Letter: No offence taken

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The Independent Online
Sir: I am not easily stunned, but your front page report (29 January) giving news of the Government's decision to cancel a proposed campaign on safe sex and the use of condoms in the fight against Aids has brought me pretty close to it.

All but one of the planned posters would cause offence says Baroness Cumberlege. To whom? Not to those of us who work away and campaign in this field. Despite the Government's denial, it is clearly a cave-in to the moral majority. The scarcely veiled threats to the future of the Health Education Authority is all part of the same scenario.

Baroness Cumberlege is clearly a very inexperienced lady and easily frightened by empty threats. What moral majority? How moral? Where's the majority? Face up to them and argue them down with facts.

I shall soon be discussing how to combat in various parts of the world this pandemic. We'll be looking at videos; posters; street theatre groups. We'll be talking and listening together; we'll be trying to see what we can use to punch the message home. Being offended at any of it will not enter the heads of anyone there. The days for embarrassment have long since gone whether, like me, you are a granny in her sixties or a doctor who has worked with sexually transmitted diseases.

The Government bends the knee to prejudice, ignorance and bigotry. Let the media of our country show how to defend, and use, freedom in defence of others.

Yours sincerely,


MEP for Glasgow (Lab)