Tuesday, September 04, 2012

For heaven's sake, Nick, what were you thinking, letting the Tories have equalities?

I am livid beyond belief this evening.

There is much in the Government reshuffle to be annoyed about, but what has sent me into the stratosphere of mega pissed-offness is that for some reason our mainly white privileged middle aged male ministers have decided to hand over the Equalities brief to the Tories.

We all sighed when Theresa May was made equalities minister in 2010, but were then overjoyed when this responsibility was delegated to our own Lynne Featherstone, who could be 100% relied upon to do the right and liberal thing. That's why she talked down default blocks on adult content, started the process of legislating for equal marriage and did great things with her work on body image. She really understood what homophobia and transphobia were all about and how to combat them.

And  that all seems to be for naught now. Lynne Featherstone at least still has a job, but not the equalities brief she was handling so well.

Has Nick never heard of the phrase "if it ain't broke, don't fix it."

Lynne's work was one of the reasons I felt it was worth being in Coalition. Now we are going to have to watch a completely different kettle of fish, new Maidstone MP Helen Grant, tackle the brief. And weep.

Pink News have got their knickers in a twist about her, but their actual hard evidence seems to be more about Ann Widdecombe, her predecessor.

However, what I've found out about her by a quick jaunt round Google has every liberal alarm bell I have ringing loud and clear.

She was part of Iain Duncan Smith's foundation. You know, the one that came up with all those lovely ideas to support families, or at least their narrow view of what constitutes a family. She's one of the authors of their Breakthrough Britain report which, among other things, recommends the idiotic marriage tax break. I don't actually know what her views are on equal marriage - there is nothing on the Coalition for Equal Marriage website to indicate either way. I do know, though, that she refers to certain young people on her website as a "feckless minority of louts."

I could actually cry.

I can't even see what we gained out of this. We've already lost successful schools minister Sarah Teather to bring back David Laws so that can't be the trade. The MOD to Defra swap also seems sensible.

Lynne's work was a major factor which made the agony of being in this Coalition bearable. I am disgusted beyond belief that the way she put our liberal ideals into practice was not valued enough by our own leaders.

Lynne is hugely popular amongst Liberal Democrat activists and her separation from the job to which she is perfectly suited is an enormous blow.

The Government is significantly less liberal tonight. And don't even get me started on having a health secretary who wants to restrict women's access to termination of pregnancy, and who believes, or believed in homeopathy.

I am incredibly angry with whoever allowed this to happen. Tonight my FFS list (that grouping of awful things this Coalition Government has done that I can't live with) just got a fair bit bigger. It is going to take me a long time to forgive Nick Clegg for this one.

And I will be watching every single thing that Helen Grant does. And if we support anything remotely dodgy, I'll be the first to complain. Well, maybe, if Jennie doesn't beat me to it.

2 comments:

Diane said...

i predict libdem wipeout in 2015.

Unknown said...

Hmmnnn... I can see why you would want to cry, but given the fact you appear to be one of the LD "bitter eiders", and are one of the few people I've actually come across who seems to think Michael Moore is a great guy, doing a great job, I'll take your protestations of shock with the appropriate ladle full of salt.

When are you and other LD enablers of this deeply repugnant and reactionary Coalition going to get it through your heads: your party is being used as a human shield by the nasty party. The few bones you have been thrown over the past few years do not pardon your actions which have effectively returned the UK to the sterile 2 party duopoly... well done you!

Apart from Clegg, you managed to obtain no major cabinet positions in government, you fluffed the chance of insisting on PR for an AV system nobody wanted, and are actively working with the forces of reaction in Scotland to attach undemocratic conditions to the referendum, and to stop a question being asked on dev-max. Why?

Perhaps for the same reasons your party will whinge about these cabinet moves, whilst achieving precisely nothing. The equalities brief is bad enough... but Grayling as justice minister? Really?

We all know that the LD's are effectively toast come the next GE in the UK and in Holyrood, but before it happens you might as well do some good and be part of the movement to abandon the Coalition and precipitate an early election; faint hope of the LD leadership team actually growing a pair obviously, but with luck the membership might be prevailed upon to force them into it to stop the extinction of the party as a whole!

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