Tuesday 31 December 2013

14 Predictions for 2014

It is that time of year once again to dust of my crystal ball and try and work out that is going to happen over the next twelve months.

1. An Olympic medalist will make a statement/protest about LGBT rights live on the Olympic Broadcaster. This will be the reason why we were right to let the athletes attend the Games at least one of them will make a protest and it will be the LGBT communities 1968 Black Power moment.

2. After the 400 bomb alearts, some of them viable, in Northern Ireland in 2013 one of the ones in 2014 will lead to a fatality. This is the one forecast I want to get wrong but I'm scared that at some point one of these will go wrong, we had the carrier of one incendiary devise catch fire this month and other brave civilians have carried devices to safe areas before contacting the authorities, so I suspect that as these are not up to the high standards at the end of the troubles that something is going to go wrong.

3. Mark Cavendish will win stages in three of the British Isles capitals this year. It will a unique year of opportunity for the Manxman. He will have the chance to win in the capitals of three nations that can be seen from the Isle of Man. First there is stage 2 of the Giro d'Italia finishing in Belfast city centre and the following day when the race finishes in Dublin. Then in July stage three will finish in London and this time, unlike the 2012 Olympics Cav will have the chance to sign and show Marcel Kittel that he is back at full strength.

4. There will be a coup against Kim Jong-un. I've said this before about the North Korean leader but after a number of eliminations of senior opponents I think that for the sake o self preservation a group will rise up to challenge his leadership this year.

5. Olympians Katherine Grainger and Louis Smith will announce their retirements.  Both these two have taken a long time since the London to get back into action. Katherine did a BBC show in 2013 looking at those who continued and those who have quit while saying she was yet to come to her own decision, at 38 after over 12 months out she is unlikely to fancy getting back into the swing of training. Since the Olympics Louis has won Strictly Come Dancing in 2012 but has yet to compete again on the pommel. With the rising stars of British gymnastics that have been successful in 2013 being multiple discipline it is unlikely that being a pure specialist will suit well with Louis trying to fit back in.

6. Britain will win three or more medals in the Winter Olympics. With changes in the skeleton, short track skating, curling and slopestyle events there are multiple opportunities for Team GB to do well in Sochi so look for the Union flag going up the flag poles on a number of occasions and the National Anthem to play at least once. It will be the biggest haul since 1936 beating the two medal hauls of 1948, 1994 and 2002. Only at the first Winter Olympics in 1924 have GB ever won four medals at one games.

7. A DUP elected representative will actually speak/vote positively about an LGBT issue. The reason that the elected rep will state for this u-turn in their thinking is that a member of their family is either lesbian or gay.

8. Sammy Wilson will spend thousands of tax-payers money defending a court challenge by an same-sex couple who oppose their UK marriage being down graded to a civil partnership. Following the leadership of Edwin Poots the Minister for Finance and Personnel will waste finance and personnel on trying to defend that fact that marriages legal elsewhere in the UK as only being civil partnerships in Northern Ireland.

9.With Haass talks failing to reach an agreement on flags Northern Ireland descends into further acts of civil disobedience. With the lack of political leadership at the end of 2013 to realise that some solution had to be made on flags, both sides and especially the unionists continue to lose control of the situation in Northern Ireland. Alliance continue to be the main focus point of acts of civil disobedience which are on the verge, if not actually illegal.

10. England lose their first two group games in the World Cup in Brazil and are out before they face Costa Rica. After losing 1-0 to Italy in the first game in the heat of Manaus, England slump to a second defeat to Uruguay and the results of both those teams against Costa Rica mean that they are unable to progress before the final match on 24 June.

11. Scotland vote to stay in the UK. My prediction of the result 38% Yes, 62% No to the question that is put. Turnout will be under 50%.

12. As a result of the above Alex Salmond faces a leadership challenge from Nicola Sturgeon and John Mason in the Autumn and steps aside. The eventually contest will see Nicola Sturgeon elected as the new leader of the SNP. It leaves only the Scottish Liberal Democrats in Holyrood to have a sole male leader.

