Peter has been campaigning since the 60s on issues of human rights, democracy, LGBT freedom, and global justice. From the late 70s onwards, he proposed a single, comprehensive Equal Rights Act to harmonise the uneven patchwork of equality legislation. This proposal was eventually secured with the passage of the Equality Act 2010. In 1994, he named 10 Anglican bishops and urged them to “Tell The Truth” about their sexuality; accusing them of homophobia and hypocrisy. Four years later interrupted the Easter Sermon of the then Archbishop of Canterbury, Dr George Carey, in protest at his opposition to gay equality. In 1999, in London, he ambushed the motorcade of the Zimbabwean President, Robert Mugabe, attempting a citizen’s arrest on charges of torture. A repeat attempt in Brussels in 2001 resulted in him being beaten unconscious by Mugabe’s bodyguards. He coordinated the Equal Love campaign from 2010, in a bid to overturn the UK’s twin legal bans on same-sex civil marriages and opposite-sex civil partnerships – helping win same-sex marriage but, not yet, opposite-sex civil partnerships. He is Director of the human rights organisation, the Peter Tatchell Foundation https://www.petertatchellfoundation.org/
The Windrush scandal erupted in 2018 when it emerged that many British people who arrived from the Carribean before 1973 were being wrongly detained, denied legal rights, threatened with deportation, and in some cases wrongly deported from the UK by the Home Office. Guy Hewitt exaplains how the campaign to get justice for the affected was a kind of campaigning 'perfect storm' and how his heterodox background helped him play a leading role.
Clive Stafford Smith is the founder of Reprieve and the Louisiana Crisis Assistance Center and in this episode we talk about his role in the long running campaign to close the prison on the US military base at Guantánamo Bay in Cuba. To date, Clive has helped secure the release of 69 prisoners from Guantánamo Bay (including every British prisoner) and still acts for eight more and he talks candidly about the challenges he has faced and how he and other overcame them.
In November 2015 London's Metropolitan Police was forced to apologise to seven women "tricked into relationships" over a period of 25 years by officers from two undercover police squads. The officers involved - just some of 140 officers who took part in such operations - had eventually vanished, leaving victims feeling as if – in their words - they had been subject to "psychological torture". The disclosures led to the closing of the units concerned, and the setting up the Undercover Policing Inquiry under retired judge Sir John Mitting.
One group representing at least 30 victims of such practices, which my interviewee in this episode is associated with is Police Spies Out of Lives who work with other groups and jointly operate a campaign called Spycops, which aims to bring out the truth and get justice for the victims to ensure that such activities never take place again.
This podcast features back to back interviews with two experts on the slave trade and the British campaign to end it: Dr Richard Huzzey, Associate Professor of History at Durham University and Dr Richard Benjamin, Head of the International Slavery Museum in Liverpool. the two Richards talk about aspect of the campaign to end the slave trade, and what lessons there are for modern campaigners.
As a side note, Richard Huzzey is a co-author of a report commissioned by Friends of the Earth about how campaigners can learn the lessons of past campaigns.
Episode 5 contains an interview with Kumi Naidoo, the South African Secretary General of Amnesty International, and well known campaigner on global poverty, climate justice and human rights. He covers and touches on several campaigns including Make Poverty History, Anti-Apartheid and climate change campaigns. Kumi speaks frankly about the current state of civil society, progress being won and lost and how he keeps motivated in the face of external and internal challenges.
This interview is with Fiona Weir who is talking to me today about the Ozone layer campaign which led to phase out of most products that deplete the ozone, such as aerosols and air conditioning coolants with chlorofluorocarbons.
Scientists first discovered a hole in the ozone layer hole in 1985 and attributed its appearance to the use of CFCs. Friends of the Earth along with other organisations quickly mobilised to get an international agreement which saw CFCs being phased out. It is widely regarded as one of the most successful environmental actions ever and has been credited with the observed shrinkage of the hole in the decades that followed.
This episode features Margaret Aspinall, chair of the Hillsborough Family Support Group. The Hillsborough disaster led to the campaign for justice for the 96 Liverpool fans who died in a crush in Hillsborough stadium during a football match between Liverpool and Nottingham Forest. There is a lot of information to be found about the disaster, for instance a very good BBC film from 2016. The Hillsborough justice campaign has been one of the most high-profile campaigns in the UK, which has seen the families of the 96 set against parts of the British establishment, especially the police, who have been shown to have spread misinformation on a grand scale.
Music is by Alex Gordon.
The Tax Justice Network is an independent international network launched in 2003. Their mission is to ‘change the weather’ on a wide range of issues related to tax, tax havens and financial globalisation. We push for systemic change.
in this episode I interview John Christensen is the chair and director of the Tax Justice Network. I have worked on the tax justice campaign with John, and he doesn’t fit the mould.
He trained as a forensic auditor and economist, he has worked in many countries around the world, including a period of working in offshore financial services. For 11 years he was economic adviser to the government of the British Channel Island of Jersey. In 2003 he became what was described as “the unlikely figurehead of a worldwide campaign against tax avoidance.”
The campaign is one of the most successful campaigns that there has been in recent years on a economic issue. And it is one where the unlikely issue of tax has become – almost – trendy.
Music is by Alex Gordon.