I am sad to hear about Peter Tatchell’s problems. Will the Lib Dems in Oxford East be celebrating?

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Veteran human rights campaigner Peter Tatchell has announced that he will not be standing for Parliament at the next election. Tatchell has revealed that he suffers from brain damage sustained in the course of duty – i.e. after being beaten up by Mugabe’s bodyguards and by neo-Nazis in Moscow. He believes he no longer has the energy to run for Parliament and so is cancelling his candidacy for the Green Party in the constituency of Oxford East.

As an admirer of Tatchell for his years of dedicated campaigning efforts, it is sad to hear that he is afflicted by such health concerns. The world needs more people like Peter – he’s someone who is utterly consistent in his principles and undoubtedly very brave.

Obviously I don’t agree with him 100% on every issue, him being a Green Party activist and all, but the man deserves the biggest respect from anyone who takes an interest in the cause of promoting human rights . Also: once upon a time Tatchell also emailed over to me an article he’d written about religion that I wanted to print in a student secular society newsletter. He has won my loyalty.

On a party political level, the news is also disappointing. Oxford East is currently held by Labour MP Andrew ‘Smithy’ Smith. I like Andrew Smith and thinks he deserves to remain in Parliament representing the good people of Oxford East. He is in a vulnerable position – he won by only 963 votes in the 2005 general election with the Lib Dems coming second.

Peter Tatchell’s candidacy as a Green would probably have split the middle-class, left-leaning but anti-Labour vote. A lot of people who previously have supported the Lib Dems may have been attracted to Tatchell as a high profile political activist and so would have opted to vote Green instead. End result = Smithy secure. Tatchell’s withdrawal from the race obviously changes the dynamics somewhat to the Liberals’ advantage.

In conclusion: I’m sad about Tatchell’s problems and hope he will be able to carry on campaigning in different arenas, plus I’m worried that this news will boost the electoral hopes of Labour’s main opponents in Oxford East.

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One Response to “I am sad to hear about Peter Tatchell’s problems. Will the Lib Dems in Oxford East be celebrating?”

  1. Michael Says:

    Sad to hear it. I would have quite liked to have seen Tatchell in Parliament one day.

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