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The deadline for giving your opinion on the proposed ban on “conversion therapy” is tomorrow, Friday 4th February

I wrote this post about the proposed ban on 7th December 2021, when the deadline for responses to the government’s consultation document was given as December 10th. The deadline was then extended to February 4th 2022, which is tomorrow. Did I mention it’s tomorrow?

There was a lively debate on the nature of human sexuality in the comments to that post – but, fascinating as the contributions were, for me that issue is beside the point. The point is that the government seeks to ban people from attempting to persuade other people to do something that is not a crime by talking to them.

16 comments to The deadline for giving your opinion on the proposed ban on “conversion therapy” is tomorrow, Friday 4th February

  • Shlomo Maistre

    The point is that the government seeks to ban people from attempting to persuade other people to do something that is not a crime by talking to them.

    Funny, that’s exactly what government is trying to do on this side of the pond as well.


    They’re trying to protect adults from information. Nothing to see here, citizen. Everything’s completely normal. Have you signed up for your 17th booster injection yet?

  • bobby b

    This is probably OT, and sorry for that, but I’m still confused.

    The ban is aimed at people who are trying to convince someone that they’re not really gay. That was the meaning of “conversion therapy” for decades.

    But how do they avoid applying it to people who are trying to convince others – their own kids, their patients, their students – that they might be wrongly gendered? Aren’t all of these parents, who are glorying in how their little boy now likes pink ponies and dresses, participating in conversion therapy?

    Because I’m pretty sure they don’t plan on applying the ban in those situations.

  • Natalie Solent (Essex)

    Well, I did it. First you have to answer a lot of impertinent “equalities” questions, but for most of them there is a “prefer not to say” option, which I took. My answer to the first significant question as to whether I supported the proposed change was “Strongly disagree” and I gave a very brief explanation of why, focusing on the point that my objection was to any government regulation of talk. (Conversion therapy involving coercion is already illegal.) Then there were a series of supplementary questions on specific details of the proposed legislation, which I tried hard not to get sucked into. I finished by saying that I’d have the same opinion about any proposed government regulation of speech.

    There was one question where they asked if they had missed anything, to which I answered “The point, which is freedom of speech”. I could not resist being a smartarse then, nor telling you about it it now, but I’m beginning to regret it.

  • Natalie Solent (Essex)

    Bobby B, I am about to delete one part of your comment which could be read as disrespectful to another commenter here.

  • Shlomo Maistre

    but I’m beginning to regret it.

    There’s nothing to regret. Because of their own actions, they deserve far less polite smartarsery.

  • bobby b

    Omigawd, it didn’t even occur to me, I was thinking of someone else, on TV. Thank you for rescuing me.

  • the other rob

    Because I’m pretty sure they don’t plan on applying the ban in those situations.

    I wondered the same exact thing* bobby b. I later stumbled across what I understood to be part of the text of the bill and saw that it makes use of narrow, content based, restrictions. I know, but as a cab driver reminded me in London a few years ago “You still believe in freedom of speech. We don’t have that here. You could get locked up for what you’re saying.”

    I briefly considered writing “I wondered the Black Talon…” but decided that it might be too obscure for even US readers, let alone UK ones.

  • Fraser Orr

    A few of points on this:

    1. Back in the 70s there was this thing in the US where parents would have their adult kids kidnapped from the many religious cults that were going around in those days and have them (brutally) brainwashed back into rightthink. I assume we are all in favor of that being illegal. (Even though some of these cults were pretty nasty as we found out in Guyana.)

    2. What about kids? Should parents be allowed to send their kids to conversion therapy, even if it is only talk (though most likely extremely emotional, manipulative talk.)

    3. The point of this legislation, no doubt, is to deliberately confuse the public by equating the former two with a simple “Alcoholics Anonymous” style of conversion therapy.

    4. What exactly is the point of filling in these surveys? Obviously nobody gives a toss about the result — they are just a perfunctory excerise. (Maybe they count the multiple choice, but I guarantee nobody will ever read Natalie’s insightful comments.) Perhaps doing so is cathartic though.

    5. And let me say for the record, even though I think it is none of Her Majesty’s business whether you want to pray away the gay, conversion therapy is a stupid and damaging thing.

