Category Archives: Society

The perplexing logic of Nadine Dorries

AFTER three and a half years of being an MP, Nadine Dorries is still finding the concept of consistency a bit tricky.

In March this year, she waged a disgraceful and unprincipled campaign against female Labour MPs, ostensibly because if their support for abortion, but in fact because Nadine thinks their small parliamentary majorities are vulnerable to the Tories.

On March 17 this year, Nadine wrote:

According to the Sunday Times, Dawn Primarolo MP, the Health Minister, will this week attempt to persuade MPs to retain the 24 week limit.

Now, why would a government Minister want to persuade MPs to vote against the will of the people?

Isn’t that why we, as MPs, are in Westminster, as representatives of the people? Isn’t that what democracy is about, accountability to the people?

If I were a government MP with a small majority, and the Tories leading in the polls, I would think very carefully about making sure I voted the way the majority of my constituents wanted. Maybe, on the day of the vote, I might just leave my arrogance at the entrance of the yes lobby; and cast a vote for decency and humanity, and not union funded political ideology.

Yet today, on her blog online diary (no comments allowed), she offers a frank and eloquent argument against the so-called “right to die”. Now, as it happens, I agree with Nadine on both points: her attempts to reduce the upper time limit for abortions to 20 weeks (even though she actually voted for amendments which would have reduced it to far lower) and her opposition to euthanasia.

But opinion polls – on which she relied heavily to make her nasty arguments against parliamentary colleagues back in March – consistently show majority support for the right to end one’s own life. Nadien said in March that “If I were a government MP with a small majority, and the Tories leading in the polls, I would think very carefully about making sure I voted the way the majority of my constituents wanted.”

That’s the danger of claiming public support for your own views and actions. When I voted in favour of 90 and then 42 days’ detention before charge of terrorist suspects, I did so knowing that the public largely agreed with me. But if they had not, that wouldn’t have prevented me from voting for something I believed to be right.

Nadine took the view in March that because the public supported the lowering of the abortion limit, every MP in the House should have reflected that in their vote, regardless of their personal convictions. Today, Nadine believes the views of the majority can be safely ignored.

Six months is a long time in politics when you live in NadineLand.

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6 Comments

Filed under Blogging, Parliament, Society

The muse is ’pon me

I RECEIVED this delightful festive poem by email this week. It’s from “Freedom2Choose” and it’s about that most seasonal of subjects: the smoking ban.

Wouldn’t you just love to go to a party thrown by this lot over the Christmas break? I’ll bet it’s a right old laugh riot listening to their many, many anecdotes about how miserable life is now that they can’t roll up and light up in pubs.

I present for you, the Freedom2Choose e-Christmas card. Enjoy.

xmase-card2picture-34

Okay, I admit that wasn’t strictly the original poem. I was just messin’ with your mind. This is the original:

xmase-card-original

62 Comments

Filed under Society, Whimsy

All hail, Sadie!

MY OWN modest efforts to expose (and make fun of) the melodramatic scaremongering of wild-eyed libertarian types pale into insignificance compared to this wonderful post by Sadie – you know, her off of Sadie’s Tavern.

Absolutely brilliant.

6 Comments

Filed under Blogging, Society

Comment of the week

TAKING a leaf out of Kerry McCarthy’s book, I’ve decided to initiate a Comment of the Week Award, to go to whoever leaves the most thoughtful, intelligent, bizarre, weird or wittiest comment over the previous week. There is no actual prize, of course – just the prestige and pride which will inevitably accompany such an honour.

And remember, the choice of Comment of the Week does not necesarily reflect or represent the views of the And another thing… Corporation, its shareholders or employees. 

And the inaugural award goes to one of my most regular contributers, Wrinkled Weasel, for this comment on yesterday’s post, Our Christian heritage still matters.

That’s funny, I thought I was visiting Cranmer for a minute, there.

You ask “why do our local authorities find it impossible to recognise and acknowledge other people’s traditions without feeling the need to devalue our indigenous faith?”

It’s a profound question. I am trying desperately here not to be party political, so here goes.

Local Government employees have it drummed into them that “equality” is paramount. It is an incessant background tape loop that informs everything they do. They are informed, in no uncertain terms, that “minorities” get a bad deal and that they must be given special consideration in all decisions. It leads to the rather crazy stories you get, such as the recent one in Bristol (a PC hotspot) where Stonewall was consulted when an attempt was made to clear foliage on Clifton Downs in case gay cruisers’ rights were infringed. (No one actually thought to contact local residents, whose homes look out on the Downs and who have to view a variety of perverted activities including those of doggers, whose pressure group got left out) It leads to a whole raft of local initiatives that can broadly be described as Political Correctness gone Mad. Strangely, I believe they are only doing their duty. There is enormous pressure on employees to be politically correct – inadvertently calling someone “love” or “duck” or “hinny” or “moi luvvrrr” or any of the local terms of endearment can have you before a disciplinary panel. Scary eh?

The background to this is a pluralistic, relativistic society with a tendency to favour aetheism. Hitherto real minorities have been foregrounded. Religious festivals emanating from outwith the UK have been given special prominence, in a genuine attempt to aid integration, but in doing so some ground has been lost by the predominant, ruling ethos, which was Christian.

