Category Archives: British Politics

A Counter to Prof A C Grayling on Brexit


This is a response to A C Grayling’s article: Referendums, Elections and Democracy. I am surprised it has not received a rebuttal or counter. For it suggests that members of parliament should only take heed of election results as to action rather than an advisory referendum. This view, played out, would undermine any sense of popular legitimacy parliament might claim when it deliberately ignores the freely expressed opinion of citizens. Who were promised by their elected government that whatever the result of the referendum, they would carry it out, in a leaflet sent to all households.

For those that stand for parliamentary sovereignty over the plebs, the best advice to be given is never agree to ask the people what they think if you do not trust them to come up with the right answer. If the decision is too complex, please shelter us simple folk from having to think. On any matter beyond the great unwashed, burn the constituency mail bag without opening. Appear to listen at meetings, nod and even tilt your head to one side sympathetatically. Just ensure you do not have a microphone on when you jump into your car and say what you really think.

Grayling and I would perhaps agree if you live in a parliamentary system, then let them make the decisions and be accountable to us at election time, having given some indication before they were voted into the Commons how they would act. Referendums bring up the notion that the public might actually have a say in the running of the country. The fools.

The EU countries that have had referendums on various treaties have shown that one way of responding to citizens whose answer you do not like, is to hold them again till they give the right answer. This might work for a professor telling a student to do their homework again. In a democracy of equal citizens the facade of equality is broken. The elite is created to serve the country. The guardians, with learning and advanced information, know what is  best for you. Your job as a citizen is to empower them at an election to get on with it.

Such a view is why the far right have taken advantage of the democratic deficit in Europe. Using popular sentiment on immigration they are beginning to take power in Eastern Europe. In mainland Europe, we hold our breath to see if this could happen there too.

The main irony for me is Grayling hopes parliamentary democracy can keep populism in its place. Yet where fascism has ever won at the ballot box it is because of the contempt of what ordinary people might think by their betters. Democracy ends when you no longer trust citizens to act as citizens. 

That is more dangerous than leaving the EU. But to misquote John Cleese in “The Life of Brian” the British public may have told us to fuck off – but how do we fuck off out of the EU? There, parliament has a moral duty to be involved. 

Please, no more referenda. But an election over whether to accept the deal government as hammered out or an opposition manifesto to stay in EU would be parliamentary democracy at its best. I suspect A C Grayling and myself would be shoulder to shoulder then on the streets.  

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Bianca Jagger’s tweet on MPs that voted for Iraq War


Bianca Jagger, chief executive of a human rights foundation, invites us to read this list of MPs carefully. Doing so reveals MPs described as:

“Openly homosexual”

“Negro. Served in the Blair Cabinet”

“Created so-called Holocaust Memorial Day. Likely a Jew”

“Openly lesbian.”

“Jewess. Connected to Labour Friends of Israel”

“Previously linked to Robert Maxwell the infamous Jewish media boss.”

“Judeo-Negress hybrid.”

“Jew. Connected to Conservative Friends of Israel. Known for promoting homosexualism”

“His stepfather, Ronald Davis was Jewish. Previously the chairman of the party.”

People rushed to point out the hatred, bigotry, antisemitism the list contained, and what on earth she was thinking sharing it?

Hours after posting came her apology.



Having urged us to “please read it carefully” she states she “didn’t properly read its content.”

The point of sharing such lists is to stir up hatred against Labour MPs. The problem for Jagger, is the hatred was too openly there for all to see.

Remember, Labour apparently does not have an antisemitic problem associated with Corbyn’s leadership. Depending on how carefully you read these things. 

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Brexit The Undiscovered Country

We apparently “have our country back” as 52% vote to leave the EU. The future is the undiscovered country. It is up to us after this referendum to fulfil the promise of our nation, however we voted. 

Everything has changed, and yet the world keeps on turning though the PM will resign, the pound crumbles, stock markets fall, and finally Labour MPs might vote to get rid of Corbyn. And the SNP will jump out of our Union for a European one.  

We British have voted to leave the EU. The result is some have disowned their British identity: they don’t recognise this country. Laurie Penny went further saying  in effect she wants to take a hammer to an envisioned David Cameron face to smash all our resulting problems. Well, at least she doesn’t want to shoot a female MP, as happened this month with Jo Cox’s brutal murder. Her alleged assassin declared his name in court as “death to traitors.” The incendiary language carries on in the wake of the referendum result, on all sides. Penny does so without apparent irony when rightly calling out Farage for saying “without a bullet being fired” in this campaign to change the status quo.