13. David Cameron is told by the EU that he cannot keep restricting free access to Romanians and Bulgarians, so he attempts to call an immediate referendum on EU membership. I use the word attempt as the coalition agreement and indeed act only relate to any constitutional change automatically prompting a referendum. So when David Cameron attempts to call this all the Liberal Democarats resign from Cabinet and the coalition is over forcing the Conservatives to operate as a minority Government.

14. As Parliament rises for the summer after months of failing to get his actual agenda through Parliament David Cameron announces he will resign after his party elect a successor. Immediately Zac Goldsmith resigns his seat and Boris Johnson stands for Richmond Park. But in the ensuing by election Lib Dem Robin Meltzer defeats Boris and his leadership aspirations are over.

Predictions for 2013 how did I do?

There are just 4 hours left of 2013, one thing I didn't predict was that I would spend most of this year in Orkney, but how did I do with what I actually said would happen.

Well as is traditional on this blog it is time to look forward to what 2013 will have in stall.

1. Peter Robinson will be ousted as DUP leader and First Minister. I seriously think that the way that the Protestant/Loyalist/Unionist community has been in revolt this past month will bring about a split within the DUP. The hardliners will be out for more blood and those that want a shared society or are seen too will be further marginalised. The biggest casualty of this will be the leader, who for the first time will be forced from office. Somehow Nigel Dodds takes over as leader. He's still there 0 points

2. We will say goodbye to Nelson Mandela, Margaret Thatcher and the Duke of Edinburgh. Yeah a triple whammy but all three have been in hospital this year and all three are far from young. I don't think that any of the three of them will live for a further 365 days. Maggie was the first to go on 8 April. Nelson and the Duke were both hospitalised soon after that. Mandela passed away, after being cared for at home for the final months, on 5 December. ⅔ points

3. Chris Froome will win the Tour de France. After Bradley Wiggins wins the Giro d'Italia Sky decide to name Froome as co-leader publicly for the Tour but in private Froome has been given the nod with Wiggins as his super-domestic, just so he can wear the number 1 for the race as defending champion. Meanwhile in his new team, Omega Pharma-Quick Step, Mark Cavendish returns to Paris in Green and yet again manages to win on the Champs Élysées, he also manages 5 stage wins and the sprinters jersey in the Giro. Well Froome was categorically named as leader for the Tour while Wiggins was racing the Giro as race that Wiggins had to pull out of and subsequently not be able to even start a defense of his title in France. Froomey went on to win, but as for the side prediction on Cav he ran into the new kid on the block Marcel Kittel who took the Green Jersey and the win in Paris. 1 point

4. Pressure mounts on Northern Ireland to rethink Equal Marriage with England, Wales and Scotland all passing legislation to allow equal marriage the Unionist politicians come under increased for their sham-Unionism on the matter of LGBT rights. Well when the Constitutional Convention recommended a referendum on Equal Marriage for the Republic of Ireland there was a second unsuccessful debate before the Assembly on 29 April. I think that is one point

5. Andy Murray kisses a gold trophy. Yeah, I'm sticking my neck out here. In July Andy Murray fulfills every British tennis fan's dream of lifting up the silver-gilt cup inscribed with the words "The All England Lawn Tennis Club Single Handed Champion of the World". Well no doubt here he did it 77 years of waiting ended 6-4 7-5 6-4 and the last game was a fight. 1 point

6. Jeremy Clarkson will say something so over the top that he is suspended from presenting Top Gear. Yeah, hard to work out exactly what it is that Clarkson says that could lead to such action looking at his past history, but he will come up with something. No Jezza is still there.

7. A DUP elected politician will be caught in a compromising position with someone of the same gender. Big news for the DUP as they try to carry on an attack on any expansion of LGBT rights is that one of their own is found to have had a secret lover of the same gender for years. No the insitutionalised homophobia of the party continues, still waiting for one of their elected reps to be causght out.

