Still floating

I had election-induced insomnia last night and was going to blog about the pros and cons of various parties. For the first time in my life I feel like my vote actually counts given that I live in a marginal constituency, the Labour MP securing victory by a mere 314 seats last time. Just to add to the pressure, I have been nominated as proxy to DH who is currently away in the Holy Land.

I am still cogitating, mulling, funnily enough praying and have resorted to consulting the oracle himself . Like the oracle I’m not going to divulge where my crosses are going to be put. But it’s still a bit of a puzzle nonetheless.

I wish I had the surety of mind in the same way as I do about my faith – I wish I knew what the best thing to do was, but sadly I’m still twisting and turning with no definite conclusion. Rather than boring everyone with my angst-ridden musings or stream of religious/political consciousness, in no particular order, here’s my flippant musings:

  1. I can’t cope with another 5 years of Gordon Brown and that funny thing he does with his mouth
  2. If the Tories don’t get in my parents are talking about leaving the country and going to live in St Malo – bonus, free holidays!
  3. Nick Clegg irritates me by having a Catholic wife, bringing his children up Catholic and  she hasn’t yet managed to convert him.
  4. CallmeDave gives the impression that he would fornicate with the next-door-neighbour’s cat provided it went to Oxbridge and had a title. Furthermore CallmeDave would fornicate with the next-door-neighbour’s cat provided it had “done the right thing” and showed an inkling that it might consider voting for him.
  5. I feel that someone else should “have a turn” at being PM now, regardless of whether or not that’s a good thing.
  6. The Lib Dems seem very earnest, perhaps too earnest, like a bunch of well-meaning sixth-formers. Many of their candidates make me feel too old or for some inexplicable reason remind me of Mr Gibson, my somewhat unassuming RE teacher.

I fear the reality is simply that I must follow my head and vote Monster Raving Loony, who seem to be the voice of reason in this climate of negativity, tactical voting and mud-slinging. Policies include making all socks be sold in packs of 3 as a precaution against losing one, banning all terrorists from having beards as they look scary, and perhaps their most innovative policy yet, the GCSE lottery  Before the beginning of exams, the exam board will select a certain phrase which will be kept secret. If any pupil inadvertently writes this phrase in any exam, he/she will automatically receive straight A* grades and a free teddy.

Emmaline Pankhurst would be proud!

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.

Gordon Bigot

Gordy’s recent gaff comes at something of a timely moment for me, having recently been accused of bigotry myself.

The OED definition of bigoted is thus: having or revealing an obstinate belief in the superiority of one’s own opinions and a prejudiced intolerance towards the opinions of others.

Mrs Duffy’s question,  regarding “them Eastern Europeans” certainly displayed a level of ignorance, but did it reveal bigotry? I think it’s fairly obvious who the true bigot in this situation really was.

You have to feel a level of sympathy for Gordy here, but I think it is important as it reveals the gaping chasm between private and public persona at a time when politicians are desperately attempting to re-install a sense of trust in them, all of them attempting to play the trustworthy card. How are we able to trust a politician who is so dismissive and indeed disrespectful towards one of his faithful voters? Given he’d actually handled the situation fairly deftly, his remark that the encounter was “disastrous” displayed a level of insecurity and lack of awareness. Is this a quality that we want in our prime minister?

Mrs Duffy was not a bigot in that she displayed no belief in the superiority of her own beliefs, nor did she show any sort of intolerance. Gordy on the other hand, ironically displayed that very quality that he proclaimed to despise so much.  By assuming that Mrs Duffy’s question arose from a deep-seated intolerance, as opposed to a genuine perceived concern, he displayed a disturbing prejudice all of his very own.

None of us know what motivated Mrs Duffy’s question. She might well be concerned about a perceived stretch in public services and creaking infrastructure which is unable to accommodate significant number of immigrants. Her concerns may or may not be valid. She could have a distrust of foreigners, the point is, her question inferred neither of these options. In the absence of evidence, I prefer to give her the benefit of the doubt. To make assumptions about people, to ascribe them certain characteristics including intolerance because of who they are, where they come from, the colour of their skin and their religious beliefs – now that is prejudice.