The Not-So-Independent View of Christians Working in Parliament

Back in 1992 when I was a visiting law student in London, I interned with a Conservative backbencher. I got the job because of my pro-life credentials. I wrote to the sister of a family acquaintance, but since she had been elevated into the Government of the day and was not allowed unpaid interns, she referred me to another Tory MP who was very active in the pro-life movement.

Thus, I was quite interested to read in the Independent today that a Christian pro-life charity has been sponsoring interns to work at Westminster. Of course for the left-wing Independent, this is a rather dastardly thing. This is particularly bad since it is “allowing them unrestricted access to Westminster in the run-up to highly sensitive and potentially close votes on the Human Fertilisation and Embryology (HFE) Bill next month.” Never mind that Christian Action, Research and Education (Care) has run the internship programme for 10 years.

There is no suggestion that Care has actually done anything wrong. The only thing the Independent found to exploit is that two of the twelve members of Parliament who have Care interns failed to note them as such in the main register of members interests. It is not a lack of public record as to their sponsorship. The interns themselves have registered this. The paper even admitted, “There is no suggestion of wrongdoing on the part of any of the MPs who employ Care research assistants.”

There is not even any evidence that Care-sponsored interns are lobbying MPs about the HEF Bill or anything else. It’s just that they could.

The Independent knows that Care is an evil organisation because it campaigned against the repeal of the infamous Section 28 of the Local Government Act 1988. Section 28 banned the promotion of homosexuality in schools. It also campaigned against assisted suicide in the House of Lords (or what the Independent likes to call “assisted dying”). Why didn’t the Independent mention that Tom Harris has a staffer who is Parliamentary & Campaigns Officer for the pro-euthanasia activist group Dignity in Dying? Or for that matter, that Bob Laxton employs the Chief Executive of the Birmingham Brook Advisory Centre, an organisation that promotes abortion?

And the Independent does not mention that there are members with staff who are sponsored by other organisations with political agendas – it’s just that the agendas are more fitting with the views of the Independent. For example, Michael Clapham employs someone registered as “Independent Parliamentary and Political Consultant” and lists eight organisation as clients. Natascha Engel has a staff member who is Parliamentary and Campaigns Officer for the Terrence Higgins Trust, an HIV charity which encourages promiscuity as a partner of Playzone: “We’re working in partnership with gay venues to improve conditions and make your play safer.” Eliot Morley has a staffer who is “Parliamentary Consultant, Network for Animals”. Fabian Hamilton has a staffer who is involved as Parliamentary liaison/research for the trade union Amicus. Lindsay Hoyle employs one of their Policy Officers. Doug Henderson employs the National Political Officer of the GMB union. Diana Johnson employers a Regional Manager for Unison. Edward O’Hara employs two staffers who are Parliamentary Assistants for Age Concern. I know this is a fairly innocuous organisation, but it is a lobbying group nonetheless.

Or how about the fact that Michelle Glidernew and Martin McGuiness of Sinn Fein have staff on the register at all? Neither has taken their seat since being elected, because they won’t take the oath of allegiance. However, Sinn Fein’s press office assures me that they are entitled to public money for this and most everything else, just like any other MPs.

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Feeling Harrassed, Love?

Acts of Parliament are nice and all, but hardly necessary most of the time. There is a reason that the system of government in this country is called an elective dictatorship. Women and Equalities Minister Harriet Harman has once again demonstrated how this works.

Using a statutory instrument, which is basically ministerial fiat, she has decided that rules about sexual harrassment are going to change. Employers will now be held responsible for the acts of customers. I say “acts,” but the amount of action required to support a demand for compensation is quite minimal.

Calling a barmaid or a shop assistant “love”, “darling”, or even “young lady” will be enough. Since this is common parlance for a large segment of society, it will not take long for it to happen three times. That’s the minium for making a claim. Not three times from the same customer, or three times in the same day – just three times total.

It is anticipated that large notices warning customers will be posted everywhere on business premises. However, given that pubs, as well as restaurants and other leisure environments where alcohol is served, deal with a significant number of customers whose inhibitions have been reduced, it may be difficult for them to restrain themselves from such sexual harrasment, not to mention more egregious violations, such as asking a female staff member on a date.

Any claim made will be assumed to be proved. The burden of proof will be on employers to prove that they were not at fault. And remember, what is or is not harrassment is entirely up to the subjective feelings of the person claiming to have been offended. The employer doesn’t even need to have had prior notice that the employee would find a particular familiarity by a customer to be offensive.

This will all be enforced by tribunals run by the Government’s Commission for Equality and Human Rights. More bureaucrats.

Y Rod Liddle is Right

Not one to excessively meta-blog, but I have to recommend Rod Liddle’s column in The Sunday Times today.

He opines on the murder of Sophie Lancaster and the pustules of society that perpetrated it. He also comments on Tracy Lagondino, the woman who is pregnant and goes by the name Thomas Beatie. Apparently because she has had some plastic surgery and hormone treatments and changed her name, this is somehow remarkable.

The State of Oregon also let her change the “F” to “M” on her driver’s license, because Oregon believes that sex is determined by plastic surgery, hormone treatments and a name change. This make her transgendered. What legal fiction. She may be gender dysphoric – though apparently not as much as she used to be if she’s having a baby – but while doctors fill her with drugs and chop bits off, they still can’t change XX to XY.

