Should Brian Souter have his knighthood removed?

NUS Scotland are campaigning for the founder of the Stagecoach company to have his knighthood withdrawn after his attempts to repeal anti-homophobic legislation.

Brian Souter

NUS Scotland have launched a campaign calling for the founder of the Stagecoach company to have his knighthood withdrawn.

Over the weekend it was announced that Brian Souter, a high profile financial supporter of the SNP had been awarded the knighthood, as part of the Queen’s birthday honours, for services to transport.

However campaigners have voiced concerns at the move, arguing that Souter’s bank rolling of the Keep the Clause campaign, to repeal legislation in Scotland forbidding local authorities to “intentionally promote homosexuality”, (known as Section 2A in Scotland and section 28 across the rest of the UK), proves an intolerance that should not be rewarded in this way.

Speaking in 2000, Peter Tatchell said of Souter:

“Brian Souter’s support for Section 28 is the moral equivalent of the business-funded campaign to maintain racial segregation in the Deep South of the USA in the 1950s.”

Souter went on to organise a postal ballot of all those Scots registered to vote from 1999, which, on the basis of a return rate of 31.8%, produced results seeing 86.8% of respondents preferring to keep section 2A with 13.2% against its continuation.

While Souter dubbed it a “tremendous result”, the then communities minister, Wendy Alexander, said of the result:

“I think what is significant about today’s ballot is that two out of three voters rejected, or binned or simply ignored this glorified opinion poll.”

And writing in the Herald during the campaign on the poll, one mother said of Souter’s campaign:

“I am the mother of two young children, not yet at school age, and I am appalled by the advertising and publicity thrown in my face telling me to ”Keep the Clause”. I will be doing my best to bring my children up to be secure in the knowledge that whatever they choose to do, respectful of others, my husband and I will always love them and encourage them.

“If my children grow up and are gay nothing will change that. This is the start of a new millennium – show me the normal house now? Nuclear family? I don’t think so. Do the pro-Clause campaigners think they can buy their own agenda into the curriculum? I would prefer that their bigotry did not reach my children, but unfortunately I know that’s not possible. Having the cash to fund a campaign helps to disguise their narrow-minded, outdated agenda.

“Anyone who encourages an atmosphere where a child may feel threatened, isolated, or lonely should be condemned. I am all for healthy debate and differences of opinion; freedom of speech in a democratic society, equal rights for all. So let them campaign. But please don’t let them get away with it.

“As for the Clause – it’s not about promoting anything, but it’s about living together and not judging other people – a valuable lesson for young children in a fast-changing society.”

Asked on an edition of Question Time in May 2000 about weather wealthy individuals should be allowed to fund referendum in the way Souter had on section 2A, Souter responded:

“Guilty as charged. The Labour Party would not be able to function without the substantial contribution it gets from trade unions and from wealthy individuals. The Tory Party functions with the contributions that its members make to it. There’s absolutely no difference between that and what I’m doing here except I am not obtaining a knighthood in return for it – that’s the difference, there’s nothing coming back on the turn.”

The Liberal Democrat/Labour administration in Edinburgh at the time subsequently went on to repeal section 2A.

Having been given the knighthood Souter said he was not obtaining, the NUS in Scotland has launched a petition seeking to have his knighthood withdrawn, with the petition reading:

“Mr Souter ran a campaign of fear and misinformation which was deeply hurtful to the LGBT community in Scotland.

“The ‘Keep The Clause Campaign’ increased hatred towards an already victimised group and saw a corresponding increase in violence against LGBT people.

“We believe that it is wrong for such a person to be given such a high honour by Her Majesty The Queen and call on HM government to withdraw this award.”

The Scottish Sun has reported that Souter has refused to comment on the matter.

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42 Responses to “Should Brian Souter have his knighthood removed?”

  1. Huw Griffiths

    Should Brian Souter have his knighthood removed? asks @EdJacobs1985

  2. chris star

    Should Brian Souter have his knighthood removed?

