Thursday, 9 February 2012

Is Thatchell speaking with forked tongue regarding Ken?

The Peter Tatchell foundation have issued the following statement on Facebook regarding Ken Livingstone's 'riddled' comment about LGBT Tories. Embolding is mine for the purposes laid out below.

Ken Livingstone is not homophobic. His use of the word 'riddled' has to be judged in context. It was clearly not used with any homophobic intent. All parties have lots of gay, bisexual MPs, as Ken noted. He is right to state that there were many gay MPs in the Tory party, from the backbenches to the cabinet. After Labour’s victory in 1997 many gay Labour MPs came out, while gay Tories remained in the closet, continued to vote against gay equality. Ken is correct to suggest that in the 1980s and 90s the Conservative Party was avowedly anti-gay, while having many gay MPs. Lots of Tories opposed gay equality, despite their own homosexuality. They were hypocrites, homophobes. Ken is right to point this out.

In recent years, the Conservative leadership has embraced gay equality, which is commendable. However, only two weeks ago it was reported that 100 Tory MPs intend to block David Cameron’s plan to end the ban on same-sex marriage. They still oppose gay equality.

However, when Livingstone was Mayor in 2005 he invited outspoken Muslim cleric Yusuf al-Qaradawi to London. Thatchell himself called him out as being a hypocrite at the time.

he Mayor justifies hosting Qaradawi on the grounds that he wants a dialogue with Muslims. But why is Ken having a dialogue with a reactionary Muslim leader? Why isn’t he meeting liberal Muslims who believe in human rights? Why does he host a homophobe like Qaradawi while ignoring pleas from the Muslim gay group, Imaan?
Ken has been a long-time ally of the lesbian and gay community. He stood up for our rights long before any other major politician. He deserves our respect and appreciation. But on the issue of Qaradawi, Ken has made a major misjudgement.
In the name of fighting Islamophobia the Mayor is colluding with homophobia. He appears to believe that Muslim rights are more important than queer rights, and that it is acceptable to ally himself with fundamentalists who despise gays and want them killed.
Livingstone would never host Catholic extremists like Opus Dei or right-wing Anglicans from the Christian Institute. Why is he rolling out the red carpet for an Islamist hate-monger like Qaradawi? 
Ken seems willing to sacrifice gay rights if it is politically expedient to do so. Does he want Muslim votes? Is that why he is cosying up to Islamic fundamentalists like Qaradawi and the reactionary Muslim Association of Britain (MAB)?
Note at the end of this BBC article that is was the head of the Conservative group in the London Assembly who said "[Qaradawi] is the type of man Mr Livingstone should, like us, be condemning not cosying up to. It's utterly unacceptable." 

At that point it was the So why then does the Peter Thatchell foundation now back his use of the word, when in the past he has condemned him as willing to sacrifice gay rights for political expediency. Does raising the issue of previous LGBT closeted Conservatives in the run up to an election campaign not count as political expediency.

Does using a word like riddled, which I notice has casued outrage from with LGBT members of all parties (not just the Conservatives), not warrant an apology. The above which is not condemned, but put into context by the Thatchell Foundation. How come formerly it was a major misjudgement and yet not it is something that Thatchell has to jump in to explain. 

Clearly the use of the word was a misjudgement, although the Thatchell Foundation have refused to say that is it. But they are jumping in to defend one candidate, while there are another seven.

It is a political expediency that Livingstone has gone running to the best known LGBT rights campaigner to get him out of this jam following this faux pas of his own making?

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