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.

Advertisements

British Theresa May’s homophobic Irish allies


This satiric video says about itself:

3 May 2016

Here at PinkNews, we decided to make a more accurate version of the Democratic Unionist Party‘s 2016 [Northern Ireland] Assembly [election] broadcast.

By Donal O’Cofaigh in Northern Ireland:

The DUP‘s long history of bigotry towards lesbians and gay people

Friday 7th July 2017

Prejudice towards the LGBT community, corruption and hypocrisy may define the DUP to many but earlier this year they received their highest ever share of the vote as hundreds of thousands of Protestants voted for them amid heightened community divisions, writes Donal O’Cofaigh

The Democratic Unionists (DUP) are propping up Theresa May’s minority government — but how many British readers are fully aware of their history in regard to the issue of LGBT rights?

This is a party with a long pedigree of prejudice towards the LGBT community, which has repeatedly voted down equal marriage — using the petition of concern, a mechanism meant to guarantee community rights on either side, to veto change after majorities in the Stormont Assembly have voted for equality.

So who are the DUP?

The DUP grew up as an opposition to the Ulster Unionist Party (UUP), who ruled Northern Ireland as a one-party state for 50 years after its foundation. The UUP oversaw systemic discrimination against Catholics but also against working-class Protestants.

Northern Ireland — an intrinsic part of the UK — did not have one-person-one-vote until 1974 and that only after years of civil rights protests, the eruption of violence on the streets and the proroguing of the Ulster unionism’s seat of government, Stormont with the imposition of direct rule from Westminster.

While standing against “big house unionism,” the DUP was not motivated by class-based politics, instead it was founded on fundamentalist Protestantism — anti-Rome rhetoric was mixed with populist demands and attacks on anything verging on power-sharing.

The DUP was shaped by the largerthan-life personality of the Reverend Ian Paisley, who received his doctorate in divinity from the Bob Jones University in South Carolina. The DUP were the political wing of his church, the fundamentalist, evangelical Free Presbyterians.

Whether in the pulpit or on the streets his message was one of intolerance to Catholicism, ecumenism and homosexuality. The goal was to save the Ulster people from the “evils” of social liberalism, militant Irish republicanism and, worse still, the threat of godless communism.

Despite its strong unionism, the religious zealotry of the DUP has repeatedly led it to oppose the extension of progressive British legislation to Northern Ireland.

In 1977 the party launched its “Save Ulster from sodomy” campaign in response to attempts to extend the decriminalisation of homosexual acts under the Sexual Offences Act of 1967. As a result of this opposition, decriminalisation only took place in Northern Ireland in 1982 as a result of a ruling by the European Court of Human Rights.

In the following years, the DUP’s opposition to LGBT rights has remained every bit as strident despite the fact that it has now totally obliterated its Ulster Unionist opposition and is led by an Anglican, Arlene Foster.

Ian Paisley’s son, a leading member of Parliament, recently referred to homosexuality as being “immoral, offensive and obnoxious” and that he was “repulsed” by LGBT people. Another MP, Jim Wells, claimed that children growing up in same-sex households were more likely to be subjected to abuse before being forced to apologise. He also claimed the LGBT lobby was “insatiable.”

Such comments abound in the party — filled as it is with creationists, climate change-deniers and anti-choice campaigners but their moral pronouncements are often deeply hypocritical. The DUP are quite possibly the most corrupt party in Stormont with a strong history of flirtation, if not outright and open support, for paramilitarism but they portray themselves as righteous defenders of “democracy” and “freedom.”

Perhaps the most emblematic case of this is hypocrisy was almost a decade ago when the partner of former DUP leader Peter Robinson, Iris, also a member of the Stormont Assembly, referred to homosexuality repeatedly as an “abomination” causing her to feel “nauseous” and claiming that when she encountered LGBT people she referred them to a psychiatrist (who was also a political adviser). The political fallout from this claimed her psychiatrist friend’s career but despite that she went on to claim that homosexuality was worse than child abuse.

By April 2009 both herself and her husband, the first minister of Northern Ireland, were involved in public furore as it was exposed that the pair were drawing more than £571,000 a year in expenses, not including a further £150,000 for family member advisers, earning them the nickname “The Swish Family Robinson.”

But worse was to come when at the end of 2009, details came out on how Ms Robinson was having an extended affair with a 19-year-old businessman for whom she had secured an undeclared £100,000 donation from two different property developers.

Castlereagh Borough Council, which the Robinsons were known to have run as a fiefdom, was forced to conduct an investigation into the award of a catering contract to the same young man, that she was said to have influenced.

