Saturday, 5 July 2008

Shot by both sides

Was going to go to St Pauls carnival today, but forgot I'd promised my friend Stan I'd see him on his birthday and go to Pride with him. (And no, I'm not, but I'm not going to do a Jason Donovan about it).

In Trafalgar Square I got into conversation (incognito) with the guys staffing the Liberal Democrat LGBT stall. I asked whether, given the Tories' abysmal record on gay rights, they'd want their party to go into coalition with them. Cue lots of waffling. One said he personally wouldn't want it. I said it looked as if Clegg was preparing the ground, doing a deal with David Davis over his by-election stunt. How could they square DD's posturing as a 'champion of civil liberties' with his opposition to Section 28, civil partnerships and lesbians/ gay men serving in the armed forces? They insisted the by-election was about 42 days, and only about 42 days. (I don't think that's what DD said).

Then they started saying it was a numbers game, and they couldn't predict the terms of any coalition deal until after an election. (This is the standard Lib Dem line when you try to pin them down over whether they'd get into bed with Cameron and chums). But would gay rights, I asked, be a deal breaker? They said the Tories might change their stance if they needed Lib Dem support; they changed their mind over Scottish devolution when they realised it gave them 14% of MSPs, so they might change their mind and decide to support PR. (Why is it totally impossible to discuss any issue with the Lib Dems for more than 5 minutes before they start talking about PR?) But surely, I said, you can't shift position on gay rights as a purely tactical move; the underlying attitudes won't change. They started slagging off the Tories' record on gay rights, saying the party was full of homophobes. But I left with the impression that if the Tories offered a deal on PR, everything else would go out the window. (And no, this is not in any way an indication of how I think the next election would go; it's just fun prodding Lib Dems and watching them wobble as they try not to fall off their fence).


pagar said...

"If you're abusive or aggressive, I'll probably choose to ignore you. Or delete you."

Seems to me you have been ignoring a lot of your posters recently whether they have beeen abusive or not.

How about a simple apology- for voting for legislation designed to meddle in our lives and for stealing our money.

Mike Armstrong said...

Thanks to Labour and the LibDems being too scared of entering the debate, David Davis is facing a libertarian challenge from the Green Party on the issues, and he is on the run!