Osborne re-toxifies Tory brand for Catholics?

Generally speaking I try to keep this blog apolitical for a multitude of reasons, perhaps because like many Christians I have absolutely no idea where I fall on the political spectrum: biblical Christianity does not fit neatly into the left/right praxis of modern Western democracies and currently like many orthodox Christians and Catholics and it would seem, most of the electorate, I feel politically disenfranchised. If an election were called tomorrow, I couldn’t vote for any mainstream political party in good conscience, and even choosing the candidate most likely to reflect Catholic teaching is a rather tough call in Brighton and Hove.

Any residual sympathy for the Tories, who seem to be more sympathetic to a pro life agenda and who, unlike Labour, allow their MPs a free conscience vote on matters such as same sex marriage and life issues, has dissipated with George Osborne’s announcement that he plans to curb child tax credits. The precise details have not yet been announced but this will be a blow to thousands of families already feeling the squeeze in the most difficult economic climate for generations.

Make no mistake, the welfare system does need an enormous overhaul, we are trapped in a vicious circle where most families need government welfare in order to top up household income to afford the cost of living. Whilst the government continues to subsidise us, the deficit continues to grow and employers have no incentive to raise wages and thus the cycle continues, but if working tax credits are withdrawn thousands of families will fall into poverty, with waves of house repossessions and potentially catastrophic circumstances.

Osborne’s answer to the spiralling welfare bill seems to be very short-sighted, namely to stop families from having too many children in order to reduce the state’s financial burden. Whilst this might appear to be a sensible policy on the surface, anyone in dire financial straits who seriously cannot afford to feed, clothe or house additional children should temporarily delay having children until they are in a better position, it does at the very least, send a very clear message that more than two children should be the preserve of the wealthy. It also dangerously assumes that the state should assume financial responsibility for families, which of course, is one of the difficulties with welfare as a whole.

The problem is that in an ideal world, welfare should be a safety net only, society has a duty and obligation to look after those who are unable to provide for themselves, however we have got ourselves into a situation where most families rely on assistance from the state, for better or worse. The ideal would be for the state to help families wean themselves off support, however this is not going to happen when wages are not keeping pace with rising inflation, not to mention the catastrophic property boom which has made buying and even renting a family home, out of the reach of many.

If George Osborne curbs child tax credit, the effect will be felt hardest amongst families at the lower end of the earnings scale. Apparently the thinking behind it is to prevent the caricature families with 15 children, parents who have never worked, possess large flat screen TVs, coupled with smoking and drinking habits that the mainstream media like to demonise. No doubt there are families like this who do abuse the system, but welfare is a very blunt instrument with which to cut down on abuses, and as the ESA reforms show, it is largely innocent people who get caught in the crossfire.

From a pro-life point of view these reforms could well exacerbate the soaring abortion rate as well as encourage euthanasia twenty years down the line, when our ever-aging population finds that it has a real shortage of young people to boost the economy. Who is going to work to pay taxes to help fund the costs of care for us when we are elderly and sick? Will there be enough people to actually physically look after us or will care homes and hospitals find themselves with labour shortages? Is it fair to put the burden of looking after elderly parents on one child?

The abortion statistics show year after year, that the majority of abortions occur in the 25+ age category. Around 30% of women who terminate their pregnancies are aged 30 and over. These are very often women who already have a family, who are well aware of foetal development, who know the realties of pregnancy and child-rearing and yet feel that they have no other realistic choice. It’s a situation with which I have much personal empathy. I know only too well what it is like to be pregnant and worried about the future holds, to be seriously scared about whether or not you will be able to provide for another child, financially, practically and emotionally. Even if your child tax credits are not topped up substantially, the extra £13 per week in child benefit provides reassurance that at least the nappies will be affordable. For those thinking that an extra baby need not be a huge expense – simply the nappies, without any other expenditure put an extra burden on the grocery bill, and that’s before one’s thought about formula milk, then later shoes, which can’t always be passed down, and the extra food required – break, milk, cereals, fruit and veg, which have all seen substantial price rises over the past few years. I still shudder when I realise that it’s impossible to buy a loaf of bread for under £1 in most supermarkets.

