The conservatives and community cohesion

David Cameron, the leader of the UK's Conservative Party appointed Sayeeda Warsi, a Muslim woman to his shadow cabinet. A blow for the rights of both women and ethnic minorities I hear you say! Well possibly, but if her track record is anything to go, she's anything but a champion of fairness and minority rights.

When she stood at the last general election, one of her campaign leaflets contained distinctly ugly messages about the Labour government's repeal of section 28 (the infamous Tory legislation outlawing the "promotion" of homosexuality in schools), and the lowering of the gay age of consent.

The text from the leaflet read:  "Labour has scrapped section 28, which was introduced by the Conservatives to stop schools promoting alternative sexual lifestyles such as homosexuality to children as young as seven years old ... Labour reduced the age of consent for homosexuality from 18 to 16, allowing schoolchildren to be propositioned for homosexual relationships."

In a recent article in the Guardian when this was her put to her Warsi said, "Our position on section 28 has changed. I've made this absolutely clear: what people do in their private lives is absolutely their business. If people want to engage in heterosexual or homosexual lifestyles, then they can."

During the interview she went on to bemoan "the lack of choice that parents have in some of our state schools about what their kids are taught", and argue both that sex education should be taken "out of the school system, initially" and that we ought to "rethink how we are going to teach our kids".

For all his modernising zeal , David Cameron can't change the way the members of his party, including its elected officials, think. And as her campaign literature and the record of her latest interview clearly demonstrate Sayeeda Warsi has a long way to go before she could be considered even remotely 'modern'.

Oh and by the way she is the Shadow Minister for Community Cohesion. You couldn't make it up!