This seems like a timely moment to make a few things clear about myself in public. Ever since I was aware of my own sexuality, still at primary school, I knew I was attracted to a certain type of person. And over the years, in truth nothing’s changed. In these relatively enlightened days, while sexuality can remain a very private matter, and while much progress has been made in terms of public attitudes, it can still be something public figures suffer for. So I’ve decided to make it publicly clear that every person I’ve been romantically linked with in my life has been a woman. And I’m a bloke. So whether I like it or not, whether folk out there like it or not, I’m heterosexual.
But, as you might imagine, there’s more. Anyone who’s seen me, in person or perhaps on telly, will know I’m white. I am Scottish, so it’s possible to discriminate against me under the terms of the Race Relations Act, but that sort of doesn’t count. So I’m a white, male heterosexual.
And as if that isn’t enough, recently I’ve noticed it just keeps getting worse. I was born into what I regard as a solid working class family. My father was a postman (although it’s true my mother did endanger our status when she became manageress of her shoe shop). I joined the Army as a private soldier and my siblings entered trades. For a while, all was well.
Yet over the years, things have changed. I have to accept that now. My sister has an important job doing something-or-other for the government; my brothers and their families have lovely homes, cars and even nice wee homes-from-home somewhere hot. One of them’s even obsessed with golf. I’ve been a member of parliament for 10 years and before that I was an army officer. Even my Mum has followed through on her managerialist instincts and lives in a bought council house.
I have to face it; if it weren’t for the fact that clever marketing professionals have constructed vastly complex matrices in order to segment and target their markets, thereby rendering conventional notions of social class obsolete, I’d be middle-class.
And finally, I’ve noticed these lines below my eyes. And we all know what that means. Yes, I’m middle-aged. So now I’m a white, middle-class, middle-aged heterosexual. I ask you, what kind of chance does that give me?
Well, there it is. At least I’m not in denial about it anymore. But so as not to finish on a low note, I’ve been thinking about my unfashionable status. And I’ve noticed that pretty much everyone in prominent positions in this country; actual and potential prime ministers; government ministers and permanent secretaries; newspaper editors and TV directors general; captains of industry; even the elite like TV chefs, well they all seem to be defeating the white, middle-aged, middle-class and mainly heterosexual hand dealt to them too. There are a few women in there, but not nearly enough yet to make it a worry; and hardly any at all are non-white.
So maybe the situation isn’t as bleak as it might be. For me and folk like me, anyway. I know it’s going be a constant struggle in future, but given a fair wind and perhaps some greater public tolerance now, maybe it will be possible to struggle through to old age with the comfort of knowing that I’ve done my modest best in this flawed world of ours. And thank you all for your continued understanding. Except Rod Liddle, obviously.