“Discrimination and prejudice are wrong in all their forms”-my speech on LGBT rights to HBBC Scrutiny Commission
November 22, 2013 § Leave a Comment
The following is the speech I gave at last night’s meeting of Scrutiny Commission at Hinckley and Bosworth Borough Council at the Hinckley Hub; in an item on Support and Provision for the LGBT Community in Hinckley and Bosworth (which I’d asked be looked at by Scrutiny; as far as I know the first item of its kind at the Council):
“Thank you, Mr Chairman.
I’m pleased that this item is before us, following my requesting it be brought before Scrutiny earlier this year.
Nationwide this has been an amazing year for advancing equality-with Equal Marriage for Same Sex couples in England and Wales becoming law and, after yesterday’s vote, it’s well on the way to becoming law in Scotland too.
I hope, in the fullness of time, Northern Ireland will also follow suit.
But in local communities-including here in Hinckley and Bosworth-there is still more to do for there to be true equality and understanding among different sections of the community.
I pay tribute to the fantastic work of Proud Generation, which I’ve seen first hand as a Management Committee member of Next Generation.
Shani and Rebecca and their small team have done a fantastic job in delivering the first Borough-wide LGBT Advocacy and Advice Service, a real breakthrough for Hinckley and Bosworth; and I was proud to be in attendance at a number of the events listed in the report.
Each of them a first in the Borough-including yesterday’s Transgender Day of Remembrance Service at St Mary’s Church in the town, which sadly I couldn’t attend due to work commitments but at which I know the Borough Council was represented.
I wish a group like Proud Generation had been in the borough when I was growing up.
I’m sure, if it had, I wouldn’t have waited sixteen years before Coming Out.
It is the fear of how people will react, of facing potential discrimination; especially as a young person when growing up can be hard enough as it is.
And having people who’ve been through it all before and can provide help, support and reassurance is a real help.
That is why, in my view, we must ensure that Proud Generation’s work is able to continue, including-dare I say it-by providing financial assistance.
It would be a real tragedy if, this important work having been started, it had to stop due to a lack of resources.
In my own small way I hope to be a voice for the LGBT Community on this Council and have, in some small ways, including by getting the Stonewall youth survey linked to on the HBBC website and, indeed, getting this item brought before Scrutiny, attempted to help move things forward.
Discrimination and prejudice are wrong in all their forms and we need to do all we can-on this authority and partner agencies-to spread understanding, justice and peace.”
May 4, 2012 § Leave a Comment
The following piece (published today), my first for excellent new website ‘The Noticeboard Daily, sets out my thoughts about last night’s local election results for the Liberal Democrats and how there is hope among the rather disappointing results:
April 8, 2012 § Leave a Comment
I wonder if you, like me, follow Canadian politics and, especially, the fortunes of The Liberal Party of Canada?
If you don’t then you probably won’t be aware that recent years has sadly seen a decline in its fortunes.
For most of the last Century, the Canadian Liberals were that country’s Government.
However, the past few years have not been kind for them and in Canada’s last General Election, held in May last year, it returned just 34 seats in the House of Commons…losing, for the first time, it’s place as being either the Government or the Official Opposition.
Rather reminiscently of the situation here, The Liberals are now Canada’s third party.
They are currently led by Interim Leader Bob Rae MP, following the resignation of previous head honcho Michael Ignatieff after the disastrous election result.
There’s lots of talk that when the contest for the next Leader takes place (which, for some reason I’m yet to quite understand, won’t be until next year), the torch will pass a generation to 40-year old Justin Trudeau MP.
Mr Trudeau is the son of legendery former Liberal Leader and Canadian Prime Minister, the late Pierre Trudeau, (who was PM from 1968 to 1979.)
Being the son of a former Prime Minister already gives him a spotlight, but Mr Trudeau also has good looks and relative youth to go with his strong political lineage.
Indeed, he recently showed off his physical prowess and youthful male virility in a charity boxing match.
He took on and beat Conservative Senator Patrick Brazeau.
This rather puts Tony Blair’s beating aged European leaders when cycling at an international summit a few years ago in the shade!
If he does become his Party’s next leader I’m sure Mr Trudeau will realise that as his Party no longer has the Parliamentary strength it once did, it must find new, innovative ways to reach out to the electorate.
It must literally punch above its weight.
It’s something we Lib Dems here in Britain have been doing for many long years and, especially, since entering into Government.
With 57 MP’s we are clearly dwarfed, in terms of Parliamentary numbers, by Labour and the Conservatives.
But, we Lib Dems are nothing if not fighters, both in community politics at a local level and at Westminster.
We’ve managed to get in the occasional powerful jab…whether it be raising the lower end tax rate or re-linking pensions to earnings…but we need to be very aware that one of our larger rivals may be ready to knock us out with a killer punch.
One such shot across our bows could well be the proposed changes in terms of how Government and related agencies can snoop on our electronic communications.
We must resist such illiberal moves at all costs.
For if we don’t, we’ll not only become a less liberal and free country…as a Party we’ll lose our Unique Selling Point.
And that, I suggest, could really leave us face down on the mat.
Facing the ten count.
‘We need to make sure all of our children get a good start in life…’ My latest piece for ‘Left Central’
April 7, 2012 § Leave a Comment
The following is my latest blog post for ‘Left Central.’
It challenges my fellow Liberal Democrats to challenge Education Secretary Michael Gove’s rightward-lurch when it comes to how our children are educated.
In this piece I also defend the concept of comprehensive education.
March 22, 2012 § Leave a Comment
This is my debut piece, published today, for ‘Shifting Grounds,’ an excellent new blog dedicated to discussing a new politics for the Common Good.
In it I give my initial reaction to yesterday’s budget.
March 17, 2012 § 1 Comment
The following is a link to my latest blog post for ‘Left Central.’
It sets out why, this week, I’ve joined ‘Liberal Left,’ a left-wing caucus within the Liberal Democrats.
March 17, 2012 § Leave a Comment
The following is my first blog post for ‘Left Central,’ a new blog network for the leftward leaning.
It gives my reasons for why I, as a Gay man, support marriage equality and why the bigoted views we’ve heard from one or two Catholic Bishops and others are demonstrably wrong and, I’d argue, only serve to prove how extreme they are.