British Theresa May Trump’s poodle, even after Charlottesville

This 24 May 2017 video from Brussels, Belgium says about itself:

Interview with Maz Saleem, Stop the War Coalition UK at the Trump not Welcome demonstration in Brussels.

By Steve Sweeney in Britain:

May refuses to rule out state visit despite latest bigotry

Thursday 17th August 2017

THERESA MAY came under fire yesterday for failing to cancel Donald Trump’s state visit following his failure to condemn Nazis at Saturday’s deadly march in Charlottesville.

The PM joined condemnation of Mr Trump’s comments on Tuesday in which he partly blamed antifascists for violent clashes at a white nationalist march.

Ms May said: “I see no equivalence between those who propound fascist views and those who oppose them. I think it is important for all those in positions of responsibility to condemn far-right views wherever we hear them.”

However, despite growing pressure she stopped short of cancelling Mr Trump’s state visit.

Shadow defence secretary Nia Griffith tweeted: “A state visit by Donald Trump would shame this country and betray all we stand for. Theresa May should revoke the invitation immediately.”

A Downing Street spokeswoman told the Star that there was “nothing to add” when asked whether Ms May would cancel Mr Trump’s invite.

Meanwhile, a demonstration against the US President’s “politics of warmongering, fear, hate and division” has been called by the Stand Up to Trump coalition and will take place this Saturday.

Novelist and poet Michael Rosen said that the “high-risk games that Trump is playing” could destroy the lives of millions.

Stand up to Trump spokeswoman Maz Saleem said: “Donald Trump has threatened to unleash a nuclear war in North Korea and military action against Venezuela.

“Meanwhile, the appalling events in Charlottesville show that his bigoted rhetoric is encouraging far-right extremism.”

The demonstration will take place from 12pm-1pm at the US embassy, Grosvenor Square, London.

Charlotesville confrontation

The caption of the British Stand up to Trump coalition to this photo from the violent racist demonstration in Charlottesville, Virginia, USA says:

On the Left is what courage looks like.

On the Right are coward Nazis hiding their faces. Ku Klux Klan.

Here’s why Heather Heyer was the worst nightmare of the so-called “alt-right.” And Charlottesville was illuminated by a different kind of light Wednesday, when thousands gathered at UVA for a candlelit vigil. [HuffPost]

MERRIAM-WEBSTER: SEARCHES FOR ‘FASCISM’ AND ‘BIGOT’ SPIKED Following the weekend’s deadly white supremacist rally in Charlottesville, Virginia. [HuffPost]

HOWARD FINEMAN: A DIVIDED COUNTRY IS WHAT TRUMP WANTS “Donald Trump seems perfectly willing to destroy the country to maintain his own power.” [HuffPost]

Trump’s attorney forwarded an email rant defending Robert E. Lee that reportedly said Black Lives Matter was infiltrated by terrorists.

President Donald Trump said he’s “sad to see” Confederate statues and monuments being taken down around the United States: here.

British Conservative government’s Grenfell Tower disaster cover-up

This video from London, England says about itself:

Justice for Grenfell Protest March – interviews with families

17 June 2017

People gathered at Kensington and Chelsea Town Hall on Friday 16th June to confront the council over their handling of the Grenfell Tower fire. This was then followed by a peaceful march to Grenfell Tower. This video includes interviews with relatives of residents of Grenfell Tower and also John Sweeney of BBC Panorama.

By Felicity Collier in Britain:

Grenfell Probe ‘precisely what we feared’

Wednesday 16th August 2017

Tories ‘running scared’ after wider social housing concerns excluded from inquiry

LABOUR accused the government of “running scared” yesterday after it announced that the inquiry into the Grenfell fire disaster would not scrutinise survivors’ wider concerns about social housing.

Justice4Grenfell, one of the campaign groups working with survivors, insisted that — after the blaze killed at least 80 people and left many more homeless and without possessions — the probe must restore public confidence in the safety of tower blocks across Britain.

In the formal consultation that preceded yesterday’s announcement, the group called for the inquiry to look at how councils respond to large-scale emergencies and ensure that communities are listened to.

But Prime Minister Theresa May accepted the recommendations of its chairman Sir Martin Moore-Bick, to ignore these concerns.