Women who abort, don’t tend to do it for just one reason alone, there are a plethora of inter-related anxieties, of which money and finances often feature highest on the agenda, particularly for those who already have children. For many it is not simply a case of having to forgo luxuries but very real pressing concerns about making ends meet. George Osborne might think he is preventing dependence on the state, but the grave side effect of this policy is that it will encourage abortion. What happens to a woman who loses her job or whose partner loses their job or perhaps walks out on her when she’s pregnant and already has children to look after? She either aborts, adopts or struggles to fend for her children, but it’s hard to give hope and encouragement when the government are saying that unless you have a steady permanent well-paid job, your children are not welcome. It’s certainly at odds with a government whose leading members are wanting to reduce the abortion time limits.

It makes no sense that Ian Duncan-Smith’s eminently more sensible idea of means testing payments such as the winter fuel allowance for the elderly, many of whom are the baby boomers who have profited from the property bubble and are enjoying a lavish retirement, has been rejected, in favour of targeting so-called feckless families and only drives these families further into poverty, regardless of whether or not they are in work. Perhaps the Government needs to do more in terms of job creation?

It is fear of stigmatisation, fear of people’s perceptions, fear of being written off as being either a feckless teenage mum or a scrounger on welfare that is a very real deterrent for women with unplanned pregnancies, along with concerns about how they are going to manage. These proposed welfare cuts are a real blow to creating a more life accepting society.

I am not sure whether or not a Catholic in good conscience could endorse such a government which not only seeks to use its powers to limit the number of children the average family has (given the previously mooted cuts to child benefit) but also creates an environment more likely to drive women to abortion. What if these so-called feckless families out of work continue to have children, undeterred by the cuts? Even if they save money on the welfare bill, they are still likely to cost more in terms of needing support from other services such as health or education providers.

The words of Paul VI seem ever more prophetic.

Who could blame a government for applying to the solution of the problems of the community those means acknowledged to be licit for married couples in the solution of a family problem? Who will stop rulers from favoring, from even imposing upon their peoples, if they were to consider it necessary, the method of contraception which they judge to be most efficacious? In such a way men, wishing to avoid individual, family, or social difficulties encountered in the observance of the divine law, would reach the point of placing at the mercy of the intervention of public authorities the most personal and most reserved sector of conjugal intimacy.

Distraction technique?

Jeremy Hunt has now added his voice to that of Maria Miller, only this time he’s gone even further, stating that he would like to see the abortion limit dropped to 12 weeks.

Whilst many of us are delighted to see abortion back up at the top of the political agenda, I can’t help but inwardly sigh at all the inevitable clichés that are going to be trotted out by all sides.

Abortion is an apolitical, secular issue which requires neither recourse to any sort of theism or tribal party loyalty of any description. It boils down to one very simple question: is it ever morally justified to take the life of an unborn child? A negative answer does not necessitate an appeal to God or any belief as to a free-market economy, as evidenced by the various commie, atheist and pagan members of the UK secular pro-life society.

Anyone care to guess how many articles are going to be churned out by the Guardian on this over the weekend? Smoke is already erupting from the keyboards of Diane Abbot and Sarah Ditum. Christian right wing, US tactics, culture wars, women’s health, blah blah.

Nope, just a bunch of people who think killing unborn children is quite wrong. Women do not need direct abortion for their health and how, in this instance late term abortion with all its horrors and side effects can be justified as healthy, is beyond me.

As far as pro-life is concerned, Andy Stephenson is quite correct, this is all a total irrelevance. Time limits and survival rates of premature babies are not the main issue here. The question is when does life begin? Not when does sentience start or when can the baby be said to be alive or philosophical beard stroking as to definitions of awareness, but when does human life begin? If not at conception when precisely does the unborn child suddenly become either human or alive?

The science is firmly on the side of the pro-lifers, even Ann Furedi of BPAS admits as much, writing that

“the question is not when does life begin but when does it begin to matter?”

