Politics: The whole is greater than the sum of its two halves

Last night the UK Parliament showed itself at its best as it passed the equal marriage bill through its second reading with a massive majority. I say it showed itself at its best not because it quite rightly passed the bill which is another massive step towards equality for gay men and women, but because it split not on party political lines but on lines of a different philosophy.

There are those who said that coaltion politics is weak politics, it could not bring stable government to the UK, and yet last night with less than a half of the members of the larger coalition partner voting in favour of a Government Bill it received a majority greater than the number of MP’s who voted against it.

Party politics is often rightly seen as being dominant in Westminster, and in our Town Halls, but the reality is that there is rarely a vote goes by without somebody voting against the party whip for some reason. The vote last night was stark because of the nature of the vote, but when we elect our politicians it is important that we weigh up all the issues, and where they stand as individuals on those most important to us.

There is still a way to go before gay men and women have full equality in the eyes of UK law; civil partnerships need to be extended to mixed-sex couples and the automatic exclusion of gay men from giving blood needs to be ended.

There are those who predicted that a coalition government would be weak government, last night they were proven wrong.

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