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About the Author

Justin Mottershead
recent graduate (Manchester, United Kingdom)

I started blogging around a year ago although have only taken it (slightly) seriously for the past few months. I usually blog about football so am hoping to use this platfrom as an ideal opportunity to branch out. Being something of a luddite, you may sense there is a lack of media in some of my posts, but slowly and surely I am getting better, and by the end of this competition you may even see links and videos on my blog!

Post

Could the gay vote decide the UK election?

Published 08th April 2010 - 13 comments - 4895 views -

So the worst kept secret in the history of British politics – well at least since Blair stepped down for Brown- is out. The election will be on May 6th, cue a collective groan of apathy from the majority of the British population as they decide between a choice of Conservative Mr. ‘PR’ David Cameron and the man some, not me I may add, blame for the current mess a lot of us Britons find ourselves in Gordon ‘I helped save the world’ Brown.

Many experts explained that they expect the expeditious voting process to expel Brown and make him an Ex-Prime Minister- sorry got carried away with ‘ex’s there. However there are quite a few who believe the election may result in a hung parliament whereby the easily dismissed Liberal Democrats could actually have a say in the governing of the country- shock, horror.

The biggest factor which will no doubt decide the election outcome is the economy; the voters have a choice between Labour’s National Insurance rise, and the Conservative’s tax cut.

One factor which until a few weeks ago had never been mentioned but has now become a talking point is the issue of both parties stand on the rights of homosexuals. David Cameron recently backtracked during an interview to Gay Times when asked whether he would force Conservative MEP’s to vote a certain way to support gay rights.

 

 

This gaffe was not what Cameron needed when it comes to convincing gay voters that the Conservative’s care about their needs. The Tory leader has gone to great lengths to disassociate himself with a vote he made against the repeal of section 28 back in 2003, not to mention his Party’s somewhat poor record of supporting gay rights when last in power.

However in Britain we have a saying ‘when it rains it pours’ and just as Cameron was riding that particular tackle, another one came flying into him courtesy of his Shadow Home Secretary  Chris Grayling. Asked, while being secretly recorded, whether he felt gay couples should be turned away from bed and breakfasts Grayling said:

 “ I personally always took the view that...if you look at the case of ‘Should a Christian hotel owner have the right to exclude a gay couple from their hotel?

I took the view that it’s a question of somebody who’s doing a B&B in their own home, that individual should have the right to decide who does and who doesn’t come into their own home.”

Not exactly what Cameron would want the man the Tories want to be in charge of the law in this country stating.

To pour salt onto the Tory’s wounds, the latest reports suggest that  Anastasia Beaumont-Bott, founder of the LGBT Tory group– the biggest Conservative group campaigning for gay rights is going to vote Labour.

With the election expected to go right to the wire, the gay vote could actually tip the balance, Cameron may have to act quick to make sure that it doesn’t cost him his chance of becoming Prime Minister.



Comments

  • Ivaylo Vasilev on 08th April 2010:

    I’m not sure how once voting against much section 28 in 2003 means in creating Cameron an anti-gay image, but the second “secretly” (is that lawful even?) recorded text doesn’t say anything. He’s answering a different question, and most certainly, you can decide to ban from your house everybody you like, regardless of gender, sex, race, etc, without this being effective discrimination.

    Again, this is purely from what I read from your text, perhaps there are other instances that are more severe or his behavior could be more supportive/telling of real-case discrimination.


  • Justin Mottershead on 08th April 2010:

    It’s simply how this can be percieved or how it is being perceived. Section 28 was a law -introduced by the conservatives when they were in power-which caused thousands of gays to march in protest against it.
    It stopped the teaching or “promoting” of homosexual relationships within schools. It was rightly abolished but at the time Cameron opposed it being abolished. He has since apologised for his party introducing the law admitting it was offensive to gay people.
    As for Grayling, despite the fact he didn’t know he was being recorded, his views that the law is wrong ,i.e people can turn away whoever they want- even though that is illegal, can be seen as rather wrong for the man who if the Tory’s are elected will be the chief law enforcer in the country.
    Regardless of whether you personally believe Grayling, Cameron or the Conservatives are homophobic in anyway- I for one don’t. The party is in danger of becoming perecieved as less conncerned about gay rights than they should be. Hence Beaumont-Bott’s defection.


  • Ivaylo Vasilev on 08th April 2010:

    Makes sense… Thank you for explaining. I’ll be following the issue.


  • Lara Smallman on 08th April 2010:

    Did you see last night’s Question Time?!


  • Justin Mottershead on 09th April 2010:

    Hi Lara, yeah I did, I thought Miliband came across a lot better than May- who I think really struggled when this issue was raised.


  • Elsje Fourie on 11th April 2010:

    Hi Justin - as someone living in the UK and still undecided in the run-up to my first British election, I’m following this kind of news pretty closely and enjoying the British perspective you’re bringing to things. 

    Looking at the comments on a lot of stories I’ve seen regarding the Grayling story, though, there seem to quite quite a lot of people agreeing with him—on similar grounds to those mentioned by Ivaylo.  There is also the argument that Grayling feels the law should be changed; a gigantic can of worms in itself, but different from asking people to break the law. I guess I’m wondering whether his comments might not bring him as much support as they lose him?


  • Ivaylo Vasilev on 11th April 2010:

    I didn’t say I agree with him, but if you are arguing a case of homophobia then I really need more than a 2003 disputable quote.


