Gay vicar attacked by Daily Mail for slamming ‘right to buy’

Radio 4 host's private life is called 'seedy' to punish his heresy on the Tories

Richard Coles


The thought for the day at the Daily Mail appears to be ‘Tear him for his bad verses’, after Reverend Richard Coles criticised the government’s ‘right to buy’ policy as a ‘right to steal’.

The newspaper, which usually stands up for Britian’s Christian tradition, has today sought to discredit the Anglican vicar by digging up the jucier revelations from his memoir.

Coles is openly gay and in a long-term relationship. He presents BBC Radio 4’s Saturday Live programme and is thought to be the model for the TV show Rev. In his book, he discussed his earlier life as one half of the pop band The Communards, including his taking drugs, sexual liberation and his regret for having lied to friends about catching the HIV virus.

If you’re wondering what any of this has to do with his views on the Conservatives’ ‘right to buy’ policy, join the club.

Still, the Mail’s story bears the headline:

Seedy past of Radio 4 vicar who labelled scheme ‘right to steal’

It says that while Coles’s remarks ‘sounded like a stern telling off from the pulpit’, the Reverend is in fact ‘no ordinary churchman’. After quickly noting his seat on the board of a housing association, the Mail tells readers Coles’s memoir discussed

his enthusiasm for ‘dogging’ – having sex with strangers in the open air – and for taking drugs including cocaine, ecstasy and amphetamines. […]

He took large quantities of drugs, apparently spending a whole year in Ibiza on speed and ecstasy, and taking LSD. He believes the ecstasy was sometimes laced with heroin.”

The paper continues:

“He eventually conquered his shyness with other men when he discovered a lay-by where he could meet strangers and have sex in the woods at night.

“He described the discovery of this dogging spot as ‘one of the great liberations of my life. Having lots of casual and anonymous sex with strangers’.”

So you see, because he took drugs and had sex – gay sex at that – with strangers, this depraved musician in a dog-collar has no moral right to lecture our beloved Conservative party on housing. Or as the piece puts it early on:

“while he might now feel free to attack others for seeking the right to buy their own home, he not so long ago felt he had the right to do whatever he chose himself, regardless of the law or anyone else’s feelings.

Meow! Get you, Daily Mail. 

In case you were worried about Rev Coles’s feelings as the Mail punished his heresy, he’s taken something like the high ground:

Adam Barnett is a staff writer at Left Foot Forward. Follow MediaWatch on Twitter

7 Responses to “Gay vicar attacked by Daily Mail for slamming ‘right to buy’”

  1. James Thomas

    My ‘favourite’ part of this article is the description of his vicarage:
    “He lives nearby in a ‘rather lovely’ grace and favour vicarage provided by the Church of England.”

    Aren’t all vicarages ‘grace and favour’? Surely that’s the entire point of them?

  2. 2catlady

    perhaps the DMs quip about “grace and favour” is the opening shot of a campaign for the Cons to strip other charities, not just the ones who run housing schemes, of their property too – housing association homes today, vicarages tomorrow, AGe Concern day centres next, and on and on until everything is owned by the landed few and rented back to the rest of us, if we can ever afford it.

  3. AlanGiles

    Just a minute – this man is a vicar, admittedly a “celebrity” vicar, yet he is in the trade so to speak, yet lied abut being HIV positive!.

    What a great example to ordinary people – the Archbishop must be so proud of him…. “Seedy” is being quite generous to him

  4. damon

    If I ever catch myself listening to his Saturday morning radio programme, I know I am wasting my time and should go and do something useful. It’s so middle of the road.

  5. Guest

    Yea, not extremist, not worth your time.

  6. Tim Rose

    AlanGiles – and I always thought Christianity was about forgiveness for past mistakes (“sins”) when you are brave enough to admit them. May I suggest this vicar deserves praise for his courage in admitting the seedy side of his past life and not hypocritically hiding it, like so many so-called “good people”? I seem to recall somebody even more senior than the Archbishop of Canterbury quite a while ago describing such people as “whited sepulchres”. Didn’t a certain person also state, when asked by the first century equivalent of our modern self-selected moral guardians, to join a mob attacking a sexual miscreant, “let him without sin cast the first stone”? May I also suggest Mr Coles should be praised for the good work he does now, rather than slated for mistakes made in the past?

  7. Harold

    Good point, even David Cammeron said people should get a second chance, I have always thought where someone admits their mistakes and then attempts to do “good” we should support and help, not throw stones. I would accept the Mail challenging his view but why make it personal?

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