Jonathan Fryer

Writer, Lecturer, Broadcaster and Liberal Democrat Politician

Posts Tagged ‘Archbishop of York’

A Night at the Green Carnation

Posted by jonathanfryer on Sunday, 29th January, 2012

As a convinced Wildean (celebrating beauty and social justice in all their forms) since my Oxford days and as a sometime chronicler of Soho’s bohemian history, I’m surprised at myself that I had never been to the Green Carnation bar/club in Greek Street until last night — or indeed heard of it. Maybe it hasn’t been in existence for very long, as I have walked down that street so many times and it’s only a few doors along from the Gay Hussar (no pun intended) Hungarian restaurant, long a haunt of Labour politicos in particular. But it was at the Green Carnation that the LibDems’ national group for lesbian, gay, bi and transgender issues last night had their pre-winter conference social to limber them up for their business session at the party headquarters later today, which I will be attending in my function as a Vice President. Formerly known as Delga, LGBT+LDs have made great progress both within the party and now within government in promoting minority rights. Until his shock defeat in May 2010, Dr Evan Harris (MP for Oxford West and Abingdon) was a huge support, and in Lynne Featherstone, Minister for Equalities at the Home Office, the cause now has someone at the heart of government, moreover not only with the backing of Nick Clegg and the rest of the LibDem team but also of Conservative Prime Minister David Cameron. Gay marriage has been one of the top campaigning issues for LGBT+LDs, alongside the lifting of the ban on gay men giving blood, and it is to Mr Cameron’s credit that he has come out strongly for the former, despite the growls from his back woodsmen in the Houses of Parliament, not to mention the extraordinary comment earlier this week from the Archbishop of York, John Sentamu, who said that the Prime Minister was acting like a dictator by promoting the issue. Oscar Wilde himself would doubtless have savoured the era we live in today in Britain and so much of the European Union, Latin America and beyond, where sexuality is no longer seen as a litmus test of respectability, or indeed acceptability, and where we celebrate diversity. The Queen recently received the credentials of a Latin American ambassador who went to Buckingham Palace with his male civil partner. Good for her, good for Britain, and good for true liberalism, which judges people on their character and their humanity, not on their sexual orientation or living arrangements.

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Mugabe Must Be Ousted and Put on Trial

Posted by jonathanfryer on Sunday, 7th December, 2008

robert-mugabe  The Archbishop of York, John Sentamu, is right to call on the international community to force out Robert Mugabe, the butcher of Zimbabwe, and being of African origin himself, Archbishop Sentamu cannot be accused by Harare’s propagandists of being part of a British neo-colonial conspiracy. Some other notable African churchmen have added their voices of condemnation — not least former Archbishop Desmond Tutu in South Africa — marching into moral areas where most politicians fear to tread. Just how many people need to die of cholera, on top of the hundreds of thousands of dispossessed and hungry, before the international community will take effective action on Zimbabwe?

Gordon Brown said somewhat limply over the weekend that ‘the world must tell Robert Mugabe that enough is enough’. A good sentiment, certainly, but does 10 Downing Street really think that Mugabe will listen? Of course not. He has run rings around foreign politicians, including the so-called regional mediator, former South African President Thabo Mbeki, as well as the legitimate Zimbabwean opposition. And each day that pases witnesses more deaths and more refugees.

As Nick Clegg rightly told the Daily Mail yesterday, ‘the world has sat idly by whilst Robert Mugabe has brutalised his own people for too long. Economic recession in the West has led the world to avert its gaze from the suffering in Zimbabwe.’ Moreover, Nick said that it is vital that Mugabe should be indicted by the International Criminal Court for crimes against humanity, and that the United Nations should now declare that the use of military force by the international community would be justified in order to protect the Zimbabwean people. New Labour long ago gave up on the late Robin Cook’s concept of an ‘ethical foreign policy’, but the LibDems should shout this line on Zimbabwe from the rooftops, winning respect not only in the UK and the wider world, but especially amongst the suffering masses of Zimbabwe as well.

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