The depressing assassination of Benazir Bhutto yesterday provided the media jackals with a much-needed, juicy news story, having been fed on religious scraps this last week. The poor things have had to make do with taking seriously whatever the Archbishop of Canterbury said and, of course, other “faith leaders” in the interest of balance.
In such a vacuum, the conversion of Tony Blair to Roman Catholicism took on monstrous proportions – leading the BBC Ten O’clock news on the day it broke. People who claimed to be serious journalists were actually debating the event as though a) Tony Blair were still Prime Minister and b) it actually mattered.
Anne Widdecombe was wheeled on first to provide her usual semi-detached interpretation of reality. This was presumably because she publicly, and very ostentatiously, converted to Roman Catholicism after the Anglicans allowed women to train for the Priesthood in the 1990s. As understanding voice of reason for a fellow-traveller, she was all for a public recantation of all areas of New Labour that didn’t coincide with Catholic doctrine, presumably with some sort of self-flagellation involved.
Blair claimed to be many things, but I don’t remember him invoking the Divine Right of Kings at any point in defence of his actions. So I’m guessing the reason Blair’s voting record on so-called “Catholic issues” – such as abortion, stem cell research etc – were because he felt we lived in a modern, liberal democracy that allows people to make choices, rather than a 17th century theocracy.
I’d be interested how Widdecombe would vote if a bill were ever put forward outlawing all forms of contraception in the UK. Presumably she’d be happy to take those sorts of moral decisions on behalf of the rest of us who are clearly too weak and stupid to think for ourselves.
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