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Exclusive: Equality minister Harriet Harman warns gay voters ‘should not be fooled’ by Cameron’s Section 28 apology

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  1. She’s a good woman.

  2. I’m sure you are right, Mrs Harman. I am sure the Tory party will do for gay rights what the Titanic did for the reputation of maritime shipping.

    But what have you got to say about allowing faith schools to instill guilt and shame into gay pupils? What protections do these children get from bullying, in such a Section 28-esque information vacuum?

    It would be nice if all the champagne swilling guests of Mr Brown at least asked that question when they meet him.

  3. vulpus_rex 3 Jul 2009, 10:44am

    They really are desperate aren’t they.

    Labour have utterly failed the country, massively, we are broke, children barely able to read, crime out of control, illegal wars, they are utterly dishonest.

    Drunk on the trappings of power and the need to rob the public for self-enrichment they now stoop to wild exageration and spreading lies in order to fool those who are too feeble minded to see the harm that Labour have done.

    They are going to be annihilated and shouting about homophobia is the best they can come up with.

    Dislike the Tories if you must but how anyone can support the eveil of New Labour is staggering.

  4. It’s not often that I agree with Harriet Harman, but this is one of those occasions. Cameron may now be apologising for Section 28, but let’s not forget that in 2003 he voted for it to be kept in place. Last year, he voted in favour of strengthening the existing laws that restrict lesbian couples’ right to in vitro fertilisation by ordering clinics to consider the supposed “need” for a child to have a mother and a father – could it be that the apology is no more than a cynical attempt to attract more votes? Now, Tory MEPs are forming an alliance with Poland’s nationalist Prawo i Spraweidliwosc party, which is widely thought ot be extrememly homophobic (not to mention anti-semitic and sexist) – their ex-chairman banned a gay pride march but allowed a homophobic “Parade of Normality” recently in his capacity as mayor of Warsaw. Having anything to do with a group like that is not the actions of a party that supports gay rights, pride and freedom.

    Cameron and the Conservatives are not to be trusted, it seems.

  5. I wonder how many unthinking gay men and women actually read and absorb the drivel of newspapers like The Daily Mail and The London Evening Standard, and worse. I suppose there must be some gays and lesbians who want these easy reads.

  6. Harriet really is a good woman and she is right on the money with her comments. We will NEVER hear a tory speak like this- they vocabulary doesn’t even exist in their brains.

    If people can’t bring themselves to vote labour please don’t vote tory. Lib Dems have a far better record on equality.

    @ vulpus rex You really are exaggerating. Labour has not failed us on crime, education or health. Just because faith schools are a bad idea doesn’t mean that there has not been significant improvements under Labour. Do you think the Tories would have invested more in public spending? Sure enough, the economy’s a problem, but much of that is down to the global recession and not all down to our government. You are out of line to come onto a thread about Harriet Harman and call Labour evil. That woman has done so much to fight for our rights, she deserves some respect.

  7. Tim Roll-Pickering 3 Jul 2009, 11:29am

    Where is Harriet Harman’s apology for Labour’s position on Section 28 when it was introduced?

    And remember how Labour played this card in the run-up to the London Mayoral election, claiming that if Boris Johnson were elected it would be a catastrophe for LGBT people in London? And has it? No. (Well unless you’re a careerist New Labour hack who was a member of a never-met, do-nothing LG-only advisory panel that made no difference to people’s lives.)

  8. Simon Murphy 3 Jul 2009, 11:38am

    ‘Dave’ may have apologised for Section 28.

    He has not however apologised for wanting to keep Section 28 until VERY recently.

    I don’t want to vote for Labour in the next election. Common sense tells me however that I would be an absolute fool to vote Tory.

    ‘Dave’ speaks a nice PR line but his PR is not backed up with policies or action. Like the entire Tory party as a matter of fact.

