Saturday, April 02, 2011

Speaker Bercow to give advice to gay rights groups on how to lobby Parliament

There is a story from the Christian Institute which informs us that the Speaker of the House of Commons is intending ‘to tell dozens of homosexual groups how they can “influence Parliament”.’ He is due to speak at an even in Manchester next week called ‘Influencing Parliament for LGB&T Communities’. The Institute inform us:
Next week’s one day event is set to be attended by representatives from more than 40 homosexual organisations, and according to the promotional flyer it will teach “how LGB&T groups and communities can effectively engage with Parliament”. The afternoon features a talk and a question and answer session with Mr Bercow.
This story cannot possibly be true, and not only because gay-rights lobbyists appear to need no assistance at all to enhance their effectiveness. It is questionable because the Speaker of the House of Commons has to be beyond reproach when it comes to lobbying, and beyond dispute when it comes to impartiality. It is inconceivable that Speaker Bercow would compromise this great Office of State by associating disproportionately or identifying unequally with any one side on any disputatious matter. His role is that of an impartial presiding officer.

The Christian Institute has simply got the wrong end of the stick on this one: they are, as we know, notoriously unreliable. Can you imagine the uproar if this turned out to be true? Lynne Featherstone, Equalities Minister, has recently announced a government consultation on marriage laws, the aim of which is to move towards straight civil partnerships and gay marriage. It is therefore all the more inconceivable that the Speaker of the House of Commons would coach gay-rights lobbyists at this time, thereby potentially alienating those who already feel that gay rights trump religious liberty.

The Christian Institute tells us that Paul Martin, Chief Executive of the Lesbian & Gay Foundation, said he was ‘delighted’ by the Speaker’s agreement to address the gathering. He said: “At the moment LGB&T people are under-represented in UK Parliament and politics, and we sincerely hope that this event will inspire LGB&T people to take a more active role in politics. Of course, we are delighted to welcome John Bercow MP to Manchester, he brings with him a wealth of experience in both Parliament and politics.”

Usually His Grace would probe a little on how Mr Martin could possibly know that LGB&T people are under-represented in Parliament, not least because no survey has been done and it is not remotely likely that every MP is ‘out and proud’. But, on this occasion, His Grace has no choice but to question the veracity of this entire article.

Speaker Bercow simply would not engage in an ‘exercise in politically-correct box ticking’. He may be ‘proud of his record on pushing for equality on gender, race, disability, age or sexual orientation’, but, as Speaker, he will now be mindful of and sensitive to issues of religious liberty.

In 2006, he may have ‘advocated that 10 per cent of Commissioner posts on the powerful Equality and Human Rights Commission be reserved and guaranteed for homosexuals’. But then he was a lowly MP. His role has now changed.

In 2007, he may have advocated that ‘Bishops should lose the right to sit in the House of Lords’ because ‘there is no case to be made for reserved, ex officio, guaranteed religious representation in the second Chamber’. But he was then a mere parliamentary backbencher.

No, the Office of Speaker in the Uinted Kingdom Parliament has developed into a convention of scrupulous political neutrality. He has no voice other than that granted by Parliament; he has no eyes other than those opened by Parliament; he has no vote to influence on any matter, save to rescue the Government from collapse should a crucial division result in a tie. The Christian Institute are being alarmist; they are inciting insecurity by disseminating scurrilous disinformation; they are being utterly irresponsible. It cannot be the case that Speaker Bercow would seek to influence MPs vocariously to his worldview. It simply cannot be. The chances of this story being true are therefore 0 per cent. Absolutely. Without doubt.


Blogger Gnostic said...

Yes, let's encourage minority pressure groups to lobby Parliament. It's not like Parliament has anything better to do now they've handed the reins of power to the EU.

Utter, utter bastards!

2 April 2011 at 10:19  
Blogger The Last Dodo said...

What's that pink, porky looking animal with wings and a smile on its face flying past my window?

2 April 2011 at 10:23  
Anonymous non mouse said...

Your Grace is a model of diplomacy. If the ... parliamentarians(?) ... had any respect for us at all, they'd take lessons from you!

