Stop British governmental homophobia


This 2013 video from Ireland says about itself:

A recent debate on the Nolan Show involving a DUP man saying homosexuality is an abomination. This is not the first time the DUP has been involved in a spat with the gay community, many other DUP politicians have had similar comments including Edwin Poots and Iris Robinson.

By Maria Exall in Britain:

The Tories can’t be trusted with our LGBT rights

Wednesday 13th September 2017

The TUC must oppose the Tory-DUP alliance and defend our equalities legislation, writes MARIA EXALL

ON JULY 1 trade unionists, human rights campaigners, LGBT+ activists and their families and friends marched for equal love in Belfast. Northern Ireland remains the only part of Britain and Ireland where marriage between people of the same sex is not allowed.

This is due directly to the reactionary position of the Democratic Unionist Party (DUP) on LGBT+ rights.

The DUP has vetoed the democratic will of the Northern Ireland Assembly. It has organised a “petition of concern” and is committed to prevent equality legislation from being passed.

In the motion to Congress from our conference earlier this year, the TUC LGBT+ workers’ committee calls on the TUC and all affiliated unions to oppose the alliance between the Conservatives and the DUP, and to work with the Irish Congress of Trade Unions to defend existing equalities legislation across the UK and further their expansion, including equal marriage in Northern Ireland.

The reactionary position of the DUP is driven by a connection between the party and a particularly deeply embedded socially conservative strand within Protestantism in Ulster.

Unionism, in its religious conservatism, is not only anti-LGBT rights but also supportive of literalist interpretations of the Bible, such as creationism.

This is the place where Ashers Bakery refused to provide a cake for a gay celebration and, with the support of the Christian Institute, tried to drive a cart and horses through hard-won legislation on equal access to goods and services in the whole of the UK.

Some — including the occasional LGBT activist — failed to see the significance of the case as a principle of equality rather a matter of religious freedom.

The reality is the Ashers Bakery case challenge was a dog whistle in preparation for a defence against equal marriage and any promotion of LGBT+ rights in the six counties.

Northern Ireland is the most religious part of the UK — as measured by church attendance and commitment to religious affiliation.

It has a history of certain Christian denominations having a massive influence in its politics — something it shares with the Republic of Ireland.

But secularists and progressive people of faith there have emerged from the shadow of a crumbling theocracy to vote for change.

Just as south of the border, the demand for equal rights in Northern Ireland is mainly driven by young people who are forcing the pace of change.

By no means do all members of the Protestant communities in Northern Ireland oppose progressive social change, and many young people from those communities are speaking out.

Indeed it is clear that the issue of LGBT+ rights is causing serious soulsearching among sections of the Unionist-supporting communities.

The Northern Ireland Assembly is currently in suspended animation but even if direct rule was in place, it is not clear that things would progress.

The alliance between the DUP and the Conservative Party means that support from Westminster for change is unlikely. The Tories will not want to annoy the party that keeps them in power.

The Conservatives are compromised in any initiatives they put forward on equality by their deal with the DUP. There is, however, another reason why we should not expect change in Northern Ireland under a Conservative government, and that is the voting record of the Tories themselves.

Despite David Cameron’s championing of same-sex marriage as leader of the coalition government, the majority of Conservative MPs in the last parliament failed to support the Bill. It was Labour votes that won it.

The issue is not only the deal with the homophobic DUP but the persistence of homophobia, biphobia and transphobia within the ruling party in the UK.

It is worth remembering that support for retaining Section 28 — the law which banned local authorities from portraying homosexuality in a positive light — and opposing positive LGBT equality legislation was the official position of the Conservative Party until 2009.

Until then it opposed all the progressive legislation brought in by Labour in the parliaments since 1997.

This Tory government cannot be trusted with our hard-won rights. It is up to us to keep fighting for our equality. The struggle for equal marriage in Northern Ireland is a top priority for all LGBT+ trade unionists in the UK.

Maria Exall is the chair of the TUC LGBT+ committee and a member of the CWU.

Human rights groups urge Egypt to halt crackdown on LGBT people after rainbow flag waved at concert: here.

