I am livid beyond belief this evening.
There is much in the Government reshuffle to be annoyed about, but what has sent me into the stratosphere of mega pissed-offness is that for some reason our mainly white privileged middle aged male ministers have decided to hand over the Equalities brief to the Tories.
We all sighed when Theresa May was made equalities minister in 2010, but were then overjoyed when this responsibility was delegated to our own Lynne Featherstone, who could be 100% relied upon to do the right and liberal thing. That’s why she talked down default blocks on adult content, started the process of legislating for equal marriage and did great things with her work on body image. She really understood what homophobia and transphobia were all about and how to combat them.
And that all seems to be for naught now. Lynne Featherstone at least still has a job, but not the equalities brief she was handling so well.
Has Nick never heard of the phrase “if it ain’t broke, don’t fix it.”
Lynne’s work was one of the reasons I felt it was worth being in Coalition. Now we are going to have to watch a completely different kettle of fish, new Maidstone MP Helen Grant, tackle the brief. And weep.
Pink News have got their knickers in a twist about her, but their actual hard evidence seems to be more about Ann Widdecombe, her predecessor.
However, what I’ve found out about her by a quick jaunt round Google has every liberal alarm bell I have ringing loud and clear.
She was part of Iain Duncan Smith’s foundation. You know, the one that came up with all those lovely ideas to support families, or at least their narrow view of what constitutes a family. She’s one of the authors of their Breakthrough Britain report which, among other things, recommends the idiotic marriage tax break. I don’t actually know what her views are on equal marriage – there is nothing on the Coalition for Equal Marriage website to indicate either way. I do know, though, that she refers to certain young people on her website as a “feckless minority of louts.”
I could actually cry.
I can’t even see what we gained out of this. We’ve already lost successful schools minister Sarah Teather to bring back David Laws so that can’t be the trade. The MOD to Defra swap also seems sensible.
Lynne’s work was a major factor which made the agony of being in this Coalition bearable. I am disgusted beyond belief that the way she put our liberal ideals into practice was not valued enough by our own leaders.
Lynne is hugely popular amongst Liberal Democrat activists and her separation from the job to which she is perfectly suited is an enormous blow.
The Government is significantly less liberal tonight. And don’t even get me started on having a health secretary who wants to restrict women’s access to termination of pregnancy, and who believes, or believed in homeopathy.
I am incredibly angry with whoever allowed this to happen. Tonight my FFS list (that grouping of awful things this Coalition Government has done that I can’t live with) just got a fair bit bigger. It is going to take me a long time to forgive Nick Clegg for this one.
And I will be watching every single thing that Helen Grant does. And if we support anything remotely dodgy, I’ll be the first to complain. Well, maybe, if Jennie doesn’t beat me to it.