Archive for the ‘Conservative Party’ Category

Peter Tatchell sure thinks so:

Corporate giants, Gaydar and Smirnoff, last week reportedly offered well in excess of £60,000 to cover Pride’s funding shortfall but the Mayor’s office spurned this offer claiming it was “too late”. This “too late” claim is disputed, with some people suggesting that there was still sufficient time last week to produce a viable rescue package, if the Mayor’s team had the will to do so.

Last year, the costs involved in the post-parade rally in Trafalgar Square were reportedly in the region of £50,000. This year they are allegedly £100,000. If true, it seems hard to justify a 100% increase which has, in part, created the funding shortfall.

It is claimed that the GLA is forcing Pride to use certain contractors, who are not necessarily the cheapest. This may be artificially exacerbating Pride’s money problems.

The financial difficulties faced by Pride are mostly a cash-flow problem. The GLA has forced Pride to pay for everything upfront as a condition for the events to go head. Pride says the sponsorship money it expects to receive by the end of the festivities would have bridged most of the funding gap.

The GLA has reportedly not paid all the money it promised to Pride; thereby compounding the cash-flow difficulties.

The Mayor’s office says there are “problems” and “safety issues” related to the Pride parade which require the start time to be bought forward to 11am and which require huge insurance premiums to be paid. However, they refuse to say what these problems and safety issues are. This is tantamount to demonising Pride as a troublesome event. In contrast, the police say it is one of the most trouble-free events held in London. Previously the police have adopted a very low presence, confident that Pride has no problem or safety issues.

Mayor Johnson’s sudden change in the parade start-time from 1pm to 11am is very unfair to people who have pre-booked trains and coaches for a1pm start. The march will have left before many people have arrived. This is a recipe for chaos and disruption. Instead of an orderly march, tens of thousands of disorganised people will swarm through the streets towards Trafalgar Square and Soho, blocking traffic and causing grid-lock.

Peter later mentions Boris’ attempts to ban him from speaking at the Trafalgar Square event on Saturday. Check out this video of Jenny Jones questioning the blond buffoon about just that and make your own mind up:

What a mess.

Apparently the former Tory Party Chairman knows something about marriage equality, which noone else does:

He said: “When I get extremely irritated about it, I say: There is no inequality. Any male can marry, barring the restrictions on consanguinity, any female. Any female can marry any male. I’m terribly sorry sir, you want to do something that I don’t wish to do. That’s your problem, not my problem.”

There you have it folks. There is no inequality because any man can marry any woman. But he’s not through:

He also questioned why there was not “more discussion about whether it’s in the best interests of children that they should be brought up in civil partnerships or so-called gay marriage and I think too little attention has been paid to that”.

Ahh. Too little attention has been paid to the question of gay parenting! I wonder what the prize Tory bigot means by that: are my fellow gays indoctrinating their children in some way? Are they too busy (as a remarkable individual on Twitter recently suggested to me) so busy fucking they won’t have time to bring their children up responsibly? Are gay people perhaps less qualified to parent children than straight people? I’d be delighted to have that conversation with him, but I doubt he has the courage to really initiate that discussion! But wait there’s more:

“Within the can of worms that Mr Cameron is determined to open there are several nests of snakes. Why should a marriage be confined to just two persons? What is the barrier to the marriage of sisters, brothers or even parents and children?”

So in this Tory’s mind allowing gay people to marry opens up the possibility of legalised incest. Who says they’re not the Nasty Party?

Tories make things up, won’t answer entirely legitimate questions because the ‘data is evolving’ and again aren’t really bothered about the budget deficit because they can alwayscore some cheap points with tax cuts. It’s all about ‘households and businesses’ after all. If only every incompetent Tory on TV was treated with the same contempt Paxo displays for Chloe Smith here!

Prime Minister David Cameron has been trailing his new ‘big idea’ of throwing young people off housing benefit entirely. What an ingenious move, to suggest that the economy is being ruined by workshy benefits claimants, rather than the bankers who caused the economic crash in the first place. Polly Toynbee makes short shrift of his ‘idea’:

He sounded plausible, and his sweeping tour of benefits seeming common sense to many. Every system since the Poor Law faces the same dilemma – how to help the needy without weakening work incentives, how to tell a “sturdy beggar” from a hard-luck case and give them enough to live but less than a low-paid job. There are no satisfactory answers – but Cameron’s “ideas” are the harshest ever proposed. How knowingly he misled in almost every example he gave, as he pitted “those who work hard and do the right thing” against those on benefits, deliberately disguising that these are mainly the same people. Most of the poor drawing benefits are cleaners, carers, caterers – the 62% living below the poverty line, working hard yet needing benefits to survive.

