Tuesday, 5 February 2013

"Equal Marriage"?

No concept of consummation, presumably because no one could bring themselves to try and work out what it would entail, still less present a description of such a thing in writing to Her Majesty for her Royal Assent.

No concept of adultery, what little remains of it since the introduction of no fault divorce the last time that the Conservative Party was allowed anywhere near the government of this country. From the people who brought you abortion up to birth...

A category of legal marriage which cannot be solemnised by the Established Church.

And civil partnerships still available. Still available, specifically, to unrelated same-sex couples only, despite the deliberate lack of any sexual content, as there would also now be in a category of marriage. A jaw-dropping privilege, which they never even sought. Just as they have never sought this.

The debate is already indicating that there might be more Labour votes against than expected, and a very large number if the thing ever reached Third Reading, simply because the text of this Bill is so horrendous. Yet it cannot be any other way.

Just as well that, even leaving aside the outrageous provisions for non-scrutiny to which it is to be non-subjected, this Bill is never going to reach Third Reading, there to suffer a Labour three-line whip to abstain while giving a green light to backbenchers to vote against, not a principle, but a specific, unconscionable legislative text.

After which, precisely because the giving of legislative effect to that principle would be impossible in any other terms, the whole thing would never have been heard of again. As it is, though, that is just going to happen, anyway. Somewhere along the line, somewhere in the depths of the Palace of Westminster, this Bill is simply going to die. No one, no one at all, will mourn it.


  1. I'd shut up if I were you.

    After Ed Miliband has just boasted of of Labour's "proud traditions" of liberal left-wing social legislation, all of them Tony Blair's policies.

    He forgot legal abortion, the Human Fertilisation and Embryology Bill, easy divorce the abolition of the Married Couples Tax Allowance.... and Labour's many other proud traditions.

  2. Abortion up to birth - Thatcher.

    No fault divorce - her chosen successor.

    She had also supported the original abortion and divorce legislation in the 1960s.

    You seem to like the idea of Peter Hitchens without ever having read his books. No wonder that you are a UKIP supporter.

    And how about Farage, for that matter? In favour of same-sex "marriage" until Cameron decided to legislate for it. In favour of the legalisation of drugs and prostitution.

  3. You are right about the unhappy Labour speeches. Anne McGuire who took the civil partnerships bill is making one now. Going to vote for second reading, although some of them have said they won't. Obviously wouldn't vote for third reading if the bill was still as it is. As you say though, it would have to be.

  4. This is one of the most extraordinary debates for many years.

  5. Radio 4 news claiming that 'old guard' Tories are fed up with Cameron because he's - unlike Thatcher - not taking on the dragons.

    But he's a true son of Thatcher; she believed there was no such thing as society; he's hacking at its roots.

  6. As the Blue Labour stalwart Dr Dave Lundrum of the Evangelical Alliance has just tweeted:

    "Cameron is privatising marriage? Good job the left is resisting this Thatcherite assault on a vital social institution. Oh wait a minute"

    Still, we await the Division Lists, including the absences from them.

  7. I have to thank an old friend who lives with an Anglican clergyperson of the same sex for this:

    "I'm making a stand for biblical marriage: Deuteronomy 24:5: If a man has recently married, he must not be sent to war or have any other duty laid on him. For one year he is to be free to stay at home and bring happiness to the wife he has married."

    There is plenty of common ground. And the debate is now open.

  8. Really will have to look at those 75 abstentions. That's a hell of a lot. Who were they? We shall very soon know. Full post to follow.

  9. Well, there you have it. The only socially conservative Opposition in Parliament is on Mr Cameron's own backbenches

    It's official, so to speak.

    More Tories voted against gay marriage than for it.

    While more of the "official" (but not real) Opposition's MP's voted for it.

    Why don't they just get it over with and cross the floor, as Peter Hitchens has urged?

    Then we can have a party of all the social liberals together, led by Ed, or Clegg (who really cares?: what difference does it make?).

    And the social conservatives (in all parties) will have to go somewhere else.

    They already do-they just don't know it yet.

  10. In that case, you'll leave "anarcho-capitalist" UKIP, will you? Based on your views in general, I can't see why. You hold economic views that are simply incompatible with social conservatism. A third of these Tory votes against were cast by people like that, doing it for show.

  11. Yet again, Mr Lindsay is left with egg all over his face, having predicted for months that the bill would never pass the Commons.

    Wake up, darling. The votes are in, and your side just lost.

  12. They won't, Anonymous. You must be exceedingly young to think they ever could. And what Mr. L. says about a lot of them and about Ukip is right on the money: "anarcho-capitalists (great word) doing it for show."

  13. You have no idea what my economic views are. And I can assure you there's no contradiction.

    Your support for Ed Miliband, however, certainly is "incompatible with social conservatism".

    You'll realise that one day, if he hasn't got through to you yet.

  14. I always said that it would be given Second Reading, which is almost completely meaningless.

    I have also always said that it would never reach Third Reading. It won't.

    Not in this Parliament. Not in any Parliament. Since after its failure in this one, it will never again be attempted.

