Friday, 7 July 2017

Heard Instinct

When people ask why one of the columns on my new magazine is going to be reserved for a Lib Dem, then I say that there are 2,371,861 reasons. The business of business is business.

In any case, the party with the third highest number of votes, which was in government for five years until a mere two years ago and which looks set for some kind of deal with Theresa May, needs to be subject to the scrutiny that is having its case made in print.

I always found it astonishing that, until The Guardian decided to do a favour for an old friend by briefly giving Chris Huhne column after his release, there was no such scrutiny, in any paper, of the party of six Cabinet Ministers including the Deputy Prime Minister.

The media's studied neglect of Jeremy Corbyn's Labour Party, so that even on last night's Question Time Richard Burgon had to be balanced by someone from the Daily Mirror as well as by the usual two Conservatives, is very much in the same vein: Corbyn's case cannot be scrutinised if it cannot be made.

That is why it matters that, in two years, Robbie Gibb has never had a pro-Corbyn commentator on The Sunday Politics. How seamlessly he drifts off to May's Downing Street. How would anyone, including him, be able to tell the difference?

My new magazine, on the other hand, will feature Corbyn and several of his supporters. The readers, who are the voters, will not be denied the opportunity of making up their own informed minds. There will be no planted Alt-Right hecklers such as Richard had to contend with.

By the way, Richard was absolutely right about MPs' pay. Caroline Lucas demonstrated the lack of connection between the Greens and the Labour Movement by bragging that she did not take the rate for the job. She is no more a trade unionist than Jacob Rees-Mogg. As Richard explained, it is entirely consistent to take an independently recommended pay increase when you think that other people ought also to have theirs.

As to media scrutiny, where are the national newspaper columns for the DUP? Where are they on Question Time panels the length and breadth of the Great Britain that they now govern?

Likewise, by far the most powerful religious organisation in the United Kingdom today is the Free Presbyterian Church of Ulster. Yet it is conspicuously absent from Thought for the Day, The Daily Service, Songs of Praise, The Moral Maze, and the Saturday broadsheet God slots.

Considering the claims that the See of Rome makes, then, while individual Popes might be or have been charlatans or lunatics, the institution itself is either telling the truth in making those claims, or else it is indeed the Antichrist, and any professing Christian who does not submit to Rome on Rome's own terms must believe it to be so.

Who will call good evil by pointing to the Papacy's defence and promotion of metaphysical realism, of Biblical historicity, of credal and Chalcedonian orthodoxy, of the sanctity of human life, of Biblical standards of sexual morality, of social justice, and of peace, and by then saying, "Behold, the Antichrist"? That is the question.

To which the most prominent answer at the present time is, "The Free Presbyterian Church of Ulster." Well, let it be heard. There are people on Thought for the Day who believe in the caste system, or that Jesus was the son of a prostitute, and they do not control the balance of power in the House of Commons. (Or do they?)

That said, the Free Presbyterian Church of Ulster has condemned the Government's decision to fund abortions in England and Wales for women from Northern Ireland, whereas Catholics, at least, over here see that as the most obvious, and the wholly unsurprising, fruit of the deal with the DUP.

If your sole criterion is "abortion in Northern Ireland", then you are in the same position as if your sole criterion is "abortion in Great Britain": you just wouldn't vote at all, and some people don't.

Still, bizarre though it is that the Government of the United Kingdom is now affected by relations between the DUP and the Free Presbyterian Church of Ulster, that is where we are. Therefore, both of those bodies need to be read and heard on a regular basis by the electorate throughout the United Kingdom.

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