Maybe the Conservative Party really is changing ...
As I noted a few weeks ago, the Conservative Party's new leader Michael Howard announced he would personally vote in favour when the government's proposed Civil Partnerships bill comes up before the House of Commons. The contrast in the emerging policy of the main British right-of-centre political party in this area with that increasingly being espoused by the American Republican party is beginning to look quite stark. Some of the reasons for these differing approaches are discussed in this Guardian article.
The article also discusses a forthcoming 'gay summit' to be staged by the Conservative Party at the House of Commons during which some of the issues affecting gay people in Britain will be discussed - the ideas behind the summit are further explored in this article.
I resigned from the Conservative Party in September 2001 a few days after the last leader, Mr Iain Duncan Smith, was elected to the post - specifically because this had happened. With his replacement a few months ago by Mr Howard, when the Conservative Party had finally come to realise what an electoral millstone they had produced for themselves with Mr Duncan Smith, I was cautiously hopeful that the party had drawn back from imminent political oblivion. I have already been in contact with my local party association, of which I had been a vice chairman until my resignation, to advise them of my changing views and whilst it is too soon to say I am ready to re-join the party, it is certainly becoming a possibility. Fundamentally I remain a 'conservative', but the homophobic policies the party had been indulging its reactionary membership with were completely unacceptable. If a more sensible stance is gradually taking the place of the bigoted policies of both William Hague and Iain Duncan Smith then I may in due course give the party another chance, although whatever happens I shall provide them with no practical assistance other than perhaps paying a membership subscription, in advance of the next general election. The membership locally who voted for Iain Duncan Smith to become leader are still around and I want there to be no misunderstanding that it is they, and those like them elsewhere in the country, who got the party into the mess that Mr Howard may now be in the process of clearing up for them.