Observing the Pride March this year in all its splendour from the top of a bus for first time (a dodgy knee prevented me from marching), as we approached Preston Park I was alerted by a fellow passenger that a group of youngsters, who had been happy to engage enthusiastically for a short while, recognised me and their fervour had waned. They clearly weren’t part of my natural fan base.
It is true that there are illiberal members in all political parties, but Conservatives generally permit people to do what they want, providing it does no harm to others, nor society in general, and yet the myth still persists that Conservatives hold prejudices in many areas.
Growing up in a small provincial village during the 1960s, I am a person with few prejudices, apart from a strong dislike of anything ‘big’. Big corporations, big government, big councils etc are susceptible to ‘group think’ and this can lead to less than optimum outcomes for ordinary citizens.
This is exemplified by the way in which the British state persecuted, prosecuted and caused the death of Alan Turing.
For me, a budding physicist and computer scientist during the 1970s, when the processing power of an iPhone would fill a small building, I became aware of Alan Turing.
More famous now, he helped decipher the code created by German enigma machines in the Second World War. It has been estimated that his work may have helped shorten that war against the Nazis by two years, and saved many lives. He is also often described as the father of modern computer science.
In the 1950s, he was prosecuted for being gay, when homosexual relationships were illegal. Charged with gross indecency, he chose chemical castration instead of serving time in jail.
It is alleged that he poisoned himself, but there is still mystery surrounding his death, and it is only recently that the Government apologised for his conviction and, in 2013, he received a royal pardon from the Queen.
My commitment to Pride is held deeply, as is the fight against all prejudice, wherever it is found – especially young revellers who misunderstand my commitment.
Tony Janio is the leader of the Conservatives on Brighton & Hove City Council.