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.
Tag Archive for Lib Dems
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.
“Homophobia”, cried Conservative Future on Friday, the day after the Lib Dems won the Grove Ward by-election in Kingston. “A return to 1983!”, cried the Lib Dem bashers around the internet (including famous opponent of equal marriage Ben Summerskill, but that’s for the next post). Why? Because the election was described as a “straight fight”, when the Tory opponent just so happened to be gay.
It’s one of those things that every Lib Dem was dreading to hear: that, even with months of campaigning, their candidate had lost to the Labour candidate. Not more was the hurt felt in Headingley two weeks ago. We — as in Leeds Liberal Youth — had been campaigning hard since last September to ensure that the then-incumbent councillor, Jamie Matthews, was re-elected. Jamie was a superb councillor, and was a better pick to represent students than the Labour candidate. Even after tuition fees. When thousands of students had problems with their internet connection, Labour, with a majority on the council, were nowhere to be seen. But Jamie carved out the niche of the “councillor who took on Virgin Media”.
I use the past tense, because he lost. By 32 votes. » Read more..
The Spring Conference of Liberal Youth was held in the lovely city of Leeds, thanks to a successful bid submitted by our branch, Leeds Liberal Youth. I have to admit, I was a Conference virgin, having not been to either a Liberal Youth nor a Federal Conference before (rather stupidly electing not to go to the 2011 Conference in Sheffield). But, with a Conference taking place in my proverbial back yard, I felt I was obligated to go. That, and I was part of the host. » Read more..
Some amusing news from the ermine chamber this week: 76% of peers, including 54% Lib Dem peers, would see reform of the House of Lords unconstitutional. The first thing is that the number of Lib Dem objectors, including Lord Steel, is depressingly too high: Lords reform has been Liberal and Liberal Democratic party policy since before proportional representation was added. The second thing is that this is complete bollocks.
My friend over at Legal Fiction has posted, from a legal standpoint, why this is not the case: most importantly, the use of the Parliament Acts 1911 and 1949 to override the Lords with the Hunting with Dogs Act (2004) was seen as constitutional by the Law Lords. That, and Parliament has the right to pass nearly anything it wishes (with the exception of laws that violate treaty agreements). But there is a societal aspect too. » Read more..
Well, Thursday was an absolute disaster. Losing a third of our councillors and the AV referendum 62–38. So where did we go so wrong?
The meltdown was inevitable. It’s pretty much a “midterm effect”: after a realigning election, the new government suddenly becomes a lot more unpopular because they can’t sweep away the cobwebs they said they’d get rid of. This happened to the American Democratic Party in 1994 and 2010, but not to the Republicans in 2002: because 2000 was a steady hand-over instead of the landslides of ’92 and ’08. A new liberal force in politics was bound to be unpopular once it started to govern: some promises have to be broken, after all, if you need to govern properly. » Read more..
(Note, January 2013: This post was written when I was more naive to economic circumstances. It is best read in a perspective from before the cuts starting. It is kept in the purposes of transparency and does not accurately reflect my current thoughts on the matter.)
Belt up, this is going to be a big one.
So yeah. That march a couple of weeks ago. At a generous estimate, 400,000 marched against the government’s spending cuts. And while I sympathise with them, I also think that it was just a waste of time due to how it ended up. » Read more..