  15. You have made your economic views abundantly clear in the past. They are simply incompatible with social conservatism. Whereas Ed Miliband's are not.

    They might not lead inexorably to it; that is debatable, and depends on people following things to their logical conclusions. But there is a potential compatibility.

    Whereas there is simply none between neoliberal economics (the clue is in the name) or anarcho-capitalism (likewise) and any sort of conservative social position. Juts look at Britain in the 1980s if you doubt that. Or at Britain under the Orange Book Coalition.

    That is why, even were a new party to be set up as you wish, and it is certainly not going to be, it would still get nowhere. That is the fundamental incoherence at the heart of the Conservative Right. Conservative of what? Right about what?

  16. In response to Lindsay.

    I'd happily leave UKIP if there was a socially-conservative mainstream party that advocated grammar schools, EU withdrawal, a freeze on migration, an end to multiculturalism and the many other policies only UKIP currently advocates.

    As Hitchens has always said, the Big Two have got to collapse before that comes about. Otherwise, we just have years of this to look forward to, til the crack of doom.

    Jeff, whoever you are.

    Anarcho-capitalists isn't Lindsay's term, and neither is it UKIP's position-despite Lindsay's dishonest attempts to associate us with it.

    It's the word a blogger who supports UKIP uses to describes her politics (while simultaneously admitting it's not party policy).

  17. Lindsay @ 20:22.

    I don't support neoliberal economics-which aren't based on free trade at all, as you'd know if you knew anything about Reagan and Thatcher's statist policies.

    As Noam Chomsky once said, Reagan was the greatest statist of them all-he supported state intervention in the economy, huge state subsidies and a welfare state for the rich.

    The socialist EU is the biggest supporter of big business and the biggest enemy of small business (and of free markets) in existence.

    So there's your whole post out the window.

    I support small business and free trade. Nothing inconsistent about that.

    There's no reason a new party can't be established-as Enoch Powell said anything is possible because "we have nothing to fear except our own doubts".

  18. If you believe in atomistic individualism and the contract theory that goes with it, it won’t be long before marriage is transformed into whatever people want it to be. It starts with easy divorce, then moves on to homosexual marriage, and then to, what, polygamy? It is anybody’s guess.

    Amintore Fanfani, one of those post-war Italian Social Catholics who looked to Old Labour for inspiration, predicted this sort of thing back in the 1970s and argued that liberal capitalism would destroy traditional culture just as surely as Marxist communism would.

  19. John.

    I agree-but I don't support "atomistic individualism"-I support small businesses and strong communities.

    What you and you're socialist pals fail to see is the link between big-business monopolies and socialism.

    Big business loves regulations, worker's rights (which only they can afford) state bank bailouts, protectionism, enormous state subsidies etc.

    If you think free trade is causing our problems, you haven't read Naomi Klein (or Noam Chomsky, for that matter).

    They argue, correctly, that globalisation is not 'free trade' at all-it is huge state subsidies and unfair laws that favour Western investors and Western products over third-world countries (hence the West selling cheap bananas to the Carribean).

    Whatever that is, it ain't free trade, chaps.

    Big business despises free trade because it's a threat to monopoly.

    You think bank bailouts are what a "free market" looks like?

  20. Anonymous,

    You make some very good points, but at the end of the day it is still all capitalism. State capitalism is still capitalism. In fact, capitalism has always been “statist” to one degree or another. The big question is who benefits from state intervention. I would argue that neoliberalism has statist attributes but it is also anti-worker.

    Socialism, on the other hand, would probably have statist attributes (I think almost all advanced societies will have to be “statist” to some degree or another, but there are also pro-market socialists out there) but would be pro-worker.

    Capitalism is liberal and individualistic because that is the guiding ideology of the ruling class under capitalism, and has been so since at least the French Revolution. I cannot speak for the United Kingdom, but in the U.S., the wealthy (including many Republicans) tend to be social liberals while social conservatives tend to be poorer (including most blacks and Hispanics who make up a huge part of the Democratic Party constituency). The homosexualist movement is powerful because it is rich.

  21. I shall look forward to reminding you that you were wrong. I said that Labour would vote overwhelmingly for equal marriage. They did. Those voting against were with one or two exceptions the usual suspects. It's a great day for those of us who believe in equality!

  22. It really isn‘t. Whatever your views on gay marriage, the one thing this Bill doesn‘t do is enshrine equality. It shoves a square peg in a round hole and creates inequalities that don‘t currently exist and don‘t need to. Still I am sure the lawyers will be happy.

  23. Well, Merseymike lets be honest, this isn't about equality, whatever else it's about (and I have my own ideas).

    It can't be "equality" to have civil partnerships for homosexuals, but marriage for both heterosexuals and homosexuals, one form of marriage in Churches and another form outside them, one form of marriage involving adultery, parenthood and consumation and another form involving none of these things, and one form of marriage for Christian teachers and another for secular teachers (or would you prefer Christians were forced to teach children as truth, something they don't believe, in violation of centuries of Christianity?)