  3. Jane Manley

    Should Brian Souter have his knighthood removed?

  4. Selohesra

    I would have thought it was counter productive to launch such a campaign – it will give him more publicity for his views especially as most of those who expressed opinopn in the ballot sided with him. Wendy Alexander’s decision to dismis his ballot as it had such a poor turnout might just as easily be applied to union strike ballots.

  5. Ed's Talking Balls

    This article has been posted under the heading ‘racial extremism’. Why?

  6. Selohesra

    I thought that too ETB – assume it is because that fine judge of issues Mr Tatchell said it was equivalent to racism

  7. Liz McShane

    Short easy answer – YES.

    It was a shame and a big mistake that he was given it in the first place, let alone even considered for it.

  8. No is a shorter answer

    Liz – its clear you disagree with his opinions but it is a dangerous precedent to set if you start campaigning against the man and not the issue. He was not promoting persecution of gays and has done nothing wrong as he was simply asking that the law at the time be retained – ie it was not the place of local authorities to promote homosexuality. His views would appear to have public support albeit the political elite considered they knew better – (the support he obtained was equivalent to that the NUT got today in favour of a strike where less than 40% of members actually took part)

  9. Gareth Severs

    Yes!! Don't even have to read it! >> @leftfootfwd 'Should Brian Souter have his knighthood removed? asks @EdJacobs1985'

  10. joe kane

    The bigoted anti-Catholic British monarchy being criticised for dealinsg with homophobic bigots is a bit ironic – the Queen is, after all, head of the established Church of England, many of whose members are alos rabidly homophobic.

    Maybe Mr Souter shouldn’t have so openly associated himself with such a bigoted institution as the head of the British state.

  11. 13eastie

    To cite Tatchell’s ridiculous hyperbole on a supposedly “evidence-based” blog simply invites ridicule.

    Is the OP really trying to make an argument that someone should be publicly punished for voicing a point of view as to whether a particular law continue to be tabled? Because somebody found it “hurtful”?

    When: no crime has been committed; not action has been incited in anyone; no identifiable person has been identified or targeted; no evidence has been produced of any harm coming to anyone as a result?

    Is the OP suggesting that recipients of honours be required to confirm to his point of view on all matters henceforth?

    Can we all expect to enjoy his brand of summary justice whenever we disagree with a political campaign?


    @5 Joe Kane

    Are you talking about the anti-Catholic monarch that made a State visit to Ireland last month? The head of state that laid a wreath in Dublin’s Garden of Remembrance?

    Are these the same family of bigots from whom Elton John was happy to accept a Knighthood, and a very public invitation, along with his civil partner, to the wedding of the future King (who mother, 21 years ago did this:

    Any chance you’re just full of it?

  12. mr. Sensible

    For some reason, the tag is given as ‘Racist Extremism’ on these pages, but if you look under ‘Fighting Against’ the tag is ‘Racism and Extremism.’ I think the latter is more appropriate…

  13. Charles

    His views were shared by 26% of Scots. That’s more than any of the political parties got nationally at the 2010 election. Nobody deserves to be ostracized because they share a view with 1 in 4 of the electorate.

  14. joe kane

    Major elements of the Church of England are rabidly anti-gay and it’s worldwide congregation is being pulled apart over the issue of ‘gay bishops’.
    The British monarchy is head of these instutionalised rabid anti-gays.

    The head of the British state can’t be a Catholic and can’t marry one. That is bigotry and racism as practiced by the head of the British state.

    Your propaganda denials and playground insult show you aren’t interested in the truth of British state bigotry and racism.

  15. Alan Cowan

    RT @leftfootfwd: Should Brian Souter have his knighthood removed? Join NUS Scotland campaign!

  16. Anon E Mouse

    joe kane – “British state bigotry and racism”. Since when did homosexuals become a different race?

    I suppose you’ll now deny that you said: ““Here is some latest news on the happy land of zionist communes inhabited by Scum of the Earth, and slavishly and lovingly supported by the David T’s of the world”

    Hardly a moderate comment. And by the way in your slavish support of muslims perhaps you should consider:

    Hardly a consistent position eh joe kane. Hypocrite….

