A recent survey has found that young gay voters are most likely to vote Conservative in the coming General Election. 45% of those under the age of 23 (first time voters) said that they would vote Conservative. The Greens came 4th picking up just 19% of the surveyed vote. Does anyone else find this a little surprising?
This is a like a Muslim saying that they would vote BNP, or (perhaps less sensationalist) a Trade Unionist voting Tory.
The Conservative Party overwhelmingly voted against lowering the age of consent to bring it in-line with heterosexuals. The Conservative Party overwhelmingly voted against sexuality being included in the Equalities Act. This is before we even get started on all their tripe about the nuclear family and marriage being the cornerstone of life.
Why then would this be the case. Specifically why would first time voters, be wooed by the Cameron Conservative Crew (CCC)? Firstly, they are not old enough to remember the joys of living under a Conservative government, which forced section 28 on the UK (The piece of legislation that effectively banned the promotion of homosexuality). Secondly, they are faced with a constant Conservative PR stream painting the Tories as the Cameron cuddles. The Tories (quite successfully in the short term) have succeeded in painting themselves as the gay friendly vote. Just look at Boris’ big gay face. This is quite a remarkable achievement considering the reality of this situation.
The Conservatives have become cuddlier. Cuddly with people that MacMillan Scott (Former Tory, MEP) described as “homophobic and racist”. The extreme right that they sit with in the European Parliament oppose all concepts of “gay rights”. As one of the ECR groups political advisors said to me recently, working on LGBT rights was “out of the question”. This is without the harder to prove grumblings within their own party. At best, I could find no mention of LGBT issues on the Conservative Party web site. A cynic might say that’s because they have nothing positive to say.
Lets not just pick on the Tories though. My own Labour MP David Drew has consistently voted against lowering the age of consent to 16 and against the rights of same sex partners to adopt. Entrenched homophobia (whether it be from a “Christian Democrat” position (Drew) or a Tory one) is still rife within politics. Even our beacons of change the Lib Dems make no mention of LGBT issues in their pocket policy guide.
The concepts of ‘fairness’ and ‘equality’ are central to me. I have a progressive minded MP who I believe is trying to work towards equality. David Drew’s understanding of equality however, appears to be one that excludes members of the LGBT community. For me, this is unacceptable. Equally, the Conservatives not only ignore many LGBT issues, but also actively work to further ignorant bigots by forming political alliances with them. For me this is unacceptable.
The only party that I can find that will stand up and support these basic concepts of fairness and equality that are so central to me are The Green Party. The Greens would:
1) Open up civil marriages and civil partnerships, without discrimination, to both same-sex and opposite sex couples.
(2) Require all police forces to have LGBT Liaison Officers with paid time allocated within their work schedules to tackle homophobic and transphobic hate crime.
(3) End the blanket, lifetime ban on gay and bisexual blood donors.
(4) Amend the Equality Bill/Act to provide explicit protection against harassment to LGBT people.
(5) Refuse visas and work permits to “murder music” singers and others who incite homophobic and transphobic violence.
(6) Ensure safe haven and refugee status for LGBT people fleeing persecution in violently homophobic and transphobic countries.
Only the Greens hold an all-encompassing understanding of equality. For an equal and fair society, you need to look after all your citizens. I do not believe that any of the three major political parties are in the position to be able to stand up for the rights of the LGBT community here or abroad! That’s why I would urge anyone concerned with LGBT issues to vote Green!