As a LGBT person I can tell you exactly what I have got for my money from New Labour:
- an equal age of consent
- an end to discrimination against my partner for immigration purposes
- the right to adopt children
- the scrapping of Section 28 (Clause 2a in Scotland)
- the banning of discrimination in the workplace and in vocational training with the introduction of the Employment Equality (Sexual Orientation) Regulations
- the creation of the Equality and Human Rights Commission giving LGBT people statutory body protection
- the widening of the definition of hate crimes, and increased sentencing for homophobic hate crimes
- the removal of outdated offences such as gross indecency and buggery
- the Gender Recognition Act, allowing Trans people to have their true gender recognised in law
- the Civil Partnerships Act, allowing me to have my relationships recognised in law and have the same benefits as a married couple
- discrimination in good and services outlawed
- And we await a draft single equality act which will be lost if the Tories get in power
Much of what has been achieved is because of the voices and opinions of trade unionists and (LGBT Labour activists) within the party and in my view the weakening of that link will silence our voice even more.
At a time when we are in real danger of facing the prospect of a Tory government, we should be rallying together not dividing because that is what the Tories want. A party that is divided. Trade Unions turning their back on the party that we built. Spending time reviewing the link when we have more urgent things to get on with like defeating the BNP and the Tories.
I am not saying that New Labour has not made some drastic mistakes and that we have had a battle on our hands and still do. I am not saying that our public services have been put under pressure, that our pay does not matter, that our pensions don’t and that our rights as trade unionists should be eroded. We still have a battle. But with the Tories it would be a war. It would not be positively public. It would be positively private. UNISON – the private service union.
I choose to pay into the affiliated political fund and it is financed solely by members who pay the levy not by the general membership.