27 Jun 2007
The turnout amongst LGBT Labour members was 59.6%.
The first preference votes cast were as follows:
Jon Cruddas 22.2% (came third)
Harriet Harman 18.8% (won)
Hazel Blears 17.9% (came sixth)
Alan Johnson 15.3% (came second)
Hilary Benn 14.5% (came fourth)
Peter Hain 11.1% (came fifth)
Full article in Pink News.
Although you have many positive qualities you have three, superficiality, unreliability and an apparent lack of any clear convictions, which in my view ought to exclude you from the position of national leadership to which you aspire and which it is the presumed purpose of the Conservative Party to achieve.Believing that as I do, I clearly cannot honestly remain in the Party. I do not intend to leave public life. On the contrary I am looking forward to joining another party with which I have found increasingly I am naturally in agreement and which has just acquired a leader I have always greatly admired, who I believe is entirely straightforward, and who has a towering record, and a clear vision for the future of our country which I fully share.Because my constituents, to whose interests of course I remain devoted, are entitled to know the full background, I am releasing this letter to the press."
Which party has he gone to and from and when? He seems to have got his timing wrong!
Quentin Davies has defected from the Tories to join Labour. His letter of resignation is blogged elsewhere. In it he says that he is looking forward to joinging a party which has just acquired a leader which he has always greatly admired, whom he believes is entirely straightforward, and who has a towering record, and a clear vision for the future of our country which he fully shares. Whereas in a speech by Davies two years prior to his defection he described Gordon Brown as "extraordinarily incompetent", "imprudent", "extraordinarily naïve" and said in conclusion "I trust and believe that something nasty will happen to the Chancellor in electoral terms before too long. He will have no one but himself to blame."
Does Davies see something in the New Labour Leader Woodshed that has made him change his viewsand or our policies really becoming that alligned with the Tories to make someone with opinions and a voting record like Davies defect? He has stong anti-gay views and voted against the right of gay and unmarried couples to adopt. He also voted strongly in favour of the Iraq War but on a slightly positive note moderately against the introduction of foundation hospitals. That may have been just to oppose the Government and not due to any strongly held beliefs though.
Tory peer Tebbit said: "This defection will raise the average standard of members on the Conservative side and lower it on the Labour side." Shadow industry secretary Alan Duncan said Mr Davies was "not socially liberal" and against "a changed Conservative Party" and added: "basically he's quite grand and old fashioned, and I'm surprised that he finds that the Labour Party will offer him a happy home for those attitudes." But former Conservative MP Lord Temple Morris, who defected to Labour in 1998, said Mr Davies's decision showed "guts".
25 Jun 2007
This raises concerns already. Before the Deputy Leadership results were out, there was Gordon offering Peter Hain's job to a Liberal Democrat and then he has already given Hazel's job to Harriet.
So what does Mr Brown have up his sleeve? The next week should be very interesting as he appoints to the cabinet. Let's hope that he makes some sensible choices particularly where the runner ups are concerned.
See here for an interesting analysis of the deputy leadership election results which I found as a link from Jons Union Blog.
Pink News reported that LGBT Labour welcomed Brown and Harman however, a PinkNews.co.uk poll of gay Labour party members found that Northern Ireland Secretary Peter Hain was the first choice of 25% of gay party members. Party chair Hazel Blears took 19% of first preferences, followed by 16% for backbench candidate Jon Cruddas. Harriet Harman polled 15%, Alan Johnson 14% and Hilary Benn 11%. See here for full article.
13 Jun 2007
The Single Equality Bill has quenched the thirst of the lactivist campaign for the right to breastfeed in public. The proposals have been the subject of many women's and health campaigns over recent years and is long overdue. It has been legal in Scotland since 2005 and there has not been uprising. Lets face it breast is best.
I wonder if more people were aware that 4000 babies die each day from unsafe bottle feeding that we would have had to campaign so hard for the basic human right to breastfeed in public. And maybe more people would boycott Nestle products.