For my part, I can only observe that the enforcement of nauseating gender politics is becoming off-putting. And that might be the idea. Perhaps it's fair to consider the trend in terms of genocide and eugenics.

We may note, for example, how many homosexuals demand the right to marriage nowadays, and how many heterosexuals avoid marriage - but choose single parenthood (aided by the state). The state is already forcing knowledge of homosexuality on our school-children.

The state could take further steps - and encourage procreation to become ever more anti-familial. Then there'd be no objection when they took it over in full, and in vitreo.

There might well be something in the suggestion that Huxley, Orwell, et al., overheard such ideas at early fabianist gatherings...

2 April 2011 at 10:52  
Blogger Rebel Saint said...

"The chances of this story being true are therefore 0 per cent. Absolutely. Without doubt.

May I presume that your charred tongue was very much placed in your singed cheek?

Bercow is a quite contemptible little [insert your own insult]. I suspect there is no depth to which he is not prepared to sink. I reckon he'd happily pose naked overlooking parliament if it got him some more of the limelight.

2 April 2011 at 11:01  
Anonymous Gordo said...

"At the moment LGB&T people are under-represented in UK Parliament and politics"

Yes Your Grace, you are right to question the veracity of this article.

2 April 2011 at 11:41  
Anonymous Voyager said...

The more Parliament does to discredit itself the better. There is absolutely nothing you can do Your Grace but watch events unfold.

We are moving inexorably towards a Convulsion, one which in the case of this country would probably have occurred had not the 1914-18 War been used to divert the anger and frustration.

CHANGE was Hilton Dave's mantra but I doubt he will like what form it will take, and I bet he won't see it coming !

2 April 2011 at 11:44  
Blogger Little Black Sambo said...

Where did this "ten per cent" notion come from? There is no more truth in it than there is in the harmfulness of "second-hand" smoke, yet it is widely accepted as beyond argument.

2 April 2011 at 12:07  
Anonymous Atlas shrugged said...

Who was it that said? "Sarcasm is the lowest form of wit"

Oh, I see I get the point.

This excuse for a parliamentarian is one of the most dangerous individuals within parliament. More dangerous then David, Nick, and Edward put together.

What makes matters worse is that a majority of so called conservative MP's can not see, or choose not to see, what the problem is.

Voyager and others have already alluded to this point, but the horse left the stable many moons ago.

Parliament has been a a mission to self destruct since at least the turn of the last century.

There is little or nothing that can be done about this, parliament was long since subverted by elements bent on destroying this, and all other nation states possibly as far back as The English Civil-War.

This is the very nature of Imperialist ambition. Each world empire has always been larger then the last. We are now in a position where this empire now encompasses virtually the entire globe, therefore the nation sate is all but redundant, as a useful tool of repression.

The UN, and The EU are now the only games in our cities towns and villages.

Global empires need global institutions and global governance.

However there is some good news for football, and other sports fans.

The nation is state will be retained in some ways. There will still be Football, Cricket, and many other international sporting events.

The establishment, are not about to abandon all of their circuses, although I wish I could be more assured about the bread side of things.

2 April 2011 at 12:42  
Anonymous Dreadnaught said...

Given the torrid state of world and domestic affairs to chose from, this op falls way short of any consequence - poor show YG.

2 April 2011 at 12:45  
Anonymous DanJ0 said...

Well, I suppose one needs to attend the event to hear what he actually says to see if the Christian Institute is not up to its usual mischief and shenanigans.

Is there another way to interpret this? Let's see. The Speaker works with the Parliamentary Outreach Service. What do they do?

"Mr Speaker works closely with the Houses of Parliament's Outreach Service to promote the work and role of Parliament, and to encourage engagement with it. The Speaker and the Deputy Speakers visit a range of groups around the UK including colleges & universities, legal, media and business networks and voluntary organisations to discuss the work of Parliament & how it can be made more accessible, and to highlight existing opportunities for people to get involved. This work is carried out as part of a Parliament-wide programme of public engagement."

But what about the lobbying? Surely that must be subversive or wrong? Well, no. It's a normal part of the parliamentary process.

