A blog by Luke Akehurst about politics, elections, and the Labour Party - With subtitles for the Hard of Left. Just for the record: all the views expressed here are entirely personal and do not necessarily represent the positions of any organisations I am a member of.

Thursday, September 20, 2007

Galloway on LGBT issues

From the latest edition of the CPGB's Weekly Worker:

"An indication of Galloway’s view on how to play this question came last week when gay rights campaigners ‘outed’ his website. In order to discredit his Labour opponent in the next general election, Galloway listed Jim Fitzpatrick’s parliamentary record. He voted against a transparent parliament and for the Iraq war, ID cards, anti-terrorism legislation, replacing Trident, foundation hospitals and student top-up fees. And included amongst these and other similar ‘charges’ was Fitzpatrick’s position on homosexuality: he is “very strongly for equal gay rights”.

After Peter Tatchell contacted the press over this all reference to gay rights were quickly removed. Just a clumsy mistake? If so, Galloway made the same mistake when he announced his decision to contest Fitzpatrick’s seat on his August 10 Talk Sport radio show. Immediately after reading out the final point from Fitzpatrick’s parliamentary record - the fact that he had voted “very
strongly for equal gay rights” - Galloway stated: “All these are the reasons
why it’s going to be the mother of all battles in Poplar and Limehouse.”
The show containing this statement can still be downloaded from the Talk Sport website."

Another good reason to help Jim Fitzpatrick's campaign to stop Galloway getting back into the Commons.


Blogger Merseymike said...

I wouldn't trust a bunch of Trots and fundie Muslims one inch on gay rights issues. Respect claim to be pro-gay rights, but....

I think Galloway ought to be held to task on this one. I am sure that many of us will do so! His voting record is actually quite reasonable so I can only assume he is trying to appease the fundies having fallen out with the trots.

11:00 pm, September 20, 2007

Blogger E10 Rifle said...

Blimey. That's disgraceful if Galloway's portrayed it in that way.

12:53 am, September 21, 2007

Blogger Ravi Gopaul said...

Ordinary I have a lot of respect (no pun intended!)for George, but I remeber the offending article on his website. I could'nt for the life of me understand why voting strongly for gay rights is a bad thing as according to George's own record (http://www.theyworkforyou.com/mp/george_galloway/bethnal_green_and_bow) he has also voted strongly for gay rights. I mean Jim has also voted against fox hunting, are you suggesting George gets into his jodpurs and screams tally ho? As we are talking about votes on gay rights how many as Gordon actually voted for? In an interview with Pink news (http://www.pinknews.co.uk/news/view.php?id=4954) though praising the efforts the government has made to improving gay rights he never actually gave an explaination as to why he never voted, did he leave the stove on? Was it a really gripping episode of The Bill and he told himself "five more minutes and I'll pop down and vote"? We will never know.
With regards to his comments on about Jim, members the of the FBU (fire brigade union) has this to say about him,

"We are spitting feathers that Jim Fitzpatrick, the MP for Poplar & Canning Town, has refused to speak out in favour of the firefighters. Jim Fitzpatrick was a firefighter in London from 1974 to 1997 and on the national executive of the firefighters' FBU union from 1988 to 1997.

He went through the bitter firefighters' strike in the 1970s, and knows what it is like to be attacked by a Labour government and the press. But he has totally refused to back us, and instead lined up fully with the government that has attacked us so harshly. Jim "Judas" Fitzpatrick has sold his soul to New Labour and obviously prefers the company he keeps now to the people he used to represent.

When Ken Livingstone and Frank Dobson were standing for mayor of London, Fitzpatrick told us it was vital that as firefighters we backed Labour. What has Labour done for us now, Jim? Without the FBU Jim Fitzpatrick would never have made his career. But he has now turned his back on those who put him in parliament."

Jim wrote a letter of response to one of the FBU members, Sian Griffiths in the Socialist Worker,

"Dear Sian,

Although Socialist Worker doesn't cross my desk very often your letter in last week's issue was drawn to my attention. For months I have done as much as I could behind the scenes to avoid the dispute.

