The Rt. Hon. Jack Straw, MP,
Home Secretary.

3rd May, 1999.

Dear Mr. Straw,

Government Action following Friday's Soho bombing

      Given your hospital visits to those injured by the bomb, it is plain that your weekend, like that of so many of us, has been disrupted by the blast, (albeit not in the devasting way that the survivors, their families, and those of the deceased will be affected for years to come).

      I note that you have been reported this weekend as saying "there has, happily, been a huge change in the attitudes of society as a whole towards gay people. There is, of course, much more progress needed": and I would agree with this on both counts.

      From the extracts which I have seen reported, it would appear that the remainder of your comments have been limited to bringing the perpetrator(s) to justice, and on the sterling work of the police.

Jack Straw

      On behalf of OutRage! I am writing to ask you to consider and reply to the following additional points.

  1. To introduce an amendment to the 1998 Crime & Disorder Act, to impose tougher sentences for violence and harassment against lesbians and gay men, (in accordance with the spirit of the amendment tabled on 8th May last year by Richard Allan, MP).

  2. To repeal Section 28 of the 1988 Local Government Act, which, despite various Government pronouncements, in practice still exercises a severely inhibitory effect upon schools and other organisations which work with young people.

  3. In accordance with Tony Blair's 1997 election slogan "Education! Education! Education!", to ensure that both primary and secondary schools do their utmost to:
  4. In the context of the reported statement that you "value the close working relationship which I have with Stonewall and the gay community": with which L/G/B/T (lesbian, gay, bisexual & transgender) organisations do you have any relationship, apart from Stonewall? Although I have personally supported Stonewall financially for a number of years -and still do- it is only fair to state that they neither consult nor are accountable either to their own supporters, nor to the rest of the L/G/B/T community. As such their point of view is by no means representative. Moreover, despite their wealth (relative to other community bodies), their still limited resources do not enable them to address all the issues which they might like to: to say nothing of other issues which they prefer to ignore. -- Any consultation of significance must be within a larger, democratic, representative and accountable forum: for example, through the Equality Alliance, (which has performed a useful coordinating and information-sharing rôle this weekend). You will be aware that OutRage! is most desirous to have serious input into the legislative process: as, indeed, are other groups.
  5. On the subject of the police, it is indeed right and proper that the good work which they do should be acknowledged and appropriately rewarded. However, as the MacPherson Report has demonstrated (in the different but very closely related area of racism), there are regrettably still shortcomings. In the context of homophobia, I mention the following selection. -

      We also hereby invite you to attend a brief commemorative Vigil of Remembrance at 6:30 p.m., Friday, 7th May, Old Compton Street, outside the Admiral Duncan.

Yours sincerely,

John Hunt.


Reply to Jack Straw 19-December-1999
Letter from the Home Secretary in Reply to OutRage! Letter to Tony Blair 22-November-1999
OutRage! invites Blair to "kick ass" 21-July-1999
Response: Low-key DfEE encouragement for teachers to come out
Annotated Reply from Home Office 23-June-1999
Letter to David Blunkett 25-May-1999
Police Failed to Warn Gay Public: OutRage! call for a Public Enquiry
April Bombings: Vigil of Remembrance
Call for Tough New Laws against Antigay Hate Crimes
Soho Bomb -- 3 killed, scores injured

Amendment to the Crime & Disorder Bill
OutRage! Amendment to the Human Rights Bill Tabled
Government excludes gays from Human Rights and Crime & Disorder Bills

Section 28: Schools attacked for buying gay sex education packs The Scotsman, 14-November-1999


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Author: John Hunt
©1999, OutRage! London
OutRage! London
URL: http://www.RoseCottage.me.uk/OutRage-archives/JStraw99.htm
Last modified: 26-January-2000