Hoisted

Thanks to Mr Malvern for his comments on my posting about Susan Pope, the nurse at Malvern St James school who was sacked for smacking her foul-mouthed son on the bum. He noted that the school bursar who sent the letter sacking Mrs Pope has himself been sacked.

Mr Malvern was quite generous in his description of the Denis Smith’s offences. He didn’t mention that Mr Smith rammed a police car in his drunken attempt to evade police driving through Malvern streets at 80 mph. Having worked in Malvern, I have to commend Mr Smith on his driving skills. I would not be able to drive anywhere near that fast if I wanted to, even fully sober.

Being a keen letter-writer, Mr Smith did not wait to receive his P45. He resigned. I’m guessing he figured that if the school was willing to sack someone even though they did not commit an offence, he probably didn’t stand much of a chance.

Anyhow a couple links for those interested: Malvern Gazette and Worcester News.

To modify something I heard during the Eliot Spitzer fiasco, let me make the introductions: Denis, petard. Petard, Denis.

Power Crazy Parking Nazis

Just came across this on one of The Times blogs:

The Ten Craziest Parking Tickets of All Time

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Government Profiteering Through Fees

I got my new passport today. I’m good to travel for another ten years.

I wanted to move my Indefinite Leave to Remain visa from my old passport to the new one. Seems like it would be a fairly straightforward procedure. Given everything I’ve paid in fees in the past, you would think it is would be free. Okay, maybe there would be a small administrative charge for the transferring the sticker, or even pasting a new one in the new passport.

Not exactly. There is a £160 fee. It’s like a 10-year recurring tax to be a taxpayer. But that’s for having it done by post. So I’ll just take in personally and have it done. Less administrative hassle for the bureaucrats, so a much cheaper fee, right?

Not exactly. The fee goes up. Way up. So what does the Government charge me for using my own petrol and taking time off work to make things easier for them? £500. There is an advantage to me though. I don’t have to wait up to 14 weeks to get my documents returned. So I suppose I’m paying for the privilege of not being prevented from traveling for three months.

But there’s more. Just as if I was applying to enter the UK for the first time, I have to answer the usual questions:

In times of either peace or war have you or any dependants included in this application ever been involved, or suspected of involvement, in war crimes, crimes against humanity or genocide?

Have you or any dependants included in this application ever been involved in, supported or encouraged terrorist activities in any country?

Have you or any dependants included in this application ever been a member of, or given support to, an organisation which has been concerned in terrorism?

Why do they ask these questions? Do they honestly think that someone is going to be involved in genocide or terrorism and then admit to it on a government form? This is honestly sillier that then question at the airline check-in counter about whether you packed your own bag, as if you are suddenly going to remember that a strange Middle Eastern man showed up at your house and asked if he could pack your bag for you, just as a random act of kindness.

Fortunately, I don’t have to answer the questions (which wouldn’t be a problem) or pay the £160 (which would), as long as I keep my old passport with me. I just have to present both documents when I want to get back into the country. As I see it, why should I pay £160 when it is going to cost me £655 to apply for citizenship and it will take the same amount of time to process the application?

It is much cheaper to become an American citizen. $330 (or about £165). A replacement green card is $190 (£95). Is this just another example of Rip-off Britain?

Family Values

15-year-old Brendan Harris and 16-year-old Ryan Herbert are killers. They so brutally killed a 20-year-old girl that emergency services could not tell whether she was male or female. Her boyfriend was left for dead, but eventually came out of his coma. Harris and Herbert brutally attacked Robert Maltby and murdered Sophie Lancaster because they looked different. As reported in the Daily Mail:

Someone was heard to shout “let’s bang him” and the Harris started the orgy of violence with a flying kick to [Maltby’s] head.

The gang, described in court as “acting like a pack of wild animals”, then punched, jumped and stamped on his head until he was unconscious.

Miss Lancaster cried for them to stop as she cradled her boyfriend’s head on her lap.

Her plea went unheeded as Herbert delivered a volley kick to her face, with Harris joining in to kick and stamp on her head as she lay on the ground.

When paramedics arrived and found the couple lying side by side covered in blood, they could not tell what sex she was such was the severity of the injuries to her face.

The pattern of some footwear was still on her head. Both fell into comas but Miss Lancaster never regained consciousness and died in hospital 13 days later.

But of all of the information I read about this horrible case, the most disturbing was, “Police also revealed today that both the boys and their parents had laughed and joked throughout the court case.” On camera on the BBC Six O’Clock New the police talked about how both Brendan and his mother laughed when he was being questioned during the investigation.

Is it any surprise that these scum of the earth have no conscience? Scum breeds scum.

I am reminded of something I saw recently in my discovery of the parts of the Bible I’m just now reading:

Do not desire a multitude of useless children,
Nor rejoice in ungodly sons.
If they multiply, do not rejoice over them
If the fear of the Lord is not in them.
Do not trust in their life
Nor pay attention to their multitude;
For one godly child is better than a thousand.
And it is better to die childless than to have ungodly children.
For from one child with wisdom a city will be filled with people,
But a tribe of lawless men will make it desolate.

Sirach 16:1-4