This was first posted on Facebook on 26th September 2019, with support from my Ko-Fi network.
I didn’t get home from work in time to listen to Boris Johnson in the Commons. At the point when I switched on Parliamentlive TV, Boris Johnson had walked out a few minutes earlier: Anna Soubry was making her point of order.
Boris Johnson lied in his speech – he claimed that the EU were open to negotiating an alternative to the Northern Ireland backstop, and so a withdrawal deal could therefore be negotiated. As several Brussel-based journalists are reporting this morning, EU-27 don’t expect anything from the UK that offers a viable alternative to the backstop in keeping the Irish border transparent/preserving the Good Friday Agreement. They haven’t received anything, and they don’t expect to. But lies about Brexit and EU negotiation are normal from Tory ministers.
Boris Johnson also said, explicitly, he thought the Supreme Court were wrong to rule his prorogation of Parliament unlawful.
Although I am an atheist, I’ve never ticked the humanist box. I am an atheist because there is no god: humanists seem to want to reify that into a belief.
I don’t have a problem with that. I don’t understand people who do. What matters is not what you believe in, but how you behave towards yourself, other people, and the world in consequence of your beliefs.
Humanist weddings, on the other hand, I completely see the point of. Wanting ceremony and ritual to mark the important moments in your life is a natural human process. Civil registrars provide a ceremony if you want it, of course – within very specific bounds set by the fact that a civil registrar is a civil servant, paid to provide the legal process of marriage, and the small fee paid for a registry office marriage is not intended to allow for any very elaborate ceremony.
If you’re not religious, and many people aren’t (“no religion” was one of the largest categories in Scotland in the 2001 census, so large that the Churches lobbied to have that question removed from the 2011 census) then it’s useful to be able to have a ceremony to mark your marriage that isn’t restricted to a civil registrar’s obligations and that isn’t tied to a God of some description.
Which member of the Privy Council is best qualified to be Chancellor of the Exchequer? It is not, obviously, George Osborne, who famously doesn’t even have O-grade maths and who is driving the UK into double-dip recession because he has no notion about economics beyond “tax cuts for the rich=GOOD”.
Oddly enough in a Tory Cabinet, it’s actually a comprehensive-school kid from Wales.
Maria Lewis went to Brynteg Comprehensive School/Ysgol Gyfun Brynteg in Bridgend and took a BSc in Economics at the LSE. (When she married Iain Miller in 1990 she took his surname and has stood for election as Maria Miller ever since.) She isn’t a crony of Cameron from the Bullingdon Club (they don’t let girls in), she didn’t go to Oxbridge, she wasn’t privately educated, and she didn’t marry into the web of privilege: she will never be one of the Secret Seven. I imagine as a member of the Conservative Party since she was 19 she’s got used to that kind of thing.
Maria Miller has been MP for Basingstoke since 2005. As she was born in 1964 she’ll be aware that to David Cameron (born 1966), she has a useful life only to 2018, even if the Tories scrape a win in 2015: Caroline Spelman was sacked in the reshuffle for being too old at 54.