  17. Eleanor

    Wow, clear to see some commenters here really don’t give a shit about the damage done to gay kids who grew up under Section 28. Euch.

  18. Anon E Mouse

    Eleanor – Perhaps the comments here are just from decent people who think that everybody should be treated equally irrespective of their sexual orientation…

    (The clear exception being the fascist, anti-semitic joe kane above)

  19. Perth College SA

    RT @leftfootfwd: Should Brian Souter have his knighthood removed?

  20. Edward Morgan

    His Knighthood should be removed. A strong message needs to go out to the public that homophobia is completely unacceptable and should be punished.

  21. 13eastie

    Joe – I think you’re getting into a bit of a muddle trying to conflate the Catholic / gay issues.

    I think you might find a Catholic monarch to be a tad less tolerant of homosexuals than the current Royal Family or the vast majority of C. of E. parishioners or clergy – something you’d learn quickly if, instead of adopting your straw-man modus operandi, you attended a few services.

    Too many adjectives; too little evidence.

  22. Selohesra

    Edward – I agree that homophobia is unacceptable however Souter is not promoting homophobia – he was just asking that local aithorities did not promote homosexuality. My sexuality has nothing to do with local authority and nor should anyones elses. Whether he is entitled to his knighthood for whatever else he has done in his life may be a valid question but to penalise him because he takes a different view to you on this issue is simply spiteful

  23. joe kane

    Thanks for not openly insulting me this time when you had the chance. It’s very self-disciplined and civilised of you.

    Just to repeat, the British monarchy is the head of the Church of England which is the established church of the British state and which is plagued with rabid homophobes.

    The British monarchy also practices anti-Catholic bigotry as a matter of official policy.

    I don’t agree with either of these two practices.

    If you wish to continue endlessly apologising and supporting this bigoted racist institition that is your affair – I am merely pointing out the beahviour of British hypocrites who support this homophobic anti-Catholic institution whilst, at the same time, critcising others for such bigotry and who also critice those of us for merely pointing out such hypocrisy.

    The tory rodent with its usual dollop of racist zionist islamophobic hate.
    Nothing much more needs to be said. Self-explanatory.

  24. Anon E Mouse

    joe kane – You are disagreeing with things you have made up. Well done. Not that your oddball views haven’t been expressed frequently – especially with your anti-semitic rants and it seems quasi support of North Korea.

    You said:: “Kim Jong-Il is an ally of the mad hatters of the Republican Chocolate Tea Party!

    Whatever credibility North Korea still had left, in the eyes of the rest of the international community, has been completely undermined.”

    So you thought that prior to Sarah Palin North Korea had some credibility left?

    Perhaps you should go and live in North Korea joe kane.. to be helpful I’ve linked to a travel agent for you…

    Have a nice trip joe kane. No royal family out there plus with your socialist leanings you’ll feel right at home…

  25. joe kane

    The tory rodent is against homophobia, but just as long as they aren’t gay Palestinians or gay Iraqis – because then it’s ok for violent zionist racist Apartheid Israel, andthe tory rodent’s pals in the Tory Party to carry out unspeakable war crimes against them.

    Keep up the great work of anonymous uncivilised abuse, lies and ad hominum arguments on an unmoderated blog – your complete lack of self-discipline, and respect for others and for rational argument just proves how morally, intellectually and democratically bankrupt the Tories and their supporters are.

  26. Anon E Mouse

    joe kane – (From the bits that didn’t have to be censored – heaven knows how bad they were) Your reply here saying:

    “The Israeli state has a frighteneing record of involvement in bloodthirtsy neo-fascist latin American regimes.

    It shouldn’t come as any surprise that zionists don’t support progressive Latin American regimes, such as the current Venezualan government, who don’t murder their own people in huge bloodbaths.”

    Are you seriously asking people to believe that the average Israeli citizen is as bad as the Nazi’s who murdered six million human beings in the holocaust? Where do you get this stuff from joe kane?