See BBC News Report for more details.
10 Jun 2007
The contenders have also been quizzed on their LGBT policies by LGBT Labour (The Labour Campaign for Lesbian, Gay, Bisexual and Transgender Rights). Poor Harriet does not appear to mention transgender rights at all but I think this is down to the fact that at the same time they were being quizzed by Stonewall specifically on LGB issues and she got confused. Hazel, Hilary and Peter come across as the more committed. Peter still gets my pink vote and you can read elsewhere on this blog to find out why.
9 Jun 2007
The Department of Health is considering proposals to change the law to enable unmarried and gay couples to adopt. Speaking on Inside Politics, Mr Donaldson said the DUP would oppose it. He said "It remains my view that a married relationship is the best relationship for adoption. The DUP will vigorously oppose any move in Northern Ireland to introduce gay adoption. We do not believe it is right that a child should be placed into a gay relationship."
Read more on the current position of adoption in Northern Ireland in this article from the Belfast Telegraph
7 Jun 2007
“The Labour Party was born out of the trade union movement, and our link with the unions and our shared values provide a vital connection to millions of working people. For me, the union link is non-negotiable.”
Retaining the role of unions at the heart of the Labour Party. Keeping the 50 percent union share of votes on policy issues at annual conference, unlike other declared deputy leadership candidates who have publicly proposed reducing the union vote. Implementing the terms of the Warwick agreement, and building on it as a blueprint for future partnership, reaffirming our commitment to proper protection for pension funds and doing much more to protect the rights of temporary and agency workers. Building on the 2.5 million extra jobs created since Labour took office by prioritising economic stability, and protecting workers by working closely with unions. Continuing investment in public services and a programme of improvement underpinned by Labour values. Ensuring that the vital new employment rights we have enacted are a reality in every workplace in Britain – establishing a new Employment Rights’ Commission with tough new powers and proper resources to enforce the rights that workers already have and to investigate breaches e.g.. giving unions the legal power to bring collective action against a workplace where there is a failure to pay the minimum wage, rather than placing the responsibility on an individual. Ensuring new laws on corporate manslaughter are toughly enforced, and reviewing the role of private equity funds in company takeovers. Allowing unions to free up resources for campaigning by removing the costly, ritual and unnecessary mandatory ballots to renew union political funds, and replacing it with a trigger ballot of say 5 per cent of the membership if there was dissatisfaction with an established fund. Introducing the choice of individual secret ballots in either workplaces or homes in elections for union Executives and General Secretaries to encourage turnout. Reconnecting the leadership of the party in government with MPs, members, and trade unions. Ensuring we reach out to those people Labour has lost touch with, helping to rebuild that crucial progressive coalition, which won us two landslide victories, but which we lost last time. Real renewal, which builds upon the best of our achievements, but offers a radical vision for the future, which can bring voters back to Labour. Narrowing the inequality gap by meeting our commitments on child poverty, offering more help for low-paid workers, boosting skills levels, tackling the gender pay gap, and pushing for greater corporate social responsibility. Pushing more power down to individuals and local communities by strengthening local government and accountable neighbourhood democracy, and completing the process of democratic renewal. Placing a new ‘Redgreen’ politics at the heart of government, to both tackle climate change and ensure that the responsibility of meeting it is fairly shared. Pursing a progressive foreign policy with strengthened and reformed international institutions, further action to make poverty history, an enhanced role in Europe, and promoting democracy and human rights worldwide. Real partnership with trade unions based on proper dialogue and negotiation, not government by bouncing policies.
RECONNECT TO WIN
A unifier, who brings people together as he demonstrated in negotiating the dramatic breakthrough in Northern Ireland, and who can reconnect the government with Labour’s grassroots.
A principled campaigner with values and vision will help win back the 4 million voters lost by Labour since 1997.
Commitment to the party and trade unions which enables himto reach out to all parts of the party andmovement to bind them back together.
A straight talker with the skills to communicate tomembers and the country.
