We invited scene stalwarts and politicos David Robson and Baga Chipz to put the case for their respective parties before next Thursday’s General Election. How are you going to vote? Read these strong opinion columns – plus Lib Dem leader Tim Farron’s linked below – and make your decision.
Why vote Labour by David Robson
So much has happened in the world of politics over the last 12 months. We are heading towards an existence of solitude in Little Britain. The threat of another Scottish referendum hangs over us, the threat of a hard border in Ireland has resurfaced, and instead of moving forward we are going backwards and inwards.
What lies at the root of all this? The Tories. In the wake of Brexit they are prepared to lead us off a cliff and divide the United Kingdom up once and for all. Why? To satisfy their backbenchers? Set aside ancient internal party politics? When you have every living former Prime Minister declaring the catastrophe of Brexit something must be wrong and it lays at the present Conservative Government.
Don’t label me as a remoaner. I accept the decision of the country despite the fact they were sold a lie (£350 million for the NHS anyone?) but it’s where we go from here that has me deeply concerned for our country’s future.
Theresa May proudly boasts her hollow slogan ‘Strong & Stable’ at any given opportunity. Yet only recently we have seen a dramatic U-turn from the PM on the Tories social care policy only four days after their manifesto launch. Something never done by any leader in an election campaign.
Then there’s the refusal to take part in live debates – it’s as if she has something to hide. So much for strong and stable, more like weak and wobbly. If there’s anything Jeremy has proven in his 30+ years parliamentary career, and over the last two years as leader, it’s that he is a fighter who delivers based on his principles.
This year sees the 50th anniversary of part decriminalisation of homosexuality under the 1967 Sexual Offences Act. This was put through by Harold Wilson’s Labour Government.
There is no other party that has delivered real equality like the Labour Party and we will continue to lead that fight under Jeremy Corbyn, a man who has always fought for LGBT rights in his 34 years as an MP. At the weekend, LGBT Labour launched their manifesto pledges. Amongst those pledges are:
Develop an inclusive and age-appropriate system of Sex and Relationship Education that will be compulsory for all children within all state-funded schools.
Equip teachers to tackle homophobic, transphobic and biphobic bullying in schools, and to take a zero-tolerance approach.
Put in place mandatory training for the police around homophobic, biphobic and transphobic hate crimes and encourage third-party reporting.
Real policies that will make the world of difference to our community. You only have to look at the Tories 88-page manifesto and it’s clear that the LGBT struggle is a mere tokenistic tick.
For me there is no choice in this election – it has to be the Labour Party. A government that will passionately protect LGBT rights and will govern for the many, not the few.
Why vote Conservative by Baga Chipz MBE
When Boyz asked me to talk about the choice we all have to make at this upcoming General Election, I was thrilled. It gives me a chance to talk about two things that are very important to me and to the country: leadership and capability. Theresa May served as our Home Secretary for seven years, working with communities up and down the country to keep us safe and to promote tolerance, but she also proved to be a capable politician, always on the ball and never at risk of having a ‘Diane Abbott’ moment!
Like the PM, I was an avid Remainer, but I support Mrs May in delivering on the will of the majority. Brexit means Brexit, and I believe her when she says she can make a success of it. Negotiations begin just 11 days after the election and we only have one chance to get this right. On the day after the EU Referendum, Jeremy Corbyn called for the immediate trigger of Article 50. He has pledged both to end freedom of movement and to retain it. He has said that we will remain members of the single market but has also said we would leave it. It is clear that Labour has no plan for Brexit and that should worry us all. We need someone who’ll fight for Britain. Who will deliver for Britain. And that person is Theresa May.
As a member of the LGBTQI community, I often get asked about Theresa May’s voting record on gay rights. And I understand the concerns. But just as Hillary Clinton changed her stance, so has Mrs May. Not only has she voted for every LGBT reform in parliament in the last decade but she was instrumental in pushing marriage equality. As Baroness Featherstone admitted, without Theresa May same sex marriage would never have made it to the statute books. Why do we hold Pride rallies and campaign for acceptance and tolerance but refuse to accept someone when they hear our cause and join our side? Mrs May should be celebrated for that. The Conservative Party promised reform of transgender rights in 2015. In 2016 they established a committee, and in 2017 they intend (if re-elected) to implement the changes that committee recommended: the right to change your birth certificate without humiliation and endless legal proceedings and the end of the vile spousal veto.
To those who raise Section 28, I understand. But the modern Conservative Party is doing wonderful work with our community. LGBT+ Conservatives is a great organisation, and I commend the Prime Minister for speaking out on the abhorrent abuse of our brothers and sisters in Chechnya. Today, the Conservative Party has more LGBT candidates than any other political party. Isn’t that something to be proud of?
On 8 June, I implore you to look past the grand giveaway that Labour are promising. Don’t be fooled into thinking that Jeremy Corbyn is a kind and decent man. His record on antisemitism, his support for the IRA and homophobic terror groups such as Hamas and Hezbollah, his support for brutal dictatorships in Venezuela and Cuba – do these sound like the sort of beliefs you want your Prime Minister to have? Do you want the incompetent Diane Abbott in charge of our police force? Do you trust John McDonnell, a man who said he rejoiced when the financial crash took place because it meant Marxism stood a chance? That isn’t a risk any of us should take.
We believe in hard work, better education for all with a real choice for parents, an NHS that delivers for patients and a country with a strong economy that supports both. We need strong and stable leadership and a united party ready to deliver for Britain. Do the right thing. Vote for the Conservative Party! Let’s make Britain better, eh?
Lib Dem leader Tim Farron tells us why you should support his party here
Be sure to cast your vote in the General Election on 8 June 2017