Opinion column piece Newham Recorder July 2017:
It has been said that if you remember the (Nineteen) Sixties then you can’t have been there! It was indeed a heady period, and this year marks the fiftieth anniversary of two pieces of legislation, both passed in 1967, that transformed this country. The Homosexual Reform Act and Abortion Act together helped make the more liberal and understanding society that we enjoy today.
Generations have grown up with little comprehension of how miserable and tragic life was for so many before these reforms. Countless gay people were at best compelled to lead life in the shadows. At worst they suffered humiliation, incarceration and chemical castration at the hands of the law. And thousands of women died each year through unsafe so called ‘backstreet’ abortions. Unfortunately this is still the fate of gay people and women throughout less enlightened parts of the world.
However, there is some good news for anyone yearning to turn the clock back. The balance of power is now held by a party which still believes homosexuality and abortion is ‘sinful.’ It has members who still maintain that the world was created just 4000 years ago and want the creation myth to be taught in schools. And it is a party who appointed as environment minister a man who denies all scientific evidence that human activity has had an impact on climate change and who opposes renewable energy. It is Theresa May we have to thank for granting this party, the DUP, a new lease of life. In order to keep the DUP on side Mrs May has miraculously managed to pluck a billion pounds from the fabled money tree which has so far eluded our hard-pressed public sector workers and others suffering from years of cutbacks.
Before the election Jeremy Corbyn was lambasted for allegedly harking back to the politics of the ’70’s. How ironic that to stay in power Theresa May should enter into an unholy, or should it be holy, alliance with a fundamentalist religious party whose politics date back to the Jurassic period.
Chair East London Humanists