A piece of the pie please sir?


by Sunny
13th February, 2007 at 2:50 pm    

Anil Bhanot of the Hindu Council has written an article on comment is free today, arguing against reforming the House of Lords to get rid of some bishops. In the comments section LibertyCentral pops up and summarises the whole article as:

Jack’s offering guaranteed seats in the second chamber to other faith groups.
I’d like one.

Heh! I suspect the annoyed commenters are reacting to arguments like: “In my view, the church is mostly a positive influence on society and government. The relationship between church and state also has a reforming effect on the church, ensuring it moves with the times as new legislation sometimes challenges archaic and prejudicial opinions.

Oh please. The Church establishment has been way behind contemporary society in following through with the ideals of equality, no different to the religious establishment of other religions. They’re all dominated by middle-aged to old men who refuse to share power with women or the youth, let alone show compassion towards homosexuals or other minorities.

The religious establishment all want a piece of the government pie to maintain their eroding influence, when in fact the best thing that could happen to this country is a move towards total secularism – a complete separation between religious bodies and the state. That is the only way to establish equality between how religions are treated and to ensure the government does not compromise its own ideals to please the Catholic, Anglican, Muslim, Sikh, Hindu, Jewish “community leaders”. I think this needs fleshing out further in more detail later, but I’d like to hear your views.

Update: Lord Lucas thinks reform will go through.


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  1. Don — on 13th February, 2007 at 3:06 pm  

    Couldn’t agree more.

  2. ally — on 13th February, 2007 at 3:10 pm  

    “I think this needs fleshing out in more detail later.”

    I don’t. Could not be simpler or more self-evident.

  3. Lobster Blogster — on 13th February, 2007 at 3:16 pm  

    So if you can dream up an invisible friend, you get a seat in the house of lords? And no cash changes hands? Sounds like the perfect solution to me…

  4. Amir — on 13th February, 2007 at 3:27 pm  

    Sunny,

    “They’re all dominated by middle-aged to old men who refuse to share power with women or the youth, let alone show compassion towards homosexuals or other minorities.”

    Rubbish. If freedom means anything, it means the natural right to choose your own company. This is precisely what “gay rights” denies. If the government dislikes your choice of associates, in a business or a school perhaps, it can punish you for the offence of “discrimination.” (Which, incidentally, infringes upon one of the most fundamental axioms of democratic governance: freedom of association.)

    Now, discrimination used to be a perfectly good word. It meant the ability to tell things apart. We praised people for being discriminate or discriminating. You discriminated “between,” not “against.” Then the word unfortunately became associated chiefly with invidious forms of discrimination. Now its primary meaning is almost forgotten.

    I think homosexual acts are sinful. However, having done many seriously wrong things myself and fearing that I will do many more this side of the grave, I cannot believe that this is a political issue. I think it is absurd and stupid to define people by what they do with their sexual organs. But this is exactly what the sexual revolutionaries want to do with their campaigns for “Gay Equality” which actually undermine marriage and the family.

  5. Chairwoman — on 13th February, 2007 at 3:30 pm  

    There really is no more fleshing out to be done, it’s perfect as it is.

    But if they insist on keeping the Lords Spiritual, then I think they’re going to have to include all the usual suspects, and not just the C of E.

    Lobster Blogster – I thought the PM was an invisible friend.

  6. Sid — on 13th February, 2007 at 3:37 pm  

    Amir, have you been smoking Camerons again?

  7. Amir — on 13th February, 2007 at 3:37 pm  

    Heh, heh!

  8. Amir — on 13th February, 2007 at 3:38 pm  

    Last night… actually.

  9. Sid — on 13th February, 2007 at 3:41 pm  

    Be warned: stays in your bloodstream for at least 2 months and turns you into a negro, you know.

  10. Katy — on 13th February, 2007 at 3:46 pm  

    Oh Amir, you disappoint me. I thought you were more wholesome than that.

    Please don’t get me started on my “have you ANY idea what sort of overseas oppression, misery and poverty you buy into every time you buy questionable substances from dodgy people” speech. Please.

  11. Amir — on 13th February, 2007 at 3:49 pm  

    Katy,

    David Cameron smokes Rothmans. :-)

    And so do I.

    I don’t know what you and Sid are talking about? ;-)

  12. Sid — on 13th February, 2007 at 3:56 pm  

    You were beautiful once Amir.

