Election

Who Should LGBT+ People Vote For?

General Election fever is in full-swing. Different areas of society are being urged, swayed and pleaded with to vote a certain why. With that in mind, who should the LGBT+ citizens of the United Kingdom be voting for next month? Labour? The Lib Dems? The Greens? The major seven UK parties are all very different on their vision for the next steps in LGBT+ equality and here’s why;

The en vogue parties in the LGBT+ community right now are without a doubt the Labour party and the Green party, with the latter soaring in support from gay, bisexual and transgender people. In fact, just this week Peter Tatchell called out for us to vote Green next month to further the agenda of equality. Now, I have looked at the Green party manifesto and everything they want to do for the LGBT+ community is nice, fluffy and genuinely quite lovely, but too typically of them – vapid. There is very little substance to what they specifically would do to help those in the LGBT+ community. Bar misleading claims that Caroline Lucas was the one that drove the Marriage (Same-Sex Couples) Act through the last parliament, the Greens actually have a weak case for the gay vote.

The Labour party are also being touted as champions of LGBT+ rights, despite failing to place Marriage Equality in their 2010 manifesto and even this year their offer is very slim too, only outlining an LGBT Rights Envoy to promote human rights internationally – a good idea but ultimately, it’s not a lot. Plaid Cymru make a positive contribution in their manifesto and are probably the second best choice in this election – with a clear strategy to tackle specific acts of LGBT+ discrimination in many different areas. Their nationalist counterparts the SNP are surprisingly quiet on the subject. In spite of being on the social left; they offer nothing more than an a mirror of Labour’s international ambassador plan. Unsurprisingly, the Conservatives, who probably think the work for LGBT+ equality is done with the passing of same-sex marriage under Cameron’s premiership, offer absolutely nothing specific in their manifesto. UKIP are similarly mute, they haven’t even pledged to increase homosexual activity during drought season. Apparently Farage’s “people’s army” is “not driven by the needs of differing special interests groups”. I guess his is a heterosexual people’s army instead.

Hero… Lib Dem Lynne Featherstone (left) was the biggest LGBT+ advocate in the last Parliament

Is this meagre choice really the best LGBT+ citizens can hope for from the next election? In my view, the answer is no. The real party for LGBT+ people is still plugging away and providing sound basis for a progression in equal rights – and they are the Liberal Democrats. We’re told we’re not allowed to trust my party – we’re simply poisonous in the media realms – not to be entertained on the back of one broken pledge, a mistake no other party has ever made. But just hear me out. In the Coalition government, the Lib Dems succeeded in implementing marriage equality, almost solely on the back of the pluck from former MP Lynne Featherstone. And this is just one example in a long, long history of the Lib Dems catering for LGBT+ needs. The preceding Liberal party was the first to introduce a gay rights section for policy, while the Lib Dems have actively supported drives to make the age of consent equivalent, protect LGBT+ asylum seekers from unjust criminal charges abroad and oppose the ban on teachers being allowed to disclose their sexuality.

Thankfully, the Liberal Democrats haven’t stopped there and the party has pledged even more for LGBT+ citizens in their 2015 manifesto. The Lib Dems want to extend the rights of co-habiting heterosexual couples to homosexual ones, include all relationships in qualification for Civil Partnerships, crack down on homophobic bullying in schools, make homophobic football chanting a criminal offence like racist chanting is, permit humanist weddings, seek to end the disgraceful  and unnecessary bans on blood donation for MSM, pardon those convicted of historical homosexual ‘offences’, and they even match the SNP and Labour’s pledge for an appointed international  gay rights advocate – and in greater detail too.  For gender non-confirming people, the party have pledged to introduce “X” gender markers on passports and eliminate the need for a gender dysphoria diagnosis to acquire legal gender recognition.

Equal rights for LGBT+ citizens is one of, if not my biggest passion in politics and the Liberal Democrats are simply streets ahead in this vicinity and have been for a long long time. I wouldn’t say this if I didn’t mean it and I wouldn’t have joined a party that didn’t put the drive for LGBT+ equality at the heart of their policy making. If you really want a conscious, caring, allied voice for non-heterosexuals in government for the next five years then don’t vote Green, don’t vote Labour, vote Liberal Democrat.

Manifesto Check

Where the parties stand on LGBT+ issues in their 2015 manifestos

LGBT2015

Advertisements

Student Disunion

#TrollTheNUS – https://www.facebook.com/events/1028359820527087/

Recently the National Union of Students (NUS) released their pre-general election campaign for 2015, a tradition that is supposed to mobilise the youth vote and champion student politics on a national stage – however this year’s campaign is less remarkable for the promotion of student involvement in the democratic process and more for partisan alienation of those who don’t subscribe to a very specific ideology.

The not so subtle smear drive against the Liberal Democrats for what is perceived as a betrayal over the issue of tuition fees in the 2010 coalition agreement is the focal point of their campaign. Seemingly angry at a perceived dent to student finances, the union has spent £40,000 of student money to whinge about it five years later – that costs more than your degree. The NUS is supposed to be an independent body that encompasses, reflects and supports the variant, diverse political views of student bodies up and down the country – and with that in mind, this campaign is disgraceful.

