Wednesday, February 06, 2013
Nadine Dorries MP: Not a single person in the UK voted Conservative in 2010 because we said we would introduce same-sex marriage
Nadine Dorries is MP for Mid Bedfordshire
I will be voting against the same sex marriage bill tomorrow for a variety of reasons. If I am called to speak I hope to elucidate some of them. Two aspects of the Bill are so important and so compelling, however, I also wanted to write about them here.
My first concern is that I and many others thought the Bill was intended to make the status of marriage equal for same sex couples (SSC) with regard to heterosexual couples (HSC). The Bill does not achieve this; in fact, it legally patronises SSCs and leaves them unequal in law. I cannot vote for that.
My second consideration is that I am happy to declare my interest in the grubbier side of politics and state that one of my big concerns is for my party and my colleagues, which is why I am writing this on the ConservativeHome website and not in a national newspaper.
Let’s talk about sex.
My first startling observation upon reading the Bill which was produced only a week ago, is that the adultery provision in the Bill is unequal. A gay man/woman is not required to be faithful in the same was as a heterosexual man/woman. The same sex lobby have stated that they want the same rights as heterosexual couples and to be able to enjoy faithful and committed relationships but this Bill does not require them to make any commitment to faithfulness whatsoever in the way straight couples are required to.
A basic legal requirement of The Marriage Act 1973 is for ‘ordinary and complete sex to have taken place’. In law, you can only divorce for adultery if your partner has sex with a member of the opposite sex.
When a straight couple marry, they forswear all others. It is a basic marriage vow designed to conform with the Marriage Act. What they are saying is ‘I may find members of the opposite sex attractive from time to time however, I will not stray, for the sake of our marriage I will honour my commitment to us and I promise to forsake all others’.
A gay man or woman won’t have to do this because obviously, he or she isn’t going to find a member of the opposite sex attractive and so the adultery provision is unequal. A gay man/ woman is not required to be faithful in law in the same way a straight man/ woman is. What is marriage without a legal vow of commitment and faithfulness?
Tucked away at the back of the Bill, probably deliberately in order that it will never be reached and debated in committee, is the startling revelation that there is also no obligation for a SSM to be consummated. In a HSM, if a marriage is not consummated it is voidable. This is because sex is the basis of marriage. The law as it stands is very sensible. Whilst marriage is about more than sex, marriage is not about less than sex. Legally, a long-term relationship without ‘ordinary and complete sex’ can be a friendship, a relationship, but it’s not a marriage.
The Government's answer to the consummation question is that SSM cannot be declared voidable as a result of non consummation because the legal definition of consummation is impossible to achieve. The Governments admission that a SSM cannot meet the legal requirement of The Marriage Act makes nonsense of the whole Bill. If there cannot be consummation and thereby legal equality, what is the point of the Bill?
The Bill was intended to treat SSCs on an equal basis with HSCs but actually, if you are in an SSM you don’t have the same legal endorsement; you are the inferior party in a Bill which fails to equally encompass all.
Before anyone reading this thinks I am opposed to supporting same sex couples, I am not. Such a statement could not be further from the truth. I am however totally opposed to the legal re-definition of marriage.
Now let’s talk about politics.
Having read the briefing from the Catholic Church and Anglican churches to MPs, and if the polling is correct that one in five people who voted for the Conservative Party at the last GE won’t at the next, the passing of this Bill could lose us as many as 100 seats.
The Prime Minister may have made a good speech on Europe which many Conservative MPs support. Europe, however, is not a religion. No one died on a cross for a referendum on membership of the European Union. People of faith may not vote for us again if this Bill passes and a good speech on Europe won’t persuade them to do otherwise.
To highlight how damaging this legislation could be to Conservative MPs, I cite the case of the former MP for Oxford West and Abingdon, Evan Harris. An arch proponent of anti Christian beliefs such as abortion and assisted suicide, Mr Harris lost his 7,683 incumbency padded majority as a result of the church communities in his constituency, led by one single lady vicar, voting against him. For no other reason than that.
