Too many people in British public life are "shackled by ambition". But there are the few who seek more than short-term career advancement. These are the people of ideas, that challenge, probe, and agitate for change. They are in the business of shaping the future, not of enjoying the comforts of a ministerial Jaguar.
Whatever people think about Alex Salmond and the push for Scottish independence, his statement and actions are the most forthright and supportive on LGBTI equality by any leader of any host nation during a major international sporting event. Neither David Cameron nor Boris Johnson did anything similar during the London Olympics. This is a unique, unprecedented initiative for which Alex Salmond and the Scottish government deserve full credit and commendation. For LGBTI communities in the 42 Commonwealth countries where homosexuality is still criminalised, the Scottish government's pro-LGBTI stance means a lot. It will comfort them and, I hope, discomfort their homophobic governments. It demonstrates Scotland's commitment to a truly equal and inclusive Games. Bravo!
Legalising same-sex marriage was the recognition that lesbian, gay, bisexual and transgender (LGBT) people are of equal worth and have the right to equal treatment in law. The same principle of equality applies in the case of civil partnerships. Heterosexual couples should be able to have a civil partnership.
Much animal suffering is not immediately obvious and visible. They are forced to suffer long, arduous journeys and extended periods tied up, chained or caged - with no freedom of movement. Housed in temporary, transportable accommodation, it is simply not possible for circuses to provide an appropriate environment for wild animals.
Rejoice! The ban on same-sex marriage in England and Wales is being finally lifted after a campaign for its repeal that lasted 43 years. The ban was imposed for the first time in 1971. Previously, there was no legal prohibition on lesbian, gay, bisexual or transgender (LGBT) couples getting married. The outlawing of same-sex marriage is a recent and historically brief invention by what was a deeply homophobic political and religious establishment. At last, in the first few seconds of 29 March, the ban on same-sex marriage is history. Equal marriage will become a reality. Hurrah!
Former Stonewall chief Ben Summerskill has made astonishing allegations against the Liberal Democrats, claiming they never sincerely supported same-sex marriage. He suggested they acted with "cynical and opportunistic" motives. This is outrageous. I don't support the Lib Dems, but they backed equal marriage at a time when Summerskill and the gay lobby group, Stonewall, refused to do so. The Lib Dems deserve credit for their early embrace of marriage for all. Ben's petty, sectarian smears are unbecoming - and unjustified.
On this day, 20 years ago, the film-maker, painter, sculptor, gardener, author and queer rights activist Derek Jarman died of HIV. One of Britain's leading post-1945 avant garde artists, he is best remembered for his dazzling array of ground-breaking films. But it was as a HIV and queer rights campaigner that I knew him best.
This Friday, the Winter Olympics open in the Russian resort of Sochi amid great controversy over the Putin regime's homophobic policies, which clearly violate the anti-discrimination Principle 6 of the Olympic Charter. For me, queer freedom knows no borders. Over the last decade or so, amazing positive gains have been won by the lesbian, gay, bisexual and transgender (LGBT) communities in Britain. But I am an internationalist, not a nationalist. We must not give up the fight until every LGBT person on this planet has equal human rights, respect, dignity and opportunity.
Last year, the government was outvoted in parliament. Against minister's wishes, MPs repealed the section of the Public Order Act 1986 that outlawed "insults"; deeming it to be too sweeping and a threat to freedom of expression. This year, in apparent revenge, the government has, in effect, reintroduced in the insult prohibition under another name.
I have this week written to the Prime Minister, David Cameron, urging a new inquiry into the death of the scientist Alan Turing, who has been finally granted a royal pardon for his 1952 conviction for homosexual relations. Turing is generally believed to have been committed suicide following his conviction and chemical castration. However, the original inquest into his death was perfunctory and inadequate. A new inquiry is long overdue, even if only to dispel any doubts about the true cause of his death - including speculation that he was murdered by the security services.
The existing consent at 16 law was introduced over 100 years ago in a puritanical Victorian era. Since then, society has moved on to more informed and enlightened attitudes about sex... Given that the average age of first sexual experience is 14, then an age of consent of 14 might be more realistic and reasonable than 16.
Commonwealth leaders from around the world meet in Sri Lanka on Friday. Yet again they plan to ignore the criminalisation of lesbian and gay people in 80% of Commonwealth member states. They are refusing to even discuss the current homophobic persecution in Ghana, Cameroon, Zambia, Uganda and Nigeria... At least 41 of the 53 Commonwealth member states still criminalise homosexuality. They account for more than half of the world's countries where same-sex relations are illegal.
Cameron says he's against a boycott of the 2014 Winter Olympics in Russia but he hasn't said what he'll do instead. We are asking the Prime Minster to raise Russia's homophobic repression at the G20 summit. We want him to publicly urge President Putin to repeal the "gay propaganda law" - which bans the "promotion" of homosexuality - and to prosecute the violent homophobes who are terrorising LGBT people in Russia. It is hoped that the 3 September protest will also ramp up pressure on the International Olympic Committee to insist that Russia gives cast-iron assurances that LGBT competitors, spectators and members of the Russian public - and their straight allies - will not be victimised
Manning has been sentenced to 35 years jail for releasing to WikiLeaks classified documents that exposed US war crimes, lies and cover-ups, while the people who committed these criminal acts have never been prosecuted. What kind of justice system jails the person who reveals a crime, while allowing the crime perpetrators to walk away scot-free?
The whole point about the principle of universal human rights is that they apply to everyone - even to people that many of us find objectionable, such as the alleged terrorist orchestrator Abu Qatada... I oppose what Abu Qatada stands for and no doubt he does not share my values. However, even people I oppose have human rights. Our distaste for particular individuals should never be the basis or motive for changes in the law - least of all changes that diminish our hard-won collective liberties.