Thursday, November 25, 2004

The Pink Vote

An interesting post on Jaymaster about the Civil Partnerships Bill which has now had the Royal Assent, in the course of which he says: "say what you like about New Labour, they have improved the lot for gay men and women."
Impossible to argue with that statement. And yet, and's not quite as simple as that. Here's why.
Despite a massive majority, it took them years to repeal Section 28 which was the most urgent reform because it affected vulnerable young people.
They spent millions of pounds of taxpayers' money fighting in the courts to retain the ban on gay people serving in the armed forces. This wasn't because they believed in this policy but so that they could present the eventual change in the law as something imposed on them by the European Convention of Human Rights.
Although Tony Blair is the first party leader to mention gay rights in conference speeches, he abstained in most if not all of the votes on gay law reform because he's always looking over his shoulder at The Sun and the Daily Mail.
The Tory Party - in Parliament, though not in the country - have been playing catch-up on gay rights so fast that they might even move ahead of Labour in some areas.

The interesting question is whether, given that there have been significant reforms, gay men and women should feel an obligation to reward Labour with their vote at the next election. The pragmatic answer is that they would have more reason to do so if there were any likelihood of the Tories repealing any of this legislation. But there's not. Everyone must make their own judgement but I shall not be voting Labour because I don't believe that narrow self-interest should over-ride my strong disagreement with other policies like the Iraq war, criminal justice policies and treatment of asylum seekers.
In a case that was barely reported in the press, a gay Iranian who had been sentenced to death in Iran managed to escape to Britain. The Home Office repeatedly refused his request for asylum and, when every avenue had been exhausted and he was due to be deported to certain execution, he doused himself with petrol and burned himself to death. I shall dedicate my refusal to vote Labour to his memory.

Least Surprising Thing heard this week: Little and Large once had to sack their warm-up man because he was funnier than they were.
Second Least Surprising Thing heard this week: the warm-up man they sacked was Michael Barrymore.
- heard on Midweek, Radio 4

Discovered that Carlo has told Mrs Skidmore that he took a photo of my belly button which has been published on the internet. If I weren't a pacifist, I would have boxed his ears. I'm going round to Mrs Skidmore with some flowers and a box of Ferrero Rocher and to explain that, although the photo was for an innocuous purpose, it would be better to keep it to herself.
There can be no doubt that Lee is a pernicious influence. I have had to tell Carlo that I am NOT a 'dude', have never been a dude and, even if I were a dude, I wouldn't tolerate being called a dude by the fucking houseboy. At this, he laughed in an exaggerated way, bending double and holding his stomach, and told me to 'chill out'.
Despite this and against my better judgement, I said Lee could come round for a meal while I was out visiting my sister. As I got ready to leave there was a pungent aroma coming from the Aga in the kitchen and I thought I would show willing by putting my head round the door and making small talk about alternators and automatic transmissions. But Lee and Carlo had already disappeared to Carlo's room in the West Turret, apparently to listen to Lee's reggae albums. This brought to mind that old saying: 'You can't get quicker than a Kwik-Fit fitter.'
After the break: Carlo's dinner a deux goes horribly wrong.


At 9:06 PM, Blogger Adam said...

I agree with you about the Tories and Labour, but I was momentarily unhinged with disbelief by the Lib Dem "Queen's Speech Boardcast" on TV this evening, in which several Lib Dem MPs told us how awful the other parties are. They'd all clearly been told to do somethig with their hands, but not been given any advice on how not to look like a flapping clapping monkey-wrangler; they'd've had more gravitas is they'd worn glove puppets - and Sooty is of course the correct party colour...

P.S: Actually, you can get quicker than a Kick-Fit fitter, but only if you go private...

At 9:14 AM, Blogger Willie Lupin said...

Didn't notice that. The broadcast was so boring I started reading the paper.
A lot of the Liberal front bench remind me of Sooty.


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