  • Elsje Fourie on 11th April 2010:

    Oh, no, Ivaylo, I didn’t mean that at all. I meant that a lot of people feel that B&Bs; are different from hotels; that they disagree with this Christian couple’s actions but at the same time feel that B&B owners should be allowed a certain amount of discretion and that the government sometimes interferes too much.  Sorry, perhaps I wasn’t clear and perhaps you didn’t even mean that - but I think it’s in any case a valid point to make…even if I’m still undecided on the issue.


  • Justin Mottershead on 11th April 2010:

    Hi guys, thanks for the comments, I’ve just gotten my voting card and am looking forward to the election, although I’m pretty sure who I’ll be voting for.

    In terms of arguing a case for homophobia, that’s certainly not what I’m doing as I said in my last comment. I’m not sure what you mean Ivaylo when you say a ‘2003 disputable quote’ although if you’re referring to Cameron’s vote on section 28, it is far from disputable. If you’re referring to Grayling’s comments, they were made only recently, sorry if my post wasn’t clear about this.

    As for Grayling, although his recent opinions regarding B&B owners turning away gay couples have been seen as anti-gay in some quarters, I think this is an ill-advised comment more due to his position as the Tory’s potential chief law-enforcer rather than anything else. However, recently gay action groups were protesting outside his office calling for him to resign.

    The plot has now thickened as Grayling’s colleague Andrew Bridgen has backed him calling the issue a “grey area.” This is of course untrue, as the law is black and white regarding this. He also stated he has “considerable sympathy with B&B owners” over the matter.

    As for your comment Elsje,I see your point, however I think if you want to run a B&B then regardless of your religion you must abide by the rule of law, if not then you shouldn’t run one. Even if it is in your home, it is still a B&B and subject to the law.

    Beaumont-Bott’s defection to Labour is now complete as she has stated: “It’s been in my head for a while to speak out, but the Chris Grayling issue has made me realise that a year-and-a-half ago, I was someone who was standing up and telling gay people that they should vote for Mr Cameron. But I became disillusioned after meeting one too many people in that party who were not like what the leader was saying the party was about. If you make a comment like [those made by Mr Grayling], you should be out. This isn’t a question of party lines – it is disgusting. I don’t like doing this to Mr Cameron. I like him, but the insides of his party are not what the people are led to believe.”


    Meanwhile the Tories hit back today with an initiative to combat homophobic bullying. This issue does not look like dying down.


  • Mark on 13th April 2010:

    If you look at the entire issue from the viewpoint of the LGB&T (Lesbian, Gay, Bi-Sexual and Transgendered) community it would be one of wondering why Mr Cameron hasn’t stood up against the comment.

    Labour have done so much in the last ten years for equality. Even the possible hint of not being seen or treated the same as everyone else or laws changed to allow people to discriminate against you would not be tolerated, in my opinion. The refusal to reprimand Grayling would seem to speak volumes about the priority LGB&T equality takes within the party. If you were a member of that community, would you vote for a party with a proven history, or take a chance when the person who would be responsible for law thinks that one of the laws protecting you from discrimination is wrong?


  • Denise Tansley on 21st April 2010:

    I will not be voting because they have all committed treason by selling us out to Europe where we are paying 40,000,000 a day to be governed by the EU,not one of them will change this.. This is an act of treason and we the people need to know about the bill of rights and take back our country from these elitists that control us all. Please read the bill of rights and you will see that every politician has committed treason since 1970 when conservative Ted Heath sold us out. Write to the queen and ask her why she allowed this. This is serious and people need to know what is happening this will affect your freedom, you security and your very livelihood,
    Under your oaths of allegiance, the laws in the Bill of Rights of 1689 make clear this country CANNOT be ruled by ANY foreign power “No foreign Prince, person, Prelate, State, or Potentate, hath or ought to have any Jurisdiction, Power, Superiority, Pre eminence, or Authority Ecclesiastical or Spiritual within this Realm.”
    They also added two codicils at the end of the Bill of Rights “Any amendments to the bill after the 23 October 1689 shall be void and not lawful, and this bill is for all time”.This law and its oath are not subject to Parliament because they were given to Parliament by the People whose WILL is supreme over Parliament. This means Parliament may not allow any part of the aforementioned oath to be breached side-stepped or ignored. This Bill of Rights precludes and effectively forbids Parliament from passing any bill like the 1972 EEC Act, the Treaty of Rome or any other European legislation which gives them any say at all in the governance of England. It also precludes Parliament from passing any laws contrary to the spirit of this Bill of Rights.


  • Andrew Burgess on 21st April 2010:

    If it does it will be bad news for the Conservatives but it won’t just be the “gays” that decide this election - it will be all those who actually go out and vote.


  • Justin Mottershead on 21st April 2010:

    Denise- while you make your argument very well, I feel it is deeply flawed on many levels.
    First of all to claim that a law enacted in 1689 should still carry weight now, seems a tad far-fetched. In 1689, there can have been no concept of the idea of Geopolitiks, a global economy, or the benefits of supranationalism.

    Let me put it another way, if in 1689 the law had said ‘slavery is lawful and any change to this ruling is prohibited’ would you still be advocating its validity?
    Secondly, the queen has about as much power to overturn laws as you or I do and with good reason. The idea of the monarchy making decisions on our behalf is absolutely abhorrent to me.
    Thirdly ‘taking back our country’ by not voting seems a little absurd to me. If you feel that strongly about it, you could actually run for office or back someone you do believe in.
    While I see your points about distant politicians having a say in our lives being problematic, I think the reasoning behind them is a little archaic.
    I do however appreciate your well researched comments even if I don’t agree with them.


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