  9. I am no great fan of the New Labour Project but the gains for the LGBT people since they came to power are undeniable. Equal age of consent, civil partnerships, the right to adopt, Section 28 scrapped, workplace discrimination and goods and services discrimination outlawed, fertility rights for lesbians on the NHS, Gender Recognition Act introduced, the end to the ban on LGBT people in the armed forces and recognition and increased sentencing for homophobic hate crimes. The Equality Bill – currently before Parliament would require public services – such as healthcare, education and policing, to actively promote equality for LGBT people. This Government has brought about the greatest advances for LGBT rights ever seen in the UK.

    And these laws would not have been proposed under a Conservative government who have consistently voted against equality measures for LGBT people while in opposition. Of course, all progressive changes are to be celebrated, such as more out MPs, but in reality this story is part of a Conservative Party scramble for the votes of gay men with very little substance underneath. If in doubt, check their manifesto when the general election comes!

  10. “Labour have utterly failed the country, massively, we are broke …”

    Yes, and the reason is that Labour adopted the same Tory economic and free-market policies. Those Tory policies, which the Conservatives and Labour still support, have failed.

  11. Well all this squabbling is totally academic anyway. The fact the Tories are going to win the next general election by a landslide is a foregone conclusion, whether you like it or not. It’s not “if”, it’s “when”.

    Labour are just intent on fucking up everything they can before being pushed out, so leaving the country in a disastrous state for everyone else to clear up, and then blaming them when they have problems. All this bickering is bullshit.

    And as for whinging on about section 28 and civil partnerships, they promised to sort both of these in their manifesto, and it took years for them to pull their fingers out after the forceful behest of the EU, so I really wish they would stop attacking the Tories for a 20 year old bill that took them another 5 to rescind.

  12. Simon Murphy 3 Jul 2009, 12:37pm

    Didn’t ‘Dave’ Cameron used to work in PR?

    Does he still cycle to work with a huge people-carrier driving behind him?

  13. vulpus_rex 3 Jul 2009, 12:38pm

    Harriet Harman I agree is well intentioned, however the introduction of racist, sexist legislation is not the answer to promoting equality, in the work place or otherwise.

    She is however also part of a cabinet team who have utterly failed to control the incompetence of Brown. I judge her as collectively responsible for the ruin he has caused, and even worse she has stood on the sidelines and cheered him on.

    Education, health care and crime have become a sick joke under Labour. Sure they have hosed cash at them all, but that’s about it.

    If you think education has improved, then ask yourself why Harriet Harman won’t let her kids anywhere near the schools where they live in Peckham. She like countless other Labour hypocrites sends them to selective schools.

  14. Remember that the Tories are going to cut taxes for Families. Who do you think that leave paying for man/wife/2kids brigade? Those single people paying tax that’s who. How many gay people does that cover 98%. The Tories MAY like equality, but they like our taxes more.

  15. Mihangel apYrs 3 Jul 2009, 1:48pm

    HH floated effortlessly from NCCL (Liberty as is) into the HoC where she supported detention without trial for 42 days, ID cards, Iraq war, and the rest of the illiberal rubbish this authoritarian Govt has tried and usually succeeded in emplacing. Her vhutzpah is unbelievable, and I believe she would sacrifice any of our rights to stay in power.

    So unlike Shami Chakrabarti who I believe actually believes in her brief and Liberty’s ethos

  16. Religions are going to be the Fascism of the 21 century. They are well organized like steet gangs, each having a nonsensical graffiti, a “creed”, each trying to have full control over the population and to destroy the other gangs. If we don’t resist them now they will crush all of us later.

