Tuesday, 6 January 2015

DUP selective British rights: The Driver's Licence Clause

Yesterday DUP MP for Lagan Valley Jeffrey Donaldson said:

"British Citizens in Northern Ireland deserve the same rights as the rest of the UK."

However, this was not about the rights of NI LGBT people to have the right to marry whom they choose. Nor is it to defend the Equality Act in full, in face of his colleague Paul Givan's conscience clause. Nor it is a freeing up of abortion legislation, no a whole gamut of rights issues that the people of Northern Ireland are the only ones in the UK to have equally with the rest of the UK.

No. This was about the change in driving licence design that in England, Wales and Scotland will not display the Union Flag alongside the European Union Flag, but in Northern Ireland will retain just the flag of the EU.

Of course this comes mere weeks after once again the main parties failed to come to any agreement on symbols and flags (amongst other issues) once again, and merely passed this on to another commission. So it is hardly surprising that flag controversy once again hits Northern Ireland when it is an issue that after over 16 years of talking we have yet to reach a consensus on.

But once again the argument from Donaldson shows the duplicity of the DUP. They use the argument of British Citizens having the same rights as the rest of the UK when it suits them, but with the other hand will argue that Northern Ireland is different from the rest of the UK when it comes to things like LGBT rights, abortion and other issues if it suits them politically with their base.

Sorry Jeffrey I'm not going to let you, or any member of the DUP, get away with playing the British rights card when you deny me the same rights as I would experience elsewhere in the UK because of my sexual orientation. Especially in light of Cllr Maurice "gays caused Hurricane Katrina" Mills becoming a Member of the British Empire in the New Year Honours, while LGBT British citizens are seen as less than full UK citizens with the same rights by the DUP I shall continue to hold institutional homophobia from Mr Donaldson's party to account.

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