Recent Articles

Where do Lib Dems really stand on gay marriage?

by Soho Politico     July 22, 2010 at 11:20 am

Recently, Simon Hughes spoke to this issue in a video interview, then widely reported – e.g. by gay media outlet Pink News – that Hughes had indicated that gay marriage will happen in this parliament.

However, that is a rather optimistic assessment of what Hughes actually said.  Indeed,  Hughes actually dampened expectations that gay marriage would be adopted as a matter of Lib Dem party policy, let alone coalition policy.
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Why not legalise gay marriage, Ed?

by Soho Politico     July 8, 2010 at 9:20 am

At several points in his interview with Sunny, published yesterday, Ed Miliband comes across either as lacking the courage of his leftwing convictions, or as lacking those convictions altogether.

And then there is this:

Would you allow gays to be legally married, rather than just be registered as a civil partnership?

He hesitates. “I will listen to what people have to say on going further than that if there is a demand. No one has yet put that to me in the leadership election.” He said his feeling was that not enough people were asking for the policy.

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Cameron’s Lithuanian ally: Children need protection from ‘evil’ of homosexuality

by Soho Politico     November 5, 2009 at 4:32 pm

Last month on Liberal Conspiracy I exposed how the Conservatives have allied themselves in the European Parliament with Valdemar Tomasevski, a Lithuanian MEP who has described homosexuality as a ‘perversion‘, and who voted in his national parliament earlier this year for a draconian new law banning public discussion of homosexuality.

Today, on Left Foot Forward, Will Straw publishes striking new evidence of Tomasevski’s homophobia:

David Cameron’s Lithuanian partner has revealed his homophobic views in an email to Left Foot Forward. Valdemar Tomasevski MEP – leader of the ‘Electoral Action of Poles in Lithuania’ and a member of David Cameron’s alliance of far right Europeans – describes homosexuality as an “evil” from which children should be protected and says “we cannot allow these people to claim … that homosexuality is normal.”

Tomasevski’s anti-gay beliefs were set out in an email to Straw after Left Foot Forward requested an English translation of a Lithuanian interview appearing on the MEP’s website.  The email, which also describes Tomasevski’s opposition to almost all abortions, says:

“I accept existence of homosexuals – we are tolerant state. But homosexuality is also a very good example of the wrong understanding of tolerance. We have to respect every human being, including those who experience sexual attraction to the same-sex.

But we cannot allow these people to claim and explain even to children at kindergarten that homosexuality is normal and encourage people to become homosexuals. Those who talk about tolerance should understand that and respect the constitutional right to protecting children from evil.

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The real questions we should ask Mr Hague over Europe

by Soho Politico     November 3, 2009 at 10:30 am

LibCon reported that Labour MP Denis MacShane sent an email to journalists attacking William Hague, following the latter’s claims in the Mail on Sunday that David Miliband and Labour “spend their time trying to orchestrate a ruthless smear campaign against the Conservative Party’s allies in the European Parliament.”

Now, MacShane’s attacks on the Tories’ European alliance have not, in my view, been at all effective, and the emailed list of questions is also fundamentally wrong-headed.  The questions are intemperate, and each take a ‘When did you stop beating your wife?’ type format, for instance:

4. Does he [Hague] support kaminski’s homophobic language?

6. Will hague be joining his new friends in Latvia when they commemorate the Waffen SS?

10. Does he agree with the Economist that he has created a “shoddy, shameful alliance” with Kaminski and Vile?

This type of non-serious questioning is counter-productive: it only aids the Tory counter-claim that Kaminski and others are the victims of a baseless smear campaign. If interest in the details of the Conservatives’ Euro alliance dies a premature death, or the public and media swing decisively behind the Tories’ narrative, it will be because of misjudged attacks like this.
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Does this prove Robert Mugabe is a nice guy?

by Soho Politico     October 31, 2009 at 7:32 pm

The Sunday newspapers are reportedly looking for a picture of Tony Blair with Polish MEP Michal Kaminski. Yesterday blogger Guido Fawkes drops a bombshell:

Guido gathers that a photo exists of a Downing Street dinner from late November 2005 in honour of the Polish Justice Party prime minister, Kazimierz Marcinkiewicz. The guests at the party included Michal Kaminski.

One might think that there is a fundamental difference between entertaining foreign politicians and getting into parliamentary coalitions with them.

But put that troublesome thought aside.
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Iain Dale’s selective denunciation of homophobia

by Soho Politico     October 18, 2009 at 3:20 pm

Yesterday, via Twitter, Iain Dale joined the rest of the known universe in condemning Jan Moir – for instance, by RT-ing a post by Total Politics editor Shane Greer, calling the Mail writer a ‘bigot of the worst kind.’ This follows a recent episode in which Dale was also a victim of homophobia from the Mail.

Dale rightly complained to the PCC on that occasion, and I later followed his appeal for others to add their voices, by complaining to Paul Dacre and the writer of the offending column, Peter McKay (it hardly needs saying that, to date, I have had no reply).

But whilst Dale is happy to condemn a newspaper that has a history of targeting him personally, he singularly refuses to criticise anti-gay prejudice closer to home. Indeed, he has not merely failed to speak up against homophobia among Conservatives and their allies.

