Over the last couple of days, PinkNews has recorded a couple of interviews with Labour leadership hopeful Owen Smith and current leader, Jeremy Corbyn. Kudos to both candidates for taking the time to do this. The interviews were first shown live on Facebook and the questions have been sent in by viewers.
The interviews highlight that the priorities of an LGBT audience are slightly different from a ‘mainstream’ political interview and underline the importance of forums such as these interviews and PinkNews more generally. There’s a nice vibe to both interviews but the sound on the Jeremy Corbyn interview is hopeless for JC. He is asked to speak louder and he does jokingly speak louder but then reverts to his usual soft tones. I’m also not entirely sure why the Pink News offices (I’m guessing that’s where this is recorded) seem to have feature walls that make their resident journalists feel as if they’re in a cruising ground but that’s probably a thought for another day.
Whoever wins, they will become the leader of Her Majesty’s opposition and tasked with holding the UK Government to account and advancing alternative policies. As such, they need to be the Party of Government ‘in waiting’ and whilst I’m not convinced either candidate meets that threshold at present, both do come across well in these interviews. Moreover, we get a sense of their position (generally the same) on a number of important issues but in both cases, the answers are general. Nobody says “If elected, our Government will bring forward a Bill that will seek to amend the status of NHS England and the role of the Government to better reflect the commissioning role of services such as sexual health services. This is coupled with a pledge that we will make PrEP available on the NHS within the first three months of election” but they do say PrEP is a jolly good idea and isn’t it terrible what the Tories have done to the NHS. Nobody says “The postcode lottery of NHS services for trans citizens is unacceptable. We have drafted, in consultation with patient bodies and health experts a revised set of guidelines on services for trans patients. We demand the Government now considers these proposals and works with NHS England to implement them. If elected, we will take action and bring forward legislation in our first Queen’s speech if necessary to ensure such a change is made in the event the current government refuses to take action.” Again, both candidates say it’s unacceptable but offer no concrete pledges. This is the difference between a party of protest and a party of Government. Whoever wins, the Labour Party has some way to go. However, these interviews show that both candidates have the right values to potentially deliver those changes and also highlight the LGBT issues that still do need addressing.
PinkNews Live with Owen Smith
This includes: discussion of NHS resources and access for trans patients, PrEP access, the ‘normal’ controversy, homophobia in schools, the homophobic abuse allegedly launched by Corbyn supporters against Angela Eagle, sex and relationship education in schools and the killing of gay men by IS.
PinkNews Live with Jeremy Corbyn
This includes: employment health benefits for trans workers, PrEP, Wikileaks and the naming of LGBT citizens in Saudi Arabia, PressTV paid appearances, foreign affairs more generally and the killing of LGBT citizens in other jurisdictions, ‘Traingate’, gay ‘cure therapy promotion, and mental health services delivered to LGBT people.