Thursday, 11 February 2010

The Pope's Position Represents True Liberty

An issue has arisen regarding a confliction of liberties but on what side can we truly say that autonomy of the individual rests? I speak of course, of the Equality Bill which would have allowed homosexuals to apply and, more importantly, be considered for positions in Catholic faith schools.

Both Catholics and homosexuals are minority groups within their own rights and each has an undeniable right to practice their lifestyle choice. We therefore have to consider which lifestyle is truly being impinged upon here.

True liberty encompasses a right to choose. To choose what you think, to choose what you do and to choose how to live your life. A free-market capitalist society is the best example of this right to choose as it is often forgotten that taxes are an affront to liberty and laissez-faire capitalism almost entirely removes this burden. In fact the only taxes which would be paid would go towards the police/ defend liberty.

In such a society the right to choose extends to businesses and thus it becomes clear on which side of the fence I fall. If I run a business, be it a school or a multi-national firm, I retain the right to choose who I employ and as it is my business it is my prerogative. Similarly the man on the street has a right to choose to apply for a job, or not as the case may be.

However I cannot force him to work for me in the same way that he cannot force me to employ him (or in this case force me to consider his application). Why should the gay community, or anyone for that matter, be allowed to enforce themselves upon the job market?

I'm not quite sure why the mainstream media has come out (excuse the pun) against the CAtholic community so much. As far as I can see it is because the gay rights movement has come so far so fast in the last 40 years and this is seen as a natural continuation. Frankly they are wrong and I am glad that Harman has backtracked.

Tuesday, 9 February 2010

REVIEW: What Difference does Political Blogging make?

I got to the Monk's Exchange last night at around 7.15 but there was already a decent crowd ready for the Westminster Skeptics panel discussion. At the bar I got talking to Amanjit Jhund (Labour PPC for Windsor) who introduced me to some of his friends on the left including Shamik Das, assistant editor of 'Left Foot Forward'. I also met Karen Lee, editor of BBC 2's Culture Show.

The Panel Discussion began with Nick Cohen (Observer journalist and author of 'What's Left?') stating the case for journalism. I wanted to try and see his point of view so as to get a balance and not be so automatically predisposed towards blogging but I found his argument somewhat disjointed and non-effective. Of all the panel responses it was Slugger O'Toole (Mick Fealty) who gave the best account for the bloggers with a sensible speech about the important role played by such blogs as his own in opening discussion of stories up.

The Q&A session was slightly more disappointing with both questions and answers being rather prolonged. Nevertheless some important points were raised about the hostile nature of a lot of blogs and also about the possible future of journaslism. Particular insight was from Jonathan Isaby who famously moved from working at the Daily Telegraph to become editor of Conservative Home.

The evening came to a close with conversations with both @WhosLobbying and the legendary Thomas Byrne who will be relieved to hear I won't be revealing details from our slightly drunken conversation!

Tuesday, 2 February 2010

Are You 'AV-ing a Laugh?

In what can only be described as a pathetic election ploy and nothing more, Gordon Brown has announced his desire for a national referendum on replacing the British first past the post (FPTP) electoral system with the alternative vote (AV) system used in places such as Australia.

It seems to be a continual tactic of the Labour party to try and back the Tories into a corner by trying to announce another fix-all policy and when the opposition sensibly point out the pitfalls of such crackpot ideas they are accused of regaling on their promise to be the 'party of change'. This time Brown has gone too far and his attempt at electioneering is plain for all to see. Labour have had nearly 13 years to instigate such radical change with more commanding majorities (thanks to FPTP) so why wait till now? Well as I was taught in A-Level politics, this is the classic sign of a dying government.

I mean, just think what AV would mean electorally for Labour. They would undoubtedly pick up a lot of '2nd' votes from Lib Dem supporters as well as from the Greens and other parties on the left. Meanwhile the Tories would most likely only pick up such 'sloppy seconds' from parties on the right such as UKIP.

I'm not here to necessarily defend FPTP and I'll admit it has disadvantages but, then again, so does AV and all electoral systems. If there was a 'perfect formula' then all democracies would be using it by now.

I do believe though that the advantages of FPTP will become prevalent in 2010. If David Cameron achieves a healthy majority come May then the Conservatives will be able to lead Britain back to growth unencumbered by the desperate politics of New Labour.