A teamplayer, but who is independently-minded and will stand up for socialist values.
A minister with ten years of extensive government and Cabinet experience.
A lifelong record of campaigning from his anti apartheid and anti-racist activism, to his tireless work for Labour candidates and trade unionists, there’s nobody better to inspire party members about the power of politics.
Why Peter is the best person for the job
“I want a strong partnership between our Labour government and the trade unions, with problems resolved by dialogue and respect. The role of the Deputy Leader is vital to achieving this.”
Taken from literature promoted by Phil Woolas MP, on behalf of Peter Hain MP, House of Commons, London SW1A 0AA.
He is responsible for ensuring that the Civil Partnerships Bill made it onto the legislative agenda.
When he negotiated the European Constitution as the government representative he argued for much more extensive protections for people on grounds of sexuality.
He is keen to point out that when the issue of exemptions for Roman Catholic-run adoption agencies came before Cabinet, he was having none of it.
He supports specific legislation similar to incitement to racial hatred and against incitement to religious hatred to cover sexual orientation. He believes that that we have to make sure there are no hate crimes against any groups in Britain, whether that is on grounds of faith or sexuality, race or any other grounds.
In respect of homophobic bullying he believes that we have got to go beyond equality legislation – we have got to involve teachers and parents and school governors in a proper process of dialogue about this problem.
In Europe, he believes that countries, in joining the EU, have signed up to the European Convention on Human Rights, which bans discrimination of any kind, including homophobia. It is important that the EU takes on the agenda in ensuring that homophobia is tackled just as it has been tackling racism or discrimination on the grounds of gender.
For the full interview with Peter Hain laying out his stall for LGBT rights in Pink News
6 Jun 2007
Along with the Disability Rights Commission and Joseph Rowntree Foundation, UNISON’s Policy Development and Campaigns Committee was the third partner in the series of 6 posters.
The posters portray some of the major social policy issues; employment, transport education, health, leisure and the important right to organise as disabled trade unionists.
Two of the posters include UNISON Disabled members talking about their past experiences of discrimination and their expectations for the future.
UNISON branches are being encouraged to get their employers to display sets of the posters as a statement of their commitment to promoting the Disability Equality Duty which came into force in 2006. The posters are also now being produced in postcard format.
Copies can be ordered and downloaded form the DRC
5 Jun 2007
The sexual orientation regulations (SORs) prevent the LGBT community from being discriminated against by people who provide goods and services. For example, it is now illegal in Northern Ireland for a doctor to turn away a gay patient, or for a hotel to refuse a bed to a same-sex couple. If the regulations in Northern Ireland are found to be unlawful, it could have consequences for the similar British regulations. However, a recent YouGov poll commissioned by Stonewall found that 85% of Britons support the 2007 Sexual Orientation Regulations.
Meanwhile the Presbyterian Church in Ireland has voted to adopt a new policy on homosexuals at its general assembly. Whilst it does not change the church's theological stance - that homosexuality is wrong - the recommednations of a report urges more understanding for gay parishioners in pastoral care. The church's congregations are encouraged to create an environment of love, acceptance, patience and forgiveness and develop a space where sexuality can be discussed.
Reverend Bobby Liddle, convenor of the group which drew up the guidelines, said that the church was a conservative one, but that it wanted to show its concern for people struggling with their sexuality. On Monday, the church's new moderator, Dr John Finlay, however, implied it would be difficult for sexually active gays to remain within the Presbyterian fold. Dr Finlay 61, minister of Harryville Presbyterian Church in Ballymena, took over the role for the next 12 months in succession to David Clarke. He is reported as saying "If someone was an overtly practising homosexual, and our church condemns that as contrary to scripture, that would be difficult as far as church discipline is concerned,". The Presbyterian Church in Ireland has about 300,000 members in over 560 congregations and is the largest Protestant denomination in Northern Ireland.
For more info see Abortion Rights.
For more details see todays BBC political news.