” David Cameron this week said that on Section 28 we had to admit we got it wrong.”
‘Wrong’ doesn’t even begin to cover it. How about admitting it was a dicriminatory hate-law? How about admitting that?
These accusations of Tory homophobia are going to continue between now and the election. And despite Tory denials that they are still the party of choice for bigots they are going to find convincing gay voters of their progressive credentials. Labour and the LibDems simply need to remind people that the Tories are in a political grouping in the European Parliament with the Polish Law and Justice Party – the party whose leader considers tolerance of homosexuality as leading to the destruction of humanity. His brother has repeatedly banned Gay Pride parades because he says gay people are ‘perverts’. Labour and the LibDems just need to remind people of this.
Simon your obsession with Polish politicians is reaching monomaniacal proportions.
This connection with Poland is important for the reasons you quote above but one issue alone should not dominate any party’s political agenda.
If the current government had not sat down with peole who claimed it acceptable for innocent Northern Irish citizens to be blown to smithereens (Adams, McGuiness) we would still have a war there.
What Bradshaw and Bryant say is very true. The old guard are still there. It doesn’t matter a fig that the tory front bench might be a bit more progressive because when it comes to a vote in the house of commons it is still one vote per MP. Tories will not whip on votes to do with what they consider to be matters of conscience and they consider issues to do with sexuality to be matters of conscience.
Have they changed? NO! Just look at the voting records! Look at tory vs labour voting on the equality bill and issues like allowing gay couples equal parenting rights. The facts speak for themselves.
Although the apology for Section 28 is welcome, just saying sorry is not enough. If they were TRULY sorry they would want to repair the damage they have done. Tories have never mentioned one idea about how they might do this- it has obviously never even occurred to them that they have a moral duty to fight to repair this damage.
Come on, Cameron, put you money where your mouth is and let’s have some forward-thinking ideas about how to tackle institutionalised homophobia in the education system. We want equalities training and promotion of diversity to be Ofsted requirements- why can’t you even give us that? Come on, how sorry are you really?
Simon if you’re so concerned about who parties who sit with in the European Parliament why do you say nothing about the groups Labour sits with? Anyone who has followed the saga of groupings in the European Parliament knows that the Conservatives sought allies on the basis of Euroscepticism and were not endorsing parties’ domestic records.
All of the groupings in the European Parliament contain parties and individuals who endorse positions that are unacceptable in the UK. If such positions became reasons for not forming groups with them then no UK party would be able to partake in any grouping. Which group do you think the Conservatives should sit in? (Before you suggest the European People’s Party, give their members the same kind of scrutiny you’ve given PiS.)
And finally what difference does it make to voters in the UK as to which party they’ve probably never heard of sit with a group of people they’ve heard very little of in a body they’ve heard next to nothing about? Are people really going to make their decision on the next government of the UK on such an obscure matter?
“Which group do you think the Conservatives should sit in?”
I would say the European People’s Party. If the Conservatives want to be considered a mainstream centre-right party in Europe then they should sit with Europe’s mainstream centre-right parties. Yes there are some bad apples in this group, but the proportion is tiny compared to the new eurosceptic group, and the EPP also contains the likes of the Moderate Party in Sweden which recently voted in favour of legalising same-sex marriage.
But I agree with Simon, the Tories have to be consistent if they want to be seen as changed. If they pretend to be nice and cuddly domestically then sit with extremists abroad then there’s hypocricy somewhere.
“Simon your obsession with Polish politicians is reaching monomaniacal proportions.”
Simon has a valid point with this. It’s not him you need to be angry with, it’s the political party that YOU, a gay man, support.
This party, has deliberately alligned itself with what amounts to a Polish BNP. Be angry at them, your own party, not Simon for stating the obvious.
The parties Labour has alligned itself with are very, very left-wing parties who share none of the homophobia or xenophobia ethos of the Torie’s Polish one!
Bradshaw is behaving highly irresponsibly.
He knows his party is doomed so now resorts to vindictive smear campaigns.
Typical bully boy tactics he is trying to scare the gay community rather than engage it.
“Simon has a valid point with this. ” – I completely agree, it is a problem for the David Cameron. However I don’t agree that this one act makes every last Tory MP, Voter and David Cameron raging homophobes.
“Simon has a valid point with this. ” – I completely agree, it is a problem for the David Cameron. However I don’t agree that this one act makes every last Tory MP, Voter and David Cameron raging homophobes.”
Neither do I Rex, however, I think most people feel disappointed that A) They did it in the first lace and B) That there was no major opposition from within the Tory ranks. Nobody kicked up a fuss as if it wasn’t a big deal.
