Monday, 26 May 2014

Ukip, David Coburn Is Not The Gay Man You Were Looking For

There have actually been people suggesting that, because David Coburn was elected as a MEP for Ukip in Scotland, Ukip can't possibly be a homophobic party. If you can remember David Coburn is a gay London-based member of Ukip who was instrumental in their opposition to same-sex marriage.

His fact-free attacks on it (suggesting it is some sort of unnecessary victory roll despite there being some very real need for marriage equality) have been looked at before on this blog.

And, just as he struggled to think of one example of EU interference in Scottish business today (audio here:, he has always struggled to point out how banning religions and individuals from performing legally recognised marriages protects their religious and individual freedom.

He likes to claim to be a libertarian but he is dead set against individual and religious freedom on LGBT issues. He is not a libertarian, and quite clearly Ukip is no libertarian party. The fact he is gay in no way makes him any better on LGBT liberty than equally wonderful and kind-hearted people as Roger Helmer.

You can never convince me, of all people, that just having a gay person in your organisation makes you any better on LGBT rights. Just look at Andrew Pierce at the Daily Mail, Nigel Evans in the Conservative party and those wastes of spaces who work for Stonewall.

Ukip represent a fundamental danger to liberty and freedom of LGBT people in this country. They oppose same-sex marriage, they have candidates who support the efficacy of ex-gay therapy (as opposed to supporting just the freedom to seek it), they have candidates who support criminalising LGBT people. The general moral climate that their victories create is oppositional to sexual freedom and individual liberty.

So no, don't try convincing me that having a man who engages in painful circular arguments in order to harm the freedom of others is somehow a get out of homophobia free card.


We Should Stand With Nick Clegg... And Not Stab Him In The Back

The last 4 years have been pretty tough ones for the Lib Dems (and the years immediately preceding them and following Charles Kennedy's departure weren't exactly awesome times if you take out the two months of Cleggmania).

We are not liked. Hated by the left, mocked by the centrists and, as ever, despised by the right. Nick Clegg acted as the lightening rod for appreciation during the 2010 general election and continued his lightening rod role into far less fun times when he experienced hanging in effigy and cruel (and daily) personal attacks. His ancestry, his choice of life partner and just about anything else have been criticised and sneered at by the usual hard-nosed unhappy folk who stand in opposition to liberal values and general nice things.

Anyone surprised by the party's repeated defeats following the tuition fees fiasco really needs to check their ability to understand what attracted a large number of people to our party. We presented ourselves as something different and ended up being just the same as all the other disappointing compromisers. Compromise is often a good thing but you don't get many people who think it is desirable or attractive.

But that doesn't mean we stop and change course. We got ourselves into this mess and we need to get ourselves out of it. And I'm very pleased to see that Nick Clegg, the man who lead us to great heights and through some very dark times for the party (though hardly the worst given our historically low number of MPs over the last century), is not deserting us when things have gotten difficult.

We need to stand with him. He has put up with a lot of abuse and heartache whilst trying to do what he thinks is right. We don't all need to agree with every decision he has made (though I've become convinced what happened over tuition fees was hardly the greatest betrayal in history as it has been played by the left, it was still foreseeably politically disastrous especially so early into the Coalition). I also believe he has allowed the Tories to play us like fools and they've done it very easily too. But he isn't what is wrong with the party. The party has lost its way. Obsessed with its accomplishments within this Parliament (ones which the Tories are getting all the credit for, alas) it is failing now to paint a picture of what a Lib Dem future looks like and why it is radically different to the bleak visions of the Tories and Labour. That is what we must focus on and not be distracted by some pointless and damaging leadership contest.

Nick Clegg needs a stable party in order to fix the things that have gone wrong. And we need a stable leadership to allow us any hope of securing our strongholds for the bitter storm that will be the 2015 general election.

If you believe in liberty, in fairness and in Europe join the Lib Dems. I'm going to renew my membership next month (10 years in the party now I think) and I'm going to contact my new local party and see what I might offer in aid. The fight against the clearly defined vision of Ukip must begin now, to secure our freedoms and our country from their nasty plans.