  13. Billy — on 13th February, 2007 at 3:56 pm  

    “But this is exactly what the sexual revolutionaries want to do with their campaigns for “Gay Equality” which actually undermine marriage and the family.”

    How does gay equality undermine marriage? It’s not like many gay people were ever going to get married.

  14. Don — on 13th February, 2007 at 4:15 pm  

    Amir,

    ‘If freedom means anything, it means the natural right to choose your own company. This is precisely what ‘gay right’ denies. If the government dislikes your choice of associates, in a business or a school perhaps, it can punish you for the offense of “discrimination.” …

    Now, discrimination used to be a perfectly good word. It meant the ability to tell things apart. We praised people for being discriminate or discriminating. You discriminated “between,” not “against.” Then the word unfortunately became associated chiefly with invidious forms of discrimination. Now its primary meaning is almost forgotten.

    That’s very naughty, and I think you know why.

  15. Amir — on 13th February, 2007 at 4:21 pm  

    Billy,

    “How does gay equality undermine marriage? It’s not like many gay people were ever going to get married.”

    Let me be crystal clear on one thing. This has nothing to do with mere disapproval of sodomy. Even societies that were indifferent to sodomy saw no reason to treat same-sex domestic partnerships as marriages. Why not? Because such unions don’t produce children. To put it as unromantically as possible: people who have children should be stuck with each other, sharing the responsibility. Gay lobbyists try to devalue heterosexual marriage by “evening out the playing field.”

  16. Juvenal — on 13th February, 2007 at 4:31 pm  

    According to Jack Straw’s White Paper on Lords reform, it’s up to the Church of England to decide whether or not to remove itself from the establishment:

    “any profound change in the status of the Church must be in the first instance for the Church itself”

    So the Archbishop of Canterbury will decide when the state becomes secular. Bonkers.

  17. Kismet Hardy — on 13th February, 2007 at 4:32 pm  

    Let me be crystal on one thing too. Crystal meths. Other than that, disliking people because of their sexuality is no different from hating a black man for having furry pubes. You make me sad Amir

  18. Inders — on 13th February, 2007 at 4:34 pm  

    Totally disagree with Sunny, although a MORE representative system is not a bad thing a totally representative system would be a nightmare. I actualy agree with the go-slow effect of having the church and more traditional viewpoints over represented in the lords. It stops knee jerk reactions and flash in the pan ‘issue’ politics. Without this, we would have a Big Brother Tabloid democracy and as every helipcopter pilot knows the only thing worse then the wrong direction is over correction.

  19. MatGB — on 13th February, 2007 at 4:37 pm  

    I’ve said for awhile that I thought a reformed second chamber should have representatives of significant interest groups in it. That should include a few (elected) church types, and other religious groupings as well. Not bishops and church leaders only, but elected from the membership.

    That would include the BHA as well as unions and other organisations with significant membership. 1/3rd interest group, 1/3 reps from the next level of Govt (like in the German Bundesrat) and 1/3rd selected by Sortition.

    Direct elections aren’t the only way to be democratic after all. And if interest groups and random selection were the order of the day, then the marginal view most have of religion might show up a bit better. And the BHA would get more members…

  20. Kismet Hardy — on 13th February, 2007 at 4:40 pm  

    “Please don’t get me started on my “have you ANY idea what sort of overseas oppression, misery and poverty you buy into every time you buy questionable substances from dodgy people” speech.”

    Sorry Katy hon, but in that case you shouldn’t buy coffee, tea, sugar or any item of clothing stitched in third world countries. For starters

  21. Amir — on 13th February, 2007 at 4:42 pm  

    Kismet,

    I don’t dislike homosexuals. Please: stop putting words into my mouth. Emotional blackmail is no substitute for proper political discussion. But once you make the political personal, you diminish the argument and render the discussion useless. (Just look at what happened between Jagdeep and myself yesterday -learn from our mistakes.)

    Homosexuals are a prominent force in the Catholic Church. It’s no big deal. We don’t pander to crude stereotypes or popular prejudices. If I’m perfectly honest, the issue of “gay rights” receives more coverage than it merits. I’d rather not talk about people’s sexual orientation. But I have no choice if I’m constantly being put in a defensive position by the MSM’s “Equality-Nazis.” They don’t give a damn about sexual ethics or freedom of conscience. I do.

