Don’t let the Tories get away with it again!

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2015 National LGBT Conference
24 July 2015
Carried as Amended

Conference notes the extent to which the political landscape changed on 8 May. With its Westminster majority, the Tory government has wasted no time in implementing swingeing budget cuts and deeply regressive policies and laws that were partly tempered when it was in coalition. These include a renewed zeal for public sector ‘pay restraint’; attempts to effectively curtail the right to strike and make it easier for employers to use agency workers to break strikes; further reductions in public sector facility time; continuing cuts to and privatisation of public services including expansion of free schools and academies; repealing the Human Rights Act; and deep cuts to welfare payments. All of these impact on lesbian, gay, bisexual and transgender (LGBT) workers.

Conference acknowledges the election result was partly a consequence of significant numbers of UNISON members voting for parties who this conference would not call allies. Conference reaffirms its beliefs that the best way to progress LGBT equality is to kick the Tories out of government and that UKIP’s (United Kingdom Independence Party’s) contribution is to spread fear and division. However conference notes that we were not successful enough in making this case with the wider membership or in challenging racist lies.

Conference welcomes Labour’s continuing commitment to LGBT equality, with key manifesto commitments including strengthened anti-LGBT hate crime laws, reviewing gender identity law, action on LGBT mental health and to make education free from anti-LGBT prejudice and discrimination. Conference notes that many of us learnt our activism campaigning within the Labour party and lobbying a Labour government. With Labour’s LGBT commitments clear and with the party in opposition, we now need to review our campaigning priorities and strategies, working with community organisations to build coalitions around our campaigns against cuts and the regression of our hard fought-for rights.

Conference notes that part of the Tory strategy is to steal our language – for example misappropriating the term ‘living wage’ to mean a fourth age tier to the minimum wage. Conference believes we must develop a refreshed campaigning framework, reviewing our campaign messages to make sure they cut through Tory and UKIP rhetoric. We must focus on who are we speaking to, the message we are giving, how it is being received and how it translates into action. This includes our campaigns towards devolved and regional administrations.

Conference therefore calls on the national LGBT committee, working with regional LGBT groups, caucuses and Labour Link, to:

1. Develop our medium-term political campaign messages, building coalitions against anti-union, anti-worker, anti-public services and anti-welfare Tory policy;

2. Build on our political education work, explaining what the Tories and UKIP really stand for;

3. Mobilise for all the elections up to and including the next general election, including by-elections and local, devolved, European Parliament and Assembly elections; including encouraging and supporting our members to stand for political office.