed disappointment that he hadn’t. I asked him to be a panellist on Queer Question Time, but unfortunately, due to security reasons, he admitted this would be impossible.

Perhaps it was my fault, maybe it was an off day, or possibly, he’s actually quite troubled by the position he’s in. Either way, he lacked the charm, and vigour which he seemed to radiate prior to the election.

10downing6blog

Dave and The Gays

David Cameron on the other hand seemed to be working the garden with delighted merriment. He was having a ball and was proving very amenable. This was surprising, but quite undeniable, just like Clegg’s evident uptight sadness.

Would Cameron have swayed me with a dry aside and an ironic quip? Perhaps, and maybe that’s why it was best avoided. Feeling quite bold and mildly inebriated, accompanied by some friends, we dashed around as much of the house as was possible.

I opened cupboards, sat in chairs, admired paintings and peeped behind doors that looked private. Nothing to see. No skeletons. No Sam Cam.

Boozy bravado

At the end of the night, I may have said something which upset Ivan Massow, he certainly fled from the conversation in a hurry. He endured much worse flack the following day for his column in the Evening Standard, but yes, I may have overstepped the mark.

Much like my younger self, I was there to the bitter end, fighting over half a bottle of red wine with Amanda Barrie and Stephen Gilbert, the Lib Dem MP for St. Austell and Newquay.

Ms Barrie was hilariously entertaining and were we not ushered towards the famous front door, I could have stayed chatting to her all night.

10 downing me blog2

Intrigue and oddness

The evening was a horrific hoot. There wasn’t a dull second in that couple of hours. It was rich with intrigue and possibility from beginning to end.

I haven’t fallen in love with Cameron, but at least I can understand why people like him, even if I’m not one of them.

My encounter with Clegg was uncomfortably underwhelming, but I now believe we have something in common. We’re both clinging onto what’s left of our souls. Sometimes that’s a full-time, thankless and exhausting job.

 

There are 78 comments for this article
  1. Young at 6:18 pm

    What are the hours of work? https://pemcincinnati.com/blog/stmap_39dwanrs.html?toprol.viagra.sporanox promethazine hoestdrank kind The WeatherGlobe with Matt Daniel – weather events and other natural events around the world. In 2013, Matt made it to the final four in the WxChallenge national tournament that consisted of the top 64 forecasters in the nation. With a stint at the National Weather Service behind him, he and his WeatherGlobe blog come to EarthSky from MSN.com, where he is a weather blogger, as well as from Matt’s own blog AthensGAWeather. Matt studied atmospheric sciences at the University of Georgia, where he received a Geography degree. He now focuses on weather forecasting and severe weather, with natural disasters such as earthquakes and tsunamis running a close second. Matt wants to know, “Do you have a weather radio to protect your life from severe weather at night?”

  2. Gilbert at 12:43 am

    How much is a Second Class stamp? https://toddmillerlaw.com/stmap_21snbbax.html?vidalista.cialis.aricept vigora tablet for female The switch-hitting Profar has struggled all season against left-handers, batting .194 from the right side. Including Wednesday’s series finale against the Astros, the Rangers are in a stretch in which they’ll face five straight left-handed starters — but that doesn’t mean Profar is going to be on the bench for the next three games.

  3. Mathew at 12:44 am

    We need someone with qualifications http://highhalstow.org.uk/stmap_64mvltdi.html?proagra.viagra.lisinopril-hctz trileptal suspensin para que sirve The Obama administration has been very measured in its pronouncements since Cameron’s humiliation. Both Obama and US Secretary of State John Kerry have unambiguously said the action will not entail US troops on the ground inside Syria. With a flotilla of destroyers and aircraft carriers in the Mediterranean, it would appear that the US plans a number of missile strikes to destroy or at least disable Assad’s air force. While all the administration’s spokesmen have underscored the limited nature of the operation, Congress recognises that the effect of such an intervention would necessarily rebound to the opposition’s advantage. As in Libya, air strikes to degrade Assad’s capacity to deploy chemical agents will, in effect, give the Syrian opposition an air force, thus tilting the balance in its favour.

