Sunday, 9 August 2015

De Montfort makes eyes at Dave

De Montfort University* has got in a kerfuffle after awarding its highest honour to David Cameron in recognition of the importance of same-sex marriage and its impact in social progress.

There's a petition here which has that rare quality of being an online petition I can entirely sign up to the sentiments of despite not having written. Far too many throw in peculiar delusions along the way.

How I feel about it all though is a little complicated. 
Dave was sticking his neck out in backing the marriage bill: it cost him support within his party (who were divided 50-50 on it in Parliament in the end: slightly against in the Commons and slightly in favour in the Lords) and it surely handed Tory votes to UKIP without which he'd now be sitting on a much more comfortable majority. That does deserve some recognition, though it's sad to say that we live in an era where politicians who spend their political capital on doing something of benefit to others deserves special credit. 25 years earlier if such a law had been enacted his party would have been promising to repeal same-sex marriage the moment they got in. Now it's something they boast, somewhat misleadingly, of having done, and so we can feel more secure of it staying law regardless who runs the country in the years to come. As someone who wants liberation and equality, getting the Tories to 'buy in' to same-sex marriage is a definite plus.

But the bill came not from Dave but from Lynne Featherstone, following the resolution at Lib Dem conference proposed by the party's LGBT+ wing and opposed by Stonewall. As the Liberals have been on the right side of every LGBT rights question since forever on account of their ideology, often on their own, that is seen as a less bold move.

I feel parallels in how I've seen for example Unison's LGBT wing getting praise for bisexual engagement work. Which they have been doing well over the last five years or so and I've been glad to see. Yet my work's LGBT network was pulling in bi activists to do equivalent engagement work in the 90s when LG Unison were telling bisexuals to get stuffed. It's a bit galling for people who did heavy lifting long ago, when it's the comparative latecomers to the party get the praise...

Which is a roundabout way of saying I'd have a lot more time for De Montfort if they'd been giving similar recognition to Lynne and e.g. one of the early pioneers who got us here like Bernard Greaves. 
That'd feel like celebrating the change rather than buttering up the PM.
* - me neither. Turns out it's in Leicester


  1. De Montfort should be somewhere in Languedoc - B├ęziers or Carcasonne or somewhere like that. No wonder we were all confused.

  2. Ah yes. Not "South Montfort" as I default to X)