  17. Mihangel apYrs 3 Jul 2009, 1:51pm

    erm…
    that’s “chutzpah”

  18. Robert, ex-pat Brit 3 Jul 2009, 2:33pm

    Well, does anyone think the economic downturn would have fared any better under a Tory government? We’ve had eight years of fiscal irresponsiblity by their mentor brothers in the U.S.,the republicans who abolished the Glass/Steagall Act of 1931 that guaranteed government oversight and regulation of the financial services industries, giving the biggest tax breaks for the rich and other elitist groups, the middle class taking the brunt of it all and corporations and banks and mortgage lending sharks fleecing the public all attributed to deregulation instigated and supported by the republicans, a move that propelled the global economic downturn ripple effect over the past 30 years. The republicans think that tax cuts solve everything. Well, they haven’t, the economy stagnated, jobs were shipped overseas while the economy declined at home. The Tories behave no differently. Expect more of the same from them. If they’re so pro gay and pro equality, why do they always reject much of Labour’s plans to advance our rights? They are becoming like the republican party of NO in America. Be careful what you wish and vote for.

  19. Just an idle thought about how society has progressed over the last 15 years. Who would have given a stuff about courting the ‘pink vote’ 15 years ago? There WAS no visible pink vote then. Nice to know now that all 3 main parties not only recognise that there is, but are also courting us to put our cross in their box.

    And RobN – one of the main reasons it took so long for the Govt to repeal Section 28 was that Tory MPs and Tory peers (in the main) kept voting it down.

  20. Andrew Reynolds 3 Jul 2009, 2:46pm

    Tony Blair declared at the Sontewall Equality Dinner last year that championing LGBT rights was something that crossed the political divide. This non-partisan approach he experienced seems to sit uncomfortably with the recent statements from Government ministers. More to do with Labour’s poor standing in the polls I think!

  21. One of these days Cameron is going to meet himself coming back – he’ll jump on ANY bandwagon, say anything depending on who he’s talking to …. if he told me today was Friday I’d go buy a newspaper to check!!! NOTHING he says can or should be taken at face value!!!

  22. We are not some political football that can be kicked around for petty party politics. Every day I am moving more and more towards voting Lib Dem.

    The two main parties have totally shown their disrespect towards the causes that Pride ans the Stonewall riots represent.

  23. They first thing the Tories would do would be to reverse the ban on fox hunting; this was a free vote representing the freewill of Parliament, which is normally a no go area for any subsequent Parliaments. If they can do that then all Labour legislation, including gay reforms, especially SORs and the Equility Bill is at risk.

    All the best.

  24. Brian Burton 3 Jul 2009, 8:23pm

    I’m guaranteed a good nights sleep under Labour. I never felt safe under Tory Rule. The last time Torys ruled, it lasted 18 years.

  25. Harriet Harman’s Rocks!

  26. Sister Mary Clarence 3 Jul 2009, 10:13pm

    Dave, are you paid by the Labour party to write that shite?

    Equality legislation came from the European Parliament and the European Court NOT from the f*cking Labour Party.

    You’re all so happy to enjoy the benefits of equality legislation but too down right f*cking lazy or stupid, or both, to find out exactly how it came about.

    It takes about 10 seconds to google it, which is considerably less time than it takes most of you to write the inane, ill-informed crap you’re all spouting about the Tories.

    “I believe it because someone told me it true”, is hardly a robust motto to see you through the perils of life. Its a wonder you have time to post on here in between falling over and walking into things.

  27. Sister M C my concern is more for the foxes, dear, if the truth be known. Obviously, we cannot depend on the European Parliament and/or Court for that.

    All the best.

  28. Keep up the good work, Harriet – you and our gay Labour MPs and ministers will pull the Labour Party through and change Britain into a vibrant thriving economy. You have my support.

  29. “Equality legislation came from the European Parliament and the European Court NOT from the f*cking Labour Party.”

    @Sister Mary Clarence

    Why do Tories keep saying this crap? Do they hope that if they push this lie hard enough people will believe it?

    Almost all the equality legislation of the past 12 years; repeal of section 28, same-sex adoption, civil partnerships and anti-discrimination laws had nothing to do with the EC or EU.