8. Alex Salmond drops the plans for a referendum on independence this becomes inevitable after he is caught telling even more inaccuracies about what an Independent Scotland will look like. An SNP MSP resigns and points out that under his plans Scotland would be a puppet state to too many other nations that being a devolved part of the United Kingdom is actually the most economically and legislatively liberating option that there is. Well the inaccuracies have kept coming and the promising of everything is coming. Although with the white paper Salmond appears to be keeping us in Sterling, UK fleets to be allowed to use Faslane, keeping the Monarchy, the control and bail out of the Bank of England. So nil points here.

9. The Republican Party finally concede the need for gun control... sadly this only happens after an intern working for a Republican Senator kills a number of GOP Senators and Representatives and staff with assault weapons he has sneaked in in parts over a number of months.Nothing

10. Two members of Westboro Baptist Church leave to move in together in San Francisco...yeah turns out that they fancy someone of the same sex after all. One of the members is a member of the Phelps family. Well the year started out well with a former member posing for the NOH8 campaign. So maybe 0.5 points.

11. The 2020 Olympics are awarded to Tokyo. The compact proposal set largely in the harbour area beats Istanbul in the second round of voting at the 125th IOC Session in September. Spot on here. 1 point

12. The Flag Protests will carry on until Easter. The protesters will continue in diminishing numbers to protest against the designated days the Union Flag is flown on  Belfast City Hall until Easter. They run a near riot when on one of the designated days it's lowered and fail to notice as they are charging City Hall that it is being lowered to half mast only, to mark the death of the Duke of Edinburgh. When they carry out one last protest they are shouted at by members of the public for not showing respect to it being the day of the Duke's coffin being transported to Westminster Hall to lie in state. Well the nearest lowering of the flag at Easter was for Margaret Thatcher. But the protests were still going on and escalated with UVF flags being flown. There was of course shock when the flag was raised on a extra day to celebrate the birth of Prince Goerge of Cambridge. With another protest a year on this is set to roll on. There are still protests a year on so 1 point.

13. There will be two by elections caused by MPs being charged as a result of the Jimmy Saville investigations. None of the by elections were caused by operation Yewtree so nil points.

So in conclusion that is 6⅙ out of 13 just under 50% right.

Tune in later for my predictions for 2014. 

My top 10 posts from 2013

This blog is about to enter its ninth year of production being founded in July 2005. However, before I update my copyright declarations it is time to look back at the top 10 posts of 2013, I am restricting this only to posts that were written in 2013 as other two of my Olympic history posts and my first look that the 2020 contenders are in the list. The latter obviously was a push at the selection of Tokyo (which I predicted in that 2012 post) came closer.

So in traditional reverse order here are my top 10 hits that were written in 2013.

10. Dear John Pugh you asked about errors in your reasoning it was a year in which I took a few of our parliamentarians to task over their reason for not supporting the parties policy position on marriage equality, first out of the box in this year's top ten was John Pugh.

9. When Church turns on its own in April after the second debate on equal marriage in Stormont, when David Ford amongst others took a stance that look beyond that which their churches advocated, some in his own congregation rose up against him taking a stand For Everyone.

8. Why the Drewitt-Barlow's going to court have got it wrong #equalmarriage in August the gay couple who paved the way for surrogate co-parency here in the UK said they would take the Church of England to court if they could not be married in their local parish church. I argued about why this was the wrong approach.

7. In response to Simon Hughes after the third reading on Same-Sex Marriage in the Commons Simon wrote about his reasons for his abstention on Lib Dem Voice. I just had to respond and it appears that you lot went to have a read.

6. Lembit, Brent Central and women only short lists in September just after a confluence of events I end up making a totally un-me-like conclusion, warning there is some satire in my conclusion, but some of the points are valid.

5. Some thoughts on the Tom Daley reactions earlier this month Olympic diver Tom Daley came out about his current relationship. There were all sorts of comments erroneous and downright wrong that I decided to write about.

4. I like Steve Chalke cos he is a nice guy back in January Baptist Minister and Oasis Trust Founder Steve Chalke broke from the main Evangelical Christian tradition in this country with comments about homosexuality. It hasn't sparked a flood tide of others doing likewise but the conversation within our churches goes on.

