Solomon’s choice, part 2

One short addition to what purports to be a series.
Tory homophobia:

According to a report in The Independent, Mr Lewis wrote to a constituent last week saying he had been “very strongly against” lowering the age of consent for gays from 18 to 16 because “there is a seriously increased risk of HIV infection arising from male homosexual activity”.
The age of consent for gay men was lowered from 18 to 16 in 2000.
Mr Lewis, 58, wrote: “When it comes to legalising practices that involve serious risk, I believe the higher limit should apply. This is the reason we no longer allow 16- and 17-year-olds into front line situations in the armed forces, for example.”
Mr Lewis previously opposed adoptions by gay couples and also campaigned against the repeal of laws preventing schools from promoting homosexuality.

Now isn’t that inneresting

Let’s have a second look at Mr Clegg too

And what of Mr Clegg personally? Well, he has fiercely condemned the influence of lobbyists as part of the “old politics” and called for “reform on lobbying”. But he has been distinctly coy about his own two past spells as a lobbyist, leaving them off his official biography on the Lib Dem website. Most interesting and recent is Mr Clegg’s high-level stint, in the middle of his political career, with GPlus, the influential and controversial Brussels company.
Peter Guilford, GPlus’s founder, explicitly pitches his firm as the place for organisations with “a real problem affecting their reputation”. Its clients have included the Malaysian Palm Oil Council, whose plantations are accused of contributing to tropical deforestation (GPlus argued for a relaxation of EU regulations to allow more palm oil imports), and representatives of the Russian government, whose PR corner it fought during the recent war with Georgia.
This kind of thing is what led Corporate Europe Observatory, the EU transparency pressure group, to make GPlus the runner-up in its “Worst EU Lobbying” awards last year. “They are a very interesting company,” says a spokesman for the pressure group. “We have lots of stories about them.” Last year, too, GPlus was temporarily suspended from the European Commission’s register of lobbyists for refusing to disclose its full client list.
GPlus often practises “revolving-door” recruitment, taking people straight out of the European institutions to lobby their former colleagues, a practice banned in America. One such recruit was Nick Clegg. Immediately after he left the European Parliament – he was a Lib Dem MEP from 1999 to 2004 – he became one of only five partners in GPlus. He did the job for just under a year, until elected to Westminster in May 2005, describing his work as giving businesses “intelligent professional help in engaging with the EU institutions”.
In a press release, the lobbyist said Mr Clegg would “focus on developing GPlus’s service to UK clients”. Among GPlus’s most important UK clients at the time was the Royal Bank of Scotland, then lobbying furiously to water down a string of EU directives regulating the financial services industry.

more to come people


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