Tuesday, 20 September 2011

What The #LDConf Did, A View From Afar.

This post might be better known as "things that interested me at the Lib Dem conference". 

A Review Of Drug Laws

An excellent, sensible proposal was put to conference suggesting that a panel be formed to review our current drug laws and propose new ways forward. This might mean the liberalisation of drug laws among other things. As someone who doesn't do drugs and who, as a child, lived through the experience of a drugs raid, you'd think I wouldn't be sympathetic towards liberalisation. But I believe, based on my feelings and on the evidence I've seen, that the current way of dealing with drugs is causing more problems than it's solving and if we are to deal with drug addiction as a society there are far better and more civilised ways of doing it than just a blanket ban. 

I was extremely please to see conference pass this. 

The Infamous "Ban" On Page 3 Girls

I think Andrew Emmerson said it best in his post stating clearly that yesterdays F26 motion doesn't ban Page 3 girls. As someone who reads more sensible libertarian publications such as Reason Magazine, I did find the knee-jerk horror of the libertarians on Twitter hilarious. Calm down dears, it's only a conference motion. 

However... I have major issues with the fuzzy, ill-thought out way the particular part of the motion in question was written:

“Tackling the projection of women as sex objects to children and adolescents by restricting sexualised images in newspapers and general circulation magazines to the same rules that apply to pre-watershed broadcast media.” 

1) Can only women be "sex objects"? Would this motion deal with sexualised imagery of men?
2) Restricting? How? Complete ban? Moving to the top shelf? Doing the same as what WH Smith did to gay mags recently? Totally unclear, which means it's open to the "Lib Dems Would Ban Page 3 Girls" accusations people have already been making! 
3) "same rules that apply to pre-watershed broadcast media" WHAT?? We are talking about very different media formats here and I cannot fathom what this might mean. The Sun can only be sold after 9pm? 

I've always found it bemusing that lads mags have, until recently, always been on one of the higher shelves in a magazine store whilst The Sun, the Daily Star and worse the Daily Sport were all on the floor where anyone could see them. I've found that inconsistent and you know how I dislike that. But I really don't see what this motion was trying to achieve. Pointless and should never have been passed. 

Science Not Stigma; Overturning The Blood Ban

Since I last wrote about the Government's stance on the blood ban, they have changed their mind and now brought their position to the point of only banning gay men who have had sex in the last 12 months. As you can imagine I find that just as ridiculous as the originally suggested 10 year ban! 

Thankfully today the Lib Dem conference voted to make overturning the blood ban for men who have sex with men completely. Despite the half-way house approach to LGBT rights that this Coalition Government appears to be taking (doing as little as they can get away with whilst still being considered better than Labour), the Liberal Democrats continue to move ahead of the pack when it comes to LGBT freedom. Good move conference. Good move!

If you feel benevolent and particularly generous, this writer always appreciates things bought for him from his wishlist

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