Truth... Tuition fee repayment under Labour and the Lib Dems

Truth… Tuition fee repayment under Labour and the Lib Dems

Firstly, let’s clear up any discrepancies over the Lib Dems controversial U-turn on tuition fees. I, even as a Liberal Democrat member myself have a major issue with the party’s failure to deliver the policy that was one of the focal points of our 2010 manifesto. It’s frustrating but concessions had to be made to form a stable government in a time where the economy was anything but. The less publicised version of events is that both the Conservatives and the apparently supreme student guardians Labour both opposed the abolition of tuition fees, so the policy was undeliverable unless the Liberal Democrats won an outright majority. After all, it’s probably a little silly to expect a party that was awarded just 57 out of 650 seats to enact their full manifesto as the junior party in a coalition government, but I guess that’s a discussion for another time.

Regardless of this shortcoming – which has been persistently apologised for by both the party and Nick Clegg by the way – the Lib Dems are still championing rights for students such as the delivery of the Pupil Premium and commitments to slash public transport costs for students dependent on the service. The point I’m making is a sense of Lib Dem abandonment of the student population is so far wide of the mark.

Clangers... Labour aren't student policy champs

Clangers… Labour aren’t student policy champs

The big issue of this campaign by the NUS is its blatant subterfuge. The union carries very cosy links with the Labour party. Does anyone else find it convenient that the SEVERAL broken pledges by Labour on tuition fees are ignored in this ‘student retribution’ campaign? They pledged to not introduce them, and then did so in 1998. By 2001 they were promising not to raise fees but went right ahead in 2003. Ten years later, the party want to reduce the fees to £6000, which will only benefit those students with more disposable income – just when you thought Labour couldn’t slink any further to the right.  Perhaps, the most staggering fact of all is that students are now paying back less in loans under the Lib Dems than they were under Labour, despite the heightened fees. Surely the NUS’ decision to turn a blind eye to all of these clangers by Labour on student politics has nothing to do with the fact that each NUS leader has been a Labour party member for the last thirty years running, and that the Lib Dems are traditionally their biggest competitor for youth support?

Look for yourself, the party’s each have their own ideas for student politics – some more than others. The NUS should place the impetus on students to explore their own political opinions and form an identity for themselves. They should not pigeonhole a group of people they’re supposed to represent in to a parochial parable that only serves their interests. The so-called National Union of Students has done nothing but disunite the student population by propagating votes for their chosen political ends on the back of a false pretence whilst typecasting 10% of the student population as supporters of poisonous liars.

Accurate... How the campaign should have looked

Accurate… How the campaign should have looked

Thankfully, an anti-campaign aiming to troll these biased perjurers is in place, you can donate money to the Liberal Democrats, if you’re that way inclined and not let the NUS manipulate you with senseless propaganda. In fact, I’d go as far as to say that this campaign is a disgusting betrayal of the student population, something they’re purportedly against. The only liars here are the NUS, they haven’t failed to deliver on a promise, they’ve tried to exploit student to further the power of their UKIP-lite overlords, they should serve the student population – not manipulate them.

#TrollTheNUS – https://www.facebook.com/events/1028359820527087/

They’re Not Being Racist But…: Don’t Vote UKIP

The party everyone is talking about in British politics is UKIP. Whether it be positively or negatively (hopefully negatively), Nigel Farage’s purple and yellow machine of racism national pride has continued to climb the opinion polls like a flesh-eating false widow spider up its unsuspecting victim’s leg. But I’m writing this to gently inform you as to why voting for UKIP in either the upcoming European or General Elections is simply inadvisable.

Remember, it’s not simply the parties that you’ll be voting for, you’re equally voting for its members to make decisions that will affect your life. So let’s have a look at some of the remarkable people that make the UK Independence Party possible;

1. They have links with Far Right European Parties

Yes, that’s right. Nigel Farage’s UKIP are associates of far-right political organisations on the continent. Shocking, I know. In fact, one of the organisations UKIP are part of, is the EFD (Europe of Freedom & Democracy). You probably don’t know a lot about them and nor do I. But, I do know Nigel Farage is co-president of the group alongside Francesco Speroni, who said Anders Breivik’s actions were “in defence of western civilisation”. Another member actually incensed Farage by stating that Breivik “had some good ideas”, he subsequently wrote a strongly-worded letter demanding an apology or UKIP would vacate the organisation. Instead, Marco Borghezio, the man in question responded by saying “Long live the Whites of Europe, long live our identity, our ethnicity, our race… our blue sky, like the eyes of our women. Blue, in a people who want to stay white.” Nigel Farage remains co-president of the organisation as of February 2014.