I would contest that I have been silent about the dispute. I have done quite a lot of media interviews and clearly outlined my view. In short, I do not support the 40 percent, but then, I do not believe that the FBU seriously expected to secure that much.

However, I do believe that a fairer deal is appropriate and have publicly (and privately) said as much. Finally I do believe that the service can be improved, as I know that you and the FBU do. I hope you find this helpful. Best wishes,

Her reposte,


Although you didn't say very much, your letter was very telling and helpful. You say Socialist Worker doesn't cross your desk very often. Maybe it should! Obviously the copious, honest articles about the FBU and our dispute aren't interesting enough to warrant your attention. I personally have not seen hide nor hair of you before or during this dispute. You smugly, patronisingly and brazenly criticise our claim for a £30,000 minimum firefighter wage.

How dare you, when you bunch of charlatans secured over 40 percent for yourselves. This is paid by us and did not require an "independent" review. It appears that you, like the rest, are prepared to see this job, along with every other service, public or otherwise, go completely down the pan. All starkly in contrast to this government's pre-election promises. Once again, profit before everything. PS: A small tip-actions speak louder than words.

SIAN GRIFFITHS, watch commander, West London"

I don't know how you felt about the FBU strike Luke, I can guess, but I am sure you would not want to bismirch our comrades in the FBU asking for a payrise, I mean £30,000 for risking your life saving others is not much is it? I don't think they are brazen millitants just folk who want to earn a decent living, by hell they deserve it. I also feel we should pay our servicemen a better wage and provide them with the equipment they need and better accomodation, but that is another issue.

8:29 am, September 21, 2007

Blogger Jackson Jeffrey Jackson said...

Yes, Gordon Brown's voting record on gay rights is something which ought to be placed under the microscope a bit more too.

10:01 am, September 21, 2007

Anonymous Ted Harvey said...

ravi I think that some people might not find it hard to understand why Galloway would highlight being strongly for gay rights, if it could be shown that Galloway was saying so in order to appeal to the sexual bigotories of some members of particular relious groups.

Jackson, I noticed on another site this run-through of Gordon Brown's voting record at Westminster on equalities, civil partnerships, adoptions etc. legislation.

It does not exactly paint a picture of an individual progressive politician who is highly supportive of inclusiveness and tolerance in such matters:

22 Jun 1998
Crime and Disorder Bill [Lords] — Reduction in age at which certain sexual acts are lawful

1 Mar 1999
Sexual Offences (Amendment) Bill - Sexual Offences (Amendment) Bill

10 Feb 2000
Sexual Offences (Amendment) Bill

5 Jul 2000
Local Government Bill [Lords] - Prohibition on promotion of homosexuality: bullying

24 Oct 2001
Relationships (Civil Registration)

29 Oct 2001
Adoption and Children Bill (Programme) — Consideration and Third Reading

16 May 2002
Adoption and Children Bill — [2nd Allotted Day] — Applications for adoption

20 May 2002
Adoption and Children Bill — [3rd Allotted Day] — Clause 131 — General interpretation, etc.

4 Nov 2002
Adoption and Children Bill — Suitability Of Adopters

10 March 2003
Local Government Bill — [2nd Allotted Day] — New Clause 11 — Repeal of Section 2A of Local Government Act 1986

10 Mar 2003
Local Government Bill — [2nd Allotted Day] — New Clause 11 — Repeal of Section 2A of Local Government Act 1986

12 Oct 2004
Civil Partnership Bill [Lords]

9 Nov 2004
Categories of civil partners other than same sex couples

9 Nov 2004
Civil Partnerships Bill [Lords] — Schedule 28 — Consequential amendments: Scotland

One vote where Gordon Brown did vote in favour, was the Sexual Orientation Regulations on March 19 2007. So that's alright then.

2:33 pm, September 21, 2007

Blogger Bob Piper said...

I suspect you will find unless they were close votes Gordon Brown's voting record, like Tony Blair's, was not very good on anything. Having said that, running the country does take up a fair bit of time.