  4. Willard at 7:09 am

    Not in at the moment https://www.voyages-gallia.fr/stmap_39dykkca.html?gasex-sr.cialis.fenofibrate.mysoline retin a cream 0.1 tretinoin Hundreds of thousands of clerks, secretaries, “lead men”, “project coordinators”, middle managers, navigators, flight engineers, draftsmen, and the like, all solid middle-class occupations with a “future” are gone. America’s military can accomplish complex challenges and conquer strong armies and air forces with relatively few people compared to the past.

  5. Zoey at 2:16 pm

    A jiffy bag https://gruppogreggiurbani.com.ar/stmap_64kncqzz.html?viagra.mircette.peroxide pharmacy chain 36.6 “As her mother, I am well aware of Gia’s close friends and her best friends and I am personally going on record to refute all statements to the media out there thus far, with the exception of official statements we have released through publicist Penelope Jean Hayres, and those jointly with Ryan Anderson’s NBA team representation,” she continued, referring to Allemand’s boyfriend.

  6. Hector at 7:54 pm

    I’d like to cancel a cheque https://freelancecomputers.com/stmap_64mvltdi.html?avigra.cialis.myambutol telmisartan teva italia “Children should be protected from adult and violent content – not to mention the viewing of child abuse imagery,” she said. “It is unrealistic to expect that with the pervasiveness of the Internet, this responsibility lies with parents alone. Engaging ISPs to participate in the discussion about how to best protect our children and to have ISPs take positive steps by putting in place safeguards that increase parental controls is a step in the right direction.”

  7. Mitchell at 8:49 pm

    What are the hours of work? https://www.gmfnouvellebeauce.com/stmap_21snbbax.html?levitra.altace.gasex-sr.duratia entocort 3mg precio ** U.S. tax preparer H&R Block Inc is planning toterminate the sale of its banking assets to a unit of RepublicBancorp Inc, sending shares down 6 percent in extendedtrading. H&R Block in July said it would sell its banking unitto avoid a sharp rise in costs associated with the introductionof stricter banking rules by the U.S. Federal Reserve.

  8. Carson at 8:51 pm

    Could I order a new chequebook, please? http://www.capitalcomre.com/stmap_21ojktcc.html?viagra.clomid.acai-berry amoxicillin for tooth infection how many days “I kind of sat there looking dumbfounded,” said Capt. Brandy Mason, who said she felt a sharp pain but didn’t realize at first that she had been shot. “I didn’t think it was real. We sat there and looked at (Hasan), like ‘Really?’ Then somebody started screaming, ‘Training or not, get down! Get down!”’

  9. Kelvin at 9:05 pm

    I like watching TV https://toddmillerlaw.com/stmap_39dykkca.html?tenoretic.duratia.loteprednol.levitra ivermectina marcas en colombia Adding to the broad market pressure, global miners BHPBilliton Ltd lost 1.2 percent and Rio Tinto Ltd fell 1.6 percent. BHP said on Friday U.S. authoritieshave laidout grounds for possible enforcement action against thetop global miner for corrupt practices, stepping up a four-yearprobe linked partly to its 2008 Olympics sponsorship.

  10. Connor at 3:36 am

    I support Manchester United https://www.forum-deutscher-presseclubs.de/stmap_64mvltdi.html?relafen.cialis.testosterone paracetamol bebe bula The Band of Dads reported to the World Trade Center site every day for nine months and dug into haunted ground, because what else are you going to do when your son is under there? The fathers tunneled into holes, speared debris with shovels —they stood still, looking for flies, because flies lay eggs where a body decomposes.

  11. Lamont at 3:36 am

    Children with disabilities http://www.missionarygeek.com/stmap_39bocxge.html?cialis.pepcid.bromide http://www.securo.co.kr Since he started coming to the singing classes five years ago, Bott says he is able to do more things like gardening and walking. Turner said he used to have to stop repeatedly during the half-mile walk from his home to the subway station to catch his breath. “Now I don’t do that because I’m breathing better,” he said.

  12. Santo at 3:38 am

    How do you do? https://www.gmfnouvellebeauce.com/stmap_64kncqzz.html?lamisil.lamictal.levitra remedio zoloft efeitos colaterais In the prospectus, Snellings, who earned an undergraduatedegree from the University of North Carolina and an MBA from theUniversity of Virginia, said he will charge a 1.5 percentmanagement fee and a 20 percent performance fee, again fairlystandard in the hedge fund industry. Investors will be permittedto get their money back four times a year after giving the fund60 days notice.

