Thursday 12 November 2009

Day of Shame

Just been announced that the Government has abandoned its attempt to make hatred on grounds of sexual orientation a criminal offence - as a result of sustained opposition from our unelected House of Lords who argued for 'freedom of speech and conscience'. This is the very same body which tried to stop the repeal of the blasphemy laws a few years back - unsuccessfully then, thank God (if there were one!). There are already such laws protecting against hatred on grounds of race and religion but, it seems, that, unlike this attempt to criminalise public expressions of homophobia, the former are really necessary! This sexual orientation provision was part of a larger Bill which the Government feared would be entirely lost due to lack of Parliamentary time if it continued to insist on all the clauses, so they've shown the white feather on this one. No doubt the religious bigots will be crowing at their 'victory'. Shame on this lily-livered Government! Anyway, what other democracy has an entirely unelected governing chamber (including 12 Church of England bishops, for goodness' sake!) with so much power? Whenever I hear that our system of Government (along with our system of justice, our police, army - in fact everything!) is the 'envy of the World', as is regularly claimed, I don't know whether to collapse with hilarity or to puke!


  1. Oh man, I had no idea the House of Lords was unelected. I think I need to study up a little on UK government.

  2. Yes, indeed it is - entirely appointed or there through privilege. I believe it's unique in the Western World. (I think in Canada one of their legislative houses contains both elected and unelected members, but I may be wrong). The Labour Government started reforming our House of Lords in 1997 by expelling most of the hereditary Lords (but even now there are still 92 of them sitting - only there because their fathers were titled) But further reform seems to have stalled - so most of the Lords sit because they've been appointed by previous Prime Ministers, overwhelmingly Conservative, though recently attempts have been made to make the balance more representative. But still NOT ONE of them is elected! And yes, this morning we're hearing the voices of jubiliation - "A victory for freedom of speech!" - coming from those who tried and succeeded in getting religion specially protected against 'offensive' and 'hateful' views and language.