But what about the event?! Surely the Speaker is taking sides there despite having to be divorced from public issues? Well, is he? Here's the agenda of the event:

1. Understanding what Parliament is, what it does and the role it plays in our lives
2. How to effectively engage with Parliament
3. Discovering how LGB&T groups and communities can effectively engage with Parliament

The Voluntary Sector North West has also organised other events which are nothing to do with gay people. Here's an agenda fone one very recently:

1. What Parliament is and what it does
2. How groups can effectively engage with Parliament
3. A guest speaker who will focus on a particular area of interest

Is it possible the Speaker is just going to speak about a particular area of interest as part of his Outreach role: how parliament works?

Surely it can't just be that? That would mean the Christian Institute is just trying to stir up gullible Christians again. :O

2 April 2011 at 12:46  
Anonymous DanJ0 said...

^There should be a link to a specific agenda towards the end there, following the form of the generic agenda. Oh well. You get the idea anyway.

2 April 2011 at 12:50  
Anonymous MrJ said...

non mouse (10:52)_Well-aimed gibe, but "early fabianist gatherings" would be 19c. ... maybe gatherings of mid-1920's? (But don't blame Orwell--he the messenger, perhaps Voyager or Atlas s... ahead of his time.)

As to further comment on B--cow: ....pass...

2 April 2011 at 13:11  
Blogger English Pensioner said...

I have a couple of "Gay" acquaintances who are totally fed up with all the activists, whom they consider are making live worse, not better. They just want to be left alone to live their own lives in the manner of their choice. They know I tolerate rather than approve of their situation and are perfectly happy to accept my position. They are happy with my "live and let live" attitude, and simply wish all these activists, many of whom aren't even gay, would just shut up and go home.
Incidentally, I have a coloured friend, who holds similar views about all those who keep shouting about racial prejudice; he is convinced that they are making his life worse.

2 April 2011 at 13:17  
Anonymous len said...

I think the course we( the Government,Society in general) have set is irreversible.
Things will get progressively worse culminating in final disaster.

All Christians can do is watch the onward rush of Society ( like lemmings) towards disaster and final judgement.

We Christians (can stand at the guidelines and shout warnings(mostly unheeded)as man pursues the course to oblivion.

Many people will see( in retrospect) the part they played,and the words they spoke contributing to their ultimate downfall and their Society.

2 April 2011 at 13:51  
Blogger Johnny Rottenborough said...

This comment has been removed by a blog administrator.

2 April 2011 at 14:11  
Anonymous Philip said...

I would think the Christian Institute are right to be concerned ("alarmist" in HG's words), given Mr Bercow's record over the years (as indicated on the Christian Institute's article and including in his campaign to be and since becoming Speaker) on the balance between religious liberty and homosexual rights. Given this, it mjust be highly unlikely that (to quote HG) "as Speaker, (Mr Bercow) will now be mindful of and sensitive to issues of religious liberty." Perhaps HG is engaging in a bit of tongue-in-cheek optimism. Recent events have proved that promoting homosexual rights is inimical to religious liberty.

2 April 2011 at 14:44  
Anonymous MrJ said...

Johnny Rottenborough (2 April14:44), link to recent video_The Frankfurt School has some notoriety in the blogosphere for the apparent match between the theory of politics it proposes and the practice of the European Union and of government and other bodies or groups in this country, as described in the video, and Johnny's comment. Is there a search term which will link to anything claiming to offer a rebuttal?

2 April 2011 at 15:27  
Anonymous non mouse said...

Mr. J @13.11- Oh - I'm don't blame the writers: They gave us fair warning. We treated truth as fiction; we were thick!

You're right, of course that Orwell (1903-1950) was a little later than Huxley [or another whom I think knew about the ideas - Conrad (The Secret Agent]. However, we've no reason to suppose that socialist discussions ceased as time moved on!

Although your question on the Frankfurt School wasn't addressed to me, perhaps I might contribute to the answer. Samples of the primary texts espoused by their leaders and followers are collected into textbooks on Theory (literary, and other). Being claptrap, it takes some ploughing through; they believe the complication makes them seem intelligent and 'difficult,' don't you know. cf. continental darknesses that include Benjamin, Freud, Lacan, Zizek, Deleuze and Guatari - add to them Said.

