The overwhelming vote in favour of the Equal Marriage Bill at its First Reading was doubtless a time for jubilation. Many have worked patiently for years to make this happen. Many have fought and died for it. It’s no small thing to have forced such a massive proportion of our political representatives onto the right side. For a politics forged in the heat of the Section 28 debacle, Scotland has come a long, long way.
But never ones to slap ourselves on the back, express any joy at something positive or “quit while we’re ahead”, what better time than now to NAME AND SHAME every single MSP who voted against or who couldn’t even be arsed?
Before we begin, credit (for a change) goes to the Lib Dems – all 5 of them – who voted in favour. Honourable mention to the Greens in general and Patrick Harvie in particular, who’ve been trying to get this/better legislation on the table for many years. They should be rightly proud to have been seemingly pissing into the wind for so long because it’s not been in vain. But that’s quite enough niceness…
This is not just an exercise in pointless bitterness or pedantry, it’s about holding our political representatives to account when they make the wrong political decisions.
It must be said, there was a rather disappointing lack of the kind of hellfire and brimstone which usually amuses us during debates about les gays. In fact, it was a left to Tory MSP, Alex Johnstone, to declare it was already too late for humanity,
During my lifetime, I have seen society beginning to fall apart.
He thundered. During his lifetime, gay people have been allowed to live. When he was born, they were imprisoned. The idea that a few queers are the reason our society is completely fucked doesn’t really stack up. Besides which, if society is falling apart and we don’t have gay marriage… what exactly is his point?
A bunch of straight people whining about how homos have ripped a hole in the universe which is literally sucking the rest of society in/off would be quite funny, if the people saying these things weren’t our elected representatives.
Of course, Apocalyptic Alex was joined by many of his Tory chums, Murdo Fraser, Alex Fergusson, Gavin Brown, Jamie McGrigor, Nanette Milne and Margaret Mitchell. Special shout-out for Liz “Personally, I would support such a change” Smith, who supported changing her mind as soon as she got into office. It must have been extra-specially scunnering for Ruth Davidson to be told by her colleagues that her relationship just wasn’t as good as theirs. No-one (not even Tories) should have to face that level of homophobia from their work colleagues.
But aside from the startling revelation that Tories are basically mostly dicks to non-straight people, one solitary Labour MSP opposed the bill. Elaine Smith is quite used to voting against the Labour leadership, she regularly defied them in the past to vote for progressive things being put forward by Greens or independents or socialists. So it’s particularly disappointing that she’s a homophobe. She also must have some sort of crystal ball because she accurately predicted that by saying she’s terrified of gay people getting married and thinks they are a threat, she’d be called a homophobe. That’s what the word means. So yes Elaine, you are a homophobe.
In the greatest traditions of the Labour movement, both the ones called McMahon (Michael & Siobhan) couldn’t be fucked voting, nor could Hamzala Malik, one of the MSPs who was basically elected by accident, when Labour lost their first past the post seats in Glasgow and random people off the list got in instead (oops!). He should have stuck to being shit at being a councillor, like Labour intended. It’s worth noting that of the two big parties, it was Labour who were the more specific about equal marriage, saying they supported a consultation with a view to “provide genuine equality for same-sex couples and their families.” Party discipline was not enforced coz, well, it‘s only gays and their families, so straight people get to be more equal than others.
Speaking of manifesto commitments, the SNP manifesto was intentionally vague on equal marriage (thanx guyz! x) but the equality section begins, “Scotland can never be considered truly successful until all of its citizens consider themselves to be equally valued members of society.” So why all the roasters, in particular, why all the ministerial roasters defying the Government and getting away with it? Of course as we know, the battle for power isn’t political or anything, it’s just a matter of opinion. There’s no need to make gay people feel safe or empowered, it’s a matter of conscience whether our ministers or members of our governing party believe their citizens have any rights.
I don’t enjoy lambasting the SNP (<- this might be bollocks) but it’s necessary to point out the message this sends. If ministers are in a government, elected to make sure we consider ourselves, “equal members of society” then they should do that.
If the minister in charge of Learning, Alisdair Allan, doesn’t learn that LGBT* kids and the kids of LGBT* people deserve to brought up in a society which values them, we suggest he learns a new job.