3. Feeling sorry for Mexican Congresswoman's  Sex Life in August Ana María Jiménez Ortiz surprising came to my attention, when obviously trying to avoid sounding homophobic in saying guys shouldn't marry, came out out only those who have sex facing each other should be allowed to marry. I can imagine divorce cases filed when the husband suggested some other positions, and same-sex couples trying to prove that they only had sex facing each other.

2. Say Hello to the Belfast cultural revolution this rant against news that a portrait showing a same-sex kiss from an exhibition in Belfast (before any of us saw the actual picture since added) raised my heckles in good old fashion.,

1. Reponse from the Royal Ulster Academy quite happy for the response that came from the outrage of my number 2 post is actually the top post. That is a rather unique position but good for the story that people appear to have read both. Although over 150 more people seemed to read this rather than the original rant.

2013 wasn't a year that I was able to give a great deal of time to my blog especially considering the job that I moved into in February. I hope that productivity and intensity can be picked up as we head into 2014.

So no Haass agreement

Dr. Richard Haass the American diplomat who was chairing talks in Northern Ireland is flying home after another all night session on the 7th draft of his proposals to deal with Northern Ireland's past, parades and flags.

After seven drafts the DUP came away saying that they agreed with the "broad architecture" of the agreement, but that ""some of the language and detail is not what we would have chosen and in some cases we strongly disapprove of the language".

So what did the other parties think:

Sinn Féin thought there was a "basis for a deal in the proposals put forward".

Alliance said ""We have seen a huge sea change in the level of political agreement which has exceeded public expectation, particularly in delivering for the victims and the reconciliation process." But that there were still major challenges over the issues of parades and flags.

The SDLP said "We would anticipate a general endorsement from the SDLP in due course, that's not to say we're entirely happy... but we do welcome it as far as it goes."

The UUP appear to not be prepared to make a statement at this time before presenting it to their party.

The comment from the SDLP shows something in contrast with the DUPs. Both mentioned that they were not entirely happy. But one was prepared to realise that they weren't going to get everything and where happy with where things had got, the other seemed to lack compromise.

I'm someone who although never involved in talks have been involved in endorsing those agreements. First in the 2003 Scottish Programme for Government and again in the 2010 Coalition Agreement. On both occasions not everything that I would have liked to see was there, but there was enough of key elements in there for me to support the process.

In Northern Ireland we have a statutory coalition so parties have to work together without coming to an agreement as to what that work will entail. The end is that they are in Government together and opposition at the same time, it means that things don't get done as the parties haven't really hashed out those agreements and compromises.

Yesterday as I was watching the news coverage of the talks teams entering the Stormont hotel I heard some of the Protestant Unionist Loyalist community shouting to the DUP "No compromises". It makes me wonder what his, as it was a male voice, married life is like. The thing is to learn to work together, life together and move on together you have to make some compromises and whether that is over some of the language in some areas to get a broad agreement on things that need to be done so be it. I've also seen a comment today which read:

"Nothing in it again for the PUL people, and you can only ignore and walk over people for so long. It cannot be at any price. We deserve better than that."

Now as always that comment ignores the fact that the PUL people used to ignore and walk over those who weren't, the fact is that now we, whoever we are, cannot ignores others. We have to work with each other to work things out. And in working things out we get to a point where normality can come to our wee country, leading to people being prepared to invest in us, employ us and give us security of a financial rather than a military variety.

Friday 20 December 2013

Talk Talk filter is not politically neutral

I was doing some late night checking of Twitter in relation to the fact that the LGBT+ Lib Dems Website was blocked under Talk Talk's porn filter and came across this converstation.

Fortunately for Talk Talk we are outside an election period at the moment or else there could be implications from the fact that they are blocking both the Lib Dems and UKIP's LGBT websites but not that of Labour or the Conservatives. It means that they are able to differentiate sites and someone should have spotted this for the other political parties assuming that the Conservative and Labour sites had to be exceptions for the use of the language especially in relation to same-sex marriage, transgender issues and the like which are the key words that would automatically have been flagged up.