    Did mummy not nurture you properly as a baby or did daddy give you a smacky wacky once for torturing a family pet? You really need help fella.

    I suppose the only good thing is there won’t be a Mrs “kane” for people to be concerned about…

  27. joe kane

    The tory rodent just has no self-control on an unmoderated blog – it’s on immature abusive anti-social tory auto-pilot.

    We couldn’t do it without you mousey.

    Keep up the great work.

  28. Anon E Mouse

    joe kane – With Nazi sympathising views like yours where you say: “You see that Nazi Warsaw Ghetto? Breeding like flies so they were. The population inside even increased over time. Who knows how large it might have got.”

    I find it hard to take anything you say seriously – especially with your frankly weird minority world views.

    You love the religion of Islam which means “submission” and where homosexuals can be executed for their unchosen sexuality and woman are treated in a frankly unequal and terrible manner (you like that bit don’t you joe kane) and you have the cheek to criticise the very system that allows you freedom to perpetuate your racist minority view by lying about the royal family.

    I’m no monarchist but do not like people who, like Nick Griffin of the BNP, deny the holocaust and spout hatred into cyberspace and then openly lie about other people.

    Reading over your posts joe kane I think you may need to see a doctor. But don’t make your appointment online – remember Israel invented PHP that runs scripts on the internet and also the Sky card in your satellite system so be careful what you watch.

    Get help joe kane….

  29. joe kane

    ha ha ha ha
    Keep going far right-wing tory rodent.
    I know you can’t help yourself. It’s not your fault.

    You are on the usual anti-social internet power trip of pretending you are enjoying the freedom to harass and abuse innocent, decent people which you assume online anonymity gives you. So predictable and so boring.

    I noticed you tried some of this childish right-wing intimidation stuff on Sue Marsh too, when you went out of your way to let her you know you were monitoring her blog. Oooh, your so scary. So omnipotent. So pathetic.

    Cyberstalkers – Perpetrators Profile
    “The harasser enjoys and demonstrates their power to pursue and psychologically damage the victim.”

  30. Selohsra

    Joe Kane – followed your discussion with Mr Mouse with interest so eventually ‘clicked’ on your name and was taken to the Scottish Palestine Solidarity Campaign – quite a biased hatefilled rant of a site. Incidently (and absolutely genuinely) when I googled SPSC – the first hit was indeed your site but with a comment that ‘this site may be compromised’ and comments about viagra

  31. Anon E Mouse

    joe kane – Me a cyberstalker? Please. Grow up.

    And how a person as abusive as you with your childish “zionist” conspiracy theories who glorified the holocaust and said: “- How is Israel going to liquidate their warsaw ghetto of Gaza I wonder. We are to assume that Israel is such a kind humanitarian state that it would never think of doing anything untoward to the racist victims of its decades old war crimes.

    And don’t forget Pete mate, The Holocaust is exploited by zionists in order to justify their crummy little racist war crime state. The project of creating Israel by stealing Palestine from Palestinians was well under way well before the Nazis came to power never mind what happened in World War II.”

    And with those views you actually have the audacity to call anyone else abusive?

    joe kane – you have been shown to be a dishonest, anti-semetic, racist who glorified in the murder of millions of innocent people for sharing a different religion and then you excuse that very murder?

    Instead of being abuse perhaps you’d care to articulate your position on aliens landing in Roswell or the moon landings since they have as much validity as your “zionist conspiracy” rubbish.

    And why are you using the Israeli internet scripts? See someone joe kane – you have problems…

  32. joe kane

    My daily dose of far-right wing tory rodent abuse continues.

    At least you keep the same anonymous internet name when you troll other websites associated with the Labour Party.

  33. Anon E Mouse

    joe kane – Selohsra above viewed the site at the link from your name and was polite in describing it as a “biased hatefilled rant of a site”. That must be the understatement of the decade.