Perhaps it was too much to ask that an act of terrorism might make us come together to ensure democracy was the winner – whatever the result. Real emotion was on display in the recalled parliament for one of their own. Civil activists honoured her memory and what she stood for.

Yet people trying to tell politicians their concern about immigration were branded as bigots. Concern that multiculturalism meant a back door to extremism rather than diversity, labelled as prejudice. The real far right are out there taking advantage of a failure to identify social issues with their rhetoric of hate and racism. White supremacist influence from the US and Europe needs investigating, as does the global network of Islamic extremism. 

The everyday concerns of those with the least opportunity, on council estates and in the north, were looked down on by a metropolitan southern elite. They came out in their droves; a realisation in a tight vote that their ballot box ticked was equal to any one else’s. A level playing field with anyone that had played on the fields of Eton.

Democracy needs to be cherished, even when we disagree with the result. I fear, as a remain voter, the temptation is to ignore any lessons. Leave voters got it wrong the bigots, will be the tempted lamentations on my side. If we do not understand why people voted leave, including how prejudices and racism do sometimes feed into a legitimate grievance narrative, the division and future sectarianism will grow.

That all our votes were equal made us equal citizens in this vote. Perhaps we might yet make the ideal of equal citizenship. We can but try to discover that country together. 

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Filibustered: Hospital Parking Charges (Exemption for Carers) Bill

Julie Cooper MP tried to help reduce the cost of parking at hospitals for carers. The bill was filibustered. This was her hope:

The Bill makes provision for carers who are entitled to carer’s allowance to park free of charge in hospital car parks in England. The duties in the Bill would also apply to walk-in centres, GP practices and private hospitals. The Bill, if passed, will require health authorities to put in place a strategy to exempt a broader range of carers from paying parking charges within one year of the Act coming into force.

You can read the full discussion, and how it was talked out, here.

Having read the Hansard transcript linked above, these were my thoughts on twitter, as someone that would have benefited if the bill had become law.

Worth noting how Carers UK responded, pointing out Department of Health guidance which may help carers to get concessions:

The Bill failed to win enough support in the House of Commons today to progress to its next stage, making it almost impossible for it to become law.

Despite the outcome of today’s debate on the Bill, carers were given hope when the Department of Health updated its guidance on hospital parking charges to specifically include carers – for the very first time – as a group for which concessions, such as free or reduced charges or caps, should be available. Whilst these are guidelines and not legal duties on hospitals, national membership charity Carers UK believes this is a step towards tackling the unfair burden hospital parking charges place on carers.

They also mention these facts and figures:

  • The UK’s 6.5 million carers save the state £119bn every year; close to the total amount spent annually on running the NHS
  • Hospitals charge anywhere between an average of £11-£131.50 per week in parking charges when their loved ones go in to hospital
  • The percentage of hospitals charging patients and visitors to park has doubled in a decade to 30% in 2014-15
  • Of NHS Trusts that charge patients and visitors for parking in England, almost two-thirds (63%) have increased their charges since last year

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Feminism is too important to be left to women

We can talk about quotas to stop women beating their heads against a glass ceiling in industry and politics, but that sounds like privilege when others are keeping their heads above water are told by such women to paddle faster. The sisterhood is not equal in the struggle for equality. The inequality of society cuts through gender increasingly.

After the fanfare at the launch of the Women’s Equality Party, it’s time to get real about inequality and social justice. That is the challenge facing the new political party if it wants to be taken seriously. Having joined, this for me has to be more than signalling a political identity. I want something different on the political agenda, because the main parties fail to address them.

No matter how hard some of the middle class try, the real issues of those lower down the pecking order slip under the radar. To illustrate: the co founder of the Women’s Equality Party, Catherine Mayer, stressed the importance of increasing the cost of processed food to be as expensive as fresh food. So the poor have to spend more to eat like the affluent middle class. There was no mention of the proposed reduction in tax credits that would decrease poorer family incomes for groceries.

Andrew Marr blinked in bemusement at her, on his show last weekend. Too much of a gentleman to ask how increasing the cost of food for the poor will help, at a time when more people go to food banks? The income inequality that reduces health outcomes between classes was being side stepped by the moral hazard of relatively poorer people buying cheap unhealthy food. Consumed not out of price incentive, but budget necessity.