The answer to that does not depend upon religious views or political leanings although of course they may influence one’s answer. I can’t reconcile myself with how the Labour party, once traditionally preoccupied with the protection of the poorest and most vulnerable in society, with its traditional ideology of solidarity, can ride roughshod over the rights of humanity on the grounds that it is not yet born. The lives of those humans who are yet to make the journey through the birth canal are not as important as those who have?

Abortion limits matter little when one is talking about the lives of the unborn. It is as abhorrent to kill a three week old unborn baby (who incidentally has a heartbeat) as it is one at twenty four weeks.

Whilst all pro lifers support measures that would reduce the amount of abortions being performed and suffering caused to women, actually what we want to see is an end to abortion.

Neither Jeremy Hunt, Maria Miller or even Nadine Dorries are pro life as they all support a lowering of limits and nothing more. It’s laughable when they are portrayed as pro-life bigots when the truth is that pro-lifers are crying out for politicians who openly support the cause and not what they believe to be achievable.

Personally, like many others I am in favour of a reduction in limits as it will save lives and avert terrible suffering, but there is the risk that such a measure could backfire. We know that women are often pressured and coerced by others, not least by the abortion industry itself. An early limit could in some cases cause a woman to rush her decision and make a mistake that she will regret for the rest of her life. It will however spare some women the agony of late term abortion and could force the unwanted pregnancy rate down.

There is no comparable statistical data available as to what happens when a country drastically reduces the limits on abortion after 40 years of effective abortion on demand, so whatever side of the debate you are on, pro choice, incrementalist or absolutist, the consequences are, to a great extent, guesswork.

It’s great to see the topic of abortion back in the spotlight, public opinion is beginning to change, but the cynic in me scents a distraction. Maria Miller and Jeremy Hunt have not proposed any such legislation or even consultation on the matter, this is simply their personal views. Cameron’s Conservatives are doing appallingly, his personal rating is at an all time low, Osborne is not doing much better, the department of Transport made a huge Horlicks last week, the re-shuffle was a damp squib, Ed Milipede has begun to emerge from his chrysalis, the government have made more u-turns than a motorist who’s switched their sat-nav to Apple maps and suddenly the focus is on private views held about abortion?

Either it’s a total distraction to keep the media and masses talking or they’ve run out of ideas and want the coalition government to be seen to have been decisive and achieved at least one thing over their disastrous tenure.

There is nonsensical talk emanating from the pro-choice lobby about an “abortion policy fit for the 21st century”. What does that mean, teleporting unborn children out of wombs? It’s a desperate attempt to make those who oppose the killing of our unborn seem out of touch, Victorian, paternalistic and uncaring. At least the Victorians actually took some responsibility for the poor and weak, as opposed to outwardly killing them off. What this talk is aimed at is reforming our abortion laws in order to enshrine abortion on demand as a right and removing current medical safeguards. What could happen in practice is we see a reduction in limits coupled with unrestricted early stage abortion, something that would neither be good for women or children, however politicians and members of the public would feel appeased by an intellectually dishonest and unsatisfying compromise.

If the government or an MP really wants to make a difference in terms of reducing abortion, they should stop funding the abortion clinics who make money off the back of women’s misery, not just in the UK but as in the case of Marie Stopes, in China. They’ll also stop funding organisations who promote abortion as being the main option for unplanned teen pregnancies. They’ll ban advertisements for abortion services and pour money into helping mothers, especially young or single mothers and heavily subsidise childcare for those in greatest need. They’ll also give pro life organisations funds to properly counsel and support frightened pregnant women.

Unless and until all of those things happen, it’s all tinkering around the edges, a lot of unnecessary conjecture and a contrived escalation of the perceived culture wars. Let’s face it, the government has firmly stuck its fingers in its ears over the overwhelming majority who do not wish marriage to be re-defined, why are they suddenly going to introduce legislation to cut abortion limits?

The fewer babies killed and women hurt the better, but let’s be honest, without the above measures, bringing limits down is of very little import if one’s ultimate destination is in the sluice of BPAS.