  • Paul Marks

    In my lifetime the United Kingdom has gone from homosexual acts being held to be illegal by the state, to homosexual acts being promoted by the state (with “Pride” flags on public buildings and the education of children by schools and the entertainment media) – both positions are wrong, homosexual acts should NOT be illegal, but nor should they promoted by the state – not by the state schools, not by the state backed media and not by the police (no marching in “Pride” events – OR ANY OTHER POLITICAL EVENT, the police are supposed to be neutral).

    As for banning religious or secular teaching against homosexual acts (so called “Conversion Therapy”) – in other countries such laws are very selectively applied. Christians are punished for preaching against homosexual acts – but followers of the Islamic faith do NOT tend to be punished for preaching against homosexual acts (so called “Conversion Therapy”). I suspect that the law would also be selectively applied here in the United Kingdom. The same is true, in various countries, for ordinary trades and professions – a Christian baker (or photographer or whatever) can be punished for not taking part in a “Gay Wedding” – but punishing a follower of the Islamic faith for refusing to bake a pro “Gay Marriage” wedding cake (or whatever) would be a very different matter.

    Both great religions can point to both scripture and tradition (the work of various thinkers over the centuries) as the source of their stance towards homosexual acts – but these two great religions are treated rather differently by the “mainstream” media and by the “justice” authorities of various countries.

    Oh dear – another suspension (or expulsion) by Central Office may be on the way, for the above words.

    However, this is my position – I condemn making homosexual acts illegal (as they were when I came into this world – and such laws are QUITE WRONG) they should NOT be illegal, but nor should they be promoted by the state – which they now are.

    And people, Christian, Muslim, Orthodox Jew, or atheist (for there are atheists who are Social Conservatives – who argue, rightly or wrongly, that active homosexuality is a disorder, harmful both to society and to the individuals concerned) must be allowed to PEACEFULLY argue against homosexual acts – if that is how they choose to spend their time.

  • Paul Marks

    “The government is seeking to make it a crime to seek to persuade people not to do something, by talking to them”.

    Yes Natalie – that is what the government is doing. Arguing a case (in this example the case that homosexual acts are wrong) will be made illegal.

    But it is not just this – generally speaking modern governments in many Western countries are saying more-and-more that arguing certain cases (expressing certain points of view, certain opinions) is a “crime”. It is most certainly not confined to homosexual acts.

    So much for “its a free country” or a “free society”.

    And it is very much international – after all United Nations Agenda 2030 contains a cultural (not just an economic) agenda.

    As does the Environmental and Social Governance (ESG) system – the Western version of the Chinese Social Credit system.

    For example, should a “homophobe” be allowed a bank loan for their business?

    Should a “homophobe” be allowed a job?

    What about government benefits? Surely giving the “homophobe” government benefits (after their business has been bankrupted and they have been denied employment) would be subsidising their vile bigotry?

    Surely better, the Progressive would argue, that Homophobes, Racists, Sexists, Transphobes, Islamophobes, and-so-on leave this world – if need be via starvation.

    And, of course, this would apply to Climate Change Emergency “deniers” – who are a clear threat to the world (at least so the Progressive would argue) and, therefore, should be removed from the world.

    “Anti Vaxers”, this term being applied even to the “vaccinated” if they are against vaccine mandates, should also be removed from this world – so the Progressive would argue. Like Climate Change Emergency “Deniers” and “Racists”, “Islamophobes”, “Sexists”, “Transphobes” and (in this example) “Homophobes”.

    The Progressive plan of action is clear – and the Environment and Social Governance (ESG) system is part of this plan of action.

    There is no limit to this – for example if you object to your eight year old child “transitioning” then you are a “transphobe”. The “moderate” Mr Joseph Biden made that quite clear before he was “elected” in the pretend American Presidential election of November 2020.

    Reactionaries have no place in a Progressive society.

  • FYI, if you choose not to give them an email to follow up (in the unlikely event they wished to) then you can give your opinion (e.g. that the government is overeager to ban mere private speech) without (knowingly) identifying yourself to them. (How this prevents a horde of activists submitting four thousand “great idea” posts each over the last two months was not wholly clear, but perhaps they’d each need to find four thousand distinct computers – or a good VPN.)

