Thursday, 20 May 2010

Why is it Wrong to be Gay?

Well that's the question on my mind having just seen the 9pm BBC News report a few minutes ago this evening Thursday 20 May 2010.

The report, that is, of the Malawi Court decision to sentence two gay men to 14 years hard labour, the second case decision by that court in one week of its kind, and, we are informed because the laws the learned judges cite are those dating back to the Colonial Era.

When I came home this evening I was not even thinking along these lines.
And the answer to that question above?

I will shout it from the rooftops and I will defy every proponent who argues otherwise - of course it's NOT wrong to be gay! It is natural. It does NOT offend God and the sooner society generally comes to terms with this truth the better.

Of course there will be people who disagree with me. So be it. This is a democracy, a rather good one too as the events of the last 3 weeks have shown, and so yes - I am gay and I am proud to be gay and yes thank goodness I now have the confidence and wherewithal to declare this openly.

I am fortunate to live in Liverpool and work in Blackpool where tolerance is much wider than one might expect.

I also experience the smaller communities where, sadly, it is still the love that dare not speak its name (Oscar Wilde).

But let us move forward with the times. And to those, especially of the older generation or the pew brigade, who believe that it is some sort of epidemic that is going to consume every male and wipe out society I say simply this.

Get real. Stop panicking and stop moving along that path that another group of people led a nation along 70 years ago and which put my people along with the Jews and Gypsies and Mentally or Physically Incapable onto those cattle wagons and then said that it was God's work being done!

When I was in the Police Force in the 1970s and concurrently serving in the armed forces I was on a double whammy for this was still the time when to be me was to be officially classified as mentally disordered. In both careers, I was walking a tightrope and eventually the pressure was too great, my health gave way and I was invalided out of the police force.

Today, many young people still suffer. In this country we are now more enlightened but in other countries such as Malawi it is not so. To young people I say, quietly stand your ground, don't be put down and be strong and confident in yourselves. To older people who are still in the cloest, cupboard, call it what you will, think about the pressures you are placing on yourselves. But think this too. Your sexuality is entirely your business; it is not in the public domain and you do not have to account for it unless you are getting into trouble because of it.

In short, live correctly and decently and to the nosey parkers (I could use stronger language but it would be wrong to do so and would misrepresent my people too) just remember, it is none of their business.

Live for the day.

I AM WHO I AM. If you want to see that in full, go on to Amazon UK or USA and look up 'Idle Thoughts' by Ian Bradley Marshall. It's well worth a read. I wish I had had it to read when I was in my 20s. How different life would have been.

Ian Bradley Marshall

Thursday 20 May 2010

Wednesday, 12 May 2010

A VERY British Revolution

Well the last week's events have been truly amazing. When I started writing this page a year ago I chose the title deliberately, for it emphasised to the world at that time that we in Britain do things differently.

I've said many times over the years and indeed echoing from Churchill and also from a famous British Film 'This Happy Breed', that we do things differently here. We take our time to react and are often charged with being too slow to act, too slow to react. And yet place a great cause before the People and nothing will stop them until they have dealt with the matter, defeated whatever it is that is threatening our security and way of life, and then return to normal life.

That is what we see playing out again now both here at home and being commented on throughout the world. 'What is it with those Brits?' 'How is it that they go and do things so easily just by voting without violence, having heated debates that compared with our own regimes, are like an afternoon chat over a pot of tea, and yet they sweep aside unpopular government, or worn out government or corrupt policitians.

Once again, we are establishing ourselves as the mother of parliaments.

Let there be no mistake about that whatsoever.

A year ago as the expenses scandal broke I remember thinking 'if only we could have a coalition as we did in wartime!' 'If only we could do this, for surely is not this recession the equivalent of the drastic action required in those dark days of 1939 when we needed a government of national unity?'

And on Sunday I briefly thought that what was in our grasp was about to be lost, hence my angry response.

But in retrospect it was good politics being played out.