When Labour introduced civil Partnerships, they did the right thing, but they wouldn’t touch SSM because they recognised that in their Catholic communities it would have been politically suicidal. If this Bill passes we will hand Labour MPs a great gift as they can simply say ‘it wasn’t us’. Those Labour MPs who are vulnerable will have the luxury of standing back and laughing at loyal Conservative MPs with small majorities as they troop into the lobby and in doing so, save Labour MPs their majorities and political scalps. We will deliver a Bill the Labour party only ever wistfully dreamt about but knew it couldn’t deliver and retain power. Especially without an election manifesto to do so, which of course, we don’t have. Not a single person in the UK voted Conservative in 2010 because we said we would introduce SSM.
I hope to lay down an amendment which will define SSM as state marriage. Gay couples and straight couples are magnificently different, wonderful and all deserving of the deeper love and fulfilment which comes from commitment. We should all be equal in the eyes and provision of the law.
I spanked my children, says British Justice Secretary
Chris Grayling, the Conservative Justice Secretary, has defended parents' right to smack their children and admitted he did it to his own, it emerged on Saturday night.
The cabinet minister said he was not opposed to smacking youngsters, saying sometimes it "sends a message".
Mr Grayling has two children, aged 20 and 16, with his wife Susan and told the Mail on Sunday he occasionally smacked them when they were younger.
"You chastise children when they are bad, as my parents did me," he said. "I'm not opposed to smacking. It is to be used occasionally. Sometimes it sends a message - but I don't hanker for the days when children were severely beaten at school."
Sources close to the minister said on Saturday night he used the punishment on an "occasional" basis and only when "really warranted".
The comments came in an interview in which Mr Grayling also reiterated commitments he made soon after taking up post to ban perks for prisoners like Sky television as well as ending automatic early release for inmates who misbehave during their sentence.
He told the Mail on Sunday: "I want prisons to be spartan, but humane, a place people don't have a particular desire to come back to."
He also said he would not tolerate gay couples in prison sharing a cell. "It is not acceptable to allow same-sex couples to effectively move in together and live a domestic life," he said. "If such a thing happened, I would want those prisoners put in separate prisons."
Feminised job titles encourage discrimination against women
Titles such as chairwoman and police woman intended to promote equality in fact lead to further discrimination, according to new research. 'Feminised' and gender specific job titles leave women being perceived as less capable, it suggests.
Women who hold them were likely to be assessed as less impressive professionally than either men or women with male job titles.
"Feminising language helps make women more visible and more salient, but apparently this is not always an advantage," said lead author Magdalena Formanowicz, of the University of Social Sciences and Humanities in Warsaw. "Emphasising femaleness with a feminine title may lower the evaluation of women in a professional context."
The researchers, who report their findings in the European Journal of Social Psychology, said men using a feminine job title would be "devalued".
But they added: "Women using the masculine labels may profit because they sustain the cultural status quo."
Neil Ashton, chairman of The Ashton Partnership, a Knightsbridge-based executive headhunting firm, said the world of employment had become "obsessed" with job titles which are "frankly irrelevant".
"If a woman wants to have a job title that reflects her femininity she should but there is also space for women to have more masculine job titles if it empowers them," he said.
"What's crucial is that the world wakes up to the importance of women in boardrooms. They are honest, loyal and can multi-task in a way men never can."
Formanowicz carried out the research with colleagues at the University of Kiel in Germany and the University of Bern in Switzerland.
In one study 96 men and women were asked to evaluate applicants for a "prestigious expert position" and were given a newspaper commentary the candidate had written to help them.
They then had to indicate how likely they were to give the applicant the job.
Male applicants and women with masculine job titles were rated equally highly - but women with feminine job titles were rated significantly lower.
A separate internet survey involved 121 people, including 71 women, who were asked to imagine they were recruiting someone to work in a successful beauty parlour or a nanotechnology laboratory.
