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Queers Kettled at Brighton Pride.

In Press Release, Pride, QUAC on 02/09/2012 at 8:32 pm

Our Press release

Members of Brighton Queers Against the Cuts were kettled and persistently harassed by the Police at Brighton Pride Parade last Saturday. London Queers Against the Cuts, who were guests of the Brighton group observed the kettling and also experienced the harassment first hand themselves.

“There seemed to have been trouble before the parade moved off – with our section mysteriously being moved to the back of the parade.” said Richard Farnos, London QUAC Co-Convenor.

The background and experiences of Brighton Queers Against the Cuts is described in  Beth Granter blog, the principal Brighton QUAC organiser

“But the real trouble began” said Richard “as the parade moved off when some latecomers sort to join the group.  Led by a belligerent steward (who at one point threaten to have me thrown off the march for asking why people couldn’t join the parade), a group of police on horseback and foot cut in front us and began to kettle the group.”

A member of the London group went forward to inform the organisers of the Parade what was going on, however he largely found them unhelpful.

However Caroline Lucas and Peter Tatchell who were marching with the Green Party returned and tried to reason with the Police and stewards.  Peter Tatchell pointed out that people were being allowed to join other parts of the parade and that assertions made by the stewards that thousands would join in were ridiculous.

Richard Farnos observed  “In a parallel discussion I had with another steward she questioned whether something ‘so overtly political’ should be on the parade at all and even suggested that somehow we would let fascists join our group on the march!”

As a result of Carol’s and Peter’s intervention the Queers Against the Cuts groups were allowed to continue but so did the harassment – all the way to Preston Park.  The contingent was surrounded by Police and people were prevented from joining.

“I saw people physically thrown back into the crowds,” Richard continued ” Indeed the behaviour of the police was reckless  and dangerous, at one point the horses were so close to us that one licked my neck.  We had older and disabled people with us and one stumble and fall and we would have all been under the horses.”

“I have been a political activist since the eighties and have been on many a demo.  The police behaviour does not surprise me.” Richard Farnos concluded  “What is a new experience however was the complete lack of support from the Pride organisers.  Are they so enamoured with the corporate pound that the plight of HIV+ people who will lose their benefits; or young LGBT people who will become homeless has no interest to them?  The day when Pride stops being political is the point when Pride will become pointless!”

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Queers call for Cameron to rethink Housing Benefit Cut

In Cuts, Press Release, Tories on 02/07/2012 at 6:01 pm

The lesbian gay bisexual and transgender campaign group, QueersAgainst the Cuts, has called on David Cameron to rethink his plan to scrapHousing Benefits to under 25 year olds. “This cut would really hurt many young lesbian gay bisexual and transgender people,” Richard Farnos QUAC’s Co-Convenor said “Many havea difficult relationship with their parents quite often leading to them to be thrown out of their home.  Cameron’s plan would mean that they would have to prove that they can’t live with their parents – which is hardly conducive to reconciliation.  The consequence of this will be more exploited and homeless LGBT youth.”

Cameron’s plan, which may become part of the Conservative Party’s next General Election Manifesto, was part of a package of cuts in the benefits system announced on Monday in a speech the Prime Minister gave at Bluewater.  Cameron argued that the point of the cutting Housing Benefit for under 25 was that “the system we inherited encourages them to grab the independence, rather than earn it.”

“Indeed we find the whole package insulting, it is like reading a Daily Mail editorial,” said Richard Farnos, “it perpetuates myths like that single parents automatically get a council house or that people like to live on the dole.  Poverty is not caused by debt, family break-down educational failure or addiction as Cameron claims, rather these are a consequence of poverty. Poverty is caused by his failing economic system that even before the bank crisis led the poor to get poorer and the rich, richer.  As the libertarian socialist G. D. H. Coleonce said ‘we are not slaves because we are poor, we are poor because we are slaves’.”

Gay Anti-Cuts Campaigners Slam Cameron’s “Hypocrisy”

In Press Release, Tories on 24/06/2011 at 12:21 pm

London based LGBTQ anti cuts group, Queers Against The Cuts (QUAC) has panned the Prime minister speech given at the Downing Street reception for the LGBT community last Wednesday.

“David Cameron speech was incredibly complacent “said Richard Farnos, Joint Convenor of QUAC “There was no acknowledgement that LGBTQ people are going to be among the hardest hit by this government’s foolish austerity programme.  Cameron seems to think that LGBTQ people live off thin air.”

According to QUAC not only do LGBTQ people work disproportionately in the public and voluntary sectors that are being cut, but as a community LGBTQ people are more dependent on public services:   “Most of us don’t have kids to help out when we are older, and still our youth are more likely to be abandoned by their families.” Richard Farnos explained.

LGBTQ people are also being hit by benefit cuts “many HIV positive gay men are losing out with the introduction of Employment Support Allowance which seems to be unable to cope with fluctuating conditions.”

“To add insult to injury it is pure hypocrisy that Cameron claims to be tackling homophobic bullying in schools.  The Government’s own educational reform plans, particularly the creation of so called “free schools” will allow the re-introduction of section 28 through the backdoor.”

“Free School” will be new schools set up by parents, churches or charities that will receive state funding while not have to follow the national curriculum, and with few restrictions on what the schools can or cannot teach.

Already Toby Young one of the leading advocates of “free schools” has dismissed the whole idea of LGBT History month saying “The very idea that a group of 12-year-old schoolchildren would be dragooned into ‘creating banners and other materials’ to promote LGBT week is preposterous”.

“Finally Cameron claims of ‘moral authority in the world’ is gobsmacking while his new asylum regime regularly detains and deport LGBTQ people seeking asylum who certainly face imprisonment, and often worse when returned to countries they have fled.”

“At QUAC” Richard Farnos concluded “we don’t think that the poorest and most vulnerable people in our communities should pay for the greed inspired errors of bankers.  And as Ireland and Greece show cutting will only make things worse.  If corporations and the super rich were made to pay the tax they legally avoid we could tackle the debt and invest in all our futures.”