The other day, I blogged about the Christian Party’s latest response to the atheist bus (The Christian Party is still upset by the Atheist bus…), linking this to the bizarre situation regarding the BBC’s “Thought for the Day”. I noticed from the brief biography of George Hargreaves that he leads the Christian Party, so I moseyed over to their web page for a quick squizz. And I can’t say this is a political party that should represent a multicultural, multifaith and largely secular society. I have been unable to identify any policies other than to defend christian beliefs and values (the website is liberally peppered with biblical quotations), and to “resist the tide of secularism and immorality that is destroying our country”. I think there’s a clear message there that George Hargreaves thinks secularism = immorality.Casting around for some indication of Christian Party policies, I eventually clicked on the SCP Manifesto link. This takes you to the Scottish Christian party manifesto. It kind of makes sense, because as far as I can see, the Christian Party has been most active (in terms of election participation) in Scotland. Indeed, George himself stood in an election for the Western Isles (now Na h-Eileanan an lar) constituency. in the 2005 UK General Election, in which he is proud to say he collared 7.6% of the votes. If you’d like to now more about George’s electoral escapades, check out his Wikipedia page. That page neatly summarises the Christian Party policies as follows (my comments in italics and bounded by square brackets):
- a proposed referendum on the reinstitution the death penalty for severe crimes, where two or three witnesses were present at the scene crime and forensic science confirms involvement. [What definition is used for “severe crimes”?, why the presence of some witnesses (and will they go for 2, or 3?). At least he likes forensic evidence here, unlike the policy near the end of the list about Biblical policies emphasising witnesses over forensic evidence]
- legislation to ban abortion. [That’s a regressive policy to take, but clearly religiously motivated]
- increased taxation on alcohol and tobacco. [a conventional policy]
- initiatives to bring personal responsibility to bear upon “self-inflicted disease” (such as alcoholism).
- Zero tolerance on drug possession. [What about biblical teachings on forgiveness?]
- curfews for under 11 year olds, with mandatory intervention of child protection agencies in relation to any child 10 years or younger that is found unaccompanied on the street after 9:00pm. [Hmm…a bit harsh, maybe?]
- the reintroduction of the right of teachers to use corporal punishment in extreme circumstances. [I wonder what is meant by “extreme circumstances”?]
- greater observance of a weekly day of rest (Sunday). [Sunday is for shopping, riding your bike, playing football, etc]
- limits around coastlines to preserve stocks of fish and sand eels. [He-e-ey, a policy I like!]
- promotion in school of chastity before marriage. [Hasn’t worked to prevent teenage pregnancy in the USA and elsewhere, and increases “alternative” heterosexual acts, apparently]
- re-instatement of Section 2A (also known as Section 28), a law to guard against the promotion of homosexuality. [Oh, they are on about homosexuals – see below for more]
- the re-introduction of corporate readings from the Bible in all Scottish state schools. [Well the kids might find that a bit tedious. We had RE at school, and it was pretty laughable]
- provision of Christian religious education on a mandatory basis, with no obligation to promote other faiths, regardless of the wishes of those being instructed or their parents. There currently exists a level of Christian observance in Scottish schools, so these policies are calling for this to be increased. [Hmm, zero tolerance of other faiths, here.]
- a science curriculum which should “reflect the evidence of creation/design” in the universe (see Creation-evolution controversy). [George is basically ignorant and/or stupid]
- public health campaigns to discourage homosexuality alongside excessive drinking and the use of addictive substances, whilst maintaining “God loves and we should love” such individuals. [ at this point I must confess to excessive drinking. But not homosexuality, personally speaking. I do wonder at the CP obsession with homosexuality, particularly given George’s past as a producer of disco records targeted at a gay market]
- the restoration of the right for parents to smack their children (as with prayer, this currently exists and the policy is a call for an increase).
- “Mind Pollution Levy” on 18 Certificate Films, DVDs, CDs, Video Games and Top Shelf magazines. [The policy that it’s OK to “pollute your mind” as long as you can afford to pay for it? I would advocate a mind pollution levy on the bible, koran, etc, myself!]
- a re-establishment of the principle of the innocent party in a divorce being acknowledged in any divorce settlement.
- discouragement of the practice of addressing women as Ms. [one wonders what his problem with that is! – seems a very minor thing to me.]
- opposition of the practice of altering birth certificates to reflect gender re-orientation surgery. [very uncaring]
- promotion of Biblical alternatives to the current criminal justice system, including emphasis on the role of witnesses over forensic evidence. [seriously loopy idea, but consistent with a medieval attitude, I guess]
- that Mechanical Copyright Protection enjoyed by songwriters should be extended to featured recording artists and record producers. [I guess this policy, and the next, is informed by George’s past career as pop impresario, fashioning disco tunes for the gay disco market, and would help ensure his income]
- that a minimum royalty percentage (the level of which should be decided through consultation with the music industry) should be paid to featured recording artists and producers on exactly the same basis as is currently paid to songwriters. [see comment above]
- In Wales the party wants to change the Welsh flag, because it views the red dragon as a satanic symbol, they would replace it with the cross of Saint David [I never knew dragon’s were a satanic symbol!]
I imagine the Scottish Christian Party share policies with the Christian Party (and probably with the Welsh Christian Party), as George appears to have founded them all. On the one hand this would seem to be a no-hoper of a political party, but on the other hand, George collared 7.6% of the votes in a General Election, and the Scottish Parliamentary elections are run on a wacky sorta-proportional system known as the D’Hondt system, which has the effect of boosting minority parties (such as The Conservatives at the time of the first Scottish Parliamentary elections). Furthermore, the leader of this batty party has posted nonsense at The Guardian’s “Comment is Free” web page.
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