British grime musician Stormzy against Theresa May


This 25 June 2017 video from England says about itself:

Glastonbury 2017: Stormzy demands justice for Grenfell Tower.

From daily The Morning Star in Britain:

Grime king Stormzy merks May at GQ night

Thursday 7th September 2017

GRIME star Stormzy took a very public pot shot at Theresa May and joined Jeremy Corbyn on stage on Tuesday night as he won top honours at the GQ Men of the Year Awards.

The rapper was introduced by the Labour leader as “one of London’s most inspiring young men,” as he won solo artist of the year.

Stormzy said: “Big up Jeremy Corbyn,” and added that the Prime Minister was “a paigon” — which Urban Dictionary defines as “a friend that lies, betrays and isn’t true to you.”

Mr Corbyn described him as an artist who has “single-handedly ushered in a new era in British music.”

He also praised him for speaking out against racism and supporting the victims of Grenfell, while remaining “true to his roots and committed to his values.”

This video from Britain says about itself:

6 September 2017

Labour leader Jeremy Corbyn says he would love to see Stormzy in Parliament and that the artist is “a man of his own mind” . Report by Hettie Maylam.

Bahrain human rights abuses with British government support


This Amnesty International video says about itself:

6 September 2017

Since mid-2016, the Bahraini authorities have dramatically stepped up their crackdown on dissent. By June 2017, Bahrain’s formerly thriving civil society had found itself reduced to a few lone voices brave enough to speak out. The majority of peaceful critics, whether they are human rights defenders or political activists, now feel the risk of doing so has become too high.

Over the course of a year, the authorities increasingly resorted to a wide range of repressive tactics including arrest, harassment, threats, prosecution and imprisonment to silence peaceful critics. Amnesty International’s research concludes that the security forces have even resorted to torturing or otherwise ill-treating human rights defenders, both men and women.

By Steve Sweeney in Britain:

Britain ‘failing people of Bahrain by whitewashing rights abuses

Thursday 7th September 2017

BRITAIN must stop “lending cover” to human rights abuses in Bahrain, Amnesty International said yesterday as it published a new report on the Gulf kingdom.

It warned of a “disastrous decline” in Bahrain’s human rights situation, saying that families have been targeted by the authorities after their relatives protested peacefully in London.

Amnesty slammed the British government for failing to investigate the reprisal attacks and whitewashing of abuses by the regime. It has written to Foreign Office Minister Alistair Burt demanding answers.

The human rights group said Bahrain continues to crush dissent, with a violent crackdown on protests against the government that killed six people — including a child — along with mass arrests, the torture of detainees and the elimination of free expression.

In the last year, at least 169 critics of the Bahraini government or their family members have been detained, tortured, threatened or banned from travelling, according to the report.

The main opposition party has been dissolved, politicians have been jailed and Bahrain’s last independent newspaper has been closed down.

Despite this, the British government’s latest assessment on human rights in Bahrain refers to a “mixed picture,” with praise for the country’s “progress on its reform agenda.”

But Amnesty points to a “disturbing development” after Bahraini authorities targeted the family of prominent government critic Sayed Ahmed Alwadei, who lives in exile in Britain.

Hours after a peaceful protest in London during a visit by King Hamad bin Isa al-Khalifa last year, his wife and young child were arrested in Bahrain, with interrogators making specific reference to his presence at the London demonstration.

Amnesty director Kate Allen said the people of Bahrain felt betrayed by the British government.

She called on the kingdom to allow representatives of the United Nations and human rights organisations into the country.

“There’s been a disastrous decline in human rights in Bahrain over the past year, but you’d never know it from the UK’s rosy pronouncements on Bahrain,” Ms Allen said.

“By accentuating the supposed positives, the UK is lending cover to Bahrain as it pursues a frightening and ever-intensifying crackdown on human rights.”

She said Britain needs to wake up to the reality of what is happening in Bahrain and must go beyond so-called “quiet diplomacy” to speak out against the regime’s human rights abuses.

The Foreign Office had not responded to the Star’s request for comment at the time of going to press.