  22. Kismet Hardy — on 13th February, 2007 at 4:43 pm  

    (PS. Most of the skunk available today is grown in cupboards, mostly in Hackney. The only suffering that causes to third world bods is that they’ve got less people to sell their crop to and will starve and die)

  23. Kismet Hardy — on 13th February, 2007 at 4:45 pm  

    “They don’t give a damn about sexual ethics or freedom of conscience. I do.”

    So what bro? You want everyone to think like you now or else they go to hell?

  24. Juvenal — on 13th February, 2007 at 4:53 pm  

    “Sorry Katy hon, but in that case you shouldn’t buy coffee, tea, sugar or any item of clothing stitched in third world countries. For starters”

    The majority of drugs are peddled by criminals (well, they’re all criminals for dealing, but many commit other crimes too).

    You’re knowingly financing crime, no two ways about it. You can hardly say the same about buying a jar of Kenco.

  25. Inders — on 13th February, 2007 at 4:55 pm  

    How about Nescafe Juvenal ?

  26. Amir — on 13th February, 2007 at 5:02 pm  

    Kismet,

    “So what bro? You want everyone to think like you now or else they go to hell?”

    I am not urging my opponents in this discussion to adopt my faith. I am seeking to persuade them to accept that my faith is just as valid as theirs in the public and private sphere. I am anxious not to have a discussion about the merits or demerits of Christianity here, not because I don’t wish to debate it (I often do debate it) but because it will confuse the issue. And what’s all this silly talk about gays “going to hell?” Where does it say that in the New Testament?

  27. Juvenal — on 13th February, 2007 at 5:06 pm  

    I chose my coffee brand wisely!

    Notwithstanding Kismet’s home-grown argument, which is a sensible one, buying a product from a system which you know is responsible for extreme cruelty, violence and death from the street right back to the field (wherever that is) in order to satisfy someone’s leisure/addiction requirements just doesn’t work for me.

  28. Kismet Hardy — on 13th February, 2007 at 5:11 pm  

    Juvenal, look into the suffering that goes on in the sugar industry. I’ve always found it comical that some folk will tell you off for smoking a marlboro or drinking a can of coke or wearing reeboks while rolling their golden virginia baccy and sipping from their nescafe in their cheap primark threads

    See Amir? I can be right-wing too :-)

  29. Juvenal — on 13th February, 2007 at 5:17 pm  

    Kismet, I hope you’re not suggesting that my Tate and Lyle granulated is imported in condoms swallowed or stuffed by mules from the West Indies. That’s really put me off my Corn Flakes.

  30. Rumbold — on 13th February, 2007 at 5:23 pm  

    Restore the hereditary peers who were thrown out. The purpose of the Lords is not to be representative of faith groups, nor of the people in general. It is to provide a check on legislation, something which the commons is failing to do.

    I would get rid of the bishops though.

  31. Katy — on 13th February, 2007 at 5:30 pm  

    Sorry Katy hon, but in that case you shouldn’t buy coffee, tea, sugar or any item of clothing stitched in third world countries. For starters

    I know.

  32. Katy — on 13th February, 2007 at 5:37 pm  

    I, um, don’t take sugar in my oppressive coffee.

  33. Amir — on 13th February, 2007 at 5:40 pm  

    Kismet,

    “See Amir? I can be right-wing too”

    Prove it! You have to kill at least five puppies or three baby seals.

  34. Kismet Hardy — on 13th February, 2007 at 5:47 pm  

    Can I not start be being a wry twing?

    Assuming the word twing means something relevant. Maybe if I copy sunny and keep repeating a word like strawman everyone will suddenly start thinking it means something important

    It’s all in the twing, you understand

  35. Amir — on 13th February, 2007 at 5:56 pm  

    Someone should start a blog called “Straw Man.” I’d read it every day. No, really, I would.

    So when Sunny accuses someone or something of being a “straw man,” his interlocutor will retort: Are you referring to Fox News or that famous English blogger?

  36. William — on 13th February, 2007 at 6:08 pm  

    The Anglican church in the UK is a bit like the Monarchy in the sense that it is there by tradition. It mostly exists by institution, architecture, art and a few mouthpieces like the archbishop on TV now and then. Most people who are Christian are so by name. The majority are not conscious of being so on a daily basis. Very few people in this country are Christian by identity (if such a thing exists). There are many people on the other hand who engage in some kind of spiritual practices or search. Many sort it out and like to think for themselves on the issues of what to believe and where to go. Maybe this is the future in a modern world of a populace
    with enough education to think for themselves. However it is good for Institutions to exist to provide community and some source of information on different faiths.