2. Some are racist and xenophobic

Who would have thought that a party rammed full of people so desperate to let us know that they’re not racist, are actually just that? It’s almost like they were in denial or realise racism isn’t a desirable political characteristic in the view of the electorate. Regardless, we all remember Godfrey Bloom’s “Bongo Bongo Land” gaffe and his incredibly convincing non-apology on Channel 4 news. Apparently the non-racist, definitely not racist, never have been racist, never will be racist, racist? Who? Us?! Never, we’re not racists party weren’t politically astute enough to purge the 2013 Plain English Campaign’s foot-in-mouth award recipient from the party. Another UKIP member when bemoaning the effects immigration had had on the NHS said “I am informed by past media that Black Caribbean and not Black African have a higher instance of schizophrenia. I wonder if this is due to inbreeding on these small islands in slave times or is it due to ­smoking grass.” More recently, Nigel Farage caused offence by negatively stereotyping Bulgarians on BBC’s Question Time. Paul Nuttall brilliantly defused the situation by claiming “Brits fear all immigrants, regardless of where they would come from.” Much better.

Leader: Nigel Farage is the face of UKIP’s xenophobic regime [Photo: Wikipedia]

3. Some are misogynists

Another stupefying fact, I know. To many, it will come as no surprise that Nigel Farage’s party prefer one gender to another, which certainly throws an upcoming section for a loop. In an interview with the Telegraph, Farage digressed his partiality to a lap dance or two, he even touched upon the issue of extra-marital affairs, saying that “everyone does it”, well accept gay men and women if dear old Nigel was to have his way. Of course, blithering sidekick Godfrey Bloom is able to provide us with a few more disbelieving head shakes. Bloom claimed that no employer in their right mind would offer a job to a ‘young, free woman’. Diplomatic, libertarian and equal rights champion Nigel Farage endorsed the comments and thus continues to observe the voluntary female exit rates from UKIP ticking over nicely.

4. Some discriminate based on ableness

Indeed, UKIP infamously refused entry to the party to Jack Biggs. Biggs was 65 at the time of his refusal and is an ex-servicemen who has had both knees replaced. He was told he could only serve as a paper candidate in 2007 but instead  ran independently against UKIP in Weymouth. One member, Geoffrey Clark went as far as to say that babies with disabilities ought to be compulsorily aborted because they will burden the state. Charming.

Repetitive…UKIP proudly promote that one policy they have [Photo: Flickr]

5. Some are homophobic

I know, I know! This latest revelation is painfully inconsistent with everything else in this article but yes the pestiferous purple army are anti-gay too. Of course, many members have made the illogical and laughably untrue connection of homosexuality and paedophilia, Dr. Julia Gasper even alleged “there is so much evidence that even a full-length book could hardly do justice to the ­subject” before condemning the gay rights movement as a “lunatic’s charter”. One member also vowed that homosexuals were not normal and shouldn’t try to shove it down his throat by claiming they are. More recently, Oxford UKIP councillor David Silvester claimed that the latest spell of bad weather was to do with the passing of same-sex marriage. Funnily, it was  some seven months late. But he did have a point, the Met Office revealed this week that Johnny and Danny’s flirting on EastEnders was likely the sole cause for flooding in the Thames valley – there’s your duff duff. The party’s official stance in the lead up to the same-sex marriage debate was as you would expect from uber-Liberal Nigel Farage; stern opposition. According to their official website equal human rights for all regardless of sexuality was “not a burning issue”, “not a matter that animates the discourse of our nation” or more accurately, not a matter that animates the discourse of heterosexuals. Thank goodness, this is one subject these bigoted tyrants were defeated on – looks like we can expect more wet weather to come.

6. Some are liars

Remember on New Years Day 2014 when 29 million Bulgarians and Romanians invaded the country whilst stealing the Polish’s stolen jobs? Well, Conservative MP Anna Soubry claimed that fliers had been handed out in the Broxtowe constituency by UKIP warning just that. An astonishing statistic given that the combined population of both nations is just 27 million. UKIP member Janice Atkinson claimed in February 2014 on an episode of Question Time that 70% of our laws were dictated to us by Brussels (the EU) whilst more accurately the House of Commons claims that is only true for 9.1% – just a slight exaggeration by their standards. Another member even claimed that more people settled in Britain in 2010 than in every other of year preceding 2010 combined. Unsurprisingly that breathtakingly moronic declaration is unequivocally false. In fact, UKIP’s wager against EU immigration is mislead too, given that Poland is the only European nation in the top 5 countries from which immigrants are arriving in the UK. Believe it or not, it’s also not just immigrants that are taking job-seeker’s benefits from the government, in fact, most benefits are paid out to those pesky thieving pensioners. According to a study by Centre for Research and Analysis of Migration (CReAM) at University College London, immigrants were up to 45% less likely to claim benefits than native Britons. Recent immigrants also contribute 34% more to taxes than is transferred to them, a total worth £25bn. But UKIP are surely right to alert us to these job-stealing immigrants who are somehow subsequently living on job seeker’s allowance. Especially, since us Brits would never be so sly and underhanded. Meanwhile, the UK, the 8th highest emigrating nation in the world, has 10,000 nationals living on job seeker’s allowance in Germany, 86% of whom are fit to work.

Also read;

Sources: BBC, The New Statesman, The Daily Mirror, The Guardian, The Metro, thelocal.de, UKIP’s official website, BuzzFeed, Huffington Post