    I’d describe it for what it is – a vile hate filled anti-semitic site. As the stated holocaust denier that you are joe kane, I’m surprised you keep continuing to respond – most people filled with the kind of hatred that involves them posting viscous posts on the internet in the early hours of the morning would surely be under some kind of medication.

    Your grubby personality means you lied in your post @23 where you claimed I was “monitoring” Sue Marsh’s blog as some means of intimidation. Rubbish. I have read her blog for months and only someone with issues, as your posts here clearly display you have, could see it that way.

    What you find hard to comprehend is that I disagree with Sue Marsh’s partisan nonsense and have nothing against her as an individual. I enjoy her blogging style and feel it’s a shame she cannot separate her sickening loyalty for a political party and her perfectly valid position regarding her articles.

    Not that I’ll take lessons from you joe kane when in common with those other fascists, the BNP, you say: “If there was a Holocaust then how come so many Jews, roughly two-thirds of the potential victims of Himmler’s Death Camps, managed to survive the Nazis?”

    Since you deny the holocaust joe kane what is your theory on the aliens at Roswell?

    Get help. You need it and the Labour Party does not need you commenting on this fine blog or others like it and I feel pretty sure, considering the numbers of disabled people killed by the Nazi’s (which I’m sure you deny), Sue Marsh really wouldn’t want to associate herself with you…

  34. Liz McShane

    No – how do you promote homosexuality or for that mater heterosexuality?

    What Souter was promoting was bigotry, ignorance & intolerance – values which definitely should not be promoted in any modern day, inclusive society.

  35. Anon E Mouse

    Liz McShane – Why promote any type of sexuality?

    Why not just treat everybody equally?

  36. Anon E Mouse

    Liz McShane – You’re on the bus I bet!!

  37. joe kane

    Still at it tory rodent, with your immature, hate-filled, far right-wing racist islamophobic tory abuse. Who would have guessed?

    Love it.

    Carry on.

  38. Anon E Mouse

    joe kane – I have said nothing in this thread that isn’t true, which is why you won’t challenge a single point I have made. You perpetuate a victim mentality because your abhorrent personality and racist character, in keeping with Nick Griffin of the BNP, doesn’t have the confidence to substantiate your remarks of hatred towards other people.

    Elsewhere someone else has said: “I’ve just read through these comments and Joe Kane, you are abusive.

    You descend to insult at the slightest hint that someone disagrees with you. On another thread you used the vile and puerile tactic of appending another person’s name with that of a nazi concentration camp. This was the act of a disturbing and disturbed little man.

    You do yourself and the cause you profess to support no favours. I only hope you are not representative of support for Palestine. If you are, I pity them even more.”

    So before you claim that the truth I post about you is an insult joe kane, please direct your remarks towards this other guy’s comments. Let me guess. He’s also part of your “zionist conspiracy” to ethnically cleanse parts of the world is he?

    Like other racist fascists you’re sick in the head joe kane and really need to seek help….

  39. joe kane

    Love it tory rodent.

    Catch you tomorrow for an another phlegm spattered far right-wing tory paranoid trip into your zionist fantasy world.

  40. Anon E Mouse

    joe kane – You really do need help joe kane. You have managed to get your zionist nonsense and lies into your remarks. Not that that’s unusual for you:

    Elsewhere completely off topic it was said:

    “May I congratulate joekane on somehow bringing ‘zionism’ into this discussion of Cuba. to start with I didn’t think he could manage it, but e=he really went the extra several thousand miles and shoe-horned it in. That’s commitment.”

    You seriously need to see someone joe kane. Your obsession with fantasy conspiracy theories is surely a sign of madness and your open racist holocaust denial is deeply offensive to decent people.

    Get help joe kane….

  41. Alan Gibb

    It is horrific to any decent person that Brian Souter receive a knighthood. Anyone who supports Mr Souter or his views are scum and should be condemned. This man literally verbally attacked thousands of children and promoted an atmosphere where children threatened. Disgusting this man is a criminal not a hero.
    Selohesra- you disgust me, my deepest sympathies are with any children you may have.

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