If we’re applying the same standards, I don’t think one can easily dismiss the parties in the EPP as a tiny proportion. Let’s take the four largest parties, who between them have nearly half the MEPs in the grouping. They are the German Christian Democratic Union/Christian Social Union, the Italian People of Freedom, the Polish Civic Platform and the French Union for a Popular Movement. Between them they have over 45% of the EPP MEPs – hardly a tiny proportion (and rather more than the objectionable parties in the ECR).
The French UMP is the party of Nicolas Sarkozy, who recently made remarks that would have been vilified as Islamophobic if made by a British politician.
The Italian People of Freedom is a recent merger between Silvio Berlusconbi’s Forza Italia and the post-fascist National Alliance. Forza Italia ran a campaign against same-sex parenting – “Daddy and Papa? This isn’t the family we want!”
The Polish Civic Platform contains Stefan Niesiołowski, the Deputy Speaker of the Sejim, from the Civic Platform, who made a fierce attack on same-sex parents and welcomed the state removing a child from her lesbian mother. Civic Platform’s policies include opposition to both same-sex marriage and “civil partnerships”.
The German Christian Democrats ran a campaign “Children before Indians!” against immigration.
These are the parties of Angela Merkel, Nicolas Sarkozy, Silvio Berlusconi and Donald Tusk, these supposedly respectable mainstream parties the Conservatives should be sitting with. Not as easy as one would hope is it?
The Conservatives’ problem in the European Parliament is rooted in the fact that there is a divide in the centre right between two traditions. Much of the continental centre-right is rooted in Christian Democracy, which is also the guiding ideology of the EU. By contrast the UK centre-right is based on a very different strand of Conservatism. It is this basic divide that has led to a difficult relationship between the Conservatives and many other EU centre-right parties (the Czech Civic Democrats are an exception, but they have always been quite open about drawing inspiration from the UK Conservatives) and there has never really been an ideal grouping for them to be in. Remember for the first 19 years the Conservatives did not sit with the EPP but in a separate group (mainly with the Danish Conservatives), that in 1989-1992 it was the EPP who were the more sceptical about Conservative membership, and that for the last ten years the EPP group was formally a coalition called “European People’s Party-European Democrats” (with the Conservatives in the ED subgroup) in an unsuccessful attempt to accommodate this difference. The issue of European integration, invariably the thing people focus on in European institutions, is one on which the two sides simply do not agree – is it hypocritical to sit with the EPP?
I see your point Tom about Europe’s parties, but:
“The French UMP is the party of Nicolas Sarkozy, who recently made remarks that would have been vilified as Islamophobic if made by a British politician.”
- This could be true, except Sarkozy stated his opposition to the hijab was on the basis that it subjugates women. He is supporting Muslim women, and isn’t attcking Islam.
Oh dear, Bradshaw’s playing the ‘gay card’ again. This is the man who, when The Daily Telegraph printed details of his – and every other MP’s – expenses, reacted, not by apologising or hanging his head in shame, but by accusing the Telegraph of being homophobic! What a buffoon!
Oh dear, Bradshaw’s playing the ‘gay card’ again. This is the man, who when The Daily Telegraph published his – and all other MP’s expenses – responded, not by apologising or by hanging his head in shame, but by accusing the Telegraph of being ‘homophobic’! What a buffoon!
It is dog whistle politics – put a daring message that can be spun as reasonable, particular “we are against this not that”, but with hints to the masses. As I said Sarkozy’s comments if made by a UK politician *would* draw accusations of Islamophobia, no matter how they are dressed up – look at the reaction to Jack Straw’s in this area.
I see we’re all making the assumption that the Conservatives will move to the right as a result of aligning with, amongst others, the Poles.
In view of the fact that the Conservatives have a controlling number of votes in the coalition, is it not possible we will see a softening of the position of the Poles?
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. Their deeply homophobic base will always win over those who claim gay-friendliness just to win election but don’t really care if “The gays” are treated as 2nd class citizens, and will never do anything to upset their base. Just read conservative blogs, message boards, etc. Bigots are reigning and just waiting. Gay people who vote for them and give them the opportunity to backtrack gay rights are stupid.
Sister Mary Clarence must be a mole trying to muddle the water. No one is talking about “the Poles”. They are talking about the Bigots and the bigoted party the Tories are cosying up with, who only happens to be a Polish party, but could be British, Italian, etc. Bigots here and elsewhere don’t change their minds, and the Tories have plenty of them at their base.
And the only thing Alan Duncan and the likes managed to do is to make us acknowledge there are open gay politicians representing the Tories. But they will never be able to represent us. They’re just a window-dressing exercise with no substance or internal political clout.