During the Spring 2015 Liberal Democrat Conference, the LGBT+ Liberal Democrats moved an amendment aimed towards extending the Memorandum of Understanding on Conversion Therapy—which effectively prohibits the use of sexual orientation conversion therapy on the NHS—to transgender people. Originally, the amendment was a much larger policy motion, but after it fell at the Federal Conference Committee due to time concerns, the motion was repurposed into an amendment. The original mover of the amendment was LGBT+ Chair Dave Page, who switched with Sarah (Elizabeth) Brown to allow her to move the amendment, with the summation waived by Dave to me. The amendment passed without opposition, and my speech is, as always, below the cut.
Tag Archive for Lib Dems
“We stand squarely for free speech and democracy”, said David Cameron last Wednesday at Prime Minister’s Questions, not more than an hour after the attacks on the French magazine Charlie Hebdo. This is a rather strange proposition for the leader of a party who proposed to reinstate the ban on “extremists” from appearing on television and have been trying for the past few years to reintroduce the “snooper’s charter”. Indeed, the Tories have gone rather native in the Home Office, in contrast to five years ago when we were all criticising Labour for restricting our civil liberties.
Several hours later, the House of Commons then debated a somewhat–but not sufficiently–diluted Counter Terrorism and Security Bill, in which Tory and Labour frontbenchers alike praised the bill for being an important tool in the fight against paedophiles and terrorists: the two words that friends of this blog have previously highlighted as resulting in universally awful legislation.
After this brief sojourn into hypocrisy, Cameron took a flight to Paris where he stood side-by-side with the world’s autocrats and despots in the name of free speech. Whilst there, he lent his name to an agreement for more surveillance powers. One would think that Charb and his seven colleagues would not want that in their name. But Cameron went one step further, and proposed the worst idea to regulate a specialist field since Labour tried to ban coffee eighteen months ago: a ban on encryption.
On Tuesday, Parliament will debate the Report Stage of the Modern Slavery Bill, and in particular, an amendments that would criminalise the purchase of sex in England and Wales, similar to the one that was passed in Northern Ireland just a couple of weeks ago. It’s important that, as Liberal Democrats, we oppose those amendments.
As well as moving the sex work motion on Saturday, I had also written a speech regarding the federal policy paper on equality, which had been written and drafted by several people including the lovely Cantabridgians Zoe O’Connell and Belinda Brooks-Gordon (who had helped with, and summated, on the sex work motion). It’s a really good, and rather radical, motion, and I put in a card to speak on the trans aspects of the motion. Most of the debate centred around a Humanist and Secularist Liberal Democrats amendment regarding faith schools admissions, but I was eventually called… immediately after Zoe, who had already covered parts of my speech. As previously, the speech is below the cut.
I had two opportunities to speak at the Liberal Democrats’ Autumn Conference; the first was moving the policy motion Towards Safer Sex Work on Saturday evening. I had never moved a policy before, so it was radically different to in Spring when I made a supporting speech to a third-party policy motion. Although I was given seven minutes, I was called for time after four, hopefully by error of the chair of the debate, leading me to cut out some of the speech.
We also had to see off an attempt to wreck the motion from Oxford East, which would’ve deleted all lines regarding the Nordic model and weaken the policy regarding bodily autonomy. Thankfully, in the attempt, we succeeded, incredibly annoying arch-transphobe Julie Bindel in the process.
Due to devolutionary aspects, the policy only applies to England and Wales, although several Scottish speakers spoke in favour of it, including a hilarious rant by Kirkcaldy-based Callum Leslie, which makes me rather happy that the Scottish mood is the same and I expect that the Scottish party will pass its own policy at their own Conference in Dunfermline next month.
The text of the full speech is below the cut:
So Calderdale was one of the local parties who scheduled an EGM to discuss Clegg’s leadership under §10.2(f) of the party constitution, in which an election for the leader can be triggered if 75 local parties call for one. If you’re looking for the result: sorry, but I’m not going to divulge it myself. This post should be read in conjunction with Sarah Brown’s post about her local party EGM in Cambridge, and is published in conjunction with it. So here’s the speech I wrote for the EGM: I got called for time near the very end, but I was still able to get the points across.
There’s been a flurry of news stories in the past week, most likely to coincide with the country’s first same-sex marriages starting next Saturday, regarding how the bill came to pass. Firstly, we had television personality Paul O’Grady describe David Cameron as a “twat” and state the Lib Dems were “as much use as men’s tits”. Then, a few days later, Ben Summerskill tried (very unconvincingly) to attack the Lib Dems for being “opportunistic” on same-sex marriage. And finally, Tony Blair said that “in hindsight”, he would’ve pushed for marriage equality whilst Prime Minister. All this leads me to think one thing: both Labour and Stonewall seem to be very keen to take the credit on LGBT equality, especially with a general election round the corner. But this credit is perhaps undeserved, especially as they both seem to have done everything they could to stall it.
Making your first speech at a political conference is tough, especially when you know that the media are watching you as well as delegates there. That didn’t stop me, as a first-time conference attendee, from making a speech to the Lib Dem Spring Conference in York last Sunday, on the Digital Bill of Rights motion. Having been persuaded to by Julian Huppert and Tim Farron to mention digital freedom at Conference, I decided to make such a speech, which I reproduce below:
People who have known me for a while, who have read this blog, or have followed me on twitter will know that I’ve not always been the intersectional anarcha-feminist I try to be these days. I used to be, especially a couple of years ago, an apologist for the forces of austerity. And while I could go down the route of some campaigners on the Left, pretend I never said that, pretend I was born on a mountain with a double rainbow in the sky when the angels sang my heralds, it’d be duplicitive and untrue. I’m human, and I’m flawed. And I think it would be much more honest to own my history as an activist.
People who know me know that I really don’t like Tom Harris, the current MP for Glasgow South. Hell, my second blog post was basically about him being totally awful on the issue of tuition fees (a lie he continues to this day), and he relishes in being the tribal kind of Labour MP, especially on Twitter. So savvy he is on Twitter, that he became Labour’s internet adviser.
Until he posted a Downfall parody of Alex Salmond, effectively comparing the Scottish National Party leader to Adolf Hitler. Yep. After he lost the Scottish Labour leadership election, he might’ve been a bit angry. Who knows? But he did end up having to resign the post.