    We are no longer a Christian society in the true sense of the word. We are a multifaith society. As the spiritual is still sometimes important it deserves a voice in our society although it should have some distance to general government. I would be all in father of replacing the present system with some kind of council of different faiths that could look at government policy and advise, and even have some lobbying power.

  37. ZinZin — on 13th February, 2007 at 6:19 pm  

    “Homosexuals are a prominent force in the Catholic Church”

    WTF. There is more accuracy in Father Ted than that statement unless you believe all gays to be paedophiles?

  38. Owen Blacker — on 13th February, 2007 at 6:23 pm  

    Sunny: I couldn’t agree more (as a Liberal Catholic, if that matters).

    Amir: I can understand where you’re coming from, but I have to disagree. I fail to see how discriminating against homosexuals because you believe we are sinful is different from (for example) the Dutch Reformed Church having advocated discrimination against non-Whites in South Africa, based on a perverse misreading of the Bible. (Personally, I’d argue that your belief that we are sinful is based on a misreading of whichever scriptures you believe, as well, but that’s another issue entirely).

    I do have to take issue with one statement, though. You mentioned “Even societies that were indifferent to sodomy saw no reason to treat same-sex domestic partnerships as marriages.” There is much evidence, though, that the early Christian Church not only regarded same-sex partnerships as marriages but blessed them and buried partners together, just as they would have done heterosexual married partners.

    And I’d say that your freedom of conscience is barely being impeded at all, but a fair and equitable society should do what it can to stamp out intolerance. Noone is saying you can’t believe that homosexuals are sinful, if you wish to. But the government *is* saying that you shouldn’t have the right to provide services to heterosexuals that you wouldn’t provide to homosexuals. That’s discriminatory and, to my mind, no different from signs reading “No Blacks, Dogs or Irish”.

    Getting back to the point, however, in the 21st century, in a largely secular society, I really don’t see why faith groups should have seats in our legislature. Certainly, faith groups should have the right to lobby our legislators, just as any other group does. If the faith groups have as large and as dedicated a following as they would like people to believe, then they will doubtless have quite some impact when all their members lobby on any given policy.

    But that doesn’t mean we should give them special treatment and seats in the Lords, reformed or otherwise.

  39. Sid — on 13th February, 2007 at 6:26 pm  

    As far as I’m concerned, the Gays shall inherit the earth. At least the shopping will be great.

    Cower, Amir, cower!

  40. Ravi Naik — on 13th February, 2007 at 6:27 pm  

    > Because such unions don’t produce children

    You bring this argument time after time but it has little merit, considering that there are heterosexual couples who wish not to have children or cannot have children of their own, and their marriage is not annulled for this reason.

    > I think homosexual acts are sinful.

    Really? Where in the New Testament does it say that it is sinful?

  41. Leon — on 13th February, 2007 at 6:32 pm  

    As far as I’m concerned, the Gays shall inherit the earth. At least the shopping will be great.

    With the world being severely overpopulated as it is we could do with a good few more gays if you ask me…

  42. Sid — on 13th February, 2007 at 6:35 pm  

    Maybe we should rename Amir as Shabba Ranks. ‘im don’t like them batty men either.

    Shabba!

  43. James Graham — on 13th February, 2007 at 6:36 pm  

    You might be interested in this pamphlet, which came out in 2004 and rather anticipated this particular “me too!” argument.

  44. Amir — on 13th February, 2007 at 6:39 pm  

    Geez Louise…

    You guys are kicking my arse.

    Calm down. ;-)

    I’ll reply to all your points in 3-4 hours time.

    (I’m going to a mate’s house to watch Beavis & Butthead on DVD.)

    Be back soon.

  45. Sid — on 13th February, 2007 at 6:46 pm  

    Shabba!

  46. El Cid — on 13th February, 2007 at 8:49 pm  

    Some of the anti-catholic sentiments expressed on this thread are Jade Goodyesque. So much for clicheless original thought.