Participants were told there was a shortlist of three and were given a fictitious cover letter to read, which revealed the applicant to currently have either a masculine or feminine job title.
Applicants with feminine job titles were rated as less suitable despite the cover letters being otherwise identical.
The authors said one reason for this might be suspicions that women using feminine titles are feminists, which men with conservative attitudes might view as undesirable.
Another reason might be that masculine titles have been long established, whereas new female titles can sometimes sound "awkward".
Leftist "Justice Reinvestment" just another reinvention of a failed idea
The iconic Barlinnie experiment proved very costly and did not reduce rates of reoffending
The Australian Senate is conducting an inquiry into the value of a Justice Reinvestment approach in Australia with a particular focus on Aboriginal people in prison. However, the assumption underpinning Justice Reinvestment—that the prison system is a failure—ignores the fact that many offenders are in prison for a reason. Prisons serve a purpose and help protect society by taking out of circulation violent and repeat offenders.
Justice Reinvestment is a concept from the United States which proposes redirecting money spent on prisons into programs to address the underlying causes of offending in communities with high levels of incarceration.
Advocates of a Justice Reinvestment approach use the high costs associated with incarceration to argue for more non-custodial sentences such as diversion. Many people believe Aboriginal people are unfairly targeted by police and arrested for relatively minor ‘social nuisance’ offences, but this ignores the fact that a large proportion (50 per cent) of Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islanders are in jail for serious crimes (homicide, assault and sex offences).
Rather than just asking why Indigenous people are over-represented in Australia’s prisons, we also need to ask why certain Indigenous Australians are committing such serious crimes.
The National Indigenous Drug and Alcohol Committee estimates alcohol is a factor in up to 90 per cent of all Indigenous contact with the criminal justice system: 87 per cent of all Indigenous intimate partner homicides are alcohol related, and 63.8 per cent of Indigenous adult offenders report drinking alcohol before being arrested and placed in police custody.
Unemployed Indigenous people are also 20 times more likely to offend and end up in prison than employed Indigenous people.
A 2012 study in Queensland found the most chronic and costly offenders were from remote and very remote locations where there is appalling education and few employment options. In the remote community of Yuendumu in the Northern Territory, one out of every six residents (93 people from a total population of 587) is in prison.
To address the underlying causes of Indigenous offending, we need to focus on education and employment, and not be waylaid into thinking the answer lies with yet more ‘culturally appropriate’ or ‘Indigenous distinct’ programs. Worryingly, some supporters of Justice Reinvestment are already arguing for ‘culturally appropriate’ initiatives such as Indigenous healing centres.
Justice Reinvestment supporters talk as if offenders are victims of the criminal justice system, forgetting the actual real victims, and their right to some sort of redress. Diversion programs to provide employment and training for young offenders may be worthwhile but waiting till someone offends to provide education and employment training is too late. Improving educational outcomes should not be reliant on the diversion of funds from prison services but a basic right that states and territories should be covering in their education budgets.
Political correctness is most pervasive in universities and colleges but I rarely report the incidents concerned here as I have a separate blog for educational matters.
American "liberals" often deny being Leftists and say that they are very different from the Communist rulers of other countries. The only real difference, however, is how much power they have. In America, their power is limited by democracy. To see what they WOULD be like with more power, look at where they ARE already very powerful: in America's educational system -- particularly in the universities and colleges. They show there the same respect for free-speech and political diversity that Stalin did: None. So look to the colleges to see what the whole country would be like if "liberals" had their way. It would be a dictatorship.
For more postings from me, see TONGUE-TIED, GREENIE WATCH, EDUCATION WATCH INTERNATIONAL, FOOD & HEALTH SKEPTIC, AUSTRALIAN POLITICS, DISSECTING LEFTISM, IMMIGRATION WATCH INTERNATIONAL and EYE ON BRITAIN (Note that EYE ON BRITAIN has regular posts on the reality of socialized medicine). My Home Pages are here or here or here. Email me (John Ray) here.