Wednesday, 5 December 2012

469: AIDS 5 - Moralising 2, James Anderton nil

James Anderton was the chief constable of the Greater Manchester. His campaigns to combat crime were complemented by his public opinions on social, sexual and moral matters informed by his strong religious beliefs. Hence he was nicknamed “God’s Copper”. On December 11 1986, officers from police forces across the country attended a seminar organised by the Greater Manchester police to discuss police handling and interaction with AIDS victims. Anderton, until recently a Methodist lay preacher, had converted to Catholicism. (The Catholic Church of the time was strongly resistant to AIDS campaigns which emphasised sex education and the use of condoms.) There he spoke about how AIDS was primarily a risk just for prostitutes, drug-users and homosexual men:

“Everywhere I go I see increasing evidence of people swirling around in the cesspool of their own making. Why do homosexuals freely engage in sodomy and other obnoxious sexual practices knowing the dangers involved? Why is this question not asked of these people.”

Which pretty much speaks for itself. In particular, Anderton’s phrase “swirling around in the cesspool of their own making” has gone down in history as the epitome of 1980’s Establishment homophobia.


Noel Ford in The Daily Star, 13 December 1986


JAK in The Evening Standard, 16 December 1986


Private Eye, 6 February 1987

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