Wednesday, May 19, 2010

Law and Justice poised to embarrass again?

The traditional European LGBT parade, Europride, is supposed to be held for the first time this year, next month in Poland. Poland has been chosen, I guess, as it has been one of the main centres for homophobia on the continent over the last decade or so and already fascists, ultra-social conservatives and Catholic groups are promising protest, peaceful or otherwise.

One of those political parties who could be classified in that second category is of course the Law and Justice party, the UK Conservatives' partners in the European Parliament. They have been involved in previous attempts to disrupt and ban the annual Warsaw Pride march and Cameron has taken pre-emptive action in an attempt to reduce the chance of them causing the party (and the British government) embarrassment next month:
David Cameron is to dispatch the most senior gay member of his frontbench team to Poland to encourage the Tories' right wing allies in the European parliament to abandon their homophobic views.

In a move designed to defuse criticism in tonight's leaders' television debate that the Tories have allied themselves with extremists in the EU, Cameron has revealed that the shadow environment secretary, Nick Herbert, will attend a gay rights march in Warsaw in July.

Cameron told the Guardian that Herbert's trip to Poland is designed to persuade the highly conservative Law and Justice party to embark on a "journey" to moderate its views on sexuality
It looks like Herbert could well have his work cut out:
Polish police intervened yesterday in the town of Kielce, where the Silence March was held for the first time ahead of the IDAHO in order to warn that sexual minorities are still afraid of openly showing their sexual orientation because of discrimination.

A group of young men wearing black and led by a local councilor from former PM Jaroslaw Kaczinsky’s conservative party Law and Justice were chanting, "Good gay – dead gay", as they tried to attack several dozen participants who were wearing band-aids over their mouths and carrying placards saying "Silence is our scream", and, "No to homophobia".
Puts all the pre-election nonsense about B&Bs into perspective rather but the more important point is how much leeway are the Conservatives prepared to allow Law and Justice with their attitudes towards homosexuality?
How far can the previously declared justification that "different cultural and social norms exist in the east of Europe" be stretched?


A bit more background about Law and Justice and in particular, allegations of anti-semitism on the part of their leader, Kamenski, in Brussels can be read here.

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