    If you think the catholic church is fair game, how long do you think before I fire back at hindus, sikhs, and moslems? I’m not even trying — it just comes natural to me to respect other people’s cultures. As for you ex-catholics — your bad experiences and still your own experiences. Like in my case, there’s the Anglican priest who asked me to show him my willy when I was 9 and the secular swimming instructor at my junior school who was done for child buggery around the same time. If you don’t want threads to degenerate, I suggest you think about what you say again and again and again. Generalisations are generalisations.

    Sunny: you want complete separation of state and church. Maybe I’d go for that. It depends. However, if you want to extend that to church schools, then you might find the big clunking fist of family culture and parental ambition knocking you out of the ring. Yeah, I’d say public school boys and girls who fast track their way into the best jobs and universities need to flesh out the details when it comes to the lives of people they know nowt about. I’m all ears.

  47. Ravi Naik — on 13th February, 2007 at 9:57 pm  

    >> Because such unions don’t produce children

    Amir, I am confused now. Are the gays trying to destroy marriage or saving this institution using the same arguments as you?

    “OLYMPIA, Wash. (AP) – Proponents of same-sex marriage have introduced an initiative that would put a whole new twist on traditional unions between men and women: It would require heterosexual couples to have kids within three years or else have their marriages annulled.”

  48. Don — on 13th February, 2007 at 10:07 pm  

    And what’s all this silly talk about gays “going to hell?” Where does it say that in the New Testament?

    1 Corinthians 6:9

    Jude 1:7

    1 Romans

  49. Leon — on 13th February, 2007 at 10:11 pm  

    I’d say public school boys and girls who fast track their way into the best jobs and universities need to flesh out the details when it comes to the lives of people they know nowt about.

    El Cid, you yourself are using generalisations to berate those who generalise. Kinda undermines your point don’t you think?

    Nothing wrong with religions having their influence knocked down a peg or two…

  50. El Cid — on 13th February, 2007 at 10:17 pm  

    Don, that’ll be coz the New Testament is almost 2 millennia old and we’ve moved on, and therein lies the kernel to all this fundamentalist religious mumbo jumbo politics. Still, your point wasn’t addressed to me and is valid.

  51. Sunny — on 13th February, 2007 at 10:31 pm  

    If you think the catholic church is fair game, how long do you think before I fire back at hindus, sikhs, and moslems?

    The problem isn’t the catholic church in itself, it is rather that the other religions (the new ones like Muslims, Hindus and Sikhs) want to jump on the bandwagon. Hence Anil Bhanot’s preference to keep the order as it is because it may end up suiting some Hindu priests who will want representation.

    I think it’s important to that the state remains religion neutral – so it can treat them equally, so it can stop funding any religious activity, and so it can say no when any of the religious groups want to discriminate. Why should religious groups get special representation at any rate? They have to make a case for it surely.

    But this is exactly what the sexual revolutionaries want to do with their campaigns for “Gay Equality” which actually undermine marriage and the family.

    Amir what the hell are you blabbering about? the simple point is that the government should not enact any policy that discriminates on the basis of race/sex/religion/orientation, or values any higher than the other on the same basis.

    This is about legislation. I don’t care what your personal preferences are with regards to sodomy. A government has to be equal to all citizens. That should be the basis of any civilised society. The only way that is achievable in my view is by divesting from religious groups. I havn’t heard good arguments against this yet.

    The overruling of the Catholic Church over gay adoption was a big watershed I believe.

    So the Archbishop of Canterbury will decide when the state becomes secular. Bonkers.

    Agreed.

    MatGB I like your idea too, although I’m what if the 1/3rd religious representation want to enact discriminatory legislation?

    ElCid However, if you want to extend that to church schools, then you might find the big clunking fist of family culture and parental ambition knocking you out of the ring.

    Well, yes. Church schools do pose a problem. But I’d rather move towards secularism than the other way.

  52. Don — on 13th February, 2007 at 10:37 pm  

    Amir,

    The idea that legitimising gay unions somehow threatens straight marriage is very tired and, as Ravi succinctly showed, based on a ludicrous perception of human relationships.

    Does my prefence for a single malt undermine someone else’s for a cognac?

    Now I’m not saying that you’re homophobic. But it looks like rationalisation of a visceral feeling to me. Sure you’re not a latent homophobe?

