Friday, 30 April 2010

Are the Tories really embracing gay rights?

Today the Guardian has published in its Comment is Free section a piece by Nick Herbert, openly gay Tory candidate and shadow justice secretary until the desolution of parliament, entitled The Tories are embracing gay rights, in which he defends his party's stance on gay rights and explains why his much-trumpeted visit to Poland in July is not tokenisitic.

Between bouts of laughter, I have penned my own comments which I posted below the article. Since they amount to a blog post, I bring them together below.

My first reaction was a follows:
"I have to say I am a little confused. For months now the Tories have been telling us that their lovely friends from Poland and Eastern Europe in their new political group are not homophobes. Repeating this till they are blue in the face (see what I did there?) despite all evidence to the contrary.

And suddenly two weeks before an election and as the party's support within the LGBT community is melting like snow in the sun (apparently now down to 9% from over 30% a year ago!!! according to a PinkNews poll of its readers), they decide that now would be a good time to announce that they will be sending someone (a gay someone at that) in July (plenty of time to change one's mind) to Poland to talk to the none-homophobes about sorting out their homophobic attitudes...

As I said I am confused and I have a feeling the Tories are a bit too..."

And then I decided to explore the policies highlighted by Herbert in his article:
Whoever forms the next government will still have work to do, and we've set out three specific proposals for change. We will remove historic convictions for consensual gay sex, which would now be legal, from people's criminal record checks. We will recognise civil partnerships, along with marriage, in the tax system. And we will take action against homophobic bullying in schools.
And here is what I had to say:
"Your flagship promise for the LGBT community is something that, while it is important that it should happen, is clearly tokenistic: it will only affect a very small minority of people. it has however the great advantage of being unlikely to refuffle any feather in the more conservative regions of the party.

You say, sorry: you trumpet everywhere that you will place CP on the same tax footing as marriage. My understanding (and I am happy to be corrected) is that the CURRENT law prevents discrimination between the two in tax matters. I suppose we should rejoice that you would be following the law but, if you really think that CP and marriage are the same thing, why not go a step further and make them so both in form and in name?!

And then, there is tackling homophobic bullying. Yep, it's great! It very much needed. What I'd like to know however is how you would do that. any concrete solutions? anything more than lip service? What are you going to do about faith schools in this matter for example?

Finally. You say that your party has changed, that it supports gay people. I won't mention all the homophobes coming out of the woodwork one by one (nor will I point out at the selective expulsions of said homophobes - only the small fry seems to get the boot) but couldn't make a little bit more of an effort and find more than just 3 vague or secondary measures to help convince us that you have indeed changed?

People don't believe that you have changed and there is one reason for that: the constent lack of really committment you are showing to the community. Redress this and we may start believe you. In the meantime, it will remain "same old tories" for me (and many others)".

Tuesday, 13 April 2010

Nuthurst Woodland

Nuthurst Woodland

Earlier today, I took delivery of a painting (the first I have ever bought and the second I own - the other one can be seen here).

I was going to keep it under wraps until I sort my room out (it's been tarted up and I have just moved back into it - it full of boxes that need unpacking). I couldn't resist though. I had to unwrap it and share it...

So here it is. May it be the first of many.

Nuthurst Woodland by David Grinaway, oil on canvas, 30 x 17 cm, 2009