Blogging from the Highlands of Scotland
'From fanaticism to barbarism is only one step' - Diderot

Thursday 28 April 2005

Election 2005 - the political parties and gays

I posted an entry a few weeks back about two forthcoming panel-style hustings meetings to be held in London and Birmingham, respectively, with the aim of identifying the attitudes of various of the political parties on gay 'issues'.

I haven't heard how the London meeting went (it took place on 15th April), but I've just read an interesting report on the UKIPwatch blog about some of what happened at the Birmingham meeting on 25th April. As may be inferred from the fact this report appears on the UKIPwatch blog, it does not reflect well on UKIP - it is good to expose as widely as possible what a bunch of weirdos UKIP is, so I am reproducing the UKIPwatch post in its entirety, although if you prefer to read it on that site click here:

Carry on at Question Time

This week marked another embarrassement for UKIP, as again one of their members made a fool of themselves in front of the cameras.
A cross panel debate entitled "Queer Question Time," which took place in Birmingham was delayed by half an hour as UKIP Parliamentary candidate for Halesowen & Rowley-Regis, Nicole Sinclaire demanded a more prominent role in the debate.
Ms Sinclaire, political assistant to UKIP deputy leader Mike Nattrass, was not given a place on the main panel, which was reserved for the three main parties to discuss homosexual perspectives in the current election campaign.
Panel members including, ex international development secretary Clare Short repeatedly asked Ms Sinclaire to leave, when she started to raise her voice and disrupt proceedings. The organisers were left with no option but to call the police, who subsequently arrested her.
Ms Sinclaire later claimed that she was protesting against a lack of democracy, due to the fact that smaller parties were not invited to join the panel.
It seems hardly surprising that an invitation was not extended to UKIP, considering their position on homosexuality. In 2004, UKIP candidate for the London mayoral elections Frank Maloney, said that he would not be campaigning in Camden because there were "too many gays" there. UKIP also align themselves with the League of Polish Families party in the European Parliament. This is an extereme nationalist party that describes homosexuality as "a condition which is unacceptable."

Source: Birmingham Post, April 26th, BBC News, 29 April 2004

- although UKIPwatch don't provide a link to the BBC article (query date they mention, though), a little research has taken me to the article I presume they were referring to - the link is here.

Of course, whilst I don't agree at all with the UKIP policy on withdrawal from the European Union, it is a perfectly valid point of view - we are a democracy, after all. However, it is all the anciliary policies they seem to espouse that justify the use of the term 'weirdo' when describing them. It seems perfectly clear UKIP was not invited to attend (perhaps they should have been, but that is a slightly different subject), so they chose to gatecrash the panel's table and attempt to hijack the meeting - they were rightly ejected. I would normally have preferred to have a Party represented which seems to despise gays - that's what free speech is all about - but this would, I suppose, have been like having a National Socialist Party delegate attending a meeting of the World Jewish Congress, nice in theory, but pretty repugnant in practice.

You can read my earlier post, written prior to the meetings having taken place, here.

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