If I were a practicing Christian, I think I'd resent the assumption of sameness: one is a Christian, therefore one must cast a vote with banning abortion, advocating censorship and banning sex education at the top of your agenda.
"It has been the misfortune of this age, that everything is to be discussed, as if the constitution of our country were to be always a subject rather of altercation than enjoyment." - Edmund Burke anticipates the Neverendum
"We are opposed to the US and British Government waging war even if they bully the UN Security Council into passing a resolution giving the go ahead to attacking Iraq".Instead - just like all the rest - the SSP demanded more time for the UN, despite the fact that they were aware of the effects of sanctions:
"After a decade and more of punitive sanctions, Iraq is on its knees."And again in the same piece:
"starving of hundreds of thousands Iraqi children is another..."...reason for the rise of Islamic militancy, that is.
He said Mr Blair had taken only one stand in the last eight years, over the Iraq war, "and he couldn't even tell the truth about that".Hmmm, well no one could accuse Michael Howard of making a stand on Iraq; he seems to have made several and it's a bit confusing trying to keep up but these are the key point I think: IDS was leader when Parliament voted on the invasion. IDS supported the government's position, which was entirely predictable given that he had previously raised the question of confronting Saddam Hussein militarily when Afghanistan was being debated on the floor of the Commons.
Chick is repeating the line he used in the European elections and is hoping to capitalise on the Lib Dems "principled" opposition to the war:
"Every Labour and Conservative candidate should be held to account by voters over the Iraq war", Liberal Democrat leader Charles Kennedy has argued.Yeah well, despite the fact that Liberals are almost as rare as Tories in Glasgow, if I track down a candidate, I think I'll be looking for the Liberal Democrat to give an account of themselves because, despite my best efforts (Chick hasn't responded to my e-mail, y'see), I can't get an answer to this question: Mr. Kennedy, you say we should vote for your party because - in your own words - of your "principled position on the war". You then go on to imply that your party opposed the war because a second (he means an eighteenth) resolution from the UN Security Council was not forthcoming. The problem with that is the Kosovo camaign - backed by the Lib Dems - did not have a specific UN mandate either. Your begging the question, Charlie-boy: what was the principle on which you opposed the war exactly? I'd really be interested to know...
Speaking in his current capacity as education convener, he says tackling the problem of unemployment and the skills shortage among young people starts in the classroom. "Our schools and our teachers have to understand that they are part of the city’s economy," he says. "Therefore we have to ensure that they are providing our young people with the life skills and the confidence to share in this buoyant economy of Glasgow."Life skills?
"I think it’s important we stretch the most able children and get the young people into university and higher education. But for those for whom that is not a route, they have the basic life skills to get themselves up in the morning, to dress appropriately, and sell themselves with confidence in an interview. Many of our young people in Glasgow don’t have those skills. We need to work harder at providing our young people with the soft skills employers want."So my job, it seems, is to provide docile workers for Glasgow's employers. As a believer in a liberal education, I don't buy this of course (hence the strapline) but even if I did, I'm not sure I'm equipped to do so. People talk about compulsory education but the only thing that appears to be compulsory in Glasgow City is attendance; everything else seems to be negotiable. Indiscipline in Glasgow schools is probably the biggest barrier to learning - so how about a bit more support for teachers and schools who attempt to impose some order, only to be frustrated by parents, lawyers, social workers, child psychologists and the other ancillary professionals who apparently deeply and sincerely believe that teachers are the "enemy"?
Today the Vatican; tomorrow Poland. Ah hem - only joking, sort of. By all accounts the new pontiff is pretty much like the previous one, with the doctrinal conservatism but without John Paul's warmth or charisma. My sympathies are with those reformist Catholics who are dismayed by this appointment and specifically with Hans Kung who, despite having fallen foul of Ratzinger's theological conservatism, appears unwilling to give way to pessimism.
However, while this pontiff seems unlikely to be a unifying candidate, I'm wondering if it's right to suggest that the adoption of a more liberal theology - while desirable from a socially liberal perspective - will help stem the decline in Catholic congregations world wide because evidence for this seems rather scant: theological liberalism hasn't done either the Church of England or the Church of Scotland much good, whereas those brances of religion that have been relatively inflexible theologically appear to be experiencing considerable growth in various parts of the world. After all, Islam is the world's fastest-growing religion and in Latin America, the Catholic church has been plugging away with a liberation theology approach - only to have been outstripped by the huge growth in Evangelical protestantism. It's a little reported fact that the congregation growth in that part of the world is the largest expansion in protestantism since the Reformation. It seems that doctrinal conservatism, combined with modern techniques in evangelism, is the key to success here.
"Capitalism is a system that breeds division and hatred. It is unable to seriously challenge racism, homophobia and religious hatred, because these problems are rooted in the system itself."The weakness of this argument is one found all too often on the hard left: they err because they know not their history, nor their Marx. Even a superficial understanding of human history should give one the insight that the existence of poverty, hatred, racism, homophobia and sexism pre-date capitalism. And what I mean by being more "Marxist than Marx" is this: it would need to be more than superficial but - and I hate being the bearer of bad news - a proper understanding of Marx should not lead one to believe that capitalism is the worst thing the human race has ever had to endure.
|Liberal Democrat 62|
|UK Independence Party -23|
The Green Party, which is of course strong on environmental issues, takes a strong position on welfare issues, but was firmly against the war in Iraq. Other key concerns are cannabis, where the party takes a liberal line, and foxhunting, which unsurprisingly the Greens are firmly against.
Take the test at Who Should You Vote For
Funnily enough, I was thinking of voting that way...as long as they don't expect me to hug any trees that is...