Couple this with the spiritual reaction to Christians. As a genuine Christian you understand how people do not wish to be confronted with Sin – or to be more specific, their separation from God. Given the chance, they will find every excuse to run away from what we understand to be the Truth.

This mix of PC coupled with genuine social concerns, alongside man’s innate hatred of God is toxic. It is accompanied by a relativistic and at times nihilistic world view. It is also prey the the natural desire to be at the top of the tree – as soon as a minority senses it has a voice and a foothold, it will push for more and more.

Our philosophical abode, our legacy of popular thinking, has created a pyramid of hegemony with small groups angling for a higher perch. It has spawned an ethos that declares an end to scapegoating, but in reality it has merely created another scapegoat.

All of this comes into play in the working out of local government policy, as applied by its workers.

At the moment, we have an interesting dichotomy. The perceived demands of one group (e.e.Muslims) are in conflict with those of another (e.g.Gays). This is just one example of how this philosophical hook upon which local govts. hang their policies will ultimately break down. They cannot serve the demands of both communities when those communties have diametrically opposed agendas.

Christianity has so far been an easy target. We tend to be a bit laid back about it all. Yes there are a lot of loonies, but on the whole we are cool about attacks on our beliefs. What will be interesting to watch is to see society fragment even more, when the very minorities that have been championed start fighting like ferrets in a sack. This is one Pandora’s box that will lead to a very serious rethink of local government policy, if not national policy. At least, I hope so.

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Filed under Blogging, Church, Society

‘More than half’ support ID cards

I HAVEN’T seen survey results with respect to support for, or opposition to, ID cards for a while. So I was pleasantly surprised to read this story in today’s Telegraph.

Although the paper inevitably describes the figure of 55 per cent public support for the scheme as a “slump”, it reveals that fewer than half that number are opposed to the scheme.

Fifty-five per cent. And that represents a drop in support.

Fifty-five per cent is a higher proportion of the public than has ever voted for any political party.

Yet I’m confused: according to the entirely representative section of the public who post comments on this blog, 98 per cent of the public not only oppose ID cards, but claim they will be used to usher in a police state and a new Soviet Era. So does that mean that more than half of the population wants a police state?

Discuss.

25 Comments

Filed under Politics, Society

Our Christian heritage still matters

WHILE my mind’s on the subject, I thought it might be useful to try to add a bit more than Daily Mail-style indignation to the debate on “political correctness gone mad” with regards to Christmas.

It’s vital that all our communities value and respect other religions and honour their traditions. But the problem I have with the London City Hall approach – and this is replicated all over the country now, including in Glasgow – is that Christmas as a Christian celebration is now regarded as just one of a number of religious events during winter.

In fact, I don’t attach a great deal of spiritual importance to Christmas. It’s arguable that the Christmas story, romantic and beautiful though it undoubtedly is, is far less important to Christians than the Easter story. St Paul, who wrote a good deal of the New Testament (after the four gospels and the Acts of the Apostles) seems not to have known about Christ’s birth in Bethlehem and the search of the Magi. Or even of the little drummer boy, come to that.

But Britain is a Chistian country. That does not mean that most of our citizens attend church regularly, or even adhere to the central tenets of Christianity. But we have a strong and important Christian heritage, and most Britons are cultural Christians, if not religious ones. And culture still matters.

There’s nothing wrong in embracing that fact, in accepting the fact of our Christian heritage.

In Middle Eastern Muslim countries where Christmas is celebrated, would anyone object to it nevertheless being regarded generally as less important than Eid?

Why shouldn’t children be taught the Christmas story in our schools?

Why must we feel defensive about saying that in the UK, Christmas is not just one of the religious festivals in winter, but the most important?

And why do our local authorities find it impossible to recognise and acknowledge other people’s traditions without feeling the need to devalue our indigenous faith?

Here endeth the lesson.

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Filed under Church, Media, Society

Better late than never

MOST people will welcome James Purnell’s welfare reform package. As an MP in a city that has been crippled by benefit dependency, I have no problem at all in telling claimants that they should make a contribution to society.

But what a pity we weren’t more radical in our first or second term, when we had 160-plus majorities. To get these new reforms through now, we’ll either have to do deals with the Tories or avoid left-wing rebellions by watering down the plans to the extent that they’ll be completely ineffective. I would prefer the former, but would much prefer not to have to do any deals at all.

The scandal of incapacity benefit (IB) claim levels is one for which the government should take its share of the blame; IB culture has led not only to a huge expense on the public purse but also, more importantly, to an unacceptable waste of human talent and resource, and contributed significantly to the growth of the underclass.

But let’s not forget that the policy of deliberately moving people off unemployment benefit into disability benefits was Margaret Thatcher’s. And after Thatcher had gone, the Tories never paid any serious attention to repairing that damage. For me, that was the greatest calamity inflicted on our nation by the Conservatives, and it is one for which they should never be forgiven. Iain Duncan Smith is a decent man who clearly has a genuine concern for people caught up in the benefits web, and for all the horrific social consequences that result. But I hope that he and other sensible members of his party will at least acknowledge that, while Labour could have, and should have, acted sooner and more radically, we are merely trying to clear up the mess left by his government.

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Filed under Conservative Party, Government, Society