Love Uganda, hate homophobia: gay pride float in Cape Town in March shows solidarity with LGBT Ugandans. Photo: Getty
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Ugandan court throws out draconian anti-gay law

Country’s Constitutional Court rules that the Anti-Homosexuality Bill was passed illegally. Yet gay sex will remain outlawed. 

One of the world's most punitive and bitterly opposed anti-gay laws, Uganda's Anti-Homosexuality Bill, which was signed by President Yoweri Mosevini in February, was annulled by Uganda's Constitutional Court today. The court found that the speaker of parliament had acted illegally in rushing the bill through despite a lack of quorum.

The bill had increased the penalty for same-sex acts (which were already illegal) – including mere sexual touching – from seven years to life imprisonment, criminalised lesbianism for the first time, made "promoting homosexuality" punishable by up to seven years in jail and even made it a criminal offence for any person in authority who failed to report gays or lesbians to the police within 24 hours.  A clause that included the death penalty for some offences was, however, dropped. 

There was worldwide outcry over the bill, and only last month the US had imposed sanctions on Uganda in protest at it. Whether this signals the start of any real equality for LGBT Ugandans remains to be seen – as it seems that homosexuality will continue to be criminalised, just to a less punitive extent. And in a continent in which 38 out of 53 nations still criminalise homosexuality in some way (many of them, including Uganda, using laws that are remnants of European colonialism), there is little for LGBT Africans to celebrate today.

Thomas Calvocoressi is Chief Sub (Digital) at the New Statesman and writes about visual arts for the magazine.

Photo: Getty Images
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No, Matt Hancock: under-25s are just as entitled to a payrise as the rest of us

At 25, parts of my body were more productive than the whole of Matt Hancock, says Jess Phillips.

I had never heard of Matt Hancock before today, which may be a sign of how productive he has been. He sprang up in my consciousness when he said this at the Tory party conference, when justifying not giving workers under 25 a payrise:

"Anybody who has employed people knows that younger people, especially in their first jobs, are not as productive, on average. Now there are some who are very productive under the age of 25 but you have to set policy for the average. It was an active choice not to cover the under 25s.”
No it bloody wasn't an active choice based on productivity! Lord knows this Government have failed to remember productivity for the past five years. How convenient to remember it when swindling young people.

Let's pretend for a minute that the Governments living wage is just that. Is Matt Hancock saying  that workers under 25 don't deserve to afford be able to live? By the time I was 25 I had a 3 year old. Did my son and I not deserve to be able to live? Oh and while they are there telling me I'm was an undeserving yoof, Hancock is now calling me useless. I don't know Matt Hancock I won't assume he was a lazy entitled toff, but I will wager at 23 I was as, if not more productive than him. I bet you I could have done his job, but he would have struggled to do mine. Maybe I'm wrong and he would have been a great support worker for refugees and carer for people with Alzheimer's all on three hours sleep a night whilst lactating.

Now, I'm not being fair. Of course he couldn't lactate.

The reason the government did this is nothing to do with productivity levels of young adults. It is because once again their limited life experience means that they think mummy and daddy pay for everything. Look no further than ridiculous student fees, cutting housing benefit for young people and now this "you don't deserve to be able to live" wage.

The hilarious thing will be when some employers completely disprove Hancock’s assertions and rush to employ lazy unproductive under 25s because they have to pay them less.
I won't bore you or Hancock with lists of brilliant examples of productive under 25s. The Twitter hashtag #at25 is full of great examples. The history of sport, science, music, art and computing is awash with inspiring world changing young people.Mr Hancock, here is a lesson I learned from the hundreds of productive young people I meet, be honest and say what you think. Your insulting gaffe is a pathetic spun cover up you arrived at when you were backed in to an impossible unjustifiable position. What you should have said was, "oh the reason we don't want to pay under 25s more is because we don't really care about them and let's be honest they don't really vote. Toodle pip."