Robert Hampton

Another visitor! Stay a while… stay forever!

15th June 2011

An un-Souter-ble accolade
Posted by at 7.44pm | Gay, In the News | 1 response

Brian Souter has been knighted in the Queen’s Birthday Honours list. Souter is the chairman of Stagecoach Group, the second-largest transport company in Great Britain, with bus, train and tram operations across the nation.

In his private life, Souter is a controversial figure thanks to his notorious support for Section 28, a part of the Local Government Act 1988 which banned local authorities from teaching the “acceptability of homosexuality as a pretended family relationship.”

Stagecoach Bus in Queen Square Bus Station, LiverpoolThe law had been originally introduced thanks to a series of hysterical, mostly untrue, tabloid stories about schools which were supposedly “teaching” young children that gay relationships were “better” than straight ones. No prosecutions were ever brought, but it nevertheless had a chilling effect on schools, discouraging teachers from stepping in to prevent homophobic bullying and restricting access to information on safe gay sex. It was also deeply symbolic of the prevailing attitude to homosexuality that existed throughout the 80s and much of the 90s.

When the newly-devolved Scottish Parliament announced plans in 1999 to repeal the law, Souter launched a “Keep the Clause” campaign, with a postal ballot sent to every household in Scotland. From the ballot results he claimed that 86% of Scottish voters supported keeping the law (although an organised boycott meant that many people who received the ballot simply binned it, skewing the results).

Souter’s financial might failed to derail the law’s repeal: Section 28 was abolished in Scotland in June 2000 (three years before the rest of the UK).

Of course, Souter is entitled to his view, just as we are entitled to shun him and his business ventures because of it.

26th June 2008

Tough on Robert Mugabe, tough on the causes of Robert Mugabe
Posted by at 8.20pm | In the News | No responses

Zimbabwean President Robert Mugabe’s honorary Knighthood has been annulled by the Queen.

Meanwhile the England and Wales Cricket Board has announced it has cancelled Zimbabwe’s 2009 tour, saying it shared government concerns about the “deteriorating situation and lack of human rights in Zimbabwe”.

THAT is our response? We’re not letting them play cricket with us? That’s the sort of thing an eight year old would do if someone took their sweets off them: “I’m not letting you play with my toys!”