Saturday, 22 March 2008

Moral Leadership

Oh, how they are howling! “Park’n’Alz, Park’n’Alz”, they cry. As they always do, of course. Embryonic stem-cell research has been almost completely abandoned for failing to deliver those or any other goods, so don’t believe a word of it this time round. If it’s progress you want, then you need to look at the record of adult stem-cell research, which Catholic universities in Italy were derided to the skies for pioneering at the height of the embryonic stem-cell research craze.

When the Human-Animal Distinction (Abolition) and Fatherhood (Abolition) Bill comes before the House of Commons, not only my eyes, but I trust also those of her new best friends in the seriously rich Emmanuel Schools Foundation, will be on Hilary Armstrong.

North-West Durham is one of the most Catholic constituencies in England, yet has been “represented” for a generation (and that on a shamelessly nepotistic basis) by a supporter of abortion up to birth, destructive experimentation on embryonic human beings, human-animal hybrids, the legalised sodomy of 16-year-old schoolboys (and schoolgirls), the complete legal non-recognition of fathers except as sperm banks and cash machines, the invasion and occupation of Iraq, the totally unrestricted “free” market generally, the deregulation of drinking and gambling, the de facto legalisation of drugs, and other evils almost too numerous to list.

The Pro-Life Alliance missed a real trick here in 1997. It had been on course to cut Hilary’s majority in half, which would have forced her ennoblement in order to avoid her outright deselection in favour of a pro-life Labour candidate. But now she is hand-in-glove with Sir Peter Vardy. Will that manifest itself in any change of voting pattern? We shall see.

On this Bill as on so much else, it is necessary to apply the John Smith Test: would John Smith have done this? No, of course not, any more than he would have allowed the betting shops to open on Good Friday.

Much is made of the “modernisation” first of Labour, then of the Tories, and now of the Lib Dems, as being concerned with cutting them off from everywhere except the South East, and from everyone except the upper and upper middle classes. This is all perfectly true.

But just as important is that “modernisation” is about cutting off all three parties from their roots in the Christianity still professed by seventy-two per cent of Britons. The Tories and the Lib Dems are only giving free votes because they embarked on this process that little bit later. They will never do so on anything comparable in the future. And we have far, far, far more of this sort of thing to look forward to.

As for the Polly Toynbees of the world, their real objection is to the existence of any locus of moral authority other than themselves. But even these days, rather more people go to Mass than read the Guardian (although there is far more crossover than is often supposed), voting with their feet.

In an election for National Moral Leader (not that I am advocating such an election, but if one were ever held), then who would take more votes? Cardinal O’Brien? Or Polly Toynbee? I think we all know the answer to that one.

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