    – Like Natalie, I often ‘preferred not to say’ (where possible – some questions had to be answered but the recipient knows no more than you do – that I’m Scots and etc.). Like Natalie, I answered the first text-input-offering question with a brief sentence suggesting that forbidding private consenting speech between two people in the house where they both lived (or requiring signed forms before permitting it, and only if both parties were of age) was quite an aggressive bite out of our remaining ability to speak freely. (Then I wrote some expansion on that, e.g. why did the frequent references to conversion therapy as ‘coercive’ vanish just at the point where the crime of “offering talking therapies” was being defined – but I suspect my first brief paragraph alone will be noticed, if that.)

    – Like Natalie I put less/no time into several of the later questions, but some could more or less be answered. I commented sardonically on others – how, for example, does one answer a question asking me to tick one of “strongly agree” through “strongly disagree” with statements like “The government is sufficiently aware of the need to ban conversion therapy?” or “The government already has the legal power to ban conversion therapy?” (quoted from memory). None of the agree/disagree choices seemed quite right and while “prefer not to say” was available, that response contrasted comically with the ‘more detail’ text box below the choice-list in which I did in fact say a thing or two (read this in Natalie’s first post for an idea of what).

  • I’m pretty sure they don’t plan on applying the ban in those situations. (bobby b, February 3, 2022 at 10:16 pm)

    FWIW, my interpretation is that the minister (Liz Truss) has thoughts of applying it “in those situations” also (or at least is implying that, to try and sweeten the pill for any ‘swivel-eyed loon’ Tories) but the Sir Humphrey Appleby who expanded and ‘clarified’ her intro is very focussed on eliminating that aspect.

    I recall the ‘Yes (Prime?) Minister’ episode where Sir Humphrey keeps redrafting the memo and Jim Hacker keeps complaining that it still doesn’t say what his version said.

  • Paul Marks

    Niall the Civil Service has an agenda, and that agenda is “Wokeness” (Frankfurt School Marxism) – it really is. And that agenda comes from the EDUCATION SYSTEM – and is now even hitting the judges. All the institutions of society are now committed (fanatically committed) to the destruction of the principles upon which society depends.

    I am afraid that those who are now young will have to rebuild civilisation – as the collapse of the present civilisation may now be unavoidable.

    So whatever the Bill says – it will be applied to “protect” children who are “transitioning” – protect them from the arguments NOT to “transition”.

  • Paul Marks

    As we know from American experience – it is fine (indeed wonderful) for teachers and others to convince children that they are homosexual, or to convince boys that they are girls, and girls that they are boys (and should “transition” with medical help).

    Any opposition to this (by parents or others) is vile bigotry, which only Reactionary-Running-Dogs would be capable of.

  • Paul Marks

    The Harvard sociologist Talcott Parsons was famous for his “functionalist” view of society (the alternative to the Marxist view which was already strong in academia).

    But Parsons (although an opponent of Marxism) was a moderate leftist – he wanted various statist “reforms” that would (this he did not grasp), make society “dysfunctional”. It is interesting – he analysed various social institutions (such as the family) and explained how they enabled society to function, and then suggested various “reforms” which would (again – this he did not grasp) make these social institutions no longer function – thus making society dysfunctional.

    If you want to see the legacy of the high minded reformers of the mid 20th century – see American cities today, indeed see the decay of the wider society.

    The difference between “liberal reformers” such as Parsons, and the Marxists such as the husband and wife team Cloward and Piven, and the thinly disguised Marxist Saul Alinsky (the inspiration of both Hillary Clinton and Barack Obama) – is that the latter, the Marxists, KNEW that the various “reforms” would undermine and corrupt society.

  • Fraser Orr

    Paul Marks
    Niall the Civil Service has an agenda, and that agenda is “Wokeness” (Frankfurt School Marxism)

    FWIW, I don’t agree. The civil service has the same agenda today as it has had since the days of Francis Walsingham and Sir Thomas More. Namely, increasing their power and increasing their budget. Famously (and quoting from memory), Sir Humphrey explained to Wooley “How can we measure our success? British Leyland measures their success by the size of their profits, or in their case, the size of their failure by the size of their losses. But we have no profits, so we measure our success by the size of our budgets and the size of our staff.”

    Wokeness is, insofar as the civil service has embraced it, merely a means to an end. The civil service is an amoral, emergent system that like any monster wants to survive, grow and thrive. And, if you look at the inexorable climb of their budgets, personnel and ability to interfere in your life, you must conclude that the civil service is spectacularly successful.