Cameron’s focus on the ever-rising housing benefit bill omitted key facts. The Smith Institute reports that 95% of the £1bn rise in housing benefitthis year is paid to people in work. Only one in eight people drawing the benefit is out of work; the rest are low earners. The cost is not about feckless people but the housing crisis, the failure to build social, rented or private housing over the last three decades. Shortage makes rents rise faster than earnings, and faster than price inflation. Cameron’s plan to peg housing benefit to prices, not to inflation, will be devastating. Shelter reports that if prices rose as fast as rents since 1971, a chicken would now cost £47.51. Nor is there any sign housing benefit cuts will cause rents to fall: rents are still rising as landlords turn away benefit tenants, easily finding others in this starved market.

In a familiar litany of charges against the workless, single mothers, drug addicts (only 4%), he summons up a familiar portrait of the multi-child household, beloved of television documentaries, seeking worst cases to be entertainingly put right by Ann Widdecombe. Every society will always have enough of those to keep the cameras happy. But the dull lives of cleaners juggling childcare and jobs make bad TV, as do dull statistics that give the lie to the idea that moral turpitude drives the escalating benefits bill.

Low wages and lack of housing are the root cause. A living wage would lift the burden off taxpayers and put it on to employers. Regulated rents and a great housebuilding programme are the way to cut the housing benefit bill. The government prefers mass removal of the workless to low-rent areas with no jobs.

Owen Jones was right when he argued yesterday  that Labour should be arguing for more social housing, rent caps and a living wage, but don’t expect that bunch of neoliberal zealots to spout anything other than the Tories’ lies. Meanwhile the rhetoric will continue to spead that the workshy are the root of all our problems, when the truth is that if you look, for example, at housing benefit, you’ll see just how fraudulent Cameron’s being:

Of course the government and the media don’t like to admit – or is it doesn’t know – that Housing Benefit is an in-work benefit.  I mean who would know that since the coalition took office that 232,340 of the 263,120 new HB claimants since the election are in work – just a mere 88% of them.   So 88% of the indolent workshy bar stewards claiming HB are also paying taxes – Not quite the same story is it Mr Cameron.

Even fewer would know or realise that the nearly £2bn per year of savings this coalition promised its Housing Benefit reforms would deliver currently see the HB bill £4.78bn OVER this target!  Yes I am talking about those HB caps that the public lapped up and had 76% support until the public realised their direct impact in the attempted movement of homeless families from Newham to Stoke last month.

Meanwhile the public are expected to forget about the ‘culture of entitlement’ in Westminster, not to mention in the cabinet. These Tories are getting more detestable by the day. Labour may be 5 points ahead of them in the opinion polls, but they’re largely singing the same tune as this rabble, and as long as they don’t provide any genuine opposition will remain part of the problem. Owen Jones suggested on Twitter that we put pressure on Liam Byrne, Shadow Secretary of State for Work and Pensions, to commit to the solution he and Polly Toynbee point to. I’m not holding out much hope.

Eager to prove to the country that the Nasty Party hasn’t learned a single thing from its electoral annihilation, Nadine Dorries has gone off on one the offensive:

Gay marriage is a policy which has been pursued by the metro elite gay activists and needs to be put into the same bin. I have yet to meet a gay couple in my constituency or beyond who support it; in fact, the reaction has been quite the opposite. Great Britain and its gay couples don’t live on Canal Street in Manchester, shop in The Lanes in Brighton or socialise at Gaydar in London. Gay couples are no different from heterosexual couples and yet this policy transforms them into political agitators who have set themselves against the church and community. The policy is divisive, unpopular with the public, is tearing the Conservative Party apart and will influence absolutely no one in terms of the way they vote in the future. I won’t dwell on who got the policy into No10 in the first place; however, as I am sure the happy-in-a-civil-partnership Labour MP, Ben Bradshaw would agree, it should never have been given the time of day in the first instance.

Well let’s break that apart in a whole number of ways, eh? Firstly her stance on how marriage quality relates to the election which surely destroyed their chances of re-election in 2015. She suggests that it was in part the Tories’ support for marriage equality which did them in – the same old Tory refrain of ‘we weren’t nasty enough’, as if that did them any favours in the 1990’s! The country didn’t stand for that stupidity then, and most (at least of those few who voted) don’t now. In what way is voting for a party which supports marriage equality (Labour) a rejection of it? Isn’t that just a smokescreen anyway to ignore the issues on which the Tories lost?

I’m wary of going down the road of debating how Dorries (mis)understands evidence or indeed how she’s admitted 70% of what she writes is a pack of lies, but I will contrast her unlikely account of gay rejection of marriage equality with my own experience. I have a number of friends who are, as I am, gay, but not a single one rejects marriage equality. It’s possible that a majority don’t want to get married, but every single person I know (who I’ve spoken to about this) agrees that the issue is about the freedom to choose from a position of equality before the law. I wonder if Dorries can actually identify these couples she implies she’s come into contact with?

