One of may favourite scenes in the Lion King goes like this:
Facebook, Twitter, even the mainstream press were all rolling round on the floor like the hyenas this week. “Tim Wilson. Tim Wilson. Tim Wilson”, they chanted, working themselves into a shuddering frenzy.
As the hyena said ” Now that’s power.” And Wilson hasn’t even done anything yet (besides produce a lot of hot air). It was not a pretty sight.
I have no problem with people taking Tim to task for his views: I’m amazed anyone can hold such ideas in their head and stay sane, frankly. But I have a huge problem with people setting up hate pages on Facebook to launch vitriolic personal attacks. Or attempting to revoke Tim’s gay card just because he’s a right winger. Labelling him a traitor, an “Uncle Tom.”
Being gay is not a choice, but your politics, like your religion, are. Just because you’re a Certified Public Homosexual doesn’t mean you’re automatically some shade of red, or even the palest pink. Gays are all colours of the political rainbow. It’s called ‘diversity’, if you remember that concept? Pym Fortuyn was gay. Jorg Haider was gay. So is Nikolai Alexeev (google them if you don’t know who they are – and deduct ten princess points for not knowing your gay history).
As Scar said, “I’m surrounded by idiots.” Play the ball, people, not the man. I have known Tim in a superficial way for some years and interviewed him many times on the radio. I may not know him well, but I do know that, political views aside, he is a decent bloke. In fact, Tim reminds me of someone I once worked with.
Giles was an up and coming young manager, the darling of the directors, on the fast-track to the top. He was smart, clever, efficient and personable – and very good at selling himself (no, that’s not a sexual innuendo). However, everything he knew came from books, courses and study.
Then came a time when the company hit a rough patch. Giles – to his immense satisfaction – was asked to chair the committee looking at ways to improve the bottom line. As these committee inevitably do, it recommended redundancies.
Giles’s committee was asked to recommend who should be let go. Giles revelled in his new-found importance. He relished the chance to make his mark.
The Managing Director called him into his office and said, “Giles, you’ve done such a great job with this, no-one else could possibly explain the reasoning behind this better. We’d like you to handle the whole redundancy process personally.”
Suddenly Giles faced telling the people he had selected that they were out of a job. Face to face.
Come the first day of the layoffs, he set up a private office. One by one, people were summoned to hear their fate. Then they were taken to their desks by security to collect their things, and escorted off the premises. For those with company cars, taxis were summoned.
At the end of that day, he came to see me. His last task for the day had been to fire my boss, Andrew, a personal friend of us both. Giles was white-faced and shaking.
“I’ve just resigned,” he told me. “I can’t do this.”
“But what about your career?” I asked.
“I know,” he said. Then, after a silence, “I shall have to find something else to do, that’s all. Because if this is what you have to do to have a career in business, I don’t want it. I thought I did, but I find I don’t. Will you tell Andrew I’m sorry?”
He rang for a taxi, and turned to leave.
“By the way, you needn’t worry. You’re not on the list. It was close, but you’re safe for now. Not for long though. I’d start looking around if I were you.”
Like Giles, Tim Wilson has unexpectedly been catapulted into a very senior position with some major responsibilities. Like Giles, he will face testing and stressful times and confronting situations as he shifts from the theoretical realm into the practical. After all the loud bluster and talk – and the excellent self-promotion job – he will have to walk the walk.
Like Giles, he may find that, after all, he’s in the wrong job. Or he may grow into it. Let’s see what he makes of it, before we condemn him. And he gets to keep the gay card, you hear?