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Brian Souter, on Good Morning Scotland
"We have a right to nurture our children"
 real 28k

Thursday, 11 May, 2000, 08:38 GMT 09:38 UK
Souter defends Section 28 stance
Brian Souter graphic
Brian Souter: Bankrolling campaign
The millionaire businessman leading the campaign in Scotland to retain Section 28 has denied being a bigot.

Stagecoach tycoon, Brian Souter, was speaking ahead of the BBC's Question Time programme on Thursday night, where he will share a platform with gay singer Boy George.

Mr Souter is funding the Keep the Clause campaign, which is opposing the Scottish Executive's plan to scrap Section 28.

The legislation prevents local authorities from promoting homosexuality as a pretend family relationship.

Boy George
Boy George: Question Time date
In an interview with BBC Scotland's Good Morning Scotland programme, Mr Souter insisted: "I think that someone who is bigoted is intolerant of other people's lifestyle and values and their sexual practices and I don't consider myself intolerant at all.

"I think the issue here is really what we teach our children and I think lots of people feel like me, it's not intolerant to be concerned about what your children are taught.

"We have a right to nurture our children with our own values and beliefs."

He said that local government was responsible for providing materials to schools and for influencing the curriculum.

Guidelines 'inadequate'

Parents' main concerns were that such material should be "suitable" and that children were protected, as they presently are by statute, from "inappropriate" information.

Mr Souter argued that the Scottish Executive's proposed guidelines were "very, very inadequate".

I frankly don't trust the local authorities to carry out this job properly

Brian Souter
In England, school boards had a power of veto, giving parents a direct say.

"We just feel that the Scottish Executive is very well off the mark here and just with a politically correct agenda, they're simply not responding to the genuine concerns that people have.

"The minority's rights in this are to do with adult conduct and the concern here is about what our children are going to be taught.

"I do trust those who teach our children, my concern is that the policies are set by local authorities and that, I frankly don't trust the local authorities to carry out this job properly."

'Independent referendum'

The Keep the Clause campaign is in the process of carrying out a cross-Scotland poll on the issue, which Mr Souter insisted was an "independent referendum".

Groups in favour of Section 28's abolition have staged symbolic burnings of ballot papers in Edinburgh and Glasgow.

Bus painted pink
A Stagecoach bus was painted pink
And on Wednesday, Mr Souter's opponents painted a white Stagecoach bus in Glasgow pink, highlighting their views of the businessman's campaign.

Mr Souter said: "The anecdotal reports would suggest that people will take this opportunity to register their views and to state their protest about it."

Asked if he was looking forward to appearing on television with Boy George, he said: "I'm looking forward to going on the programme.

"I think it will be interesting and it will be an experience if nothing else.

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See also:

07 May 00 | Scotland
March for Section 28 repeal
06 May 00 | Scotland
Section 28 vote dubbed a farce
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