There is no doubt but that the Labour Party recognises that it is worn out and unable to ever match anything that was being earnestly discussed, debated, neogotiated and thrashed out in our Capital over the weekend.

Again that international comment - 'how do they do it when they haven't even got a written constitution?'

I am amazed to discover just how many nations and peoples were following events and the enormous interest millions showed across the world in the way in which Mr Brown offers his resignation to Her Majesty The Queen, who in turn invites Mr Cameron to form a Government.

Three images are with me. The Queen and her new Prime Minister shaking hands, the PM and his Deputy PM Mr Clegg on the most famous doorstep in the world and the photograph of our new National Security Council in session.

Surely it is power to the people.

And now we have a task and purpose to fulfil.

I wish David Miliband success too in his leadership campaign, for Parliament always needs a vigorous Opposition and he is the right man to lead the Labour Party and build upon all that his Government achieved in office and which the PM generously acknowledged yesterday. And I for one can truly thank his Government for many of the measures that became law that have made my life much easier than it was three decades ago.

Now we must move on. There is a deficit to deal with and the British People have, this evening, embarked upon an incredible development of this very great Island People and Constitution. Few can fathom us out. Worry not.

We are that stabilising influence that is recognised throughout the world and not least by the existence of the Commonwealth of Nations.

It is no coincidence that the first international call to Number Ten was from the Oval Office.

The Special Relationship is very much in place and we are, let us not forget, fighting a vicious war in Afghanistan and we need our troops back as soon as we can bring them home without abdicating our treaty obligations and international agreements.

Tonight, we may be a different Culture yes, but totalitarian regimes, corrupt regimes, can see for themselves the evidence of true democracy.

I am VERY proud of this our VERY British Revolution.

Kenneth T Webb
The Editor
Liverpool CityLife

12 May 2010

Monday, 10 May 2010

Holding the Country to Ransom?

Whilst I understand the Prime Minister's decision to resign as Leader of the Labour Party and the desire of his party to hold onto the reins of government by forming a coalition with the Lib Dems, I am very concerned, anxious even, with this evening's statement by Mr Clegg that whilst he is very appreciative and grateful for the constructive talks with David Cameron and the Conservatives over the past 4 days, he is nevertheless now ready to enter into similar discussion with the Labour Party.

It smacks of a policitian enjoying immensely his new found power as 'king maker'.

It would be easier to take if the Lib Dems had demonstrated confidence in the National mood by securing more seats than they had this time last week.

Ironically, they lost more seats than they gained and ended up with less seats overall than they had this time last week.

And yet this party now seeks to play as if it has a huge influence in the national mood, an enormous vote of confidence by the British People. It did not. When it came to making informed judgments, the public pronounced clearly and uniquivocally that they were not prepared yet to support the Lib Dems' approach to Politics.

For the last 4 days I have been quietly confident that there was the possibility of good government coming out of this.

This evening I am not so sure.

The party that won the most votes is being denied the right to govern despite the overwhelming majority of the public stating otherwise.

We have the rediculous spectacle of a defeated government now having the affront to presume that it can act in the national interest by securing power by means of a coalition with the Lib Dems and other minority parties.

If that happens I suspect it will be shortlived and I suspect too that the British People, angered at being dragged back to the polling booths, will pronounce once and for all on the subject - a full blown return to a two party system and the rout of the Lib Dems and all the other minority parties that seek only to cause upset and disunity.

I have been heartened by Lord Steele over the weekend. I have been saddened and indeed angered by the deliberate attempts at sabotage by Mr Salmond north of the border.

I have long been an admirer of Nick Clegg. But my admiration over the last 4 years is being put to the test this evening.

I do not like what I see happening. I do not like seeing political parties riding roughshod over the will of the British People.

Kenneth T Webb
The Editor
Liverpool CityLife

10 May 2010

Friday, 7 May 2010

Hung Parliament

As discussions and negotiations carry on in to the early hours, we know that by Monday, one way or another, we must have a newly elected Government. Continued uncertainty will place us in a perilous position when the markets trade again on Monday.