If the person in charge of Community Safety, who’s been brandishing the SNP’s anti-bullying strategy, Roseanna Cunningham, thinks gay people feel safe in their communities, or empowered to challenge bullying, knowing those in charge are actively hostile to them, we think otherwise.
Fergus Ewing is in charge of Energy, Enterprise & Tourism, so we can assume that means no HI NRG disco, boutique hairdressers or pink pounds splashing around Scotland for a while. Or Fergus could do one.
Random backbenchers, Nigel Don and Richard Lyle also voted against. Whatever. Get the whips out. etc. etc.
This cacophony of cocks was led, as ever, by Mr. John Mason. I could say more about him but I’ve already panned him twice and I nearly Weekly Wanker him every other day (…some day…) so suffice to say, he’s THE top Nat walloper.
In the couldn’t-be-arsed corner for the Nats, we had perennial parliamentary scoundrel Chic Brodie. When he’s not saying blacklisting is OK, he seems to be living up to his reputation for being “slimey” (the only almost-not-libellous thing said of him by our eyes and ears on the ground). He certain keeps his
hair wheels well oiled, being the biggest claimer of expenses at Holyrood. He cost us £39351.61 on top of his salary, nearly four times the expenses claimed by the First Minister. While he may not be a fan of tea bagging, his claims include an £81 invoice to the taxpayer for tea, coffee and shortbread. Oh, and 90p to drive himself into town. It’s a hard life abstaining in parliament. Sharing his abstentionism was Angus McDonald (we have no confirmed reports that Chic shared any of his shortbread though, so who knows what was in it for Angus.)
We should put the abstainers on the same footing with the voters against, in the spirit of equal lambasting. Similarly, we should ask the political leadership of both Labour & the SNP why they always, always allow a political question, about the power and safety and welfare of their citizens, to be treated like a matter of opinion.
So before you start bleating on about how nasty it is to focus on politicians who’re against gay rights or how doing so “doesn’t achieve anything”, don’t forget it’s precisely because they know they’re being watched by an army of rambunctious queerhawks that so many MSPs (who probably don’t give much of a fuck either way) knew they had to get on the right side. It’s not so much about the MSPs who’re on the list but about those who would be on it, if there weren’t hunners of Scots checking and publicising the facts about the vote within minutes. The application of political pressure in the public domain (AKA trolling) does actually have value as a political tactic. More general of course, straight people do not have a right to say we shouldn’t talk about the shit things straight politicians did to our LGBT* citizens last night, in the context of the many shit things straight people continue to get away within our society.
The word “homophobe” as a description of the kind of behaviour exhibited by the MSPs who didn’t support equal marriage is incredibly tame and we should have no qualms about calling it for what it is. No tears for this mob, remember what they’ve done; they’ve asserted their power to demean us and deny us power, just because they can – they’ve said that no matter what, we’ll never be equal because they’ll always try to get in our way. That’s a disgusting way to behave in a society where being straight is still often violently enforced.
We need to explain these things and why they matter as well as just calling people names (booo!) but frankly, straight people have to start seeing and challenges these things without having them pointed out for them. Any radical should be livid that 3 Government Ministers said that some of their citizens didn’t deserve the protection of the state yesterday and will get away with it. That’s not my Scotland.
So, shame on all those who’re on the wrong side of history. And no apologies for booting them with my highest heel while they’re all down in the dumps and then getting on with being fabulous.
We should be incredibly proud of what we’ve done, for ourselves, and remember that we can’t ever stop pointing out what’s wrong with our sexual politics. We can’t ever think we’ve won, or allow straight people to get comfy because there are no guarantees. We only have to look outside the narrow prism of Holyrood to parts of the world (or even the continent) where we’re going backwards to know why this matters so much.
The only way to win is by keeping on keeping on, by the sweat and the blood of LGBT* people, by breathing down the necks of those who’re out to hold us back, by fighting for something better than Alex Johnstone’s falling-apart-society.
We can’t ever quit while we’re ahead or be told we’ve won and should now just go away.
We had the cops beat at Stonewall. We set fire to them anwyay, just for fun. We mustn’t ever let those flames go out.
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