Wednesday, 20 January 2010

Peter Tatchell is Liberal Voice of the Year

What a surprise, a Green wins the vote by Liberal Democrat Voice readers. Peter Tatchell has won Liberal Democrat Voice's third annual Liberal Voice of the Year award for his tireless and fearless international human rights campaigning.
PhotobucketHere he is pictured after attempting to arrest Mugabe. The beating by Mugabe's thugs has helped cause Peter to step down as Oxford East Parliamentary candidate.

The runner-up was author and journalist Ben Goldacre. Other contenders were Joanna Lumley, Rory Stewart, Terry Pratchett, Henry Porter, Guy Herbert and Alan Rushbridger.

The two previous years Liberal Voice winners were Shami Chakrabati(2007), and the campaigners on behalf of Jean Charles de Menezes ( and the Stockwell Shooting Inquest Jury (2008).

See the Liberal Democrat Voice report about the online readers poll result here.

Responding to winning the vote, Peter Tatchell said:
"Wow! What an honour. I’m chuffed. Thanks to everyone who voted for me.
"I am honoured, but quite surprised, to win Liberal Voice of the Year, given that I'm a left-wing Green. It shows that Liberal Democrat Voice readers are non-sectarian and inclusive, putting values and principles above narrow party interests, which is how it should be. There are progressive people in all parties, apart from the BNP and possibly UKIP. We should work together more, focusing on what we have in common rather than on what divides us. In Britain, the combined supporters of liberal, green and left values constitute the majority. If people from these three political strands cooperated more closely, and if we had had a fair voting system, Britain need never again suffer a Conservative government. We could move the country forward on a progressive agenda for social justice, democratic reform, civil liberties and environmental renewal.

At the international level, it has been a real privilege to write and campaign in support of the freedom struggles in Iran, Russia, Balochistan, Uganda, Iraq, Somaliland, West Papua, Sudan, Palestine and Saudi Arabia. The democracy activists in these countries are truly heroic and inspirational. I crawl in their shadows.

One of the things I have learned from my 43 years of human rights campaigning is that no matter how small and weak we may feel, we can all help make a difference. I do my bit for human rights, as do millions of others. Together, cumulatively and collectively, slowly but surely, we are shaping a better world."

Last month Peter stepped down saying:
“It is with great regret and reluctance that I am standing down as the Green Party parliamentary candidate for Oxford East. My brain injuries from the Mugabe and Moscow bashings mean that I would not be able to campaign effectively in the general election or do the duties required of an MP, if I was elected,”

“It would not be right for me to seek election if I could not do the job of an MP to the high standards that I want and that Oxford East voters have a right to expect.
“If I was elected, I could manage the parliamentary duties or the constituency work. But my health is not strong enough for me to do both.
“This is a huge disappointment and frustration. Oxford East is a target Green seat. In the county elections in June, the Greens were neck-and-neck with the Liberal Democrats as the main challenger to Labour. The European elections saw the Greens win in Oxford East, well ahead of Labour, the Lib Dems and the Tories.
“The injuries don’t stop me from campaigning but I am slower, make more mistakes, get tired easily and take longer to do things. My memory, concentration, balance and coordination have been adversely affected. I can’t campaign at the pace I used to.
“I was selected as the Green Party candidate for Oxford East in April 2007. A month later, I was badly beaten around the head by neo-Nazis during an attempted Gay Pride parade in Moscow.
See here:

“This exacerbated the brain damage caused when I was bashed unconscious by President Mugabe’s bodyguards in Brussels in 2001, after attempting to make a citizen’s arrest of the Zimbabwean leader on charges of torture.

I think Peter should get a medal for his bravery, and be made a peer. And why not a peerage for the other winners such as Shami Chakrabati also.

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