Cameron’s gay marriage hypocrisy
From Brother Ivo:
When Brother Ivo wrote a while ago on the subject of hypocrisy, he was upbraided by some for not having addressed the bigger issues of the day. In this busy world, it is easy to forget the wisdom of the Book of Ecclesiastes:
To everything there is a season... a time to keep silence and a time to speak.His Grace established this august blog to provide intelligent thought and to offer an opportunity to comment upon issues from perspectives that struggle to be heard in other media. The corollary to this is that he and others need time to develop ideas in their own time and at their own pace, and it is partly for this reason that, from time to time, Brother Ivo is happy to afford His Grace a measure of space to refresh himself after the punishing burden of the past seven years.
The ‘hypocrisy’ post interested many readers, although others decided to go off on a frolic of their own about gay marriage. There is some conjunction between the two, and now might be a good time to consider it.
The piece called for greater kindness towards hypocrites. Very few of us will escape that charge before God, and if we shall need mercy then, we might be a little reticent to ‘heave half a brick’ at those we currently perceive to be more guilty than ourselves.
There is however a duty to correct, but it should be offered to others with measured kindness as we in due course shall hope to learn of our faults before God:
O Lord, correct me, but with judgement; not in thine anger, lest thou bring me to nothing (Jer 10.24; Ps 6.1).And so it comes that we should hope that our Prime Minister, Brother David, shall have his attention drawn by his surveyors of the social media to this gentle warning – that he stands in significant danger of needing the kindness of which Brother Ivo has written.
The Prime Minister has declared an intention to attempt to put down the over-mighty Eurocrats from their privileged seats, and many here will applaud that ambition. To do so, he will need to deploy a full range of arguments, chief among which will be the secret and duplicitous manner in which the followers of Jean Monnet invited the British people into a ‘Common Market’ only to draw them into the ‘ever closer union’ of a Federal State, about which the British people were never consulted; a policy upon which a significant portion of the current residents of the UK has never been given a voice.
Big changes require transparency and a clear mandate. The Prime Minister is right to be clear about that in the European context.
The process of ‘ever closer union’ has been advanced through the collective power of other parties and other nations’ interests. The British MEPs, not least those from the Conservative Party, have been divided and weakened, and the aspirations of a focused minority were advanced with no specific electoral authority for the purpose. Brother David can and should deploy that absence of mandate with all proper force during the debates with ‘Europe’, as he seeks to reclaim that which has been wrongfully usurped. It is his trump card.
The problem is that he will be in no position to claim that high ground. To do so will lead to an unanswerable accusation of hypocrisy, and that is the cardinal sin of the modern age.
Brother David must face Goliath with that potent weapon ‘put beyond use’ as our Irish friends used to say.
His liability in this matter lies in the vexed subject of the gay marriage Bill.
It was never part of the election campaign presented by any of the major parties to the electorate. It was no part of the Coalition Agreement. If it passes into law, it will do so via an ad hoc coalition of those who similarly lacked transparency on the national scale.
His Grace, ever concerned for high standards of accuracy, has drawn my attention to an apologia on the subject in the Huffington Post, in response to a letter to the Telegraph signed by 35 Conservative MPs. They, too, were of the view that this was not part of the last Conservative Manifesto, but the Prime Minister is defended by HuffPo in highly provisional terms:
‘However this is arguably not really true.’On 3rd May 2010, three days before the general election, the then Shadow Equalities Minister Theresa May launched the Conservatives’ Contract for Equalities, which, according to HuffPo, 'included the prospect of changing the law to rename civil partnerships as marriages’.
The nexus of their argument is that the Conservative Party referenced gay marriage at election time, and that it is ‘arguable’ that three days before the election the Shadow Equalities Minister launched a Contract for Equalities which does not mention amending the law of marriage but only renaming Civil Partnership!
This is not particularly impressive , given the Government's claim to be the ‘most transparent and accountable government in the world’. May I suggest the following email be sent from No10:
Dear Huffington Post,If Brother David wishes to have the kudos of transparency he should practise it. He has preferred to follow precisely the methods of the Eurocrats he criticises.
I don’t think you’re helping.
And there is a further interesting piece of evidence.
Those who support gay marriage and say that it was within the public debate at the time of the last general election might care to have a look at the campaign leaflet of Caroline Lucas, the first Green MP, who was elected to represent Brighton Pavilion – a seat which, given its demographic, might have had some interest in the subject, and on behalf of a party that is known to be openly supportive of gay marriage. Ms Lucas appreciated, like the candidates for every other party, that the electorate in Brighton, like everywhere else, had other priorities. She campaigned on the economy and the NHS. Her leaflet does not mention gay marriage at all – in Brighton!
Let us pause for reflection.
Brother David must know that this issue at this time is a matter of his choice: he has no mandate to change the law.
As Prime Minister, the Constitution permits him to act in that way so long as he carries the support of the House of Commons. In doing so, however, he acts not so much in the spirit of conservative democracy as in Lord Hailsham’s notion of ‘elected dictatorship’.
He may secure the necessary majority in Parliament and claim ‘equal marriage’ as his legacy, just like Harold Wilson laid claim to the Open University, and John Major to the National Lottery. That legacy is his right.
What he cannot do, however, is to act in this manner and then propound the arguments of unacceptable secrecy and lack of mandate in his case against the Eurocrats, for to do so would make him a hypocrite.
Brother Ivo might be prepared to forgive him that, for we are all fallen creatures. He doubts, however, that the electorate will be so understanding.
Posted by Brother Ivo