Tag Archives: conference

Mike Nesbitt and the wrong side of history

You can probably lose count of the number of times that politicians say they have got into politics so that they can do the “right thing”. It is a noble objective an although you may disagree with how they define the right thing you would expect them when they know what the right thing is to head that way and do it.

It is therefore a little shocking the line his speech and subsequent comments that Mike Nesbitt made in his speech yesterday at the Ulster Unionist conference about same sex marriage. Yesterday he said:

“We also need to think about the cold spot that is how we are perceived by members of the LGB&T community. What if it was your son? Your daughter? What would you want for them? What would you offer them? I hope the answer is Unconditional Love.

“Some of us support same sex marriage, some do not, and it’s part of the beauty of the Ulster Unionist Party that we can respect each other’s positions.

“I shall not labour the point today, but to those of us who cannot bring ourselves to support same sex marriage, I say this – we are on the wrong side of history. There is a new generation coming and they simply do not understand why there is a problem.”

Sorry Mike this doesn’t really get you out of that cold spot. Indeed the comment you made subsequently such as the ones broadcast on Sunday Politics that reflect that you will not be changing you own vote on 2 November, but that you don’t want this decisions on equality to be left up to the courts seem to sink you deeper into the frost.

How can you expect these decisions not to be left up to the courts when you aren’t prepared to vote for the “right side of history”? If you yourself seem unwilling to move on this issue will any of the others in your party move? The new generation is aware of how you party have largely followed the DUP on this issue. The protestant, unionist or loyalist section of the LGBT+ community and their families look at the stance that you and the UUP have taken on this issue making it look like a sectarian issue.

With the DUP’s constant placing a petition of concern on any debate on same sex marriage the fact that the Nationalist vote in the 90%+ level for and Unionist vote equally against makes them wonder where is there voice. Your answer to them in your speech yesterday was not unconditional love, you continue to place a condition upon that love, you say that civil partnerships are enough for you be happy with that, Marriage is only for a man and a women.

Yet Mike is wanting those people to come to him with unconditional support, when he denies them the unconditional love of which he talks about.

I have been to many of the marriage equality demonstrations over the years and the people there are as diverse in their background as the people of the UK. The biggest moan I hear is where is the unionist voices that are talking for unionist LGBT+ individuals in the Assembly. Yes they have strong voices in the PUP, but they are not in the Assembly where they can affect change.

Mike Nesbitt continues to stand on the wrong side of history but yesterday was trying to reach out to those who will judge what side he and his party were on. Sadly for him the people he was trying to entice don’t have short memories, nor will they forget what side of history the majority of unionism stood on this issue.


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Filed under Equal Marriage, equality, Stormont

Fifty pounds to put you points to Health Minister…

…no thank you.

I’m trusting that Edwin Poots is already aware of my feeling on the issue of his inaction over the blood ban in Northern Ireland trailing the rest of the Union over the issue of men who have sex with men, put not in the last 12 months. But it is not something I think myself, the Rainbow Project, the HIV Support Centre or anyone else would shell out £50 to have access to do so at the DUP conference

The fact that he and members of his party seem to refuse to meet with LGBT groups, despite numerous invites to meet them either at their own organisational locations or on the hill. The DUP were absent from the Pride on the Hill debate earlier this year, when shock, horror health issues, among others, were discussed with Sinn Féin, UUP, SDLP and Alliance party representatives. The DUP have continued their silence in not agreeing to requests to meet the Minister, who has been in place for six months now.

At certain party conferences there are public sessions it is something that I do get invites  to so I know such things exist.

The DUP are saying that:

“We charge an administration fee to cover the room hire and lunch provided for every event at the conference and this is no different.

“No-one attends conference free of charge and no one leaves disappointed with our programme.

“Conference is not open to members of the public – there is no question of members of the public being asked to pay to see any DUP Minister or MLA.

“Anyone wishing to see our ministers and members are able to do so in the constituency or at the assembly any day of the week.”

Well it appears to be easier for some than others if that is the case. I don’t think any organisation that isn’t already exhibiting at the conference will be putting questions to the Health Minister at £50 a shot.

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Filed under Health, Stormont