There will be local elections in many parts of England this Thursday and our advice to our readers is that who ever you support, make sure that you vote!
In 2006, we the LGBT (lesbian, gay, bisexual and transgendered) community are able to support candidates of any of the three major political parties (and the Greens) in 90 per cent of cases.
The national leaders of Labour, the Conservatives, the Liberal Democrats and the Greens have pledged to combat homophobia and are committed to ensuring that we are able to live our lives freely in an equal society.
Therefore we have no excuse to abstain from voting for almost every candidate from these major parties. Indeed, PinkNews.co.uk believes that we have a duty to vote, regardless of the party so long as we firstly combat apathy and secondly ensure that in particular areas, the right-wing British National Party (BNP) are denied the opportunity to spread their particular breed of politics.
We must not kid ourselves that the BNP do not matter unless we are from an ethnic minority. Just recently, ‘welcoming’ a tourist campaign aimed at gay people they described it as: “Government lures perverts to bugger British boys!” Not voting means that the BNP could get elected, they would turn back the tide of equality that we have enjoyed since 1997.
In particular locations, PinkNews.co.uk believes that voters should support one party over another.
In Lambeth, we call on the electorate to return a Liberal Democrat council and to steer clear of voting Labour. The local Labour party’s attitudes to gay rights must be questioned by their recent campaign literature, which verges on homophobia, exposed by PinkNews.co.uk today. Thankfully, the attitudes of the local Labour party in Lambeth are not reflective of the national party as a whole.
In Bromley, readers should vote against the Conservatives (and therefore for either the Liberal Democrats or Labour) in recognition of the fact that the Conservative led council considered banning civil partnership celebrations on council properties. Thankfully, the threat of legal action from Ken Livingstone, the Mayor of London and the condemnation of the then Conservative Leader, Michael Howard put pay to this homophobic policy.
However, in Barnet, LGBT voters should support the Conservatives where they have pioneered an anti-homophobic bullying campaign in schools. This council, who in many ways represent traditional Conservative constituents have dramatically demonstrated their commitment to LGBT rights and should be justly rewarded by our community.
In particular we should recognise that in Tottenham and Hackney, there are some excellent candidates from our own community representing all three major political parties. Indeed in Hackney, Andrew Boff, the Conservative candidate for the directly elected mayor is openly gay.
The message is clear, if you are registered to vote, remember to exercise your democratic rights, vote for any party that is committed to LGBT rights and remember to make sure that the BNP do not gain a foothold in your community.
We have in the past invited the BNP to take part in features for PinkNews.co.uk and if they so wish, we will reissue this invitation.