  30. Tories? Never ever ever ever ever ever ever. That is The Party who is cosying up with homophobia all the time, that’s part and parcel of their ethos. They done nothing to embrace gay people, nothing, zero, zilch. The conservative party is a party wanting to conserve the sexist prejudice which still plagues our societies. Gay people who vote for them are stupid.

  31. RobN is a fake, a mole who infiltrates gay websites to plant subtle smear messages trying to convince the stupid with the intention to backtrack gay rights.

  32. Sister Mary Clarence is another mole who is here trying to muddle the water. Anyone who votes Tory is voting to backtrack gay rights.

  33. Sister Mary Clarence 4 Jul 2009, 1:04pm

    “Almost all the equality legislation of the past 12 years; repeal of section 28, same-sex adoption, civil partnerships and anti-discrimination laws had nothing to do with the EC or EU.”

    Donkey.

    “The Amsterdam Treaty: freedom, security and justice
    INTRODUCTION

    The founding Treaties contained no specific provisions on fundamental rights. The credit for gradually developing a system of guarantees for fundamental rights throughout the European Union has to go to the Court of Justice.

    The rulings given by the Court have been essentially based on:

    Article 220 (ex Article 164) of the EC Treaty establishing the European Community, which requires the Court to ensure that the law is observed in the interpretation and application of the Treaty;
    the political dimension of the Community, which is grounded in a European model of society, including the protection of fundamental rights recognised by all Member States.
    By bringing fundamental rights to the fore, those who drafted the Treaty of Amsterdam were endeavouring to give formal recognition to human rights. The provisions of the new Treaty include the following:

    Article 6 (ex Article F) of the EU Treaty has been amended so as to reaffirm the principle of respect for human rights and fundamental freedoms;
    a procedure is laid down for dealing with cases where a Member State has committed a breach of the principles on which the Union is based;
    more effective action is to be taken to combat not only discrimination based on nationality but also discrimination based on sex, racial or ethnic origin, religion or belief, disability, age or sexual orientation;
    new provisions on equal treatment for men and women are inserted in the Treaty establishing the European Community;
    individuals are afforded greater protection with regard to the processing and free movement of personal data;
    the Final Act was accompanied by declarations on the abolition of the death penalty, respect for the status of churches and philosophical or non-confessional organisations, and on the needs of persons with a disability.
    BACKGROUND

    The place given to fundamental rights in the Community Treaties has changed considerably since the European venture was first launched. At the outset, fundamental rights were not a central concern of those who drafted the Paris and Rome Treaties, which reflect a sectoral and functionalist approach. The Treaty of Paris, which established the European Coal and Steel Community (ECSC), is concerned solely with the coal and steel industries. This sectoral approach gained strength after the failure, in 1954, of the European Defence Community (EDC) and the concomitant moves towards political union. It thus became a feature of the Rome Treaties establishing the European Atomic Energy Community (Euratom) and the European Economic Community (EEC). Although the EEC Treaty was wider in scope than the other two, all three Treaties covered well-defined economic spheres.

    One consequence of this sectoral approach was to set the founding Treaties apart from any basic law of a constitutional nature which incorporated a solemn declaration on fundamental rights. The Treaties in question were not suited to the inclusion of such a preamble, particularly since the Council of Europe’s European Convention on Human Rights (ECHR), signed in 1950, already provided an advanced model for the protection of human rights in Europe.

    The situation changed rapidly as the Court of Justice, in the judgments it handed down, began to monitor the respect shown for fundamental rights by the Community institutions and the Member States whenever they took action within the areas covered by Community law. The Court recognised, for example, the right to property and the freedom to engage in economic activity, which are essential to the smooth operation of the internal market. The Court held that fundamental rights ranked as general principles of Community law and that they were based on two:

    the constitutional traditions of the Member States;
    the international Treaties to which the Member States belonged (and the ECHR in particular).
    In 1977 the European Parliament, the Commission and the Council signed a Joint Declaration in which they undertook to continue respecting the fundamental rights arising from the two sources identified by the Court. In 1986 a further step was taken when the preamble to the Single European Act included a reference to the promotion of democracy on the basis of fundamental rights.