Of course the issue is far wider than this, these filters by the ISP providers are not good enough to differentiate what is health, education and public awareness sites and what is pornography etc. This was the crus of the debate at Lib Dem conference in Glasgow this September when we referenced back the motion on internet safety as it failed to address these issues in a way that the majority of the internet literate members of our party were already aware. The fact that our LGBT+ website is now parked behind such a porn filter is a case in point.

Earlier today someone else Tweeted this showing the BT definitions of what is blocked:

Some of the implications of this especially in relation to sex education have implications that some of our young people may be kept in ignorance as a result of parents not lifting the filter. This is especially true of LGBT youth whose parents are opposed to their child being LGBT and don't want them to find out about help that can be provided for them.

As a Liberal Democrat I don't believe that anyone should be enslaved by ignorance. But when the filters by two of the largest internet providers in this country can block access to some of the LGBT groups of our political parties, or information on sex education, including respect for a partner, STDs and LGBT lifestyle then there clearly is an issue. Thankfully the mainstream media are catching up with something that I know many Lib Dems have been shouting about for years. Some of our LGBT bloggers have found our own websites blocked on certain connections in internet cafes or wifi hotspots.All we are doing is talking about the issues, using language that can be used in good as well as for porn.

On an issue of porn, even notice that the emails selling you sex good get around your spam filter in your email by not using the actual words in full, but use punctuation and spaces to get around this. Guess what some porn does exactly the same.

Read also Alistair MacGregor's piece on Lib Dem Voice about this.

Tuesday 10 December 2013

DUP take the tortoise and the hare too far

Today in the Northern Ireland Assembly in their final plenary session of 2013 discussed this Alliance Party motion:

That this Assembly notes that a sexual orientation strategy was subject to consultation in 2006; further notes that public commitments to publish a document by the end of 2013 were made by the Office of the First Minister and deputy First Minister in Together: Building a United Community; expresses its deep concern that this document does not appear to have progressed to date; and calls on the First Minister and deputy First Minister to publish a cross-departmental sexual orientation strategy as a matter of priority.

Now you'd have thought that seven years after consultation would be enough time to bring forward any strategy document. I know that when I was working in the Department of Enterprise Trade and Investment my branch was responsible for the economic strategy document going forward 10 years. It was published in 1999 less than a year after devolution and was covering all the complex issues of Northern Ireland's economy going forward. One of its recommendations was to produce and Information Age Initiative, this was done in 2000 less than a year later. Both documents were critically received and although some felt they could have gone further in certain directions they were a path finder for what was arguably the most important of the devolved departments.

Now this brings us to the issue of the Sexual Orientation Strategy (SOS). As Anna Lo said when moving the motion:

A consultation took place in 2006, and a strategic action plan was drafted to identify and tackle human rights issues relating to sexual orientation.  Following devolution, it was shelved in 2007, along with the shared future and racial equality strategies.  It is not unreasonable for OFMDFM to want to take ownership of these strategies under devolution, but seven years is too long to produce our own version.  Let me explain.

In 2010, the cohesion, sharing and integration strategy consultation indicated that Ministers were fully committed to publishing a sexual orientation strategy.  At the end of that year, it was confirmed by junior Minister Newton that a strategy would be published.  In 2011, junior Minister Bell told the Assembly that the final consultation process would take place in early 2012, with a view to publishing a strategy before the end of 2012.  In October 2012, the Department outlined that a draft public consultation document was under consideration and would be published in the near future.  In February 2013, Minister Bell outlined to the Assembly that the Department remained committed to publishing a strategy and that it was currently under consideration.  The announcement of the Together: Building a United Community strategy committed OFMDFM to publishing a sexual orientation strategy once the consultation process had been completed.

However, the only speakers and in the end the only MLAs who had objections to publishing a strategy were the DUPO. First Stephen Moutray said:

It is simple:  consultation must take place before the strategy can be brought forward.

Now forgive me for being dumb but the consultation started in 2006. In both 2012 and 2013 we were promised by the Junior Minister for OFMDFM at the time from his own party that the SOS would be published by the end of the year. On both those occasions it was implied that consultation was complete and it was down to drafting. So why has the strategy not been brought forward?