[See update below for Catherine Mayer expanding her views via twitter]

Thank goodness for that bastion of the patriarchy, the House of Lords, halting working tax credit cuts which would have hit the poor, and especially women, hard. The Commons quickly stopped an outbreak of common sense by keeping the vagina tax on tampons. One contrarian female commentator compared the menstrual cycle to the tax on male shaving products saying it should remain. Frankly, any product that helps with bleeding should not be considered a luxury item for tax purposes.

If the WE Party are serious about feminism, then it has to be about the women who do not have high profiles or media careers. If oppression is how comedy panel shows treat you, then you might just need a broader grass roots base, keeping it real regarding the patriarchy.

In the WE policy document, was a bit on full time care givers. Not just ending the stigma of them being classed as “economically inactive” while they save the tax payer millions each year. It recognised the sexism directed at male care givers in society.
Not mentioned was putting pressure to improve the lot of full time caregivers living on Carer’s Allowance and income support of £106 per week. If we care about social justice we need more than words, and quotas. We need money not just principles.

Feminism is for everyone. It cannot just be an organised outrage social media mob to scream at Milo’s tweets. Feminism matters because of economic power – one the leader of the WE Party mentioned in her speech when comparing how much income men have in aggregate compared to women.

You will not achieve equality by a co founder suggesting a sugar tax hitting the poor. Raise your game, and raise people out of poverty – you want to eat better when you can afford it. The same way Diane Abbott felt about better schooling for her child when she had the income. This may be a man’s world, but money makes the world go round that much better.

It is early days yet for the party, but hopefully I am not alone in signing up. Feminism cannot be left to women. It is too important. It needs us all to join in.

WE can do better. Real equality requires nothing less than helping the weakest and most vulnerable in society. Do that, we will have a sweeter and healthier nation.

UPDATE 22:25

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Is Tim Farron A Secularist or a Fundamentalist Christian?

The new Liberal Democrat leader Tim Farron refused to say whether homosexual sex was a sin according to his theological views, in an interview. Whilst his statements regarding secularism were welcome, it felt more like a smokescreen to obfuscate his own views on homosexuality. There are past statements of his, which I consider after looking at the interview, which strongly suggest he holds fundamentalist views regarding the Christian faith, from the efficacy of Christian faith healing to Christianity being the complete and only truth with no middle ground. It adds up to someone whose appeal was being outside the coalition government, but was not the right person to lead a liberal political party in modern Britain if he still holds these views.

Tim Farron should be used to questions regarding his views on homosexuality. He even chatted to me on twitter regarding them.

https://twitter.com/JPSargeant78/status/602035315075850240

Cathy Newman Once, Twice, Three Times

Since then he has been duly elected leader of the Liberal Democrats on the 16 July 2015 – by one third of eligible voters. He went off message the next day, deciding to talk vaguely about what faith meant to him and accusing the media of fixating on him in a way other leaders had not been. Rather than hitting the floor running, he hit the deck on the evening Channel 4 News programme.

The question was whether homosexual sex was a sin. The wording is important; because some will stress being a homosexual is of itself not a sin (neglecting to say the sex is). He started well enough – religious views are one thing, but secularism and freedom mean they should not be imposed on others via law. As a political leader, his public liberal values matter more than his personal religious views – that is liberalism. A much stronger argument would have been sin is never a reason to legislate or how you should vote in parliament. It is the welfare and freedom of the people that should matter when voting. Not imposing your personal religious conviction via the law on others.

Cathy Newman pushes him a second time to answer the question personally as a Christian: is homosexual sex a sin? Warning lights should have been flashing in his brain – any answer he gives will still be seen as the leader of the Liberal Democrats.

Isabel Hardman had already sounded the alarm that very morning, blogging on Farron’s Radio 4 Today interview with John Humphrys, regarding prayer:

“A sensible approach might be to assume, even if it seems unkind, that every worldview is worthy of suspicion and scrutiny, and that it’s not just some chap in the Lib Dems talking to someone who may or may not exist in the sky who should be grilled about his fundamental assumptions, but everyone who expresses an interest in making big decisions on voters’ behalf. Yes, we should be suspicious of Tim Farron’s Christian worldview – but only in so far as we suspect everyone’s funny jumble of beliefs and assumptions.”

Farron’s answer to Cathy was that as a Christian, whether you think someone is committing a sin is irrelevant given we all are sinners.  Matthew 7:3-5 is referenced:

 “Why do you look at the speck of sawdust in your brother’s eye and pay no attention to the plank in your own eye? How can you say to your brother, ‘Let me take the speck out of your eye,’ when all the time there is a plank in your own eye? You hypocrite, first take the plank out of your own eye, and then you will see clearly to remove the speck from your brother’s eye.

