Tuesday, June 27, 2006

Whassup...Watching the Parade...Having a Bud. True...



Saw this yesterday and thought about blogging it. Then I heard that today it made the MSM. So the guilt I had from 15 years membership of the Labour Party (currently not renewed) has evaporated a bit.

It was good to hear that Pat Rabbitte and Ruairi Quinn had attended the post parade bash at Dublin Pride. I know that Ruairi in particular has been a long time supporter of lesbian and gay equality and I hope he is still minding the hat I gave him in 1993 when the FF/Labour coalition brought in the legislation to decriminalise homosexuality.


Labour LGBT are the only active lgbt wing of a political party in Ireland. Their events and actions stimulate debate in a community that is rarely consulted or stimulated elsewhere by our own groups or others. The big red bus on Saturday was a brilliant idea and the sign on the back saying that they (Labour LGBT and Labour Youth) favoured full equality and marriage was good to see. As I said yesterday I look forward to seeing the lgbt groups of trade unions and others taking part in future Pride Parades. And I am not one of those who will point at politicians and accuse them of bandwagon jumping either. But I do believe that if they attend marches etc. then they leave themselves open to criticism if their policy/stance on lgbt issues is not fully clarified.

Full equality for lesbian and gay couples is not Labour Party Policy. Last November the party deputy leader, Liz McManus, told a party seminar that (I blogged about it here at the time.)


I do appreciate by the way that there are sections in the gay and lesbian community who may wish to go further than Senator David Norris does in his Civil Partnership Bill and would wish for full equivalence, both as regards rights and obligations and as regards terminology, between marriages as presently understood and gay unions.That does not seem to me, however, to be a feasible proposition and it is not one that the Labour party advocates. We do fully support the civil partnership proposal.'

It's extremely disheartening to hear Labour join the rest in copping out on this matter, this is what it is - a cop out. Looking towards Boston rather than Berlin in terms of electoral fears - however thinking about that a bit more - Boston and Massachusetts have same sex marriage.


So it's less than a year to the next general election, given the increased calls by lesbians and gay men for full equality and no half measures, will the Labour Party include full access to marriage in their election manifesto? Did anyone approach Pat on Saturday and make it clear that there are no such things as gay rights but just rights - did he hear Panti say that?

Granting full equality and giving everyone rights is not something new for socialist governments given the Spanish governments first actions upon election in 2004. The French Socialist presidential candidate, Segolene Royal, has now made her views on full equality known.

As Pat Rabbitte was the first Irish Labour Party leader to attend lgbt Pride - what chances of him leading the first party to contest a general election calling for full equality for same sex couples?

  • Many thanks to Louise @ Tranniehaven for permission to use the photo. There are more Pride photos on the site here.
  • The Title for this post comes of course from the Budweiser Ad 'True'.

14 Comments:

At 20:44, Anonymous Damien Mulley said...

I was there when Liz McManus said that and thought yeah that says it all. Apt that Labour sold seats on their bus when Liz is saying the gays still can't sit at the front.

 
At 22:05, Blogger Simon said...

i agree it is a cop out all parties do it. They are afraid of a non-existant conservative majority. Gay marriage is not the issue it is in America.

 
At 08:07, Blogger gulingfuling said...

Glad to hear Pride in Dublin is alive and well.
Keep at the politicians! Don't let them forget our issues.
The labour party in Ireland should make sure they don't lag behind the sister parties in Europe. They want our votes, have them deliver.

 
At 12:16, Anonymous Ianmcg said...

Bit of a snide comment there Damien - Labour LGBT are and have been lobbying extremly hard within the party to change viewpoints and policy stances

 
At 13:06, Anonymous Damien Mulley said...

Good for Labour LGBT but it seems the main core of the party aren't taking Labour LGBT seriously when Liz Mcmanus did the equivalent of a tech support line "Your views are important to us, please hold for ten years and make do with what we'll give you".