But the more you process it, the more you recognise what they've done. As to techniques for cultural invasion, Pablo Freire's Pedagogy of the Oppressed - is rather clearer and more direct than most.

Then there are the videos on Bezmenev (Tomas Schuman) - which have been cited here before.

Refutation of it? I know of none - they're proud of themselves; they state their own claims... On this country specifically? Academic departments impose the stuff, and don't brook opposition. We only have to look around us to see the theory in action: as my own professor boasted - "The time for theory is past... now we act." He's the same one who conceded to me that it's '[A]nti-Christ.'

2 April 2011 at 16:58  
Blogger Johnny Rottenborough said...

@ MrJ (15:27)—non mouse has answered your question better than I could. For me, government policies at European and national level can only make sense when they’re seen from the perspective of deliberate destruction. Here’s a video of José Manuel Barroso when he was openly Maoist. Has the leopard changed its spots?

2 April 2011 at 17:46  
Anonymous MrJ said...

non m. and Johnny_Thank you for information and link. In brief:

_non m... Conrad--and "Heart of Darkness"; A.Huxley--and T.H.H., and Crispin Tickell.

"Academic departments impose the stuff... conceded to me that it's '[A]nti-Christ.' ": noted.

_Johnny..."Barroso when he was openly Maoist": noted.

You may know of this (found after reading non m. above): "One of Freire's dictums is that 'there neither is, nor has ever been, an educational practice in zero space-time—neutral in the sense of being committed only to preponderantly abstract, intangible ideas' " :

which calls to mind "If you believe that you will believe anything".

Available evidence FOR the proposition that governments (and persons of power and influence) are acting in a Frankfurt-like manner (among other things):

1) "look around you" (alluding to Christopher Wren).

2) the dog that did not bark (alluding to Sherlock Holmes).

2 April 2011 at 19:07  
Anonymous non mouse said...

Thanks Mr. J -- Freire was Paolo, of course. I also didn't clarify my respect for his very practicable pedagogy.

While Freire doesn't always acknowledge the Christian component of his ideas, I think it inheres in the work. After all, where was Christ but in Roman occupied territory! Freire's method, in his turn, is about overcoming anti-dialogic, oppressive, colonialist systems that he analyses as culturally invasive - all the way down to puppet governments. I'll never forget the day I read Freire's account and said: "OMG. That's exactly what the euSSR has done to us."

After that, my concerns were to undo and prevent the silencing ("dumbification"); to invoke the questions; to enable the dialogue; and to encourage development of solutions that contribute to freedom of thought, freedom of speech and, one hopes ultimately, to freedom of action.

Furthermore, my appreciation of His Grace's contribution to those aims should not go unspoken!

2 April 2011 at 20:10  
Anonymous MrJ said...

non m._ ...question arising: whether Hobbes's Leviathan has been considered by scholars or others as part of the Frankfurtish lineage?

2 April 2011 at 22:51  
Anonymous non mouse said...

MrJ @ 22:51 - the short answer is that I don't know; you'll need to research it. Many 'Early Modernists' are marxists, so they can offer more than I :)*

Returning briefly to the unpleasantness of the gender thing, I've seen a feminist mention Hobbes when she discussed politics in terms of body types. Overall, I think that if marxists distinguish themselves from both logical and early empiricism (Bacon and Hobbes), they nevertheless acknowledge the history of that thought-from Aristotle to Locke and J. S. Mill.

I've seen frankfurters appropriate older systems for their own ends, but they claim descent from The Institute for Social Research at the University of Frankfurt. Horkheimer (1895-1973) led the charge from their philosophical base in Hegel (1770–1831) and Marx (1818–1883) to followers like Adorno, Benjamin, etc.

Horkheimer et al sojourned in America during WW2. After the Cold War, Frederic Jameson helped reinstate and develop the franco-german school there, whence it continued to afflict and undermine studies in English.

Our own major contributors include Raymond Williams and Terry Eagleton.

*I'm also recognising the possibility that More's Utopia describes an early form of communism.

[In verifying data above, I've turned to the The Norton Anthology of Theory and Criticism (2001); and to Drabble's 6th ed. of The Oxford Companion to English Literature (2000)].