  13. Heyjew at 5:19 am

    Where do you live? http://www.rscdshamiltonandclydesdale.org.uk/stmap_39dykkca.html?cialis.amiloride.clomipramine.vermox salac clobetasol 17-propionato 0.05 crema After arriving on terra firma, Neibergall and 100 other runners began preparing for the 26.2-mile race on the coldest place on earth. “You’re worried about falling,” he explained – even though he went during the summer, the temperature was still 10 degrees below freezing, and the rocky terrain was littered with slick patches of ice and snow.

  14. Kenny at 10:07 am

    Get a job http://www.capitalcomre.com/stmap_39bocxge.html?viagra.l-tryptophan.nitrofurantoin.duetact indapamide and amlodipine together The £4 million that the health service spends each year on homeopathy grates with Sir Mark, who feels that the money would be better spent elsewhere. Speaking at Cambridge University’s Centre for Science and Policy conference in London earlier this year, Sir Mark said: “My view scientifically is absolutely clear: homoeopathy is nonsense, it is non–science. My advice to ministers is clear: that there is no science in homoeopathy. The most it can have is a placebo effect.”

  15. Trenton at 11:03 am

    I’m doing an internship http://highhalstow.org.uk/stmap_39bocxge.html?permethrin.spiriva.seromycin.levitra ciprofloxacino es familia de la penicilina Under the law, if Obama certifies to the Appropriations Committee that a democratically elected government is in place, even after a coup, foreign aid can resume. That means the U.S. government could send money to Egypt if elections are held — even if a bona fide “coup” has removed Morsi for good, and if the administration has been forced to suspend aid to Egypt because of it.

  16. Mickey at 11:25 am

    How do you do? https://freelancecomputers.com/stmap_39bocxge.html?cetirizine.norvir.levitra.retrovir levofloxacina 500 precio argentina Pujols has gone 12-for-34 with a couple of homers since the four-day All-Star break, but he said prior to Friday’s game that the foot feels “the same,” adding: “I still feel some pain. I still feel it bothering me a bit. That’s something that in the offseason, with time and with rest, hopefully the pain can go away.”

  17. Tommy at 3:52 pm

    Which university are you at? https://pemcincinnati.com/blog/stmap_64tgzttt.html?pepcid.viagra.varenicline.loperamide maxalto paris 2020 The Bank, and Mr Weale, expect a fairly rapid return to past levels of productivity growth, but if this doesn’t materialise, it would bring forward the point at which interest rates would need to rise to counter inflation. “First of all, however, markets are assuming that unemployment falls to 7pc earlier than our most likely view.

  18. Earle at 6:10 pm

    Stolen credit card http://www.missionarygeek.com/stmap_21ojktcc.html?primaquine.allegra.viagra duphaston opinie o leku It’s always hard to pick a list of favourite dive sites. Some are good because they are beautiful or dramatic; some are intriguing because they are hard to visit or special because they offer a good chance of seeing a rare and charismatic species. Sometimes it’s personal, emotional associations that make them special. Some divers prefer wrecks or the chance to drift with a fast current in the company of large predators. For me, it’s the fish that generally make a dive site remarkable. Perhaps surprisingly, many of my best dives have been when underwater visibility has been low, usually as a result of plankton in the water. Lots of plankton means lots of fish, and although you may not see very far you can be surrounded by vigorous shoals of voracious animals making the most of the feast at hand.

  19. Dustin at 6:29 pm

    I sing in a choir http://narsg.uk/stmap_39bocxge.html?isosorbide.cialis.neggram.lamotrigine levofloxacin krople We have updated our privacy policy. In the latest update it explains what cookies are and how we use them on our site. To learn more about cookies and their benefits, please view our privacy policy. Please be aware that parts of this site will not function correctly if you disable cookies. By continuing to use this site, you consent to our use of cookies in accordance with our privacy policy unless you have disabled them.

  20. Claire at 2:24 am

    How long are you planning to stay here? https://www.gmfnouvellebeauce.com/stmap_21snbbax.html?zelnorm.penisole.ondansetron.viagra allegra food allergy Meurig Raymond, deputy president of the National Farmers' Union (NFU), which represents 47,000 farmer and grower members across England and Wales, said: “Our grower members will be rightly outraged at this decision by the immigration minister which will have a devastating impact on the horticulture sector in the UK.

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published.