Jack Straw 'leading Government plans to end ban on Catholic monarchs'
Cranmer has already rehearsed the arguments for retention of this Act, so he will not bore his readers and communicants with the details.
He is only covering the issue again because Scottish Secretary Jim Murphy has revealed that ministers were 'working hard' to overhaul this foundational constitutional piece of legislation. Chris Bryant, the deputy leader of the House of Commons and a former Anglican priest, is also pushing for the law to be changed.
Jim Murphy is yet another Roman Catholic Scottish politician (...John Reid, Michael Martin, Des Browne, David Cairns, Charles Kennedy, Michael Ancram, Alex Salmond [a pre-conversion Blairite type of closet Catholic?]) who insists that the law is not only ‘divisive, discriminatory and offensive’, but ‘almost certainly’ a breach of human rights.
It is nothing of the sort.
Prince William - as any member of the Royal Family - is perfectly free to marry whomsoever he wishes. That is his human right. But Prince William is not then free to accede to the Throne and become Supreme Governor of the Church of England. But acceding to the Throne and becoming Supreme Governor of the Church of England are not human rights.
Mr Murphy is of the opinion that ‘It's wrong to have a settled constitutional position that discriminates. It's not because I'm a Catholic that I feel it. It's unfair, wrong, and does not fit well into a modern sense of what Britain is about.'
He feels it? It’s just not fair...
He sounds like a spoilt child.
Cranmer feels it is not fair that should a Roman Catholic accede to the Throne, his or her children will have to be brought up in that faith. That does not seem quite fair, does it? Where is this child’s ‘human right’ to freedom of religion? With such a ‘divisive’ and ‘discriminatory’ article of faith, how could a Protestant ever again occupy the Throne?
But all this detracts from Cranmer’s gripe.
Jim Murphy reveals that the Jack Straw is 'working hard' on plans to reform the Act. And not only is he working hard, ‘he is putting an awful lot of work into it,' he said. 'He is working hard and is pretty focused on it.'
So, here we are approaching three million unemployed; a ‘credit crunch’ in which hundreds of thousands more are being made redundant; people’s levels of debt rising inexorably; the cost of heating your home soaring; taxes are rising; poverty increasing; drug and alcohol abuse spiraling out of control; family breakdown and divorce becoming commonplace; child abuse increasing; crime rates soaring; immigration rates unknown and unknowable; for God's sake, Woolworths is closing down...
...and Jack Straw is focused on amending a three-hundred year old constitutional settlement which will have absolutely no effect until, at the very earliest, the death of the next Monarch but one.
It beggars belief that the next Labour government will spend parliamentary time – possibly an entire legislative year - amending not only the Act of Settlement 1701 but several other statutes which are inseparably fused with the Act, including the Bill of Rights 1688, the Coronation Oath Act 1688, Act of Union 1707, the Princess Sophia's Precedence Act 1711, the Royal Marriages Act 1772, the Union with Ireland Act 1800, the Accession Declaration Act 1910, and the Regency Act 1937.
These are hardly at the forefront of people’s everyday concerns.
Labour is pushing this issue now for one reason alone: it is a puerile attempt to win back the Catholic vote after manifesting itself as the most anti-Catholic government of modern times.
One has to hope and pray that the Roman Catholic community will see through this patronising ploy, and vote Conservative at the next General Election. It is a party in which they will find a most conducive and tolerant political home.