Saturday 3 December 2016

When did being a liberal mean you had to be a crank?

Published 16/05/2014 | 02:30

Senator David Norris holds a 130-year-old top hat at the launch of the Clerys Heritage Gallery. Leon Farrell/Photocall Ireland
Senator David Norris holds a 130-year-old top hat at the launch of the Clerys Heritage Gallery. Leon Farrell/Photocall Ireland

When I was younger ... Well, when I was younger I never thought I'd reach the decrepit age where I'd start a column with the phrase 'when I was younger.'

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But, when I was younger, there were clearly defined battle lines in what would later come to be called the 'culture wars.' In other words, there were certain issues that decided whether you were a liberal or a conservative and ne'er the twain would meet.

Conservatives were, of course, pretty horrible people. They were the ones who were opposed to basic, common sense freedoms such as divorce, contraception and gay rights; they were happy to demonise young, single mothers; they were willing to criminalise abortion and censor English newspapers such as The Guardian for the sin of carrying ads for the Marie Stopes clinic.

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