Thursday, 14 January 2010

Top marks for Clegg on equality

Following on from my earlier posts (here and here) arguing for commitments on funding for blood screening in order that unfair exclusions on donation by gay men can be lifted, I'm very pleased to read that Nick Clegg has aligned the LibDems solidly in favour of such a move.

Modesty forbids me from claiming credit for raising this issue to the attention of my readers in the Houses of Parliament as I'm certain this is something our representatives would be aware of, but I'm glad to see statements in this direction showing LibDem leadership.

The blood ban is a highly practical symbol of the continuing divide in official attitudes towards sexual equality which gives rise to cynical feelings that some politicians in the establishment are more interested in saving cash than saving lives, but Nick Clegg has gone further in identifying areas where discrimination has a real and negative effect on society.

He points out a comprehensive list of areas across the spectrum where dicrimination on the grounds of sexuality could easily be changed.

Apart from lifting the blood ban (which potentially affects everyone) he argues that in early life as well as in adulthood discrimination is allowed to be fostered unchecked.

In faith schools and with regard to 'civil partnerships' homosexual people are treated as second-class citizens by the failure to implement anti-homophobic bullying policies and resistance to allowing equal 'marriage' status.

And in international relations the failure to provide guarantees on asylum for the victims of homophobic persecution or to use diplomatic pressure to push for equal human rights in places like Uganda (where homosexuality is punishable by death) is a stain on British foreign policy, undermining claims to ethical standards or strategic effectiveness.

Labour has not been consistent or principled on the matter, while Conservatives are apathetic at best.

For me equality issues are a vital testing ground, so I think Nick Clegg should be commended for taking such a strong and unequivocal stance clearly stating what needs to be done while the other parties sit back in contemptuous neglect.


Tim Trent said...

It's just too depressing, Mr Blogmesiter. It looks very much as though I have seen the future and its name is Clegg, which will make my life very difficult at the next election. I have never been a Lib Dem voter and never considered it until now.

This makes it important that I do consider it and that I listen very carefully to their policies. It doesn't mean I'll vote for them, put it puts them firmly into the running for me.

Oranjepan said...

Hi Tim,
it may surprise to to learn that I've always considered myself to be a floating voter, as I always try to make my mind up on the actual decision I face at the time.

I think the preconceptions people have about what other may or may not do are actually quite funny - we never really know everything... so it's important to be open-minded - whether it be relationships, voting, careers or whatever. If we don't like our options then we have to do something about influencing the choices available.

Tim Trent said...

My voting track record hitherto has been "least worst", especially at the last general election where I saw nothing of any appeal in any party, but found the Labour party to be the most inappropriate for my needs.

I confess that I have voted UKIP in Euro Elections, simply to make the main parties think hard about what they were doing.

In local elections I'd prefer to vote for a Residents' Association candidate any day. I believe that local government should be above party politics.

The next election will be harder. Labour is a huge no, for me the reasons are too obvious and too numerous to list.

Conservatives? Well, until Clegg's Human Rights statement I was considering them as the best option. Now I have to think harder. Emotionally I am a socialist, intellectually a capitalist, and I don;t yet understand the Lib Dems

asquith said...

Yes, I hailed Obama for removing the ban on HIV+ travellers in the USA, & also for repealing the "Mexico City Policy".

It was a real reassertion of the reality-based community after all the woo of past times. So he is certainly not all hype & is markedly different to his predecessor, under whom these ideas would ne'er have been entertained.