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Wednesday, 24 September 2008


So Ruth Kelly, our only Opus Dei Cabinet member, is to leave the government. While her ostensible reason is to spend more time with her young family, the "Today" programme and maybe others believe this is not the full story.

It appears that Ms Kelly is at last doing the decent thing and going because she cannot support the Human Fertilisation and Embryology Bill due to come before the House of Commons soon for its third reading. It is well known that Kelly not only opposed but forced a free vote during the second reading on three of the Bill's most important clauses: screening embryos for diseases to allow "saviour siblings", the creation of human-animal hybrid embryos for vital medical research and ending the requirement for a father in IVF treatment.

All this is, of course, entirely in line with the Catholic Church's attitude. Kelly put her religion before the wishes of those who elected her during the second reading of the Embryology Bill. Her decision to go means that this, thankfully, will not happen again.


Merseymike said...

I'm nnot sure what the real reason is. I certainly think that we sho0uld have sympathy for the difficulties of balancing a parliamentary career with a family.

But i have no sypathy for the reactionary agenda of opus dei and feel that Ruth kelly really should not have been considered a suitable person, given those affiliations, to be an MP for a progressive party. OD is, after all, a neo-fascist cult with very clear right-wing affiliations.
Ruth Kelly's record on gay rights issues, for example, is absolutely diabolical.

Catholics who are Labour MP's need to remember not to impose their religion on others. No Catholic MP is forced to be gay or benefit from these very welcome advances in scientific endeavour. But to use their role to advance the position of the Vatican is wrong. We are not a theocracy. They can choose to personally oppose those things but to prevent others from benefiting from progressive change suggests an attempt to impose their religion and its restrictions on others who do not follow their faith.

I respect your bravery in standing up to these people, Mary

Stewart Cowan said...

Like Merseymike, I'm not sure about her real reason or timing.

Looking back, she does seem to have been bullied for her beliefs.

Mary Honeyball says: "It appears that Ms Kelly is at last doing the decent thing and going because she cannot support the Human Fertilisation and Embryology Bill."

Why the heck should she if it is against her conscience? Should there not be voices in the Government to echo the feelings of the millions of others who share her view on this?

As for "ending the requirement for a father in IVF treatment".

That disgusts me. To me that is child abuse, but that's Labour's forte thanks to mountains of anti-children and anti-family legislation.

neprimerimye said...

What an ignorant post. I note that in opposing a bill on which the Labour Party has no agreed position (since when did Labour govts care about the Labour Party's policies anyway?) Kelly was not seeking to impose her views on anybody else but was in fact adhering to the long standing view of that cesspit tknown as Westminster that matters of concience are subject to a free vote. Not that I expect somebody who sits in as pointless a body as the so called European parliament to know what is a basic concept of the british constitution.

I note in passing that Opus Dei, a deeply reactionary body, is not aligned with fascism but is known to be politically speaking quietist. Moreover its members who sat in the last administrations led by Franco were known to favour the opening to bourgeois democracy as being the most efficient way to develop Spainish capitalism. In this they were joined by the PSOE the sister party of the british Labiour Party. Jointly their efforts condemned workers in Spain to the continuation of the dictatorship of capital and exploitation by the bosses in partnership with their junior partners the catholic Church.

Only genuine socialists can fight the squalor of religion. By contrast fake secularists simply call for religion to be repressed by the state and by such bosses instruments as the 'Labour' Party.

Ian Logan said...

I think it's amazing that a bigot like you can be a member of the Labour Party, let alone an elected representative. (Or were you not elected?)

Everyone in public office should put their conscience first and party second. Otherwise we will only be ruled by timeserving hacks.

Presumably you think that Catholics, Muslims, Jews, Sikhs and others, should be second class members of the Labour Party and of society in general, who should only speak when spoken to. If you do, I suggest you run for election on that ticket and see what happens.

Kelly has done great service in trying to protect the family and human life from the assaults of neo-liberals like you.

Anonymous said...

Rubbish! Ruth Kelly is not a member of Opus Dei. In actual fact she's barely a Roman Catholic. The truth is simply that she's left the Cabinet because the good ship Gordo has taking on water for over a year now and she knows it has no future. Rather than go down with Brown, Ruth Kelly has decided to leave the Cabinet in order to become the main cheerleader for heir apparent (and militantly atheistic!) David Miliband.

Ruth Kelly and the other Labour MPs were elected on the Party's manifesto. Baby-killing was not in that manifesto, so you can drop this self-righteous demagogic cant about "the people who elected her". If you think abortion and human experimentation should be party political then say so - and campaign to get the Party's manifesto changed at the next election. (Personally I'd be in favour of that - if only because it would be more honest.) Otherwise you should allow your colleagues to follow what weak consciences they have left.

Whatever happened to conscience first, electorate second and party third?

All you other people, there is nothing reactionary about Opus Dei so pull your noses out of The Da Vinci Code and live in the Real World. Yes, Catholics do have a duty to "impose" their religious beliefs on others so don't pretend that they don't. (Same with Protestants! Same with Muslims! Same with any Proselytising religion, and arguably Judaism as well!) In the case of Catholicism it goes back to a man called Jesus Christ and something called the Sermon on the Mount.