He’s alright is our Dave

You know, just as I was beginning to lose patience with that Mr Cameron, he goes ahead and restores all my faith in him. I know I was narked over the whole gay marriage thing and his redefinition not only of marriage, but also conservatism, but I’ve had a bit of a change of heart, as obviously all our Prime Minister wants to do is to make things fairer. Equality is clearly a cause very close to his heart. As a Roman Catholic who cares whether or not he undermines society’s notions of marriage and family? He’s making it all alright again with some very exciting and marvellous news. He’s making the monarchy fair is our Dave! Seriously!

Listen, if Wills and Kate’s first child is a boy and say he mixes in the same social circles as either of my three daughters and fancies an older woman with no family name, trust-fund or indeed any money at all, then the fact of my daughters’ Catholicism will no longer prove an obstacle.

I could be the Queen Mother!!! Just call me Carole, after all, we do have a former occupation in common! Doors to manual is positively de rigour these days and there can be absolutely no denying that any of my children are more than beautiful enough to qualify as a princess. Look, I’m already grooming Felicity at the tender age of 6 months.

Treat me like the Princess that I am

I had been harbouring secret plans to make Felicity a fifth columnist and subvert the British monarchy into a local branch of the Vatican until Will Heaven happened to point out an inconvenient truth, one that I had overlooked in my passion. Catholicism does not force a parent to bring up their children Catholic, it only requires that they do all that is in their power, which is exactly what I promised when I married an Anglican vicar, one who had the privilege of baptising his own daughter, before he converted. Ah well, it’s the thought that counts and, Caroline Farrow, Queen Mother, still has that certain ring to it.

No longer may I feel marginalised or excluded from our British monarchy by virtue of my faith, or my gender. Dave’s gone and made it all alright again.He’s made the monarchy fair and accessible to all. He’s alright is our Dave.

As for the fact that Catholics who refuse to endorse a homosexual lifestyle are not considered suitable as foster carers or adoptive parents, due to their unacceptable views, well that’s just a mere irrelevance, a trivial matter. We can marry the monarch, what more can we ask for?

And the knock on effect to the Church of England, that brings the UK a step closer to disestablishment, which loosens still further our foundations as a Christian country? We’ll try not to worry our little heads about that either. Tis but a minor detail, Dave’s a Christian, I’m sure he’s thought of that and has it covered somehow. He’s alright is our Dave.

I’m off to start planning my outfit. I hear there’s some good designer bargains to be had in Greece. Dave says that the success of the EU is crucial, so in order to ensure that it all stays together, Greek citizens are struggling to survive and all their stuff is dirt cheap. So it makes sense to start stocking up on the Ouzo now so we can all drink a toast to the groom’s great-grandfather on the big day!

He’s alright is our Dave.


According to reports in this morning’s Daily Telegraph, David Cameron is set to introduce laws that will give companies the power to sack the slackers. Part of the new ’employers’ charter will allow companies to sack workers during the first two years of their employment without the threat of being taken to a tribunal for unfair dismissal.

In the words of Max Bygraves, let me tell you a story. One that is deeply humiliating and embarrassing and one, that until now, very few people are aware of. Though what happened was undoubtedly not
my fault, the shame and mortification stay with me to this day.

In 2006 I worked as the PA to the rather idiosyncratic headmistress of an independent girls’ catholic boarding school in Oxford. It was, without a shadow of a doubt one of the most interesting positions I’ve ever held. Originally I was drafted in to help after her original PA needed to go on a period of extended leave. We very quickly built up an excellent rapport;  as the professional mother of a young child, for whom I was considering private education, together with my city experience, I was a perfect candidate for the position, the fact that I was catholic and had been privately educated myself, were added bonuses. I suggested and implemented many ways in which the admin process could be streamlined and speeded up and how communication with parents could be vastly improved as well as the marketing. The headmistress was wedded to tradition, everything had to be put on paper in triplicate and certainly in 2007, she had absolutely no idea how to switch on a computer.