In a letter to the PM, the retired Court of Appeal judge said such issues would “raise questions of a social, economic and political nature” that are “not suitable” for a judge-led inquiry.

Instead, the focus should be on the causes of the fire, the design, construction and refurbishment of the building and the “adequacy” of regulations, he said.

Ms May also announced a separate review of social housing, to be carried out by Housing Minister Alok Sharma, whose wife is a private landlord.

Labour MP Emma Dent Coad, whose Kensington constituency covers the site of the fire, branded the government’s stance a “complete betrayal,” and “precisely what we feared.

“We were told: ‘No stone would be left unturned,’ but instead are being presented with a technical assessment which will not get to the heart of the problem: what effects, if any, the lack of investment into social housing had on the refurbishment project.

“We have no confidence whatever in the ability of Alok Sharma and a few politically compromised individuals to take on the task of answering this most important question.”

The scope of the probe was announced less than two weeks after the public consultation closed, having receiving 550 submissions, leading Ms Dent Coad to ask: “How can the community possibly have faith in an inquiry with terms of reference so hastily determined by the Prime Minister and her government?

“Clearly, the government is running scared.”

The probe will, however, examine the actions of authorities before the inferno, including Tory-controlled Kensington and Chelsea Council, and how the aftermath was handled by both the local council and central government in the aftermath.

Justice4Grenfell spokeswoman Yvette Williams said that Mr Moore-Bick “is not looking at the broader social issues for one, which we think is majorly central to this situation.”

And she warned: “If he goes on with no community advisory rep, we would have a lot to say about that.”

A spokesperson for the Radical Housing Network campaign group said: “Prime Minister May pays lip service to ‘broad questions on social housing policy’ and yet these very questions are excluded from the inquiry terms.

“Investigators should be looking at the social policies which allowed such a tragedy in 21st-century Britain and the way these have created a housing system in which some people matter more than others.”

Shadow housing secretary John Healey reacted to the news on Twitter, saying: “Deeply unsatisfactory for the Prime Minister to set Grenfell inquiry terms of reference to exclude housing policy failings — closing off criticism of government policy.”

The first hearing is scheduled to take place on September 14, with an initial report due next Easter.

Justice4Grenfell Campaign’s response to the Terms of Reference publication: here.

British government’s xenophobia criticized by United Nations

This video from the USA says about itself:

11 November 2015

Nearly 60 million people worldwide have been driven from their homes by war and persecution. Half of the displaced are children. For once, instead of spending billions on war, we can use our resources to provide humanitarian relief and save lives. Call Congress and demand they do more by supporting the Graham-Leahy bill NOW: 1-877-429-0678 SIGN PETITION.

By Zoe Streatfield in Britain:

UN calls on ‘irresponsible’ government to do its bit

Saturday 5th August 2017

UNITED NATIONS called on the Tory government yesterday to double the amount of refugees admitted under resettlement programmes while slamming the “irresponsible” hate speech from some politicians and sections of the media.

UN High Commission for Refugees assistant Volker Turk said accepting around 10,000 refugees a year would be a “step change” for Britain and would double the current rate.

So far the government has committed to taking in 20,000 refugees by 2020 under a scheme to help those fleeing the war in Syria, with 5,453 granted humanitarian protection under the programme in the year ending March 2017, and 3,000 vulnerable children and family members.

Mr Turk, who was in London speaking to ministers, said he hoped the government would expand its programme “significantly” after 2020, and have a “regular resettlement programme open to people fleeing trouble spots around the world, not just Syria.”

He said: “I think we have to be very honest about the need for countries to contribute and to step up.”

Amnesty International UK director Kate Allen attacked the government for its “poor” response to the refugee crisis.

She said it has “effectively turned its back on some of the most vulnerable people on the planet, and failed properly to live up to its obligations to protect those fleeing conflict and persecution.”

Ms Allen warned that the crisis would not go away until Prime Minister Theresa May and other world leaders started working together “to genuinely share responsibility for hosting refugees and provide more secure and legal routes to safety.”

The government did not respond to a request for comment.

