“Politics is for everyone,” LGBT Officer for Vauxhall Labour Party Philip Normal Answers my Election Questions…
It’s election day tomorrow! I truly hope you’ve all registered to vote. It really does affect us all – take us models, for example. The political party in power aren’t just relevant to us in terms of taxes and employment laws. Look at how cuts to funding in the arts have reduced the amount of small magazines. Though these may not bring in a lot of money, they give us work, tear sheets and the influence that London has in fashion as a whole. Or how small start-up companies struggle to get going – those are our little lookbooks and campaigns that keep us busy – gone.
It’s a pretty confusing world out there, so I thought that I’d enlist the help of my good friend, Philip Normal, who I’ve known for years.
He’s not only a designer and owner of his own label, he’s also LGBT (Lesbian, Gay, Bisexual and Transgender) Officer for the Vauxhall Labour Party. I love how directly and honestly Philip talks about politics, so I caught up with him to find out more about this election.
R: Philip! Hello! Please tell me about your political role as LGBT Officer for Vauxhall Labour Party.
P: Hi Rebecca! I think that it is important for every area to have an LGBT Officer. I want to promote and campaign for a safe community not only focusing on LGBT issues, but also the wider community as a whole. Nationally, the LGBT community still has a lot of work to do, attitudes still need to change. Locally, in London, the LGBT community has faced several venue closures, for different reasons, within the past 12 months. This is a huge concern, we need to keep somewhere safe for the LGBT community to not only socialise, but hold community events. The Black Cap is a recent devastating closure, and the future of legendary cabaret venue the RVT is potentially under threat. Sign up to the campaign here!
R: How did you get into doing this?
P: As a member of the community in Vauxhall, and a Labour member, i felt as if it was the next step for me. I want to serve the community, and I really enjoy it. There is so much we can achieve if we all come together. There seems to be, in London, a disturbing amount of divide within the LGBT community, and this is something we should tackle.
R: A lot of us are finding it hard to choose whom to vote for. There’s a worry that Labour, Tories and Lib Dems are pretty much the same. How do Labour stand out?
P: The idea that political parties are the same is a common misconception, mostly, because it is what the right wing press would love you to think so that you don’t go out and vote. A low turnout will work in favour of the right wing. Labour are the only party that really care about the idea of community and social justice.
R: A lot of people are looking at the Green Party as a refreshing change, as well as standing for environmental issues that the main parties don’t do enough for. What do you think about that?
I don’t think voting for the Green party would be refreshing at all. Imagine a country where you couldn’t go to your boss with an idea, or start a business? You wouldn’t be able to produce and export, because you’re not allowed to grow as a country. The Green Party want a country that is un-aspirational, and in a permanent recession. I can see how attractive a world where we don’t rely on fossil fuels would be, however, as ideal as that sounds, it’s something we all need to work together on. The Green Party economic policy doesn’t add up without Nuclear energy, which they are against, and also leaving NATO and restructuring the EU to only deal with environmental issues instead of trade, would be problematic.
Also, don’t get me started on Homeopathy in general! It’s a con, and the Green Party think it should be used by the NHS, instead of evidence based medicine, dangerous.
R: From your unique perspective as LGBT Officer for Vauxhall Labour Party, what issues are you looking to tackle and why do you think Labour are the right party for tackling them?
You should check out Labour’s LGBT manifesto! It’s available here for you to peruse.
Nationally, the LGBT community still has a lot of work to do, attitudes still need to change here, there is still a huge amount of prejudice. Labour will make mental health equally as important as other illnesses, and this is also their policy within the LGBT community. Offering support to any community, is important. Labour repealed section 28, equalled the age of consent, and campaigned for LGBT rights for years. Labour laid the groundwork for gay marriage. Internationally, there is a huge amount of work to do, it is still illegal to be gay and punishable by death in some countries. Labour would establish an LGBT International Envoy, to work with countries and promote equality and fairness.
R: My Facebook newsfeed is a fantastic barometer for reading others’ political opinions. I’m seeing a LOT of apathy as well as passion. Do the people who say things along the lines of, “I don’t want to vote because no one represents what I believe in?” or “all that matters is my family – I don’t care about men in suits,” have a point?
P: I can see how the media has made people feel that way, however that isn’t what politics is about. It is so important to vote and make your voice heard, because it’s your chance, and we live in a democracy, a democracy that people have fought wars for. I know that sounds so cliche, but it’s true! Only 100 years ago only 58% of men were even allowed to vote! To then throw your ballot away because you don’t agree with one thing a party has said when you follow their core values is a waste, and sends out the wrong message to the next generation that are inheriting the right to vote.
R: How about the people who want to do more. Politics DOES often seem like a bunch of white men in suits. Can us laypeople who don’t have politics degrees get involved in more ways than protesting?
P: I think everyone is political in some form: we are all part of a community. And politics is for people. There’s way more to it than white men in suits. Anyone can get involved. If you feel strongly about an issue, write and lobby your MP, that is what they are there for, to represent you, and your voice in Parliament. Get involved and stuck into your community, you’ll be surprised how many colourful people you will meet, and share ideas with, about your area and beyond.
R: I hate Nigel Farage! Discuss.
Where do we start Rebecca? He’s a very good public speaker, however UKIP represent something far more sinister. They are not anti-establishment, they are the establishment. In an Ipsos Mori poll, the majority of people thought they were more politically left to the Tories. This couldn’t be further from the truth! They are the party of populist politics, they go to communities that have been destroyed by Thatcher, and pledge to re-open the mines. Yet Nigel Farage said UKIP were the only party keeping the flame of Thatcher alive. UKIP refer to themselves as the ‘people’s army’, all in all, a dangerous brand of nationalism that can bring no good to the UK.
Also, if you want a party that will ignore scientific fact and gamble your future, vote UKIP, they want to spend £0 on climate change. and furthermore £0 on global aid. We are a generous supportive country on the world stage, let’s not let the right wing change this.
R: OK Philip. It’s voting time. It’s scary. What would be your final guiding thoughts as we queue up at the polling centres?
P: I think it’s everything but scary! it’s exciting!!!! Politics is for everyone, regardless of what the right wing owned media want you to believe. My guiding thoughts are follow your heart, and core values. Finally, just do go out and vote, you owe it to your community to give them your voice.
Wow! I found that so informative and helpful. I really do hope people get out there and vote, as it’s our chance to have a say in their country and how it’s run.