However she enjoyed my dynamism and enthusiasm and very swiftly offered me the position on a full-time basis given the impending retirement of her previous PA. The job paid significantly less than I had
previously commanded, the hours were long, no allowances were made for the fact that I had a 2-year-old and on the occasions nursery were unable to take her, it was suggested that I brought her in to
work for one of the 19 year-old boarding assistants to look after in order that I wouldn’t miss a day’s work. In all the time that I worked there, the only absenteeism was a half day for an unavoidable hospital appointment. I enjoyed the work and developed excellent relationships with pupils, parents and staff, whilst accepting that the headmistress herself, like many bosses, required delicate handling. Various rumours and stories abounded about her legendary temper, the demands put upon staff which were above and beyond the call of duty and her capriciousness, but I remained fiercely loyal. She was, I felt, misunderstood, after all she had no immediate family and lived on the school premises, the school
was literally her life.

Just before Christmas of that year, she called me into her office whereupon I was subjected to an incredible verbal tirade. I had recently lost a substantial amount of weight, partly I suspect due to the fact that I was so busy at work, very often, because the head didn’t eat lunch, she expected me not to either and simply to work through lunchtime. If I ate a sandwich at my desk, she would sit and watch, tutting impatiently waiting for me to finish. According to the head, I had “anorexia and was setting a bad example to the gels” (I was 5 foot 5 and 8 stone 10, so hardly anorexic by any definition) and furthermore “colleagues had been complaining that I was flirting with the malestaff”. Quite how I was supposed to have found to find time to flirt with anyone, given that I was confined to my office the entire working day was beyond me, and not to put too fine a point on it, the few male members of staff who did work there consisted of married men with an average age of 55. As someone who had just turned 30, with a young child to consider and who was experiencing a forthcoming divorce, pursuing older married men had absolutely no interest to me. In fact, at that point, no romantic relationships held any interest, I was more interested in surviving the next few years financially, emotionally and spiritually intact.

I spoke to my immediate colleagues in the office to ask if they had any concerns, to which they responded only that I seemed to have been working incredibly hard recently, they were worried that I was needing to take work home with me to finish and they were adamant that I shouldn’t let myself be “taken advantage of”. I had already put my foot down, in that the head’s previous PA had done her personal shopping for her, she would regularly do a Tesco shop on behalf on the head, not having to deal with a young family, and I was very clear that though I would be keen to help on occasion, regular food shopping for the head was above and beyond the call of duty. She did after all have a car of her own but was very reticent about driving, requiring a groundsman to drive her when she needed to go off-site. As for the “flirting” issue, my colleagues dissolved into peals of laughter, seeing at first sight how ludicrous that particular suggestion was. We thought that perhaps she’d had a mad moment. My receptionist, a lady in her 50s was particularly sympathetic. the head frequently managed to reduce her into a gibbering wreck, when she was in one of “those moods”. Almost all the staff had suffered from a bizarre tirade at some time or another, and finally it was my turn, it would blow over.

And indeed things seemed to. My last day at work was on Christmas Eve, and I gave the head a gift of a Monty Python film boxset, as on frequent occasions she said how much she had enjoyed their films and how she really ought to have them on video. I came back to work on the 2nd January, to find a thank you card on my desk for the “thoughtful gift”. Strangely enough I didn’t see the head all that day and presumed that she was taking an extra day’s break, which was unusual for such a workaholic. On coming into work the next day, I discovered that the IT network seemed to be down, I couldn’t access any of my files. I called the Bursar’s office, who said that it was being worked on. Then at 10.0o am, the assistant bursar came into the office and said that the Head wanted to see me. Nothing unusual
there, she often did at that time, so as per usual, I grabbed my pad and my cup of tea and made my way over. The assistant bursar seemed to be following me, which was peculiar and she said “would you normally take your tea in to see the head?”, to which I replied, “yes why?” and she said “well you’d better leave it behind”. I got into the office, whereupon I was told that my services were no longer required and I needed to leave the premises immediately. As a gesture of good will, I was handed a cheque for a month’s salary, “without obligation”. When I asked why, what were the reasons, what had I done, this was utterly illegal, I’d had no formal verbal or written warnings, was there a problem with the quality of my work, what could be done to resolve matters, I was simply told “your services are no longer required”. The head, her face going redder and redder, and unable to make eye contact, told me that she couldn’t go into any detail, she was very regretful, I had been the best assistant that she had ever had, my skills were certainly in no doubt, nor was my commitment, but that my services were no longer needed. No discussion as to why, what I might have done, or how I could rectify the situation, what it was that she felt was no longer working. I was marched to my car and told to leave the premises, asap, like a common criminal.