British Conservative homophobia

This video about Britain says about itself:

Theresa May in Coalition with Extremist Irish Party, the DUP

9 June 2017

Theresa May has formed a coalition with the Democratic Unionist Party of Ireland, an extremist, right wing party with ties to racist paramilitaries during the Irish “troubles”. Sectarian, ultra conservative, [homophobic] and against women’s rights, abortion, immigrants, etc., this union badly weakens May’s negotiating ability in Brexit and will alienate moderates all over Britain.

By Steve Sweeney in Britain:

PM May’s Years of Gay Bashing

Friday 28th July 2017

Tories love gay people, trills PM who tried to restrict LGBT rights four times

THERESA MAY was branded a hypocrite over gay rights as she tried to wrap herself in the rainbow flag yesterday, with campaigners pointing to her appalling track record.

Ms May used the 50th anniversary of the partial repeal of anti-gay legislation to praise the Tories’ role on LGBT issues in recent years — having spent nearly 20 years fighting against gay rights herself.

In an article for Pink News to mark half a century since the 1967 Sexual Offences Act became law, the Prime Minister said she was proud of the party for passing equal marriage legislation, but acknowledged: “There will justifiably be scepticism about the positions taken and votes cast down through the years by the Conservative Party, and by me, compared to where we are now.”

However campaigners pointed to her appalling track record of voting against LGBT rights legislation and said despite her warm words, she hadn’t really changed.

A 2001 newspaper interview when she was shadow universities minister resurfaced yesterday in which Ms May defended anti-gay laws in schools claiming “most parents want the comfort of knowing Section 28 is there.”

Section 28 was a controversial amendment [by then Conservative Prime Minister Margaret Thatcher] to local government legislation which banned the promotion of homosexuality in schools.

She insisted at the time: “No head teacher has commented to me that they are not able to deal with homophobic bullying or discuss homosexuality, where it is appropriate, with young people.”

And this week Labour leader Jeremy Corbyn urged Ms May to stand up to US President Donald Trump — who said he wants to ban transgender people from the military — on LGBT issues.

Mr Corbyn said: “In America, the Trump presidency has incited hatred and discrimination against LGBT people.

“Trump opposes gay marriage and his vice-president, Mike Pence, enacted a religious freedom Bill which legalised discrimination against LGBT people.

“Other world leaders have been unequivocal with the US president but not Theresa May, who has failed to challenge this in the strongest terms.”

Human rights activist Peter Tatchell told the Star: “Just earlier this year the government rejected the recommendations of the education committee that LGBT issues should be mandatory in every school in order to combat bullying and support LGBT pupils.

“I wrote to the Prime Minister earlier this week asking her to issue an apology and pay compensation to those who were convicted for same sex activities. I received a reply saying the matter had been referred to the Education Department.

“The quest for justice has nothing to do with the Education Department. It shows the contempt with which the Conservatives still hold the LGBT community.

“The government refused to amend equality laws to include religious institutions, which allows them to discriminate against LGBT people in schools, hospitals and nursing homes.”

The Downing Street press office had not responded to the Star‘s request for comment at time of going to print.

Last month, the PM’s commitment to gay rights was called into question over the £1 billion deal struck with the homophobic Democratic Unionist Party to keep her in Number 10.

Forgotten moments

1998 – Votes against reducing the homosexual age of consent from 18 to 16, in line with the heterosexual one

2002 – Votes against allowing gay couples to adopt (Adoption and Children Bill — Suitability Of Adopters)

2003 – Absent from a vote on the Local Government Bill — Maintain Prohibition on Promotion of Homosexuality (Section 28)

2008 – Threatens the rights of lesbian couples by voting to force clinics to consider the need for a “father and mother” before allowing women to seek IVF treatment

2010 – One of her first acts as home secretary is to make sure public bodies don’t have to actively try to reduce inequality

British government persecutes LGBT refugees

This 1 July 2017 Dutch video from Amsterdam in the Netherlands is called Sports day for LGBT refugees.

Unfortunately, not all news about LGBTQ refugees in the Netherlands is good news. Sometimes, the Dutch government tries to deport them to war zones.

Unfortunately, bad news about LGBTQ refugees in Britain as well.

By Leila Zadeh in Britain:

Why is Britain still punishing LGBT asylum seekers?