He went on to say:
if the Alliance Party cared to speak with the sector, it would ascertain that that sector is broadly content with the way in which the Assembly is dealing with the matter.
 Now I wonder has Mr Moutray spoken to the LGBT sector, he certainly hasn't been at any of the LGBT consultative forum meetings that have time and time again talked about the frustration that the assembly have failed to publish a SOS. Now was he there when they discussed the lack of SOS being mentioned but in passing in the ludicrous Draft Cohesion Sharing and Integration strategy, which has also since to resurface in the light of day since 2010.

His colleague George Robinson said:

I hope that those who tabled the motion will see the benefit of supporting the current work in progress to achieve the workable solution that I see as critical to a successful outcome.  Clarity, not haste, is the essential factor in producing a workable strategy.  It is for those reasons that I cannot support the motion.

The LGBT do not want a work in progress. Nor do we want a document that has been promised take over what would have been two terms to come to the table if it not published within the next twelve months. The delay in publishing this is already longer than the period that an LGBT teenager is expected to spend in secondary school, without any consideration, nor any mention of homophobic bullying. As we heard in the debate 85% of LGBT youth in Northern Ireland contemplate suicide and 35% have attempted it.

Is it really so awkward to develop a strategy especially when documents exist in the rest of the UK already laying out best practices in the workplace, accommodation, health care and education that can be adapted to the Northern Irish situations? Or is it just awkward for the DUP to face up to their Section 75 obligations and acknowledge that something needs to be done of the LGBT people in Northern Ireland who do not feel save to outwardly express their love for a partner in public as they would do in Glasgow, London, Cardiff and even small provincial towns.

Thursday 5 December 2013

Nelson Mandela's long walk on earth is over

***Breaking*** Former South African President Nelson Mandela has passed on this evening.

The former South African President was born in the last year of the First World War and almost survived to the centenary year of it's beginning. Many will no doubt write full biographical remembrances of his life but I'm going to go through the points that his life bisected with my consciousness. 

One of the first international politicians to grab my attention was Nelson Mandela. of course at the time he was still in prison. His image and presence touched my life in many ways along the way.

In 1984 of course there was the Special A.K.A. song Free Nelson Mandela which was one of the first protest songs that I actually purchased.

When I went on a tour of my first university my introduction to student politics probably came from an induction meeting in the Mandela Hall at QUB. Even though I didn't go there the fact that students in Belfast and as I later learnt up and down the country had gone to such length to make a statement of support for such a great man meant that I had to get involved in student politics and speak in Union meetings.

My first job after graduation saw me walking from Waterloo across the Hungerford Bridge and on to Piccadilly Circus. At that time it meant that every day I passed the statue to Nelson Mandela outside the National Gallery.

Of course before that on 2 February 1990 I watched as he walked to his freedom and the birth of a new South Africa, one of reconciliation. It gave me hope that possibly the same could happen in my own Northern Ireland. Together with F.W. de Klerk who had decided to unban the ANC and allow Mandela to be released he went on the win the Nobel Peace Prize, a echo of John Hume and David Trimble doing the same later for the similar peace established in Northern Ireland. Indeed  the Northern Ireland conflict was something he took an interest in and he helped leaders here to learn reconciliation towards each other.

After graduation I came the closest I ever came to the man in person. When I played for Surbiton Chess Club there was a man across the board from me at time with a South African accent. There was one week that he said he would not be available for the low rating league match that week. It was later that night when I got home from the chess match that I saw Donald Woods, who live is portrayed in the movie Cry Freedom greeting the then South African President.

I bought my first TV on the morning of the first match of the 1995 World Cup match, when I came home to watch the recording of the first match of course there was Mandela in that colourful shirt. For the final he was wearing a Springbok shirt, once a shirt of oppression of the black population of his nation, but by then embraced by the rainbow nation.