I was devastated and later on that day, when I had recovered from my distress, I rang some of my admin
colleagues, who were equally baffled, distressed and upset. They had absolutely no idea what was behind it either. I also rang the assistant bursar for clarification and begged to know what on earth the problem was, my quality of work was excellent, my references were excellent, I’d been working there 11 months and just couldn’t work out for the life of me, what I had done wrong. The assistant bursar, whilst not in the presence of the head, confided that she felt extremely sorry for me, she was unable to give me any particular reason, she assured me I’d have an excellent references, she was very very sorry, there was nothing she could do, other than to advise me to put it behind me and I would undoubtedly get a much better job. Which indeed I did.

At the time, I was however, incredibly hurt, angry and distressed, that 11 months of service counted for nothing, my skills weren’t in question, my professionalism wasn’t in question, other than some weight loss, and yet I could be summarily sacked without any just cause and with no protocols or disciplinary procedure. I contacted CAB who confirmed that the head had broken every single employment law in the book and should I go to tribunal then I would undoubtedly win hands down. However, given that I only had 11 months of service and not 12, then there was absolutely nothing that could be done. The head had taken advantage of a loophole. I don’t know what was worse, to see my job advertised in the Oxford Times, or when I bumped into members of staff in town over the course of the next few years. They had come back and asked where I was. “She decided that she didn’t want to work here any more and walked out after Christmas” they were told. Both staff and parents were shocked and disappointed, and I was furious that my professional reputation had been doubly compromised. A lot of the staff expressed how much they missed me, perhaps one of the issues had been that they would often come into the office to sound off, I would listen impartially, soak it up and yet would never divulge any staffroom gossip to the head. Very often, people would just need to come and have a vent, a cup of tea and a biscuit and then go on their way. Confidentiality is just that.

As David Cameron was my constituency MP, I went to see him about this matter, I felt it needed to be highlighted that someone could be summarily dismissed without any recourse to the law or internal disciplinary procedures, due to personal whim. The first thing he did was to enquire about my background. When I told him about my two previous employers, his response was “you worked for XXXX, you’ll get another job, no problem, people like you aren’t my concern”. I guess that was a pragmatic enough response and to a certain extent he was right. He then talked about the importance of
flexibility of employers in terms of childcare and how he was able to take his daughter to work. “Lucky you” I thought. Finally he gave me a lecture on how important probation periods are, how they work both ways and give a chance both for the employer and the employee to see that the arrangement was working. The point was, this was outside of my probationary period. And even if it had still been inside the probationary period, there should still have been protocols to be followed. Not just “I’ve decided that you’re too thin and you won’t pass on staff gossip so you have to go”.David Cameron, did however, concede that what had happened was terribly unfair, even if one accepts that there are two sides to every story, which there undoubtedly are, just to sack a member of staff with a young child, with no warning for no apparent reason, should not be able to happen in this day and age. He said he would look into relevant legislation and fire off a letter to the head for me. And that was that.

I didn’t want the pay award of a tribunal, what was more important was justice. For a panel to look and this and rule that it was unfair, which it undoubtedly was. I still get upset when I think about it today, particularly given that the head of this school prided herself on her Catholic and Christian compassion. I still experience the humiliation of being marched off premises and the disorientation and hurt of losing my employment lifeline. I was treated like an eighteenth centurymillworker, who had no worth and no value. I still speculate as to what was behind it now. My only consolation is that since this occurred, due to incredibly high staff turnover, both in terms of office staff (my former colleagues left) and teaching staff, a head of HR has been appointed, at the request of the governors. Some staff saw what had happened to me and decided that they wished to work in an altogether more pleasant environment. My hope is that this situation will be prevented from ever occurring again.

