We need Peter Tatchell
A particularly sad piece of news has come in a statement by human rights campaigner Peter Tatchell that he is standing down as a Parliamentary candidate for the Green Party in Oxford.
Particular reason for sadness is that Tatchell cites brain damage emanating from beatings that he has taken from Robert Mugabe's thugs and vicious Russian hompohobes. Certainly Tatchell's attempt to arrest Zimbabwe's dictator was heroic and certainly in keeping with a man who has always been prepared to put himself on the line for the causes of freedom to which he is so powerfully attached.
Back in 1983 in the Bermondsey by election Tatchell was viciously vilified over his sexuality. To make things worse the Labour Party for whom he stood effectively disowned him for his support for extra parliamentary action against the Thatcher government which was at the time pursuing the sort of vicious policies regarding unemployment which hopefully will never be tolerated again. Tatchell knew that Parliament is not the be all of democracy. Important as it is, it can never be used as a justification for putting up with injustice.
I cannot claim to always share Tatchell's views but he is more consistent in his support for progressive policies and human rights than most. the list of campaigns which he has been involved in is considerable and he has done so at considerable personal risk and with little appetite for monetary rewards which marks him as being of a very different fibre to some whose backsides are places on the benches of the House of Commons.
Clearly Tatchell is going to continue his campaigning work and for that we should be grateful. A national treasure who is clearly in nobody's pocket, Tatchell is a man who has given politics a good name. It is to be hoped that his health will improve and that he will continue to be a nuisance to the establishment and to all those whose business is the oppression of others. We certainly need him!
Labels: Peter Tatchell