As for George Galloway, he did make an unpleasant reference on his Talksport radio programme last year to... "This is the Government that has lowered the age of consent for buggery." I couldn't find mant respect colleagues with much to say favourably about that strange outburst.

4:44 pm, September 21, 2007

Blogger Ravi Gopaul said...

Ted Harvey said...

"ravi I think that some people might not find it hard to understand why Galloway would highlight being strongly for gay rights, if it could be shown that Galloway was saying so in order to appeal to the sexual bigotories of some members of particular (religous) groups."

I assume you are talking about Jim's voting record here Ted (still half asleep as I was watching Question Time and This Week; I had to get up at 5 because the missues is low on her flexi!!), in which case why does he make public his distaste of homophobic calls on his radio show? Such a public condemnation on his popular (according to the New Statesman) show which broadcasts worldwide through the internet could be used by his opponents quite easily to discredit him at the stump. When he gets one of these said callers he replies, (I am paraphasing here)"There are gay people out there get over it! What ever people do in the privacy of their own homes has nothing to do with you" I'm afraid you can't get clearer than that.


The interview he gave to Pink News was illuminating,

"As someone who claims to be inherently connected to the struggle for gay equality, does Galloway insist that candidates for his Respect party adhere to the same views? "No, because we're a coalition, and we don't bind a Muslim candidate in Yorkshire to the explicitly socialist parts of our programme."

"Many of them are small business people and wouldn't describe themselves as socialists and are not bound to accept it. And the same goes for other issues including tax and these issues. But the leading figures in Respect, you know who they are, their views are well known. Mine are well known."

How then does Galloway approach these two disparate groups, the socialists and the Muslims? "Like porcupines making love, with great difficulty, carefully. And the task of keeping a coalition of disparate forces together on these issues is difficult, it's not easy, we're trying and we're doing our best.

"I've been explicit as I can on these issues, and I'm arguably the leading figure in Respect, not its leader, we don't have leader but the leading member in it in terms of being well known and I'm being explicit. It will be read by every one."

So what can we take from this? The Respect party is a diverse mix of opinion as is our own. Some of us want full scale nationalistion, others want to move priviteers into public services, to paraphrase George, the left and right of the Labour party are like two porcupine mating as our previous debate on contempory resolutions shows.
Georgle is clearly antihomophobic, though some in his party are not. Unacceptable though that is, even in our own ranks there are people who share the "concerns"-read bigotry of the Muslim, fundamentalist in Respect, Quentin Davis comes to mind.

4:47 pm, September 21, 2007

Blogger Merseymike said...

Gordon Brown is simply a very poor voter in the Commons.
He mentioned gay rights in his first speech as something that Labour should be proud of.
If he had actually voted against any of the changes or given any indication of a lack of support then I would be worried, but he hasn't.

7:51 pm, September 21, 2007

Anonymous Hovedan said...

Luke - excellent blog today. As an out gay man (whose partner is a muslim), im well aware of the way that some on the ultra left have shied away from embracing gay rights (for fear of upsetting the ultra orthodox mulsim vote and cos they patronisingly think that all white working class people are homophobic).

As for other's comments questioning Gordon's record on gay rights - Im not sure he would have employed gay men as some of his most senior staff and appointed to senior positions in Government if he was in anyway homophobic. It is in fact bollocks.

I will certainly be working with the Labour Party who have championed gay and lesbian rights fantastically, at least since 1997. Perhaps there will be plenty of lesbian and gays out canvassing for Jim in the next election, as some of my more macho friends say "bring it on"!

9:07 pm, September 21, 2007

Blogger Merseymike said...

But Labour really must act against Grell in Waltham Forest.

She has been found guilty of absolute rank homophobia and I think that she must be expelled from the party.

The sort of slurs she has been found guilty of are entirely unacceptable.

2:21 am, September 22, 2007

Blogger Simon said...

No Merseymike, she hasn't. The claim was that she accused an ex-Lib Dem councillor of paedophilia. That the supposed accusation was homophobic is the Liberal's spin on it. In any case, it beggars belief that the court convicted on the basis of the confused and contradictory evidence presented to it.

