Propping up hate

by Ann Ivins

I’ve been thinking with increasing irritation about that perennial conundrum-within-an-enigma-which-actually-isn’t-that-difficult-at-all: the separation of church and state, this time in the context of gay marriage. The issue becomes more annoying the more headspace I give it, and it’s not the prejudice or the public protests or the proclamations of any group on either side. The question that makes my brain twitch is this: why is this even an issue?

I firmly believe that the followers of any given religion have the perfect right to include, exclude and/or vilify anyone they choose. Continue reading

Stout Denial!

This forthcoming week we expect some more outright lying to go on in the Chilcot inquiry. This is because those appearing—-particularly former Defence Minister Geoff Hoon and former foreign secretary Jack Straw-—have an occasional habit of doing this. Both are expected to provide some interesting testimony, especially in light of testimony this past week from Alistair Campbell, and testimony in December from a number of senior military figures.

Before getting to what we might expect, let’s look at what we learned this past week. P.G. Wodehouse’s Lord Emsworth, whose motto was “Stout Denial!” would have been proud of Alistair Campbell. Campbell, Tony Blair’s Communications guy, can lie with the best of them, and we presume he did. In fact, what was unsurprising about Campbell’s testimony was the extent to which he stuck to the script, while at the same time the extent to which he tried to blame everyone else. Campbell’s testimony and answers to questions even included a reference to Psalm 56 on his whiny blog, “All day long they twist my words”, which, as Hugh O’Shaughnessy pointed out, would be funny if it came from someone else. Continue reading