To take one example: as regular readers will know, recently I uncovered how Valdemar Tomasevski, a Lithuanian MEP who is part of the Tories’ coalition in the European Parliament, personally voted for a severely repressive and homophobic law that has been condemned by human rights watchdogs, including Amnesty.

Thanks to the considerable help of Sunny, that news spread fairly widely around the leftie blogosphere, was picked up by The Observer, and commented on by Lib Dem Shadow Foreign Secretary Ed Davey.

Yet Dale refused to be drawn on the subject, even when, on a visit to my blog, he was directly challenged to explain his inconsistent stance on homophobia by another commenter. Instead, he gave a brief, obscuscating answer, and disappeared.
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Pt 2: How the Tories abandoned gay rights over Europe

by Soho Politico     October 5, 2009 at 10:00 am

I’ve been collecting information on one of David Cameron’s allies in his new European grouping. This is the second part of that investigation, the first part is here.

In part one I exposed how the Lithuanian member of David Cameron’s new European grouping had voted to support some very homophobic legislation.

To reiterate, the ‘Law on the Protection of Minors from the Detrimental Effects of Public Information’, which has been described as a harsher and more wide-reaching version of Britain’s old Section 28, bans discussion of homosexuality not only in schools but in any public places and media that could be accessed by young people.

It has been condemned by Amnesty Intl, the European Union itself and activists in the UK.

Valdemar Tomaševski, the Lithuanian MEP in question, is also on record as having branded homosexuality a “perversion”. Yet the Tories apparently did not view that as a reason not to welcome him into their European alliance.
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EXCLUSIVE: David Cameron’s European ally supports “deeply homophobic legislation”

by Soho Politico     September 30, 2009 at 5:22 pm

Over the past few weeks I have been collecting information from human rights to shed light on one of David Cameron’s allies in his new European grouping. This is the first of a multi-part investigation.

Despite the persistent criticism that it has allied itself with extremists, David Cameron’s Conservative Party now sits in the European Parliament with the European Reformists and Conservatives group (ECR), led by Poland’s Michal Kaminski – a man allegedly with a racist and homophobic past.

But so far it has gone unreported that another ally of the Conservatives in Europe has a much more serious and recent record of homophobia.

Valdemar Tomaševski, MEP from Lithuania, and member of the Tories’ Euro coalition, is on record as having branded homosexuality a “perversion”.

Not only that, I can now reveal for the first time that he also personally voted for a Lithuanian law that has been described as a harsher, more wide-reaching version of Britain’s Section 28.
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ConHome paranoia about ‘liberals’ at the BBC

by Soho Politico     September 27, 2009 at 9:00 am

Recently, Mike Smithson questioned the reliability of ConservativeHome’s polling of Tory grassroots members.  He suggested that the site ought to join the British Polling Council if it wants to be taken seriously as a pollster. “Otherwise”, Smithson wrote, “shouldn’t we be dismissing each new finding as just another voodoo survey?”

On Friday, ConservativeHome links from its front page to yesterday’s Guardian story about Shadow Culture Secretary Jeremy Hunt’s outrageous political meddling in the BBC’s hiring practices. Hunt had argued that the corporation ought to be actively seeking more Tories to be part of its news team, in order to counteract supposed liberal bias.

Directly below its link to the story, ConservativeHome alerts readers to a shocking discovery about the BBC that it had made on a previous occasion:

ConservativeHome discovered two years ago that there were eleven times as many liberals at the BBC as conservatives.

Er, actually, what they found was that, among BBC employers who were members of Facebook, eleven times as many recorded themselves as having ‘liberal’ political views as self-identified as ‘conservative’.

And not only is the sampling technique they employed a joke: there’s no attempt to analyse what parts of the corporation these liberal covert operatives were working in, or how senior they were, or what was the likelihood that they could influence BBC output. Just another voodoo survey then…

Clegg will only have himself to blame

by Soho Politico     September 22, 2009 at 12:59 pm

Yesterday, David Cameron wrote a piece for The Observer, making a pitch to Lib Dem voters to desert to the Tories join a ‘national movement that can bring real change’.  After rattling off a list of areas (e.g. the environment, civil liberties, ID cards) in which the Tories and Lib Dems supposedly speak with one voice, he said there was “barely a cigarette paper between us” in various policy areas.

Responding to the Cameron article, the Lib Dems took the only path realistically open to them: angry denialSunny Hundal says that “Nick Clegg… to his credit, is not touching Cameron with a bargepole.”

But it’s not really a reason to praise Clegg that he rebuffed Cameron – he couldn’t have done anything else.  Despite the pretense that he was offering genuine rapprochement, Cameron’s claim that, on many issues, there’s no difference between the two parties was really just code for: ‘Look Lib Dem voters, these days we cater to your pet issues too. So how about you find out what it feels like to be part of the winning side for a change, eh?’.  That message was seen by the Lib Dems for what it was: profoundly threatening. Hence the vehement rebuttal.

The Lib Dems, though, would idiots if they didn’t see this threat brewing.
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