Tuesday, 16 February 2016

The truth is more powerful-and more appreciated-than a thousand lies

Peter Tatchell, a Green Party activist and long-serving LGBT rights activist, has reportedly been snubbed by Fran Cowling, an LGBT representative of the NUS, who has said she will not share a platform with someone with 'racist and trans-phobic views'.

Peter is neither racist nor trans-phobic, just so we are clear: http://www.pinknews.co.uk/2016/02/15/peter-tatchell-hits-back-at-transphobia-and-racism-claims/

In any case, we cannot strike a blow against discrimination by resorting to the same McCarthy-ite smears (as Peter put it himself) as those who peddle discrimination use (e.g. the 'benefit scroungers' smears of right-wing newspapers like The Sun and The Daily Mail). Nor will assuming everyone is 'privileged' in one way or another just because of whom they are or what intangible characteristics they may have solve any problems or bridge any gaps in society.

Failing to share a platform with someone just because of who they are or what views they might purportedly have is also not amusing or clever-it just shows petulance and cowardice. If I had to share a platform with someone whose views I considered offensive and discriminatory, I would instead speak anyway at the event, and use truth, honesty, and justice to counter them, no matter how many lies or insults they would use to somehow justify discrimination against any group in society. Virtues like truth, honesty, and justice are what is badly needed in British politics, and it is effective and organised campaigns with these virtues to speak up for inclusion, tolerance and respect for all people, regardless of their ethnicity, gender, disability, orientation, religious belief or cultural values, that will defeat hate and discrimination within our society.

We need clear, honest, and constructive solutions to real problems such as discrimination and socio-economic inequalities-not gossip, smears, 'no-platforming' and pointless bashing of political opponents without providing a real and useful alternative.


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