I am disappointed that David Cameron, having seen first hand how an employer may circumvent existing legislation by the period of a a few weeks and behave in a thoroughly reprehensible fashion, has seen fit to extend this further and open up the possibility of more employee exploitation. Losing one’s job is devastating on every single level. What happened to me was absolutely inexcusable. Up until this point, I have been a relatively impartial defender of the coalition. I am now wondering whether or not there is any section of society that they won’t manage to alienate. How a licence to exploit vulnerable employees adds up to economic sense is beyond me. It certainly won’t engender any sense of loyalty and will create a suspicious, defensive workforce. It is not a policy of decency, common-sense and compassion. How can you expect to get people off welfare, if you are going to force them into a job whereby they can be exploited, threatened and sacked on a whim by unscrupulous employers? This is a measure that will have the greatest impact upon our most vulnerable workers.

David Cameron, can we dismiss you without reason before you’ve completed 2 years service?

Guardian, Scharmdian…

AAAAAAAARGH. I have to stop reading the newspapers! It’s not good for my blood pressure. DH reads a certain religious newspaper guaranteed to have him stomping around the room, banging the kitchen cupboards, flinging said rag into a heap in the corner somewhere, only to surreptitiously retrieve it to be quietly read at a later day under the auspices of my beady eye. I feel like Michael Winner – ‘calm down dear it’s only a paper’.

In the grand scheme of things it shouldn’t matter, but the trouble is, the majority of our newspapers, be they the red-top tabloids or the broadsheets have some agenda to push. The Guardian’s has always been socialist. It’s interesting that they are now lending their support to the Lib Dems. Is this due to them attempting to poach readership from The Independent or alternatively due to the fact that the Lib Dems have the most genuinely socialist policy, certainly in terms of re-distribution of wealth?

What’s got my back up this time is this particular offering concerning Philippa Stroud. Leaving apart the factual errors in the story, but hey, let’s not let the truth get in the way of a good story, I think what winds me up is the attempt to associate the Conservative Party as being part of some worldwide evangelical conspiracy. Sure Phillipa Stroud might well be head of the CSJ, however note the phrase “the CSJ reportedly claims to have formulated as many of 70 of the party’s policies”. The key word being reportedly. It’s also worth drawing attention to the factually incorrect statement about the New Frontiers Church being closely allied to the US Evangelical Movement. Though it has in recent years expanded worldwide, including to the US, its roots are firmly in the UK, having sprung out of a church movement in the 1960s and 70s.

Many inferences may be drawn with regards to the Conservative Party’s plans to support the family unit, but the idea of the family being the cornerstone of a stable society is not limited to the Christian faith. CallmeDave has more nouse than to aggressively pursue a strongly evangelical agenda which is likely to alienate the majority of the electorate. What does the Guardian suppose is going to happen if the Conservatives get in? All of the recent equality legislation is going to be repealed and withdrawn? That’s hardly the way to secure  re-election or to take the country with him as he proposes to do.

Though it might seem that Philippa Stroud has some pretty ‘out there’ ideas, and I for one am not sure quite how helpful some of her notions might be, as one former church-goer noted, she ‘is not a bad person’. Furthermore she founded a Church and night shelter that helped drug addicts and alcoholics. This is not a pontificating spirituality, but one that rolls up its sleeves reaches out and attempts to offer healing to the broken. Is this such a dreadful quality?

What this article attempts to do is ally the Conservative Party to the US Fundamentalist Christian movement in an attempt to scare voters. Don’t vote for those Tories, they’re all secret homophobes, who are going to take away all our hard-won freedoms. Any Guardian reader that falls for this is as gullible as the voter who can’t see through the agenda of the Murdoch press.

There are many reasons to be skeptical of the Conservative Party, there are many reasons not to vote for them, but this attempt to portray them as a fanatic party heavily influenced by the evangelical movement, is a red herring.