How to become a ‘national treasure’

OutrageA Guardian piece on Peter Tatchell quotes right-wing columnist Peter Hitchens paying tribute to him as “a man of great physical and moral courage, honesty and personal rectitude, superior in every way to the run of politicians”. It continues:

“Such praise must make a welcome change from what Tatchell endured in the past. First, there was the name-calling – ‘pervert’, ‘loony’ and ‘homosexual terrorist’. Then the death threats – he still sleeps with a fire extinguisher next to him in case of arson. And finally, the wholesale condemnation, in 1994, of Outrage!’s threat to out the Bishop of London. Tatchell then was ‘pernicious’ and ‘vile’, a ‘hysterical self-publicist’ and ‘hypocrite’, guilty of organising a ‘witch-hunt’. Rehabilitation began when Tatchell attempted a citizen’s arrest on Robert Mugabe. Suddenly, he was lauded as ‘a man of principle’ (the Daily Telegraph), who ‘may call himself a queer, but he’s got a real man’s courage’ (the Mail).”

And Tatchell appears to have drawn the obvious conclusions. If you’re a gay rights activist campaigning against the Anglican Church and other establishment targets, favourable coverage will be restricted to the liberal media. However, if you concentrate on attacking black Africans, Palestinian Arabs and, in particular, Muslims – the Tory press, who welcome such contributions to their own racist agenda, will treat you like a hero.