Lobby groups accused of harassing deputies

DEMANDS to withdraw amendment eight was discrimination in itself, a number of deputies said yesterday.

Deputy David De Lisle. (Picture by Peter Frankland, 31314700)
Deputy David De Lisle. (Picture by Peter Frankland, 31314700)

Campaigns were launched against the proposed change when it was published, one of which said ‘#H8te’. While the sign indicated hate for the amendment itself, deputies who supported it felt it victimised the proposers.

One campaign poster featured headshots of Deputies Chris Blin and David De Lisle, and co-ordinator deputy Carl Meerveld, with a plea to islanders to remember their faces at the next election.

Deputy Lester Queripel accused one campaign group of branding itself anti-discrimination only when it suited.

‘I deprecate the manner in which members of our community have reacted to Blin and De Lisle for laying it – they should be ashamed of themselves.

‘They profess to be anti-discrimination yet, when it suits them, they indulge in it willingly. They need to take a long hard look at themselves and I hope they do in the future.’

Also defending the three deputies was Deputy David Mahoney, who referred to lobby groups as ‘bully boys’.

‘I will join the faces in condemning the way the hate campaign has been run by interest groups and those that hold themselves out to be paradigms of virtue and inclusion, when in fact they prove no better than bully boys, hurling insults and acting in a way they should know better,’ he said.

Being pressured to remove the amendment would have been undemocratic, according to Deputy Rob Prow.

‘I want to mention the campaign to withdraw this amendment and the manner in which that campaign was held. We are a democratic society. The lesser-known philosopher said “I do not agree with what you have to say, but I will defend to the death your right to say it.” That is very important.’

However, Deputies Sue Aldwell and Peter Roffey defended campaigners.

‘Although I consider “H8te” hashtag to be an error by some campaigners, it was withdrawn as soon as it was pointed out to them it could be misinterpreted.

‘It was entirely clear it was aimed at he amendment itself,’ Deputy Aldwell said.

‘They realise what they did was misguided,’ added Deputy Roffey.

‘The vast majority of campaigning that has come to me is respectful – yes people got a bit angry at times after campaigning for something they felt strongly about for many years.’

Past and present members of the Guernsey Disability Alliance were disappointed to be drawn into the criticisms, when the quote was not given by them.

‘It’s a shame [the criticism from deputies] wasn’t a little bit more targeted, because although I’m now not on the executive of the GDA, it has existed now for 15 years,’ said GDA founder Rob Platts.

‘It has always been respectful. It has never disrespected anybody. The respect for the dignity of the person goes right to the root of everything that we do, and we don’t do anything that would go against human rights.’

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