Iris resigned from public life being admitted to acute psychiatric care at the same time as the police raided the offices of Castlereagh Borough Council. Notwithstanding this bad publicity, her husband continued on as first minister until the beginning of 2016.

Scandal, corruption and hypocrisy may define the DUP to many but earlier this year they received their highest ever vote share as hundreds of thousands of Protestants voted for them amid heightened community divisions.

Sinn Fein had almost caught the DUP in an Assembly election — the prospect of a border poll was raised against the context of Brexit. Protestants voted in huge numbers for a party that takes its own working-class base for granted — many against their better judgements.

In the absence of a cross-community progressive alternative in Northern Ireland, society here continues to polarise.

The DUP are now propping up the Tory government. They have secured a few crumbs from the table for an act of betrayal against the working class throughout these islands. This is an outcome that will only further divide communities; something that suits both sides of the power-divide.

Those of us who are trying to build a cross-community labour movement to overcome division find ourselves pushing a boulder up an even steeper gradient but perhaps, at least, the DUP’s feet of clay as well as their regressive social policies will be subject to much greater scrutiny than ever before.

Donal O’Cofaigh is a campaigns and communications officer for Unite in Northern Ireland. This article is written in a personal capacity.

British Conservative-Irish terrorist coalition, parody songs


This parody music video from Britain is called Theweezer May – “Ireland and The Sun“.

It is a parody of the Weezer song Island In The Sun.

It says about itself:

1 July 2017

The escapist first single from Theresa May‘s Weezer tribute band, including shout-outs to Northern Ireland and The Sun.

LYRICS:

DUP! DUP!
DUP! DUP!

Hello, I’m Theweezer May
I could use a holiday
Snap election didn’t go well
Now I’m tired and stressed as hell
(But I’ve got…)
Northern Ireland and The Sun
Propping up my government
And it makes me feel so fine
They’re like my bezzie mates

We’ll run the UK together
Confidence and supply forever
Labour‘s got no chance any more

DUP! DUP!
DUP! DUP!

This parody music video from Britain is called New Orange Order – “Blue Money Day”.

It is parody of the song Blue Monday by New Order.

It says about itself:

1 July 2017

How does it feel to get a billion quid to go into coalition with the Conservatives? That’s the lyrical question from the DUP on their first single as New Orange Order.

Irish women’s victory against wobbly Conservative-fundamentalist British government


This video from India says about itself:

Abortion row: I get my strength from Savita, says husband

26 November 2012

As the probe continues into the death of his wife Savita, who was denied an abortion in Ireland, Praveen Halappanavar tells NDTV that he has no faith and trust in the inquiry and that it is a cover-up. He also recounts memories of how Savita was looking forward to being a mother.

By Lamiat Sabin in Britain:

Queen’s Speech: Tories forced to allow free abortions for Northern Irish women

Friday 30th June 2017

Landmark decision forced by Labour attack

A LANDMARK decision was taken yesterday to allow women travelling from Northern Ireland to have free abortions as the government scrambled to deal with Labour challenges to the Queen’s Speech.

Labour MP Stella Creasy had previously tabled an amendment to let Northern Irish women have free abortions via the NHS in England, as they are barred in Northern Ireland except where the mother’s life or mental health is in danger.

And in the face of overwhelming pressure the government fudged a solution by “refusing” free NHS abortions — but paying for them using government equalities office funding instead.

Chancellor Philip Hammond’s announcement offers a face-saving sop to the 10 MPs of the Democratic Unionist Party (DUP), which the government relies on to maintain its majority.

The Northern Irish party, which has a hardline antiabortion stance, would have been placed in an awkward position during the final Commons vote on the government’s legislative programme if the amendment had stood.

Following Mr Hammond’s announcement Ms Creasy withdrew her proposal and tweeted: “Sisters in Northern Ireland we will hear your voices — have asked for speedy meeting with govt to make this a reality!

“Thank you to MPs on all sides who supported call for change to help Northern Irish women have equal access to abortion.”

A British Pregnancy Advisory Service spokeswoman said: “We are absolutely delighted that the government has committed to funding abortion care for women who travel from Northern Ireland to England.

“This is a landmark moment: for years the women of Northern Ireland, despite being UK citizens and taxpayers, have not been entitled to NHS-funded treatment.

“Clearly this is not the solution to the gross injustice whereby women in Northern Ireland are denied access to abortion care at home, and we look forward to seeing progress on that front.

“Nevertheless this is an important moment, and we commend all those who have worked so hard to make this happen.”

So desperate is May that the government was forced to make a last minute agreement to help Northern Irish women forced to pay privately in England for abortions. This was in order to stymie a proposed Labour amendment aimed at challenging Northern Ireland’s extremely restrictive abortion laws. If passed, it would have thrown the Tory agreement into danger as the DUP is anti-abortion: here.