Finally of course we reach the ‘metro elite gay activist’ slur, which I also remember the Tories trotting out in the 1990’s. What she’s doing of course is denigrating anyone and everyone who organises politically in support of gay rights, be they Ben Summerskill of Stonewall or 16 year old kids marching on their first Pride, eager to be visible and proud for the first time! This has a number of effects: it makes non-metropolitan gay people invisible to the political discourse, it recasts the debate to suggest that a non-metropolitan majority of everyone isn’t interested in gay equality (a lie), but it also demonises gay people who’ve moved to the city for security and solidarity.  Most mendaciously of all Dorries suggests that she speaks for an extreme religious majority, when the evidence proves there isn’t one. It’s a political argument based on delusions and lies, and you should stand for it about as much as I’m prepared to.

But by all means Nadine, go right ahead with your homophobic mudslinging. The Hate Mail is no doubt enthralled by your daring, but the rest of us are biding our time until 2015, when we’ll be celebrating as one when you do yourself out of a job.

George Eaton in the New Statesman starts the reflection over the Tories’ electoral disaster last night:

Already, Tory MPs have rushed to offer their own idiosyncratic explanations for the party’s defeat. Gerald Howarth, a defence minister, has blamed David Cameron’s support for gay marriage, Bernard Jenkin has said House of Lords reform needs to go, Martin Vickers has cited the decision to cut the 50p tax rate (rather than fuel duty), while Gary Streeter, a noted moderate, has said Cameron needs to be tougher on crime to halt the Ukip surge. Expect the blame game to continue across the weekend.

So very Tory, to have an electoral disaster and come up with the conclusion they weren’t nasty enough! This is about student fees skyrocketing to £9,000. This is about killing off the EMA. This is about ATOS and A4E and their abuse of people living with disabilities. This is about a recession brought about by Gideon. This is about the destruction of the NHS. It’s outrageous to suggest it had anything to do with Camoron’s support for marriage equality, moronic to suggest the electorate was even paying attention to the Westminster natter about electoral reform. This is about the electorate realising that a very nasty party is allied with a bunch of yellow frauds, and together they’re doing their level best to destroy the country.

In many ways, however, the real story of the night was the disastrously low turnout. At just 32 per cent, it was the lowest figure since 2000, confirming the alienation many voters feel from the entire political class. The anti-politics mood is one explanation for the resounding rejection of directly-elected city mayors. The voters simply don’t want more politicians. Manchester, Nottingham and Coventry have all voted against having a mayor, while Birmingham appears to have done the same. Cameron’s call for “a Boris in every city” has fallen on deaf ears.

Ultimately of course this is the lesson underpinning all others. Blair screwed us all over when he ignored the country’s demand not to go to war in Iraq. Camoron and Clegg screwed the youth vote over permanently when they ignored their opposition to higher education ‘reform’, but they all did far worse in the expenses scandal. Let’s not forget either the lessons of Leveson: they were all in bed with Murdoch together too. These abuses of power were universal, have been noticed and haven’t been forgiven. So by all means Tories please tack further to the right. You’ll be wiped out as a political entity in 2015 and I’ll be there dancing on your political graves.

Hugo Rifkind makes a strong case in The Spectator:

I hail from a religion which rarely seeks to convert, and which looks in, rather than out, and is generally happy leaving everybody else alone. Doctrine aside, I struggle to grasp the justification for any religion behaving in any other way. Last month, Sayeeda Warsi wrote of her fears that religion was being ‘sidelined, marginalised and downgraded in the public sphere’. It sounds bad, that, but only until you think about what religion is. It does not saturate most lives. It does not occupy most waking thoughts, as most go to work, work, and come home again. It simply doesn’t. When the Archbishop of Canterbury complains that the government treats those with faith as ‘oddities, foreigners and minorities’ he’s ignoring the great truth that stares him in the face — which is that this is exactly what people with faith are.

He’s hitting on a great truth here. The majority of people in this country do not consider themselves as practising theists. About half of us self-identify as ‘Christian’, but it’s only a tiny minority of even them who bother to go to church. Right now religions in this country are doing their utmost to stop gay people from marrying, inflated by a huge sense of self-importance (after all they have Bishops in the House of Lords, with the Head of State leading at least the Anglicans), when most people simply don’t get why two consenting adults who love each other. Most people don’t understand why it’s important to pray during a local government council session. Most people find it absurd that members of an established church say they’re persecuted when there’s not a single case of persecution having been brought to courts and tribunals. Religion doesn’t belong in the political sphere at all, and why would it, after all? Faith and delusion share the identical characteristics – belief without (and most importantly) against evidence and reason. The time is long gone when that mentality had any place in mainstream civil society.