politics

Letter to major political parties

Since the letter I received from my local MP concentrated on the Equality Act 2010, I decided that I will concentrate on that, for now. So I’ve written another letter.

Well, letters. Seeing as there is going to be a General Election next year, I am writing to five political parties to establish their views and policies on asexuality protection. It is quite vague and does not make any demands at this stage. I want to get as rounded a picture of their stances as possible before seeking to push for promises.

So the following letter will be sent to the Conservative Party, the Green Party, the Labour Party, the Liberal Democrats and the United Kingdom Independence Party. They will all receive the following letter.

To whom it may concern,

I am writing to you with regard to the issue of the recognition of asexuality as a sexual orientation within the protective laws of the United Kingdom. Since I identify myself as being asexual, I am concerned that current plans that aim to promote and protect the rights of lesbian, gay, bisexual and transgender people do not appear to extend naturally to asexual people.

I have recently been in touch with my current local Member of Parliament, The Rt. Hon. Mr Ronnie Campbell MP for Blyth Valley. His response to my letter, with confirmation from the House of Commons Library confirms that asexuals are not included in the definition for a sexual orientation in the Equality Act 2010 (EA 2010), Section 12. Therefore, the laws that protect individuals on the basis of sexual orientation do not apply to asexual people.

It is my concern that, as more individuals recognise asexuality in themselves and others, discrimination and hate crime towards asexuals will become more frequent. As someone that has endured prejudice of this nature, I find it intolerable that EA 2010 does not offer the same protection as it does to other sexual orientations. An oft-heard refrain from such-prejudiced individuals is that asexuals are weird and not human-like; that EA 2010 does not include asexuals only supports their prejudice.

As a community, asexuals do not wish for this discrimination to become prevalent. Now is the opportune time to act. The United Kingdom could become the first country to pass protective legislation to protect asexuals and, as a leading, progressive nation, I believe that is something that we should strive for.

I am keen, therefore, to be informed of the <insert party name>’s policy towards the protection of asexuals and the commitments it intends to make following the forthcoming General Election. I look forward to your reply.

Yours faithfully,
Stephen Broughton.

In a Quandary

By |May 1st, 2011|Essays|0 Comments

In the United Kingdom a referendum will soon decide whether we change our voting system. Currently we use the common and established “first past the post” system; what is being proposed is the “alternative vote” system, where candidates are ranked according to preference. These ranks come into play if no candidate wins more than 50% of the vote from first choices alone.

There is a case for change — I believe that almost purely because we are having this referendum in the first place. I remain unsure how I will vote, however. Much of what is being argued is being lost in the frivolous and the usual infantile inter- and intra-party mud-slinging.

The biggest problem with this referendum, in my view, is that whenever politicians offer us a list of choices on a sheet of paper, we are trained to pick our favoured choice, but this isn’t really what it should be about. This referendum is asking us, “which system is the fairest way of deciding how our MPs are selected?”.

What irks people about first past the post is that an unpopular candidate can win amongst a large number of candidates. For example, in a vote with ten candidates, it is possible to win with just 10% of the popular vote.

The alternative vote selling point is that unpopular candidates don’t get in (in theory). As a selling point, is this relevant? One might suggest that, in the previous UK election, voters may have opted to vote for Labour and Liberal Democrat candidates in order to bury the Conservative candidate’s chances. My accusation is, therefore, that one might choose the alternative vote in a hope that they will be able to eliminate their least favourite candidates — and less because they think alternative vote is fairer.

Everything is, however, muddied by party politics anyway. Things have been said and written about tactical voting to decide which party sits on which side of the House of Commons. It would be naive to suggest that voters allay any thoughts of national issues and party connections when voting for their local MP. The biggest impact occurs at national level and I expect this is how many people vote. Out of interest, the Conservative Party “won” the vote with 36.1%; Labour received 29.0% and the Liberal Democrats got 23.0%.

I wonder how this would have changed if the alternative vote was in place. I also wonder whether this will influence the result in the upcoming referendum.