ABORTION rights campaigners hit out at a “deeply disappointing” appeal court ruling yesterday that it is for the Northern Ireland Assembly to decide whether women should be allowed to have pregnancies terminated. … Alliance 4 Choice told the Star it was “a day of highs and lows for women in Northern Ireland seeking free safe legal access to abortion,” adding: “We will continue to campaign for free safe and legal access to abortion in Northern Ireland”: here.

‘Never mind LGBTQ people’, British Theresa May says


This video from Northern Ireland says about itself:

Pastor James McConnell – homophobia

9 August 2014

Much was said of Belfast ‘pastor’ James McConnell’s recent racist comments.

First Minister of Northern Ireland Peter Robinson was drawn into the row: Peter Robinson under fire for backing Pastor James McConnell’s [anti-]Islamic remarks.

Both Robinson and McConnell were forced to apologise.

Why has the media not commented on McConnell’s homophobic comments? Does Robinson condone these anti-gay sentiments as well?

From Metro daily in London, England:

Theresa May says not to worry about DUP views on ‘LGB…what’s the rest of it?’

Ashitha Nagesh

Monday 12 Jun 2017 7:11 pm

Theresa May reportedly told backbenchers that government policy wouldn’t be affected by the DUP’s views on ‘LGB… what’s the rest of it?’.

The Prime Minister was meeting the 1922 Committee of backbenchers today amid controversy over the government’s discussions with the Democratic Unionist Party of Ulster.

A Tory MP is said to have told HuffPo editor Paul Waugh that the PM had made the apparently flippant comment about LGBT concerns in the meeting today.

The DUP is now infamous across the UK for its extremely conservative, right-wing views.

Among other things, the party is against same-sex marriage, is anti-abortion, and believes creationism should be taught in schools. …

A ‘confidence and supply’ deal would involve agreeing for the DUP to vote in favour of government policy in Parliament. Such a deal would be necessary for May to pass any policies, as the Tories ended up eight seats short of an overall majority in last Thursday’s general election.

However, there are claims the Scottish Tories could form their own semi-independent group – with its own whip – meaning they wouldn’t be required to vote with May and the government. …

Who are the Democratic Unionist Party?

The Democratic Unionist Party is the biggest unionist party in Northern Ireland – that is, it is against Ulster becoming part of the Republic of Ireland. …

Here’s what you need to know about the Northern Irish party that is now within throwing distance of Westminster.

LINKS TO TERRORISM

Disturbingly, the party has strong historical links to Loyalist paramilitary groups – in particular the terrorist group Ulster Resistance, which was founded by people who ended up becoming prominent DUP politicians. The party’s former leader Peter Robinson, for example, was an active member of the terror group.

The group also collaborated with other terror groups, including the Ulster Volunteer Force, to smuggle deadly arms into the UK.

Although the party has since rescinded violence,

Maybe diminished it a bit, but not abolished it. Read for as recently as 2015 ‘Theresa May’s new partners linked with recent HORRIFIC hammer attack on father-of-three’.

this may seem a bit of a rich move from a party that attacked Jeremy Corbyn for his alleged links to former Northern Irish terrorists.

WOMEN’S RIGHTS – OR A LACK OF THEM

The DUP is notorious for being strongly opposed to reproductive choice – specifically a woman’s right to choose to have an abortion. This makes them the biggest anti-abortion party in the country.

This is why women in Northern Ireland either face a costly and incredibly stressful journey to England and Scotland to have an abortion, or are forced to carry an unwanted pregnancy to term.

SAME SEX MARRIAGE

The DUP are also known for strongly opposing same sex marriage. As a result, Northern Ireland still doesn’t have equal marriage – unlike all of its neighbours Scotland, England, Wales and the Republic of Ireland.

ACCUSATIONS OF RACISM

Last year, DUP MP Sammy Wilson was accused of racism after a member of the public said Northern Ireland should ‘get the ethnics out’ – to which he appeared to reply ‘you are absolutely right’.

CREATIONISM

The DUP is also infamous for pushing for creationism to be taught in schools on a par with proven scientific facts. Creationism is the evangelical belief that Darwin’s theory of evolution is incorrect, and that humans were created whole in God’s image.

Theresa May said she plans to work with the anti-gay and anti-abortion DUP, and America’s [pro-Trump] far-right trolls are thrilled: here.

Today: There is no agreement yet between the Conservatives and the DUP.

Most of the country [Britain] wants another general election this year: here.

New British government dangerous for women’s rights


This video from Britain says about itself:

Outrage as Tory MP reveals May could give DUP this shocking concession to secure coalition

10 June 2017

OWEN Paterson sparked outrage this morning when he suggested Theresa May could offer the DUP a reduced right to abortion to shore up their support.