I was certainly wrong with regard to my last entry - that I did not anticipate a hung parliament. And like many, I could not quite accept at first that the EXIT Polls might in fact be accurately forcasting the outcome.

I am, however, pleased that we have the opportunity now to turn a potentially nagative situation into a very positive way forward for the life and governance of the United Kingdom, namely, bringing into government, people of undoubted ability in the Liberal Democrats.

New Labour in Government has achieved much in the last 13 years. Nevertheless it is time to change. We have a great democracy and with strong cross party government we will be better able to cope with the ravages of the measures that must now be taken to deal with the national deficit and which will hit every single one of us.

Deep down we all know that for a while it is going to get worse before it gets better.

But we are up to the challenge.

With the right people in place, good leadership will permeate throughout the Union, and who knows, we may even be able to hold the Union together notwithstanding desperate attempts by a certain northern gentleman wanting to break his country away.

And whilst we are at it, let us never again see the debacle of lines of voters turned away and denied their right to cast their vote. There is no excuse for it. The Electoral Commission must act to put in place a system befitting to 21st Century Politics and not rely upon 19th Century Voting practices.

Let us look with confidence to the future.

Kenneth T Webb
The Editor
Liverpool CityLife
Sat 8 May 2010

Wednesday, 5 May 2010

A New Beginning Regardless

We are now at the Hustings and for the rest of this day there will be a great movement of the general public as it does that which comes so easily to it, albeit sparingly, to cast its vote and decide upon the Country's future, its development in an ever-changing world and its development into a thriving 21st Century Parliamentary Democracy.

As I drive to work each morning along the coastal road from Blackpool, accompanied by the sounds of John Humphries putting politicians and other public figures through their paces, I am increasingly aware that we, the Great British Public, do, contrary to popular opinion, take the business of electing central and local government more seriously than some sections of the media would have us believe.

I think that the one thing I see as I read between the lines is that, for all their outward show of confidence and sense of victory, every politician knows that we in these islands more than many countries, have a curious knack of disproving the opinion polls at the very last minute.

A great change is upon us and the import of it is seen, for example, in the Contract published this week by the Conservative Party and David Cameron's declaration that it will, if elected, lay before Parliament the Great Repeal Bill.

That word 'great' is highly significant. In my history classes I remember my teacher Miss Martin introducing us to the sweeping changes of the new Victorian Era with the Great Reform Bill of 1830 which became the Great Reform Act 1832. 150 years later it was still having a massive effect upon the life of this nation, the British People, and even in the classroom, the four ensuing years of British History 1815-1914 seemed for me to all rest upon that Bill and its Act in 1832. Everything could be traced back to it.

I read this week that the proposed Great Repeal Bill will lay before Parliament no less than 13 Laws for immediate repeal. Some I suspect I will agree with, and many along with me, regardless of our politics; others I fear might be very important pieces in the Nation's fabric which, if removed, will cause problems. Let us see how matters progress.

24 hours from now I cannot help thinking that the people of the Union will not be nearly so ready to give us a hung parliament as the media suggests. We know that pitfalls of that; neither do we want to return to just two parties holding sway. I sincerely hope that we will have a government with the required 326 seats to secure an outright majority, but also the arrival of a third party that is taken seriously.

Whilst all of us pride ourselves in the UK on our freedom of speech, I am nevertheless relieved that the imploding of the BNP means it is probably going to be hard pushed to secure a seat at Westminster. That is how it should be.

I come from an era (as a young man) when it was not possible to truly say that we lived by the principle 'live and let live'. The 1970s are unrecognisable from this first decade of the new millenium.

Our young people do not necessarily appreciate this.

But this is what heartens me beyond all else.

The huge increase in young people registering to vote.

Young people DO have the ability to think how our country should operate and how our institutions are best served in enabling the country to be that continued safe haven.

To any who read this and are currently still thinking of wasting their vote, I would urge you not to do so.

Let us not take for granted that which millions in the world only dream of - universal suffrage.

Kenneth T Webb
Liverpool CityLife
6 May 2010