  53. El Cid — on 13th February, 2007 at 10:39 pm  

    Ah Leon, at last.
    Is it a generalisation that people who went to public school run this country? Is it a generalisation that they dominate the main professions? Is it a generalisation that they dominate the main universities? Is it a generalisation that the those brotherhood and sisterhood and peace and love to all, walk the walk of privilige when push comes to shove and it’s time to send their kids to school?
    I’ve it heard all before. At least with a Tory, you know who the enemy is.

    Don’t get me wrong. I like public-school educated people, in general. They are witty, funny, well-rounded and a pleasure to be with. But… don’t start messing with our kids’ education. We’re tryin to stay within the public sector under trying circumstances.

  54. Leon — on 13th February, 2007 at 10:49 pm  

    Ah Leon, at last.

    I see you’re point but again if you don’t want generalisations laid at your feet it’d help your cause if you don’t hand out the same…

  55. William — on 13th February, 2007 at 11:02 pm  

    Coffee, tea, chocolate, sugar, tobacco, cheap sweatshop cloths, diamonds, coltan for mobile phones. As long as we buy any of them we are part of the problem.

  56. soru — on 13th February, 2007 at 11:58 pm  

    I’ve always thought the Lords Spiritual were far too cool a name to reform. Instead, they should extend the principal:

    Lords Militant: ex-generals
    Lords Financial: 20 seats sold on the open market
    Law Lords: ex-judges
    Lords of Chaos: ex-convicts
    Drug Lords: doctors
    Lords of the Ether: bloggers
    Lords Diversant: ethnic groups

    Who wants more boring policians when you could have gay rights legislation reviewed by a Sex Lord?

  57. justforfun — on 14th February, 2007 at 12:21 am  

    Middle aged men – damn baby boomers !! had all the best of the world and now want to spoil our fun!! Is 42 middle aged ?

    Religion everywhere its seems.

    El Cid – with you on the public schools – bastards rang me up the other day asking for money for a new indoor ski slope or some such facility. What cheek! I said I had other charities I gave my money to that were alittle bit more deserving. Happens every year , they never seem to have enough. I read the education thread from back in January – I wish I had commented.

    William – you’ve spotted the elephant in the room! Climate change is a side show and cyclical – compared to global reasources being used up which is one way energy reaction – untill we have fusion and mini controllable suns and can make what ever element we want. This link is a worth listening to – it simple maths really.

    http://video.google.com/videoplay?docid=2376190597731898896

    I remember writing a post grad thesis on Consumerism in 87 – hoping that the west would cut down its use of reasources and use its asset bank of wealth and knowledge, but primarily its greatest economic asset, political stability – so as to provide a new cultural and economic model that could shown to work for the future where we will have 7-10 billion inhabitants on this world. This had to be done while in the time lag between the developement cycles of the first and third worlds existed – say 30 years- long enough for us e to change without tomuch pain and for, for the following 3rd world populations to use as an example.

    Instead in the last 20 years the West has just put it foot to the floor as far as conspicious consumption and asset aggregating goes. We the people have allowed our greatest economic asset, which is our political stability, to be abused, exploited and liquidated into hard cash by the financial institutions. All other assets have already been exploited, pensions being the last one. The rest of the world has just gone religious and prays that the God will sort it all out. I suppose global collapse is one Act of God.

    Can one become a Marxist as one gets older?

    The alternative I’m afraid is rather ugly. It involves alot of brutal use of the military industrial complex to maintain stability for pockets of the world. The rest will just be forgotten.

    Justforfun

  58. justforfun — on 14th February, 2007 at 12:24 am  

    # 56 Soru – I love it.

    Justforfun

  59. douglas clark — on 14th February, 2007 at 4:44 am  

    Seems to me, in a very funny post, Soru hit the nail on the head. Brilliant stuff.

    If the House of Lords is to be ‘representative’ but non-democratic, whose to say what communities are to be represented? There are pressure groups for just about everything under the sun. And I am a paid up member to the idea that religious groups, in the public sphere at least, are no more valid than, say PETA or the Countryside Alliance.

    If a groups support waxes or wanes, do their numbers get adjusted? If that had been the case the Lords Spiritual would be down to about half a Lord these days.

    There is a need for a second chamber, I’m just not at all clear how you fill it.

    I am clear that religion should have no privileged place in politics, ’cause contrary to the almost incessant deluge of posts about this being a Christian Country it most certainly is not. It would be anathema to move towards more God botherers, of whatever persuasion, when we should be looking towards a secular state which can hold the jackets.