His answer also suggested that homosexual sex is a sin no more than other sins. Cathy Newman asks a third time her question, referencing Leviticus 18:22 how serious a sin it is:

“Thou shalt not lie with mankind, as with womankind: it is [an] abomination.“

This is the same bible book that also calls eating prawns and “every creeping thing that creepeth upon the earth shall be an abomination; it shall not be eaten.”

They are literally abominable commandments, but you might be left thinking it is simply do not do – if you have not read it. The real kicker which Cathy Newman could have referenced in full is Leviticus 20:13:

If a man also lie with mankind, as he lieth with a woman, both of them have committed an abomination: they shall surely be put to death; their blood shall be upon them.

Farron tries to distance himself from answering any particular verse in the bible, saying his Christianity is based on him believing what Jesus claimed to be. This leaves more questions regarding who Jesus is for Tim. Was Jesus the one to judge us, as he said, and how will homosexual sex be judged, even within the context of same sex marriage?  Or the one that said he did not come to break the law but to fulfil them, ones like in Leviticus?

When Newman counters, pushing for a third time the question, that Leviticus is not exactly Liberal values (it helps to mention why: because it says you must kill people for gay sex), Farron argues that a previous leader, the late Charles Kennedy who was a Roman Catholic, did not go through the sort of questions he is regarding his faith. I will mention in the next section he has himself to blame because he has made plenty of faith claims regarding public policy to make such questioning legitimate.

Regarding Charles Kennedy, he was absent for the repeal of Section 28 (which forbade the intentional promoting of homosexuality by local authorities, and forbade promoting the acceptability of homosexuality in schools) in March 2003. In 2008, he voted against a bill which would have boosted access to IVF treatment for lesbians.  He did though vote in favour of same sex marriage and equalising the age of consent. Both he and Tim Farron are considered to have voted moderately for equal gay rights, according to “They Work For You” website. Just as Norman Lamb, the other contender for the leadership this month, scored. Due to being absent from certain stages of the bill on Same Sex Marriage (Lamb away working in a Ministerial capacity, Tim Farron choosing to abstain having voted previously for Same Sex Marriage as wanted trans issues considered), their rating ended up being scored as moderate.

Farron ends his interview with Newman calling for religious tolerance, and that promoting liberal values is compatible with being a Christian. Thing is, as Hardman wrote earlier, we need to be suspicious about any underlying assumptions and beliefs politicians have. No one gets a free pass; maybe Charles Kennedy should have been asked about missing the Section 28 repeal vote (even Pink News misses mentioning that in their obituary of him).

Pink News have noticed what The Times claimed about “illiberal” Tim Farron: “An evangelical Christian since his teenage years, he believes that every word written in the Bible is literal truth, that God has a precise plan for all of us and that heaven and hell are physical entities to which all of us are consigned after death. … Mr Farron’s consistent failure to embrace the quintessentially liberal idea that every person has equal moral worth should trouble his party.”

Which is why presumably he did not want to focus on Leviticus – for every word is literally true. Why did Cathy Newman not mention those having gay sex “shall surely be put to death,” and asking was this sanctioned by the God Farron prays to? For what matters to me is not that the bible considers it a sin, or even an everlasting reason to be in hell.  It sanctions you being killed because of it right now.

We live in a world where Gay people are still killed, tortured, and imprisoned. This was a chance for Tim Farron to shout from the rooftops that no holy text can ever justify throwing gay people off them to their deaths. He failed miserably to do so, having said in his acceptance speech the day before about standing up for minorities.

I am not for one second suggesting Farron thinks gays should be killed – he has campaigned against Uganda’s treatment of homosexuals for example, and I think he has changed his political views on gay marriage possibly because of his liberalism (just in time for the leadership). This line of questioning all matters because of past statements by Tim Farron that suggest he holds Christian Fundamentalist views.

When Religious Views Impacts Politics

Abortion is wrong. Society has to climb down from the position that says there is nothing morally objectionable about abortion before a certain time. If abortion is wrong it is wrong at any time.”

“Christianity, I am convinced, is not ‘a bit’ true. It is either not true, or it is so compellingly utterly true, that almost nothing else matters … There is no middle way.”

You can read more statements like those above by Farron, that last one in 2013, in Catherine Bennett’s article  “When politicians do God, no wonder we have doubts” where she made the observation “Are liberals soon to be represented by a man who can make the average Anglican bishop sound like late-period Christopher Hitchens?”

