Join the Socialist Party Join us today!

Printable version Printable version

Facebook   Twitter

Link to this page:

From The Socialist newspaper, 30 June 2000

Not so 'gay friendly' New Labour

THIS IS an important week for gay rights activists. On 1 July tens of thousands will gather for Pride. Three days earlier, representatives from 34 trade unions assemble for the Lesbian and Gay Conference of the TUC (LGTUC).

Lionel Wright, Socialist Party Lesbian Gay & Bisexual Group & MSF Delegate to LGTUC (personal capacity)

In May 1997, along with millions of workers expecting a reversal of the Tories' attacks, many hoped a 'gay-friendly' Labour government would implement gay rights legislation.

Three years on, there has only been one substantial change. The ban on lesbians and gay men serving in the military ended in January. But Labour only lifted it after opposing European legal proceedings by people sacked from the armed services.

It was a similar story with employment rights. Labour opposed railworker Lisa Grant's European action, and then blocked a Bill which would have given lesbians and gays more rights at work.

Since then the government has proposed a voluntary 'code of practice'. But this will depend on the goodwill of employers.

The TUC's 'Straight Up' campaign for anti-discrimination legislation is an important initiative. But the campaign should be widened and as a first step, unions still affiliated to Labour must demand that sponsored MPs support statutory protection.

The TUC general council failed to act upon last year's conference resolution calling for a national demonstration against racism, fascism and homophobia in the wake of the Soho and Brixton bombs. But in the same year that trade union membership rose for the first time in a generation, racist attacks multiplied. The trade union movement ignores the threats of racism, and all divisions between workers at its peril.

Against this background, both an equal age of consent and the repeal of Section 28 have been undermined by right-wing counter-offensives. But, as a motion to the LGTUC puts it, Labour's "half-hearted" approach has helped produce this backlash.

On Section 28, we face the prospect that when it goes in England and Wales as well as Scotland, repeal will only lead to new difficulties for gay people.

After 12 years campaigning for gay youth to enjoy equality in sex and relationships education, Labour's post-Section 28 policies in Scotland and in England and Wales makes statutory requirements for teachers and others to emphasise marriage as the most 'desirable' form of personal relationship.

The gay rights lobby group Stonewall has deteriorated into a mouthpiece for the New Labour government instead of a fighting organisation. On every key issue, like the abuse of trust 'safeguards' to the age of consent, the watering-down of the repeal of Section 28 and the voluntary code ceiling on employment rights, Stonewall has traded away our just demands.

Long before the Blair government and its Scottish counterpart surrendered to the family values brigade on Section 28, Labour had spoken of "ensuring that we do not undermine the family".

This is the 'joined-up thinking' of Blair's political programme of shifting responsibility for social provision away from the state to individuals. Pensioners, single parents and students have all been targeted for cuts to protect the market system.

Lesbians, gays, bisexuals and transgender people should join a union and its gay section - and help set one up if necessary. Gay activists should link their campaigns with the working class to mobilise a force for change which no anti-gay tycoon or evangelical caucus can block.

Why not click here to join the Socialist Party, or click here to donate to the Socialist Party.

In The Socialist 30 June 2000:

Labour Pampers Its Fat Cats

Pride Not Profit

Not so 'gay friendly' New Labour

The TUC's 'Straight Up!' Campaign

Uniting against fascist threats

Mugabe's iron grip weakened

Angry Ford workers demand action

Signal workers vote for strike

RMT conference: delegates defy leaders

Left win in Tipperary

Keeping it out of the family

Cuba: Socialism and democracy


Home   |   The Socialist 30 June 2000   |   Join the Socialist Party

Subscribe   |   Donate  

Related links:


triangleSupport for Socialist Party campaigns at biggest ever Leeds Pride

triangleLessons from the Russian revolution for LGBT+ struggle today

trianglePride 2017: we need a fighting, socialist movement for LGBT+ rights

triangleCanterbury pride

triangleFight Tory and DUP anti-LGBT+ bigotry


triangleSheffield Labour council threatens peaceful protesters with prison

triangleHundreds turn out for rally aimed at removing west Wales Tory MP

triangleTories torn - bin them now

triangleSwansea Socialist Party: Mother Jones - A US labour pioneer

Section 28:

triangleLGBT people need militancy, not false 'allies' like David Cameron


triangleRoyal Mail bosses block strike - back postal workers

triangleUnite local government sector plans strike ballot

Reports and campaigns

Reports and campaigns


North West

Arriva North West bus drivers strike over pay


Democratic rights

Conference on state spies: who's watching who?



Striking back against sackers' charter at Leeds Uni



PCS ballots members on the pay cap


Royal Mail

Royal Mail bosses block strike - back postal workers



'Dazzling' Bad Art show points to socialist future



Sheffield Labour council threatens peaceful protesters with prison


South West Wales

Hundreds turn out for rally aimed at removing west Wales Tory MP



Uprising to save the NHS!



Can you donate to the Socialism 2017 appeal?


East London

No cuts - hands off King George A&E!


North London

North London hospital workers fight cuts and job losses



Nationalise to save jobs at BAE Systems



Schools "can't go any further" - stop the cuts: set deficit budgets now



Socialist Students 'welcome' Hillary Clinton to Swansea

triangleMore Reports and campaigns articles...

Join the Socialist Party
Subscribe to Socialist Party publications
Donate to the Socialist Party

triangle19 Oct Arriva North West bus drivers strike over pay

triangle18 Oct Russia, October 1917: When workers took power

triangle18 Oct Tories torn - bin them now

triangle13 Oct The end of the Tories?

triangle11 Oct Nasty party out the Tories

triangle11 Oct CWU fights court attempt to stop national strike

triangle11 Oct The fight against racial discrimination is tied to fighting against...

More ...

triangle19 Oct Waltham Forest Young Socialists: Deaths in police custody

triangle19 Oct Swansea Socialist Party: Spanish revolution 1936-37

triangle19 Oct Cardiff East Socialist Party: Is equality for women possible under capitalism?

triangle19 Oct Wirral Socialist Party: The October 1917 Russian Revolution

More ...

Socialist Party Facebook page
Socialist Party on Twitter
Visit us on Youtube



October 2017

September 2017

August 2017

July 2017

June 2017

May 2017

April 2017

March 2017

February 2017

January 2017





















Platform setting: = No platform choice