Thursday 27th July 2017

People fleeing homophobic persecution too often find themselves subject to ill-treatment and discrimination here, says LEILA ZADEH

As we mark 50 years since the partial decriminalisation of homosexuality, LGBTQI+ people who seek sanctuary in Britain from persecution in other countries are subjected to invasive questioning and risk being detained indefinitely.

More than 70 countries in the world criminalise same-sex acts and many LGBTQI+ people are at risk from persecution for being who they are.

It is not unusual for LGBTQI+ people attending asylum interviews to be asked questions based on assumptions of what it is to be LGBTQI+, that focus on intimate details of their sexual conduct, or that re-traumatise individuals.

One person was recently asked what it felt like when they were being raped. Another was asked when they first had sex with their partner.

Others end up having to explain why they are not heterosexual. One man was recently told that the caseworker did not believe he was gay since some cross-dressers identify as straight.

The Home Office also puts some LGBTQI+ people seeking asylum into detention. Britain has one of the largest detention estates in Europe and, shockingly, is alone in detaining people for indefinite amounts of time.

At the UK Lesbian and Gay Immigration Group, we regularly visit people who have been detained for several months: people who have applied to stay in this country for fear of persecution — including beatings, rape and death — in their countries of origin.

Our joint research with Stonewall has found that in detention, LGBTQI+ people who are seeking asylum suffer discrimination, harassment and violence from other detainees.

People are made to share rooms with people who share similar prejudices and abusive behaviours to those they are trying to flee: people who are homophobic, biphobic or transphobic.

One person reported feeling as unsafe in the detention centre as they did in Pakistan.

“He was in the gallery and he called: ‘Hey! Mr Gay, I love you! I want to fuck you.’ I was so scared. I just went in my room. Here in detention it is the same as where I came from. I was so scared.”

Many have reported that detention centre staff have failed to act on such bullying. Detention can have serious effects on the physical well-being of LGBTQI+ people.

In detention, some have reported not receiving medication for heart conditions or HIV. Trans people on gender-affirming hormones are denied continued access to treatment, adversely affecting their mental and physical wellbeing.

The detrimental impact on mental health can also be long-lasting. LGBTQI+ people can suffer depression or panic attacks, or self-harm. Some detainees have attempted suicide.

After being released from detention, LGBTQI+ people seeking asylum often experience flashbacks, suffer memory loss or find themselves unable to sleep.

LGBTQI+ people are often excluded from communities from their countries of origin because of prejudice against them. Identifying and accessing LGBTQI+ support networks is challenging.

The experience of detention makes it hard for them to settle into society even when they have regained their freedom.

Detention can also restrict the ability of LGBTQI+ people to gather evidence in support of their asylum claims. LGBTQI+ people frequently need to provide evidence from witnesses in their countries of origin to testify to their sexual orientation or gender identity as part of their asylum applications.

In detention, they can find it almost impossible to contact people in their countries of origin discreetly to gather such evidence. Many of their contacts at home also fear persecution if they are associated with someone who identifies as LGBTQI+.

Restrictions on smartphones and social networking sites in detention can also stop LGBTQI+ people from gathering the evidence they need to pursue their cases and get written records of their past relationships.

Britain has made great strides in protecting and promoting the rights of LGBTQI+ people in the last 50 years. Our government also seeks to promote the rights of LGBTQI+ people in other countries.

Yet its treatment of people from those same countries who seek protection on British soil stands in sharp contrast.

LGBTQI+ people from countries where they are persecuted because of their sexual orientation or gender identity hope that Britain’s record in respecting human rights will protect them.

They want to enjoy the freedoms that other LGBTQI+ people in Britain enjoy. Yet often they encounter a system that refuses to believe they are LGBTQI+ or that they face persecution, and adds to their trauma by putting them into detention for an indefinite amount of time.

More training is needed of Home Office caseworkers so that asylum interviews treat people with dignity.

Decision-makers also need to be better trained in assessing sexual orientation in asylum claims. The government should also aim to issue guidance soon on gender identity in asylum claims.

The government should ensure that vulnerable people like LGBTQI+ asylum-seekers are not put into detention centres and that all immigration detention has a time limit of 28 days.

Leila Zadeh is executive director of the UK Lesbian & Gay Immigration Group.