Of course I have also read his autobiography Long Walk to Freedom. And his walk was indeed long indeed he married his third wife Graça Machel aged 80 after his marriage to Winnie, who was famous for her support of him while he was incarcerated, had broken down. He died today aged 95 having enjoyed a family life denied him due to incarceration and then the political change and presidential period with her children and his own grandchildren and great grandchildren. But of course as with his own children, one daughter died at 9 months and his first born son at the age of 23, there was tragedy when one of them died returning from the opening of the 2010 World Cup died in a car crash returning to the Mandela compound.

It was a long walk for Madiba and now it has run its course.

Nelson Rolihlahla Mandela OM AC CC OJ GCStJ QC GCH BR RSO NPK 18 July 1918 - 5 December 2013

Tuesday 3 December 2013

The best YouTube reations to Tom Daley

After seeing some of my YouTube subscriptions respond to the Tom Daley news, some good and one extremely inappropriate I decided to see how else people responded to the news. Here are xxx of the best:

This is someone I hadn't come across but makes some really good points. Here is another person who gets the fact that currently the lack of label is down to the diversity of human attraction. Chris Thompson is someone that I do follow, and apart from his putting a label on Tom that he didn't put on himself this is a good comment about honesty in public forums.

Monday 2 December 2013

Some thoughts on the Tom Daley reactions

Featured on Liberal Democrat Voice

So Tom Daley has admitted that he is dating a man. He has also said that he still fancies girls.

However, as a gay sportsman I cannot believe some of the comments I have seen online since Tom courageously told us this very personal news.

So some of the negative comments that are out there.

How will this affect him in the locker room? Hardly at all, there is already an openly gay man in international diving the 2008 Olympic Champion, Matthew Mitcham, so in his sport at the top level the rest of the guys already have no issue. Indeed this is an issue I addressed some 3 years ago.

Will it affect his training? No, well at least not in an adverse way. Being in a stable relationship, if that is what this is, is actually likely to enhance his training as he has some that will enable him to relax in his down time. Also the fact this he is being honest about himself means he doesn't have to worry about people disclosing details of his personal life before he is able to. So that is possibly one thing that he is now able to put behind him.

Why is he not naming his boyfriend is he ashamed of him? Actually no. As Tom says he likes to have some personal life. Just because someone is in the public eye doesn't mean that their partner either wants to be, or desires to be. Tom is the one in this relationship who is in the public eye, so we should respect the privacy that he is wanting for his partner. On the news earlier Tom was quite rightly called the pop star of British sport, he was on posters for London 2012 in nothing more than his speedo. Anyone either male or female would take some time adjusting to being the partner of that sort of public figure.

Tom Daley is gay! Actually no he hasn't said that. He said above that he still fancies girls but that the person he is currently dating is another man. Tom himself hasn't put a label on his sexuality and for all the bisexuals out there, as Tom says, it shouldn't really matter. He is in love with someone and that is all that is important, the gender of the other person in his eyes is not significant. He says he couldn't be happier and all of us who have like him had to make some sort of announcement about our own sexuality not being heterosexual we are happy for him too. Tom doesn't want any label other than that he is in a relationship.

He's just greedy! I sadly have seen this biphopic comment from a number of gay men. Tom is not greedy he is in a relationship with one person. Even if he was poly that wouldn't make him greedy, he would only be providing the amount of love that he felt he could give and receive the amount he was able to. Thirteen years ago, after I had come out, I fell in love. The individual in question just happened to be female. So I can fully understand that Tom has fallen in love with the person, I can also understand that he is in a relationship and still fancy people of the opposite gender to that partner, I've been there and worn the t-shirt. My partner at the time did not feel insecure about that, but it allowed us to have a lot of honest conversations. Tom is in a monogamous relationship, he is therefore not greedy and gay men (as invariably it is they) who say this are being biphopic and should think about how excluded they feel at times.

As for the way Tom made the announcement it was through his own YouTube channel. It was a way he has spoken to his fans who have followed him for years. It was there that he told us about Splash, recently shared his first experience of an American Football game. In other words it was where like many YouTubers you consider your subscribers as friends. Which is why at the time of writing Tom's "coming out" vlog has over 40,000 likes and only 650 dislikes. People who support Tom don't care.