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‘Brexit is an act of incredible national negligence’

‘Brexit is an act of incredible national negligence’

Michael Cashman

Brexit is an act of incredible national negligence. It is the gravest crisis this country has faced since 1940.

The Conservative Prime Minister, Theresa May, has fallen under the control of the authoritarian right of her party, the European Research Group, who are demanding the most damaging of all Brexit options.

She appears to have forgotten that almost half of those who voted in the 2016 referendum, more than 16 million people, wished to remain in the European Union.

Since then, their voice has been subsumed by the Brexiters, their views ignored by the UK Government, their wishes ignored by the UK in the
negotiations with the EU on the government’s proposed deal.

If the country is more divided now, it is because there has been no serious effort by the government to unite it.

In Gay Star News’ report, LGBTI & THE EU: The LGBTI Case for a People’s Vote, I warned of the danger the UK faced through the Conservative government’s insistence that we dropped the Charter of Fundamental Rights of the EU as part of our withdrawal from the European Union.

The Charter of Fundamental Rights is a stunning reaffirmation that rights will be protected against governments who would
not otherwise give them, or wish to take them away.

It is a Charter that has helped to progress human rights in other parts of the world too. It remains a powerful tool. This report is a reminder that we stand to lose all.

The authors have woven together the story of the evolution of the protection of rights, including LGBT rights, that might never have happened had it not been for persistence, vision and courage.

A group of nations acting together to ensure that the past would never be repeated and that voiceless minorities, however unpopular,
would be protected.

Political expedience

31 years ago I never believed that any government, not even a Conservative government in the United Kingdom, would’ve brought forward a piece of legislation to further undermine and indeed stigmatise a community battling against AIDS and HIV. It happened. Section 28 happened.

It was politically expedient and our Parliament passed it. In the landscape of human rights, we always need to guard against the unexpected.

Since last year, it has become clear that the future of our country is at even greater risk than we previously imagined.

We now have the task of digging the country out of this disaster and saving the generations to come that will otherwise have to deal with Brexit’s terrible consequences.

A People’s Vote is in the best interest of UK’s LBGTI community

Since the 2016 referendum, we’ve seen ridiculous fantasies given credence by our government, which has presented them as realistic possibilities for our future relationship with the EU.

Worse still, they have allowed extremist views to flourish. It has got so bad that at times I have hung my head and felt I no longer recognized the country I have been so proud to represent in Europe.

But now there is hope. A People’s Vote on the proposed Brexit deal, with an option to remain in the EU, is now a real possibility.

This report now makes the case for why it would be in the interest of the UK’s LGBTI community to have that vote, now all the facts are known.

Of course, it also makes a positive case for the UK to remain in the EU, from the point of view of LGBTI people.

We have an opportunity, to raise our voices, not only for the rights that we’ve achieved, but more importantly for the rights that we want to pass on to the next generation.

We must do so now.

What can we do about this?

The People’s Vote campaign for a second referendum on Brexit has announced a march the weekend before the UK leaves the EU.

On 23 March, members of the LGBTI community will march together and demand Parliament Put it to the People in a People’s Vote.

The new demonstration, supported by GSN, is likely to be even bigger than last year’s march.

Last year’s attracted a record-breaking crowd of about 700,000.

Read the full report below

Michael Maurice Cashman, Baron Cashman, CBE (born 17 December 1950) is a British Labour politician and former actor. He was a Member of the European Parliament for the West Midlands constituency from 1999 until he stood down in 2014.
He has since then been appointed to the House of Lords. On 23 September 2014, Cashman was appointed the Labour Party’s special envoy on LGBT issues worldwide.