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


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

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