It is a fair comment, when you consider that Tim Farron said that the Advertising Standards Agency should not rule on the efficacy of faith healers claims to heal the sick.

With two other MPs in 2012 he demanded: “the Advertising Standards Authority to produce ‘indisputable scientific evidence’ to say that prayer does not work – otherwise they will raise the issue in Parliament.” Read Martin Robbins for a thorough roasting of the MPs letter

The saving grace perhaps for Tim Farron is that he is not tainted by association with the coalition government of 2010-15. He called himself an outsider – to rebuild the party I still feel this gives him an advantage over Norman Lamb with the electorate. That is why I think he won despite all these things being mentioned during the leadership campaign. The problem is his past views place him on the outside of rationality. That calls into question his leadership on policy issues where his fundamentalist views may be at odds with those of a liberal party leader.

My twitter feed suggested a few secularists that had voted for Farron had been unaware of his past views. I must confess, it was news to me too, and I had not seen people discussing it on twitter till after the post election interview with Cathy Newman. Maybe Lamb would have benefitted from a longer campaign, but he was unable to bring it up himself without countering Farron’s charge that this was intolerance of religious people in public life.

During the 2015 leadership, the question of Tim Farron’s Christian views came up on LGBT issues. Andrew Page asked:

“In January 2007 Tim Farron told the Salvation Army newspaper, “The War Cry” that “the Bible is clear about sexuality of all sorts” and “the standards that define my personal morality as a Christian are not the standards of public morality”. This seems to suggest that he thinks homosexuality is a sin, but that his personal view shouldn’t stand in the way of pro-equality legislation.”

Tim Farron:” I would say – for all minorities in the UK – equalities legislation passed in the last 10 to 20 years has been a huge step forwards. Whilst I am and will remain a committed Christian, I take the same approach as Charles Kennedy did – I hold my faith firmly but impose it on no one. I am running to be leader of the Liberal Democrats, not to be Archbishop of Canterbury (which is lucky given that I believe in disestablishment of the Church of England!).”

Norman Lamb: “…As liberals, we should always be consistent in arguing for the separation of Church and State – both structurally, and in the way we make our laws. As a political party, and as individuals, we must consistently champion liberal values – values which enshrine our freedom to worship as christians, as muslims, or indeed to believe in no god at all.”

In a tolerant and open society, individuals should always be free to talk about their faith (or lack of one) as long as they make very clear the distinction between their personal view, and the approach they take as a Liberal Democrat political figure. But in doing so, we should never imply that Christianity is somehow illiberal, or that Christians are not welcome in our party.”

A Born Again Secularist?

Norman Lamb raised treating distinctively a Liberal Democrat political figure from their personal Christian view, the wearing of two distinct hats at different times. The fear is wearing would be made easier by being two faced (Copyright Yes Prime Minister). How can you lead wholehearted on liberal issues when you personally are against them. I want someone that believes in liberalism, not someone that has to compartmentalise them before they can lead their party on liberal issues. It is legitimate to ask what someone in public life believes, for belief can shape the political agenda they will advocate and how they will react to one set by the government.

When I mentioned his past voting record on gay marriage and the need to prove himself, he replied to me “so I have since then to show through deeds too.” As the new leader of the Liberal Democrats he is now best placed to visibly show by deeds. He will need to do a lot better than that Channel 4 interview. The honeymoon period on his election is already over before the consummation of the marriage ever took place. Yet he still feels he has been screwed by a fixated media.

In “Liberal Democrats Do God” he stated “The kind of things we do to reject God’s rule over our lives differs from person to person, but the desire to push God out of our lives is the same for everyone.”  Will the same Tim Farron put his view of God to one side when pursuing a liberal agenda or does he still think faith healers can say they have the power by God to heal those gullible enough to believe in such charlatan claims?

The Liberal Democrats need a leader with a clear vision of promoting liberal values against a majority Conservative Government. They do not need a prophet, though they may well be hoping for a miracle come 2020.

Metaphorically Tim Farron will have to move heaven and earth, and show that he can resolve the two during his leadership.

The photo above comes from this Daily Mail article on Tim Farron in March. Tim informs us that God knows every hair on our head, as the bible tells us.

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Bake Me A Cake – Opening Pandora’s Box?

A bakery in Northern Ireland was found guilty of discrimination for refusing to decorate a cake with a pro gay marriage message. The bakers cited their Christian views as a reason to refuse service. The media have exploded with “what if” someone asked a Muslim baker to decorate a cake with the picture of Mohammed on it? On the TV show “Loose Women” Nolan Coleen said what about a cake where the icing supported ISIS?