3 April 2011 at 04:19  
Anonymous MrJ said...

non m._Following up re Frederic Jameson, and stiil looking for public rebuttalists (if there are any).

"I've seen frankfurters appropriate older systems for their own ends": this appropriation seems to be a longstanding practice, from the ancient world through the middle ages, and everywhere, partly (but not necessarily) for domination and hegemony (political, academic, ambition, vanity...): the author of "Animal Farm" had a particular target, but its application could be much wider; is there any born of woman who could claim immunity?

Thomas Moore is problematic, as is historic Cranmer: which makes such persons interesting and instructive witnesses; perhaps Giordano Bruno also?

3 April 2011 at 08:04  
Anonymous DanJ0 said...

I can't be bothered reading most of those people as the prose is simply too dense. What's the core theme? That neo-Marxists have abandoned the stirring up of class warfare from classical Marxism and targetted the superstructure instead?

Where would I start with this? Griffin appears to be claiming a causal relationship between the ideology of the Frankfurt School and the current political and social situation. Is that actually true? That's where I would be looking for a weakness, I think.

Wasn't globalisation (and all that entails) pretty much inevitable with technological advancement? Without the Frankfurt School, would the concept of nation state still be as solid as over the last few hundred years? Would we expect the not particularly political institution of the Church to have survived as a majority religion in the UK? And so on.

Watching that Nick Griffin clip and seeing the propagation of very similar text about the thesis across many blogs and websites of a certain genre, my first thought was that this was tin foil hat stuff, working back from the current situation and trying to find a useful candidate for a single, sinister cause which suits. Of course, I would think that and that's what they want me to think, etc. Just a thought, really.

3 April 2011 at 08:30  
Anonymous Voyager said...

Wasn't globalisation (and all that entails) pretty much inevitable with technological advancement?

NO. It existed pre-1914 with Britain at the centre of a global payments system: The Gold Standard.

It is driven nowadays by monetary imbalances caused by mercantilist trading whereby Asia racks up trade surpluses because the West imports goods supplied at lower cost than welfare-social cost-inflated labour costs in the West can produce.

So the living standards are artificially raised in the West by importing cheaper goods to disguise the depressive effect of over-taxed and regulated labour costs making production unaffordable.

The surpluses are then recycled through credit markets to fund the consumption in the West which cannot export because cost-base is simply too high relative to global market prices.

This is how you hollow out an economic base by funding consumerism from credit rather than production

3 April 2011 at 09:20  
Anonymous DanJ0 said...

I was thinking more about technology enabling people to travel to places very quickly, or transport elctronic money around, or make use of resources in one part of the world to manufacture value-added stuff elsewhere. Trade has always existed of course but the means of expanding its horizons to include the whole world was developed.

The UK was a dominant power in the world for a while because it exploited its naval power, harnessed its entrepreneurial skills, and believed it was destined to do so. Now, power has shifted ... as it always does. Asia is becoming dominant by exploiting consumer demand in the West with its own low cost base. But that will change (indeed China may well fall foul of this quite soon) as the driving forces change and local costs rise.

As people travel, or emigrate, they are exposed to alternative cultures and ways of thinking. They tend to question their own assumptions and beliefs. My travelling has certainly influenced me. The internet exposes people to enormous amounts of information now where people just 20 years ago were mostly restricted to books and local media. Can old school belief systems survive that?

The world is highly interconnected now. The decisions of the French to build nuclear power stations affect us in the UK. The political situation in various African countries affect us because we may rely on Africa to supply (say) rare metals we require in our technology. Regional responses to international crises in the Middle East are important to craete stability in energy supplies. And so on. A highly interconnected world tends to require international cooperation and political structures.

3 April 2011 at 09:44  
Anonymous len said...

Globalisation is the key phrase here.
This is seen as the 'way forward'by those tiny minorities who own the majority of the wealth,power,and position in Society.The 'elites'.
Divide and conquer is their method,on a small scale , and on a large scale, with individuals and with Nations.
Their are 'elites ' in Communism and their are elites in Capitalism.
Use one group to destroy another,keep wars going(good for business)anything to keep a constant state of turmoil.

