Even grumpy Mr. Humphreys found it chortleworthy that ever swelling numbers of our sons and daughters - or, more often than not, sons and sons - live in sin, while good Sir Kelvin MacKenzie, old knight of The Sun, squirmed, pinned and wriggling on The Today Show as answers were demanded of why his newspaper so derided the pooves in those glory days of fearless reporting and unfettered intolerance.
To some extent the findings of the survey and the trends it reflects must be welcomed. At least we must pretend to welcome them, and must feign enjoyment at the spectacle of the old newspaper man pilloried for his outmoded views. Indeed, I must sit here and write that I welcome the change and enjoy the thought of gay men doing what they do. You know, in the bedroom. That's fine with me, so long as they don't shove it down my throat, if you excuse the expression.
I suppose, technically, a world in which They do not lay sleepless at night fearful of beatings and bullying is better than one in which we are all allowed to point and laugh at them like we used to. But I belong to that small minority of writers who start their sentences with the word 'but'. I'm also one of those 27% of people who quite rightly believe that married couples produce healthier, more beautiful children than poverty stricken, drink soaked cohabitees, clutching their benefits in one hand and a half-smoked Mayfair in the other. I may not have evidence to strengthen my case but we all know deep down that it's the truth. And how do the gays figure in all this? Well, they just do.
But sadly, my so-called 'reactionary' views and distasteful opinions are fast becoming the new queer: pilloried, scorned, not entirely coherent but definitely fabulous. I worry that we've replaced good old fashioned hatred and intolerance with permissive acceptance - and where's the sense in that? 100 years ago would we not have laughed off the suggestion that soon the lawmakers of this country would see fit to outlaw the smoking of opium outside of strictly regulated Chinese smokeries and Indian smack-dens? Wouldn't you dismiss as absurd the possibility of banning fans of the poppy from enjoying their vice in public places, lest the grey teetolars get a waft of that delicious dusky scent?
And anyone who doesn't subscribe to the state prescribed view that homosexuals are not only similar but equal in every way to humans is sneered at and scowled upon by the same right-minded scarf-wearers.
Not so long ago, celebrated columnist and ayatollah of intolerance Jan 'Nothing natural' Moir was victimised by an horrific pack of screeching web devils simply for writing horrible, horrible words about dead gay man Stephen Gately. Is it now a crime to write ghastly, factually inaccurate venom at a time when homophobic violence is increasing and encourage morbid intrusion into the grieving privacy of the family of the recently deceased? Can somebody out there explain to me why intolerance of depravity and gayness is so terrible but valid criticism of poor journalism is fine?
Liberal? Tolerant? That's reserved for journalists, folks. We're allowed to be liberal with the truth and tolerant of inaccuracy day in, day out. Don't try it at home.
* What the FUCK did all that mean? - ed.