Hannah McFaull wrote a striking piece on Labour Uncut recently about the future of sex education under the Tory-Lib Dem government. Tory MP Stewart Jackson’s recent comments on the same subject are equally remarkable.
Mr. Jackson tweeted: “Sex education memo to sad tedious sex obsessed Leftie weirdos – you’re confusing me with someone who’s interested.” So: you may be a Peterborough constituent. You may be interested in sex education (some people think it’s important). But your MP is not. So get lost.
Jackson’s row with the ‘tedious weirdo’, which has been picked up by his local paper, began after he tweeted: “Very disappointing news on STD rates in Peterborough. No doubt our liberal friends will tell us we need more sex education – as it’s worked so well!”
This followed publication of figures by the heath protection agency (HPA) showing that Peterborough has the fourth highest number of sexually transmitted infections (STIs) in the eastern region.
Mr. Jackson is entitled to his prejudices. But one would hope that, in his position, he might also seek to apply a little rudimentary logic. And to condemn sex education, as he has, would only have a scintilla of rationality if sex education were relatively more prevalent in Peterborough than in other parts of the eastern region.
If this were the case, one might conclude that the alternative approaches used in the rest of the eastern region appeared to be working more effectively in relation to STIs than sex education.
Even then, though, there may be contextual factors associated with Peterborough – for example, socioeconomic conditions – that might explain the relative lack of success of sex education there.
To the best of our knowledge, however, no such alternative approaches are used in the rest of the eastern region. In the absence of such alternatives, it is difficult to see Mr. Jackson’s logic. The obvious, normal, reasonable reaction to the HPA figures is that either contextual factors mean that sex education in Peterborough has been relatively less successful at curbing STIs or that sex education has, for whatever reason, been administered in Peterborough in a less effective manner than in the rest of the Eastern region.
Why didn’t Mr. Jackson draw this conclusion? Why didn’t he commit himself to addressing any such contextual factors and ensuring that sex education is administered as effectively as possible in Peterborough? Which does he hate more: sex education or the explanation of social outcomes – e.g. STI rates – with reference to socioeconomic conditions?
Only one tweet and what a bundle of Tory prejudices. Lefty weirdo, Tory bigot – are they mirror images? Discuss.