There seems to be confusion over what the Equality Act means, free speech and religious freedom. Different issues, all important as they overlap. So let me try to unpack all this in a short post. What follows is not legal advice – and any lawyers reading please feel free to comment or correct.

Ashers bakery refused an order for a cake which would have said “support gay marriage.” This failed the Equalities Act because it meant discriminating against gay people who would have wanted decorated cakes linked to being gay. Religious objections were invalid for a bakery, in a way they may not be for a religious organisation. The secular principle as workers and customers we are equal citizens first would apply.

The Mohammed on a cake example (the assumption being the Muslim would refuse service), cited by Simon Jenkins in an article and mentioned by Ian Hislop on Have I Got News For You, is not the same. Both mention a Christian asking for this decorative cake from a Muslim. Such a cake has nothing to do with being a Christian. Refusal of service would not be based on the faith of the customer, nor indirectly linked to it (as in the support gay marriage).

If you want to argue free speech means they must bake the Mohammed cake, for the baker must be detached from their creation to serve the wants of their customer, bare in mind there is no legal obligation to bake. The ISIS cake asks are there red lines that are understandable for the conscience of a baker, or are all irrelevant? Rather than call for Coleen to be sacked, I would say here is the bottom line: if it does not breach the Equalities Act, a baker can refuse service to someone. So that Mohammed or an ISIS cake could be refused, because making those cakes are not an equality issue regarding discrimination to the person asking.

There are more interesting hypotheticals that the QC defending Ashers bakery could have used instead: a Christian asking a Muslim baker to make them a batch of hot cross buns for a Church celebration at Easter or a butcher legally required to supply halal meat if asked, or would they be discriminating against muslims if they object against Islam requiring this? If the Muslim baker declined, would the law state both have protected religious characteristics. If the judgment in Northern Ireland may be read you cannot discriminate against religion, it would mean that anyone supplying a made to order service would have to supply a religious festival or dietary requirement they disapproved of if their objection was they disagreed with it.

Pandora’s cake box is opened much wider than the discussion may have led you to believe. Religious freedom either means all citizens must be catered for by services offered to the public, or services are recognised as being staffed by citizens whose religious freedom means they can refuse citing their own religious freedom to disagree in participating. The law is favouring universal service to end discrimination of customers. The question is will this lead to unintended consequences.

In summery: you cannot cite religious objections if that leads to discrimination or indirect discrimination that contravenes the Equalities Act. Being gay is a protected characteristic, as is being religious, for customers or potential customers. Denial of service by the bakery was discrimination. A Christian denied a Mohammed cake would have to prove discrimination based on their being a Christian – something which would fail the direct or indirect discrimination case in examples mentioned above. By contrast, a Muslim given a Mohammed cake might well have a case for harassment if it was known they were a Muslim that would object. A butcher may not be able to say “I disagree with Islam on this” as a reason to refuse obtaining halal meat.

Hopefully I have given you food for thought. This is one subject where it may give indigestion trying to have your cake and eat it.
Additional originally written as a comment by me:

I am explaining the Equality Act – being gay is a protected characteristic from discrimination. The judge was satisfied the defendants knew he was gay. The judge mentioned getting the non Christian employee to do the icing or sub contracting the icing to another bakery. Their main point was that if the bakery was prepared to bake a “support heterosexual cake” then it was discriminatory not to bake the other.

It should be noted reading the judgment, if the cake was meant to be shared with other gay people, even if purchaser had been heterosexual, the judge would still have held as discrimination. Also, they had agreed to bake the cake, but then changed their mind over the weekend.

I am not defending the judgment but *explaining it* and the ramifications – including how the Equality Act may be interpretated. I don’t think a Muslim baker should be compelled to make hot cross buns, or a non Muslim butcher to stock halal produce, under the Equality Act.

This judgment makes those a step closer, which is why I am against it. We should all be free in our religious opinions and not compelled to provide an additional service which counters it.
I would love to live in a country where free speech would be seen as a virtue, so they would have baked it even though against their sentiments. That they would have refused to bake this cake for anyone to my mind suggests a bigoted view on gay marriage, but not a discriminatory one.
NB I am going to be at the Hay Festival this Sunday night till Wednesday morning. So do say hi, and feel free to get in touch via twitter, if you want to discuss things if you are there. Ideally over a drink.

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