Labour LGBT and Labour Youth are doing sterling work but they seem to have vastly differing views than the part of the party that has the power to make the decisions on policy. To me this reflects the multiple personalities of the party. Some might even call it pandering to all the demographics.

I think it quite hypocritical that the leaders of a so called liberal party will come along to a "pride" parade and smile with a can of bud and pose for photographs yet are of the view that because they are heterosexual they are more deserving of some rights than those they stand shoulderpad to shoulderpad with. Liz Mcmanus on behalf of Labour has said as much.

 
At 14:06, Anonymous Anonymous said...

Suzy i think you are a bit charitable in your post on Rabitte's appearance on Saturday. Maybe I am looking for too much in seeking equality from the party I usually vote for - but I'm fed up being expected to be grateful for the crumbs from their table.

I hope that Labour LGBT are making the policy makers, advisors and TD's aware that there is a growing anger amongst gay voters that the party and their proposed coalition partners are proposing inequality and expecting us to put up with it.

 
At 15:23, Anonymous Anonymous said...

I can tell you that Labour LGBT are making tracks with the TD's. A meeting was held on Monday between Labour LGBT,Labour Equality and Pat Rabbite. We thanked Pat for making an effort by coming to Pride on Saturday. But also put to him straight that it's not enough just to turn up and xpect pink votes, he'll have to earn them! We also highlighted the fact that it's not enough that we the LGBT section are lobbying and writing progressive policies. What the party wrote 10 years ago is not progressive or radical enough for current day needs and rights.... we demanded that the Party move on from Civil Partnership which has been their stance since 1996 and stand up for equality... Civil Union for all!!!!!
Well, despite what people might think we're not so naive and know that when Rabbite promised to speak to the PLP about it, it guaranteed nothing as such... but he now has lots of contemporary documents and reports that will educate him on who and how many people are demanding full equality, which includes Same Sex Marriage!!
We'll all be watching this space now doubt.....

 
At 15:53, Anonymous Damien Mulley said...

Damn it must be very frustrating that the way to convince Labour to drop their pro-inequality stance is to show them that more people want it than don't want it. Principles dictated by numbers and not ideals. And people wonder why the electorate is so cynical.

Is Labour LGBT speaking out publicly against the main party's stance that they are pro-inequality? Why is there a Labour Equality and Labour LGBT?

 
At 16:02, Anonymous Ianmcg said...

Damien - you know it's frustrating - no-one ever said it was easy but LE, LY and LGBT are working damn hard to lead the party on this issue.

Labour Equality is a section of the party that works around the 9 grounds including LGBT

Within LE there are then sub sections Labour LGBT, Labour Disability and Labour Diversity (immigrants issues) - The LE council would look after those within the 9 where there is no section

 
At 16:26, Anonymous tomcosgrave said...

As a Labour member, I put forward my two cent on my own blog...

 
At 16:56, Anonymous Damien Mulley said...

I'll post here and on Tom's blog.

Defending Labour by pointing out what other parties are not doing is such a weak argument. Do you not think it more hypocritical of a party to claim they are all for equality and have an LGBT wing and yet at the end of the day are exactly like the others? At least the others state what they are and are not for. They're not for equality and didn't attend a pride parade. Labour are not for equality but happily hopped on the Labour LGBT bus and got lots of photo ops for their blogs and press releases. Pity Pat Rabbitte wasn't asked to stand in front of a mic and explain himself.

Lastly, Liz said Labour didn't support gay marriage, you make it out it was a personal view. She was speaking on behalf of Labour. Labour may have an active LGBT "wing" but when the main party appears not to give a damn, especially if the LGBT group have to reason with them to change policies on the back of how many votes it would get. Politics You're a star style.

Labour are hypocrites and defending them by pointing out the failures of the other partys is grasping at straws.

They might get less crap if they were honest and said they're not for equality besides flirting with the pro and anti-equality demographics.

 
At 00:11, Anonymous tomcosgrave said...

Defending Labour by pointing out what other parties are not doing is such a weak argument.