  60. soru — on 14th February, 2007 at 3:03 pm  

    Actually, it’s a semi-plausible idea that I’ve never discussed anywhere when people talk of proportional representation systems – give everyone say 10 votes, and let them cast them for any registered organisation, which would then pick the guy who physically showed up and debated.

    So someone could could vote, for the Lords:

    IJV + Stop the War Coalition + Greenpeace + British Homeopathic Assocation + Liberty + Insitute for Strategic Studies + Lib Dems (4 votes)

    Someone else might vote:

    World Wildlife Fund + British Medical Assocation + Liberty + ISS + Unison + Labour(5).

    That way, you would certainly get bishops and rabbis and imans in the Lords, but only in proportion to the degree people felt they reflected their identity.

  61. Little Black Sambo — on 14th February, 2007 at 3:56 pm  

    Owen Blacker
    “There is much evidence, though, that the early Christian Church not only regarded same-sex partnerships as marriages but blessed them and buried partners together.”
    Where is this evidence?

  62. bananabrain — on 14th February, 2007 at 4:20 pm  

    *claps for soru*

    i think that’s great. although there would be times that the news bunny, jordan and russell brand would end up in the lords and then i think we’d need to be sure we could winkle them out again.

    b’shalom

    bananabrain

  63. Refresh — on 14th February, 2007 at 4:48 pm  

    Sunny, can you please ask the poster (politely) with the very offensive name to remove himself, or perhaps give him technical assistance as only you know how.

  64. Owen Blacker — on 14th February, 2007 at 4:52 pm  

    Little Black Sambo: http://www.depts.drew.edu/jhc/samesex.html for a start :o )

    El Cid: “Don, that’ll be coz the New Testament is almost 2 millennia old and we’ve moved on,”

    No, it’ll be because St Paul was a fundamentalist who looked down on anyone who didn’t devote their life to the (then thought to be) imminent Second Coming. He was a bigot, pure and simple — a misogynist, too, as it happens.

    And there’s no need for us to bait and tease Amir just cos we happen to disagree with him, innit ;o)

  65. Don — on 14th February, 2007 at 5:02 pm  

    Reason not the need, Owen. Besides, he loves it.

  66. El Cid — on 14th February, 2007 at 5:46 pm  

    Thanks for your playground analysis Owen.

  67. douglas clark — on 14th February, 2007 at 10:26 pm  

    Soru,

    It is a brilliant idea. Your post at 60 cuts through so much. Let the Bishops fight it out with PETA, let PETA fight it out with the BNP. Oops, the BNP are a political party, allegedly.

    So count them out.

    I’d rather like to see the NGN versus the MCB.

  68. Arif — on 15th February, 2007 at 10:51 am  

    I also agree with douglas, soru – your contributions really move us up a level. I think your proposal makes it easier to know what I am voting for and represent my preoccupations as well as worldview more accurately.

    Who knows what terrible abyss it would lead to when the new political elites learn how to work the system and appeal to some low common denominator. But hey, worth a try I reckon.

  69. sonia — on 15th February, 2007 at 11:49 am  

    22- kismet – heh heh

    MatBG – ‘religious bodies’ – oh – I suppose the Jedi group will have to be included then – :-) ( check out the Census 2001 for how many Jedis were registered – 0.7 per cent of the population of England and Wales – not bad results for that exercise eh?

    So that is really where the hoo ha about who represents which religious group will really froth over. as sunny says, who’s gonna get a piece of the pie..

    The Church of England has given itself legitimacy as as a religious institution a good many centuries ago ( and it wasn’t exactly easy then – the Roman Catholic Church wasn’t very pleased about the competition for social legitimacy was it?) so i daresay they’ve sorted out who counts as ‘religious authority’. But what about the Muslims? the MCB will say they should have a spot and then it will be interesting to see what happens. the whole communal leaders business will be in focus.

    can’t wait.

  70. soru — on 15th February, 2007 at 12:20 pm  

    Checking on wikipedia, a voting system like that is called cumulative voting, although the example uses votes for candidates for a single post, where it seems kind of pointless.

    The other half of the idea is something like functional consituencies, which is used in Hong Kong. Related to corpativism too.

    Not sure anyone has ever seriously looked at putting the two things together, tried to work out what the consequences would be in practise.

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