Wednesday, 30 January 2013
Wednesday 30th January
I've worn my head shaved for several years now.
I recall advice from a 'dome-headed' school master (Mr Feaver - and yes; we often asked him whether it was catching..) who told us during 'A'-level Geography that
'once you can see the rear of your head while looking front on into a mirror, it's time to bring out the Bic'.
I took his advice in my early thirties, coincidentally just ahead of my political odyssey.
And given some of the hairstyles I've donned over the years I think it was probably good advice, although I have spent the last few years reassuring both political colleagues & opponents alike that while I might bear a passing resemblance to 'Il Duce', I don't in fact share a similar political outlook.
In fact, my politics remain as they have always been. I veer to the right on some things and towards the left on others; I have friends and colleagues of all demographic, ethnic, political and lifestyle groups. I am in fact, pretty much where you'd imagine a modern Conservative to be.
Seemingly though, recent events tend to be suggesting that the term 'modern Conservative' is something of an oxymoron. I watched the recent Newsnight programme with a sense of confusion matched only by some of the opinion expressed within the article. And then, last night I was made aware of a podcast interview along similar lines, which struck me further dumb the more I listened.
Like much of the 'gay legislation' of recent years, including Clause 28 and Civil Partnerships, Gay marriage does indeed appear to be a particularly contentious issue. I personally - and probably very fundamentally - consider the subject to be a theological rather than a political one: it is surely a subject for the theologians to debate and amend as appropriate, as has been done with the sacrament of marriage for years (remarrying divorcees anyone?). And the social debate regards partnerships, families, adoption et al, has passed. We've already debated and legislated for those rights. But notwithstanding the existing position and the probability of ultimate guidance from Europe, it is clear that even debate on the subject is causing all sorts of political problems. Nowhere more so than here in Surrey Heath, where both of the above interviews reveal a haemorrhaging of local Conservative Party support to other right of centre parties, ostensibly down to the subject of Gay marriage.
Whether such a claimed loss of support is down to this subject remains a matter of some conjecture. I happen to believe that any such dwindling is down to a range of unpopular coalition moves in general rather than any single issue. What is clear though is that the timing of the Prime Minister's recent European referendum declaration is no coincidence: if anything was going to stem the tide to other parties, then greater certainty about the future of the UK in Europe was probably going to do it.
The gay marriage debate will continue of course and the Prime Minister is wedded to moving it forward apace. The great pity is that the debate is already showing hitherto bright and considerate people to be seemingly less so.
At best, some of them appear to be desperately confused.
At worst, well;
make your own minds up.