I disagree. It shows that Labour, while perhaps not perfect in how they approach LGBT issues are at least doing something serious about it.

Do you not think it more hypocritical of a party to claim they are all for equality and have an LGBT wing and yet at the end of the day are exactly like the others?

That is a ridiculous statement. Labour ARE doing something about equality - the other parties are not, as far as I can see doing anything. That is a simple fact and disproves the notion that Labour are just like the other political parties out there.

Labour are not for equality but happily hopped on the Labour LGBT bus and got lots of photo ops for their blogs and press releases.

Rubbish. Labour are for equality, but the fact of the matter is that with a conservative majority sitting in the Oireachteas (and Norris found this as well) that any sort of legislation on this is at risk of failing to become anything more than a Bill, therefore, in the interests of getting some sort of progression for the LGBT community beyond the current state of play, any legislation will be less than hoped for. Anything perceived as being overly progressive will be voted down by the government, the result being that the status quo remains and the LGBT community are no better off. It's crap and I hate it, but it is the case at present.

Pity Pat Rabbitte wasn't asked to stand in front of a mic and explain himself.

This actually a good point, a mic should have been put in front of him and he should have been put on the spot.

Lastly, Liz said Labour didn't support gay marriage, you make it out it was a personal view. She was speaking on behalf of Labour.

I should have clarified on this point - she said she didn't support gay marriage for the reasons I just outlined above, not that she didn't support it personally. And she definitely gave the opinion as a personal one, she did not say "Labour". She said "I". You clearly have your own impressions, but those are mine from the day.

Why not leave a comment on her blog and ask?

Labour may have an active LGBT "wing" but when the main party appears not to give a damn

They do give a damn, but the fact of the matter is that as a smaller party in the Oireachteas, they're going to focus on getting as much bills passed as they can, and spend less time on bills that are at risk of failing. The rest of the time they spend opposing the Government - who I will repeat again, do a damned sight less than Labour and get far less flack for no effort trying than Labour get for making an effort.

Labour are hypocrites and defending them by pointing out the failures of the other partys is grasping at straws.

It is not grasping at straws to point out that work has been done in contrast to other parties. It is pointing out the fact.

 
At 00:42, Blogger Suzy said...

Evening all, Take That were crap, Gary Barlow still can’t dance. I missed Robbie Williams but he was definitely right to give it a miss!

Anyway back to the matter in hand. Or matters in hand to be precise. I knew there would be a line like well at least Labour are doing something, look at the rest…

I don’t see what’s wrong in having high expectations and in arguing for full equality rather than accepting second best. As the party who have done the most in terms of introducing equality legislation I think it is perfectly natural for people to expect that the party will be progressive – not overly progressive as if it was something special – same sex couples don’t want something special – we just want the same as everyone else has. I am pissed off being told that wanting civil marriage is too much, too soon and stop rocking the boat.

As I have outlined in a comment on Tom’s blog I do accept that what Labour will probably do is give us something less than full equality as that is politics. But there is nothing wrong in demanding full equality, explaining what it is and how it can be achieved. There is no way anyone is going to tell me to sit down the back of the room and take what I am given without the chance to say why I think that I and others should have the chance to marry like everyone else or to take a different route if we choose.

Why is it wrong to demand this from Labour as a Labour supporter? Why should I as a Labour supporter spend equal amounts of time criticising other parties (I do bitch about them anyway but that’s me) I do think the defensiveness is flawed. A better strategy would be to get people to lobby their Labour representatives throughout the country and build the support. More on this later, time for bed.

 
At 01:03, Anonymous Damien Mulley said...

Tom, Labour are as corrupt a party as the ones they slag off if they amend their ideals to suit potential voters or will only table a bill if it is sure to pass (which has a snowballs chance when in opposition). In rock music terms you'd claim your favourite band are sellouts for turning their backs on their ideals for the sake of extra bucks. You appear to confirm they do just that if you're saying they won't table a Bill for full rights because it'll get shot down. How can you consider not trying to legislate for full rights as being progressive?

 

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