If you stand back and look at Society at the times of the greatest deprivation there are a small group who are doing exceeding well, not just coincidence is it?

of course if you point this out you will be called a conspiracy theorist,a' nutter' and so on but quite frankly I am past caring.

3 April 2011 at 10:02  
Blogger Maturecheese said...

English Pensioner 13:17

You have summed it up in a nutshell. When we are coerced into excepting things that we feel are against our beliefs, it only makes us more resentful and therefore more hostile to those issues. This sort of social engineering can only end in tears.

3 April 2011 at 10:39  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

It would indeed appear to be a meeting to deseminate information on the workings of Parliament.
However The Christian Institute have flagged it up as another bias toward LGBT which indeed it is.

3 April 2011 at 12:27  
Blogger Johnny Rottenborough said...

@ DanJ0 (09:44)—A highly interconnected world tends to require international cooperation and political structures.

The world’s élites are thinking along the same lines.

Pascal Lamy: ‘[T]here is a place on earth where new forms of global governance have been tried following World War II: in Europe. More than half a century ago Jean Monet said: “The sovereign nations of the past can no longer provide a framework for the resolution of our present problems: And the European Community itself is no more than a step towards the organizational forms of tomorrow’s world.” … Among the many regional integration attempts, the European Union remains the laboratory of international governance—the place where the new technological frontier of international governance is being tested.’

David Miliband: ‘As we move into a multipolar world, power is coalescing around a few regional centres. Not just the USA, but China, India, Brazil. With a nod to Woodrow Wilson’s 1919 Age of Nations, people are starting to talk about an Age of Continents.’

The fly in the ointment is that the nation state is the best chance the people have of retaining democracy and of remaining free. An Age of Continents would be fabulous for the élites but terrible for the people.

3 April 2011 at 13:54  
Anonymous non mouse said...

MrJ @08:04 - Intertextuality is certainly a fact of life; but, where possible, it's essential to bypass mediators and to read primary texts for oneself. It's impossible, even then, to avoid anachronism, especially in interpreting old work. Even when ' a writer is long dead' and from another culture, text/reader relationships remain dynamic.

However, unavoidable slippage differs from deliberate distortion. I referred to meconnaissance - gross and purposeful misuse of the words of others. Good scholarship precludes that misuse; seekers after truth reject it utterly.

In any case, all the texts you mention reward individual readers. And the rewards/insights change throughout an individual's lifespan.

P.S. On Conrad: Heart of Darkness contains fascinating references to Brussells (?sp) and other cultural effects - like human heads on poles. But I turn to The Secret Agent for proleptic description of euro-socialism vs. Britain.

3 April 2011 at 18:17  
Anonymous non mouse said...

PPS - I'll take Cranmer over More any day! More was as much a traitor as these bozos today.

3 April 2011 at 18:28  
Anonymous DanJ0 said...

Mr Rottenborough: "The fly in the ointment is that the nation state is the best chance the people have of retaining democracy and of remaining free. An Age of Continents would be fabulous for the élites but terrible for the people."

Oh I agree. It doesn't mean that Griffin is right about the causal relationship though.

I'm rather fond of the nation state yet I can see some good reasons for forming supranational organisations.

I don't see why decisions which affect multiple nations, such as nuclear power station location and safety, shouldn't be handled at an supranational level while decisions such as 'social chapter' stuff shouldn't be made solely at the national level.

It ought to be about layering in my opinion. There's no reason by Brussels should be legislating about (say) car insurance or pension annuities in the UK.

3 April 2011 at 19:06  
Anonymous DanJ0 said...

Anonymous: "It would indeed appear to be a meeting to deseminate information on the workings of Parliament.
However The Christian Institute have flagged it up as another bias toward LGBT which indeed it is."

What exactly am I supposed to be looking at there? I've pointed people to all this already. You have asserted there's a bias. Where's the bias? I'm not following I'm afraid.

Look, here's another event in the same theme (ie. Parliamentary Outreach) about the Localism and Health Bills.

Afternoon session: "The Localism Bill and how to influence it / The Health Bill and how to influence it"

3 April 2011 at 19:32  

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