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Comment: What Cabinet job should Nigel Farage have?

May 6, 2015
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Journalist and Labour activist Benjamin Butterworth speaks out against UKIP leader Nigel Farage, ahead of tomorrow’s General Election.

Tomorrow is Election Day. It’s an unprecedented election in many ways. It seems inevitable that the result will, for the first time since 1910, be another hung parliament.

That means deals done behind closed doors – whichever guy becomes PM.

It’s also unprecedented because, unlike any British election before her, we enter it with all of the major parliamentary parties agreeing on gay rights.

The existence of people like us finally isn’t a partisan dividing line among the big three. And damn right it shouldn’t be.

Yet there remain two political forces across these aisles who have retained their homophobia: UKIP and the DUP.

There’s hardly the space to list UKIP’s homophobia – from bigoted rants, blaming us for the floods and vehemently opposing our right to marry.

Then there’s Northern Ireland’s DUP. A senior member of their party attempted to link child abuse and being gay. They used their powers in Northern Ireland to put forward laws that make it legal to discriminate against gay people.

When it comes to the deal making, I want to know that those politicians who would stop our hard-won equality don’t get a look in.

That’s why I’m sad, and very angry, that the Conservatives refuse to rule out working with them.

The parliamentary arithmetic is clear: based on the polls – which haven’t moved in five weeks – to have a semblance of a government, the Conservatives would have to buy in to those two parties.

So which Cabinet job is it Nigel Farage, the honourable member for South Thanet by Friday, deserves?

Would we want him and the UKIPpers in the Home Office? When it comes to men and women fleeing oppression because of their sexuality or gender, is it Farage we want deciding of they get refuge?

Or would Farage be better suited to Education? Stopping sex and relationship education, so gay kids can’t have the advice and information they need.

What about Health? It’s clear the NHS needs to streamline somewhere along the line, and Farage could probably save a few grand once he’s stopped helping those with HIV, as he’s repeatedly said he wants to.

On the other side, there’s Plaid Cymru, the Greens and the SNP. They’ve ruled out working with the Conservatives. And they all passionately defend the rights of people like us, as every party should.

It’s seriously to the credit of David Cameron that he backed same-sex marriage in the last parliament. He really impressed me with that. It’s now very sad, though, that the majority of Conservatives at this election have opposed the change.

Marriage equality, we know, isn’t the last hurrah for our rights. There will be many decisions – on health, schools, immigration, to name a few – where our equality will be on the table. Trans rights are a barely looked at area. They should be a priority for whoever is in the next government.

That’s why it worries me that the Conservatives will have to bend to the demands of deeply bigoted parties if they’re to form a government.

I don’t want the rights of the next generation of gay and trans people being put up for a bidding war to satisfy UKIP activists to in a messy Tory coalition.

Tomorrow, we need to keep our rights in safe hands. Don’t let the bigots have a look in.

Benjamin Butterworth is a Labour Party activist and journalist. He tweets at @BenjaminButter.

As with all comment, this does not necessarily reflect the views of PinkNews.

Related topics: anti-gay marriage, anti-gay views, anti-same-sex marriage, candidate, Conservative Party, election, England, equal marriage, Gay rights, General Election 2015, homophobic views, LGBT rights, Nigel Farage, tories, uk independence party, UKIP, UKIP leader Nigel Farage

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