    The EU Treaty states that “[t]he Union shall respect fundamental rights, as guaranteed by the European Convention for the Protection of Human Rights and Fundamental Freedoms signed in Rome on 4 November 1950 and as they result from the constitutional traditions common to the Member States, as general principles of Community law” (Article 6(2), ex Article F.2).

    At the same time, the idea that the Community as such should accede to the ECHR had begun to circulate. The Council decided to ask the Court’s opinion on whether membership of the Convention would be compatible with the Treaties. In its opinion of 28 March 1996 the Court held that, as Community law stood at that time, the Community was not competent to accede to the Convention.

    As European integration has progressed, the European Union has gradually widened its field of action, reflecting the determination of the Member States to act as one in areas which until now have been a strictly national preserve (e.g. internal security or the fight against racism and xenophobia). In view of these changes, which necessarily go beyond the sectoral context of the Community’s early days and impinge on the daily life of European citizens, there is a need for clear legal texts which proclaim respect for fundamental rights as a basic principle of the European Union. The Treaty of Amsterdam meets this need.

    PRINCIPLES

    The Treaty of Amsterdam clarifies Article 6 (ex Article F) of the Treaty on European Union by stating unequivocally that the Union is founded on the principles of liberty, democracy, respect for human rights and fundamental freedoms, and the rule of law, principles which are common to the Member States.

    It also amends the preamble to the EU Treaty, confirming the Member States’ attachment to fundamental social rights as defined in the European Social Charter of 1961 and the Community Charter of the Fundamental Social Rights of Workers of 1989.

    Before the Treaty of Amsterdam entered into force, Article F.2 of the EU Treaty stressed respect for the rights guaranteed by the ECHR and those resulting from the constitutional traditions common to the member states. However, under former Article L (now renumbered Article 46) the powers of the Court of Justice did not extend to Article F, so limiting its impact. Since ensuring respect for the law in the interpretation and application of the Treaty is the Court’s task, the scope of fundamental rights was correspondingly reduced.

    By amending Article 46, the Treaty of Amsterdam ensures that Article 6(2) will be applied. The Court now has the power to decide whether the institutions have failed to respect fundamental rights.

  34. Yeah, Sister, and you know that the principles of this declaration is up for interpretation don’t you? That’s why we’re still treated as second class citizens in the whole of Europe. That’s also why some european governments can create downright homophobic laws and other governments cannot do much appart from complaining/condemning. And I’m old enough to know what Labour has promised about gay rights before they got into power, they managed to implement during their mandate. While the Tories, well, only tried to block gay rights laws every single time. That speaks for itself.

  35. Dave: I go with Sister Mary on this – The foxhunting bill WAS a free vote, and it LOST. At which point your dear Mr Blair overrode all democracy and both houses and instigated the Parliament act to ram the f–king thing home. Please get your research right before going on some uneducated commie rant.

    Bob: Blimey mate. We’ve got more moles in here than a bloody golf course. Why would we bother “smearing” and “muddling (sic) the waters”? I have better things to do with my time than trying to convince f–kwits like you what a bunch of gullible twats you really are.

  36. DaveYorkie 4 Jul 2009, 8:59pm

    Despite the mess the country appears to be in, and despite the fact that the Labour party seem powerless and bankrupt of any useful ideas voting Tory is something no intelegent person could wish to do
    Have you short memories of the Neo right that led to the destruction of shared responsibility and community, not to mention respect for diversity. I for one would rather leave Britan than live under a Tory government

  37. As a gay man I remember Thatcher’s anti-gay conservatisim well.

    As a gay man who lives in a deeply homophobic rural area, where homophobic institutional prejudice by local police & local government is still a reality & rife despite theoretical changes in law, I genuinely fear the return of the almost neo-nazi attitudes of conservatives to power.

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