Well, if Theresa May gets on well with the misogynistic Saudi royal family and with anti-women Donald Trump, one should not be surprised if she gets on well with Irish enemies of women’s rights.

The former Conservative minister sparked furious reactions following his admission that the DUP could get a debate on abortion rights in exchange for a coalition deal.

Owen Paterson was quizzed on what the minority Government under Theresa May would have to give up to secure the partnership.

This comes as the Prime Minister sent her Chief Whip to Northern Ireland to thrash out a formal deal as Mrs May tries to cling onto power after the shambolic election results.

Speaking to BBC Radio 4, Mr Paterson sought to ease fears that the involvement of the DUP in supporting Theresa May’s new government would lead to pressure to compromise.

But, while rejecting any chance of a reversal on LGBT issues such as gay marriage, the Tory MP opened up the prospect of a parliamentary debate on cutting abortion rights.

The former Northern Ireland secretary said: “I don’t see many major social issues coming up in the next parliament.

“You might get a debate I suppose on further reduction of abortion times as medical science advances.

“But the stuff you mention like gay rights and all that, which you’re probably referring to, that is all devolved.

“It’s not only a free vote issue, most of this, but it’s nearly all devolved and that’s down to the politicians in Northern Ireland to resolve.”

The DUP holds a controversial anti-abortion stance, with terminations illegal in Northern Ireland unless a woman’s life is in danger or there is a serious risk to her health.

Last year, its leader Arlene Foster said: “I would not want abortion to be as freely available here as it is in England.”

Labour MP Jo Stevens expressed her disgust online, tweeting: “This is just 1 reason why Theresa May doing a deal with DUP is chilling.”

Another person tweeted: “Owen Paterson & Theresa May you disgust me that you can even consider swapping women’s bodily autonomy in exchange for power.”

Green Party deputy leader Amelia Womack said: “We may have seen a record number of women gain seats in the Parliament this week, but the 10 MPs of the anti-abortion, anti-equal marriage DUP look set to have a disproportionate influence which should concern us all.

The London-Irish Abortion Rights Campaign, which campaigns for legal abortion in Ireland and Northern Ireland, warned Mrs May about the agreement with the DUP.

The group said: “The DUP has consistently blocked any attempts to allow abortion even in limited circumstances.

“They are out of step with the Conservative Party and the people of Britain on many moral and social issues, having also blocked attempts to legalise gay marriage in Northern Ireland. We urge Theresa May to think carefully before aligning herself with a party intent on undermining the human rights of Northern Irish women.”

By Lamiat Sabin in Britain:

Campaigners say: Don’t let DUP destroy human rights

Wednesday 14th June 2017

CAMPAIGNERS and union leaders wrote to Theresa May yesterday demanding a “categoric assurance” that women’s rights and access to abortion will not be weakened in any deal with the DUP.

A letter to the PM urges her not to “turn the clock back,” or to turn her back on the women of Northern Ireland.

Signatories to the letter include the Fawcett Society, TUC, Royal College of Midwives and British Pregnancy Advisory Service.

The letter says: “Women in Northern Ireland are forced to travel to another part of the UK in order to access the same abortion services as women in the rest of the UK.

“This affects hundreds of women each year. Only those who can afford to travel and pay for treatment — as, despite being UK taxpayers, women resident in Northern Ireland are currently not entitled to NHS-funded abortion care in England — can do so.”

Ms May met DUP leader Arlene Foster in Downing Street for ongoing discussions about an agreement to bolster the Tory minority government. Ms Foster did not say whether she would agree to a deal.

A failure for the PM to gain support from the Christian fundamentalist party would risk the Queen’s Speech being voted down next week.

Meeting her MPs in Westminster, Ms Foster declared: “The future’s bright,” prompting Ian Paisley Jnr to quip: “The future’s orange” — a reference to the bigoted Orange Order that seeks to ignite sectarian tensions with militaristic marches through Catholic areas.

John Major, Tory prime minister during negotiations for the Good Friday Agreement, said on the BBC’s World at One that he was “wary” of any alliance because it could undermine the peace process.

“The danger is that however much any government tries, they will not be seen to be impartial if they are locked into a parliamentary deal with one of the Northern Ireland parties,” he said.

“And you never know in what unpredictable way things will turn out.”

Tories could lose voters by the “bucketload” in another election if they promise cash for votes with the DUP, when the money could be “equally well received” by Wales, Scotland, and “just about managing” families anywhere, he added.

Ms May told her own MPs: “I’m the person who got us into this mess and I’m the one who will get us out of it.”