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National Lobbying

2007

ďWeíve now got these rights but people forget that a new government could easily rescind everything weíve got. I find it easy to make money and almost impossible to keep it, my gay rights are the same. I know my rights, but depending on the individual I meet, whether Iím given them and respected, is another ball game. We have to get out to the Shires, the schools, though not in the way we did in the eighties and nineties by showing videos of our sexual behaviour, thereís education that can be done tastefully. Maggie Thatcher and Clause 28 Ė is when I stood up to be counted, no f***ing way was that woman putting me in that scenario, and Iíve campaigned tirelessly nationally Ė Iím in Westminster once a month still, still lobbying, all through the Labour Party Conference, taking certain Lords, Ladies, Baronesses and MPs out for lunch and drinks parties at night and making sure we get the support, that still has to be done. The dirty word Ďcommercialí allows me that facility. Iím a member of the Labour Party and donate money, not in lump sums, but retrospectively, e.g. paying the bill for the general election by monthly direct debit, that gives you the chance to go down to London and say what about age (of consent) and legal partnerships, pensions, housing market etc. One of the things I campaigned for for a long time, was, when a gay couple went for a mortgage, the insurance company (esp. Standard Life) would charge four times as much for life insurance policies, or charge a higher mortgage rate. We donít see that any more. We suffered in loads of ways. Itís a personal campaign. Under no circumstances would I stand for office, people ask my why I donít become a magistrate, but I would jail myself for contempt of court. As a lobbyist, and I put my money where my mouth is, you have the right to say what you feel you have to, to whom, and if the party wants the money they have to listen. Once you become one of them, I have to do as Iím told. Angela Mason and I had many discussions, with Michael Cashman, who decided to get involved in European politics, because he wanted to change lots of things because Europe was so far in advance, with gay rights, and if he can help to get in and bring up gay rights thatís good. Angela worked in London and I was responsible for coming out to the Shires, i.e. anything North of Watford, but it was done with good fun, hard work and enthusiasm and fund-raising. Iím doing more politically now than I ever did, locally and nationally, not just in the labour party, but also making sure the conservatives will stick to their word, I donít want to choose which party runs the country, I want to know that whichever party is in, that weíre OK.Ē

Contributed by: Bill Gavan, 56

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