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Thursday, 22 May 2008


On Tuesday I posted a link to a piece I wrote for the Guardian "Comment is Free" online section.

I received a number of responses, and I would just like to respond to a few things:

I have no problem with what people believe as long as they do not harm others. We should all respect each other, women and men, old and young, gay and straight, those with disabilities and the able bodied, black and white. We are, after all, human beings living on the same planet.

I believe democracy, and therefore other people, are harmed when MPs allow their religious faith rather than the principles of the party they represent to influence their votes in Parliament.


Anonymous said...

With your views on religion, how do you think you can represent the people of Europe, the majority of whom are religious?

And since when was the Labour Party founded on the notion of disrespect for human life? Since when was it founded on a pro-abortion platform? Did Keir Hardie ever imagine that his party would one day permit human cloning, animal/human hybrids, promote homosexuality and systematically destroy marriage?

Ruth Kelly is as much of a member of the Labour Party as any one else from the traditional Labour, Catholic areas of Liverpool, Manchester, Glasgow and London, Catholic by virtue of their Irish descent. How dare you presume to say that a Labour politician cannot vote, in good faith, against the government on these issues?

Red Maria said...


You wrote an anti-Catholic diatribe for Comment is Free in which you accused Roman Catholic cabinet ministers - your fellow members of the Labour Party - of undermining Gordon Brown's authority, simply because they demanded a conscience vote on the HFE Bill. You openly queried whether Roman Catholics like Ruth Kelly, Des Browne and Paul Murphy should be discriminated against in front bench politics because of their religion.

Conor McGinn, former chair of the Young Fabians, vice chair of the Labour Party Irish Society and - until he read your article which caused him to resign - vice chair of Young Labour emailed you to express his upset. You didn't have the courtesy to reply to him. Why not?

How does your querying whether Roman Catholics should be discriminated against in public life fit in with Labour's commitment to fairness and equality?

You say you believe in democracy but given your anti-Catholic views how can you properly represent your Roman Catholic constituents?

You say people are harmed when MPs allow their religious faith rather than the principles of the party they represent to influence their votes in parliament.

Can you provide evidence of a causal link between people being harmed and the voting behaviour of Ruth Kelly, Des Browne and Paul Murphy? If you can't do so will you withdraw your remark and offer an unreserved apology to the individuals concerned?

I look forward to reading your reply to *all* these points.

neprimerimye said...

Given your expressed views as to the neccesity of Labour Party menbers to place their religious beliefs in second place and to follow the line of the Labour Party on matters which have traditionally been seen as matters of conscience I can only assume that you see the Labour Party as a 'democratic centralist' party rather in the way that the Stalinist parties once were.

One would also assume that you would now wish the current Labour administration to follow the expressed policies of the Labour Party and to oppose further imperialist interventions in Iran, Iraq and Afghanistan.

Or do you simply want Labour Party members to follow Labour party policy when it suits you?

Martin Brennan said...

Dear Mary,
Drive the bead rattlers out of public life. Great stuff.
But why stop there? It's high time issues like Catholics' rights to suffrage, citizenship and UK residence had a public airing.
Don't you pay attention, Mary, to all those who call you a fifth rate airhead. You've got the support of thousands of good people in Scotland and Northern Ireland.
You're a star, Mary, an eastern star.

Theo Blackwell's blog said...

Your comment piece in the Guardian is very poorly worded, unless of of course you set out to offend. What have you done to clarify your position?