8:08 pm, September 22, 2007

Anonymous David Floyd said...

The Galloway stuff is not really surprising.

You get the impression that if he was in Poland he'd happily join the terrible twins in a 'populist' coalition.

I'm no particular fan of Jim Fitzpatrick but this kind of thing is enough to get me out leafleting for him.

That said, I imagine Respect will be more or less finished by the time we have an election (even if it's only in a couple of months time).

6:58 pm, September 23, 2007

Blogger Merseymike said...

Simon ; accusing a gay man of being a paedophile is homophobic. Period.

And whether you agree with the courts decision or not is immaterial. She has been found guilty. Just because you seem to excuse homophobes accusing gay men of paedophilia doesn't make it acceptable - and it shouldn't to the Labour party, either.

She isn't fit to be a councillor.

8:27 pm, September 23, 2007

Blogger Dave Brinson said...

Have to agree with Mike here. The reports certainly suggest that she was discussing the candidate's sexuality as a warm-up to her paedophile allegation. Whether or not she actually used the "p" word or just tried to imply it (his boyfriend is apparently 19, so technically is a "teenage boy") her conduct was grubby and unpleasant and not the sort of thing I would expect from a Labour candidate.
Regardless- being convicted in a court of law of an election offence cannot be considered anything other than grossly bringing the Labour Party into disrepute. She should go.

12:43 am, September 24, 2007

Blogger Ravi Gopaul said...

Hovedan said...
"As for other's comments questioning Gordon's record on gay rights - Im not sure he would have employed gay men as some of his most senior staff and appointed to senior positions in Government if he was in anyway homophobic. It is in fact bollocks."

I take the point he has employed gay men in his governments, Nick Brown comes to mind, and I certainly agree that he is not a homophobe (as there is no evidence that he is). I was mearly trying to make the point that to accuse Galloway as being homophobic is a complete nonsense.Added to thatit does not explain why Brown's gay rights voting record is poor. Maybe Bob is right in that he would not need to be there, but my own view is he should have been.

David Floyd said...
"I'm no particular fan of Jim Fitzpatrick but this kind of thing is enough to get me out leafleting for him."

I have major issues on Jim, I am not sure what to make of him myself, my head says he is a prick but my heart tells me his OUR prick and we should back him. That said anyone who is willing to see firefighters (his old comrades) on such a poor wage is talking complete bollocks.

8:25 am, September 24, 2007

Blogger Chris Paul said...

Has anyone got the screen grab of Galloway's website?

On thee Miranda Grell matter ... this was a District Judge in a Magistrates Court ... the lowest level of legally qualified judges.

The chap in question is called John Woollard who is experienced but rather controversial and in the press a good deal.

An eye witness told me that he chose to believe the Lib Dem witnesses and not MG because the former seemed "too thick to lie" (not his exact words) while MG is bright. Is this thought going to be rolled out nationally:

High IQ? You Fibber
Low IQ? You Truther

We all know this doesn't work.

There will be an appeal and if this gut feeling of the judge, based on how bright people are, is seen to be his prime reasoning for not believing MG then she will be exonerated - apart from the serious mistakes she has already admitted.

This case was a precedent setting one after 24 years of this law. It therefore needs testing properly and the case will go to at least one more level IMO.

Meanwhile ... Bob Piper is back albeit with intermittent service. He has a cracking story about Lib Con budget scape goats today. Insufficient citizens are using Brum crem services. How dare they cling on to life like that?

11:05 am, September 25, 2007

Blogger Merseymike said...

I'm getting a bit tired of people trying to defend someone under these circumstances.

Seems that you are all a lot more bothered about someone who the guilty verdict suggests is a homophobe ( and there's not a thing about gay rights on her website - not a scrap) than the behaviour itself

Can those of you who are acting as apologists make it clear that

1. It is unacceptable to msmear a gay male councillor by calling him a paedophile

2. It is always homophobic to do so

3. Such behaviour is not acceptable by a Labour Councillor.

3:06 pm, September 25, 2007


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