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Tuesday, March 15, 2005


A sordid spectacle

It seems that all three main party leaders have got it into their heads that the way to success in the general election is to win over the religious vote (whatever that is). Michael Howard is trying to corner the Catholic vote, Tony Blair is wooing evangelical Christians and Charles Kennedy is sucking up to extremist Muslims. Frankly, it is a sordid spectacle, as Nick Cohen pointed out in Sunday's Observer.

But whatever the morality of this tactic, there is no logical reason for it. The majority of British people no longer practice a religion. Most of those who do regard it as a private matter. The small minority of religious fanatics whose devotion leads them to bully anyone who disagrees should not be touched with a bargepole.

Where is the party leader able and willing to stand up for a secular society? I would have thought that this is electorally a far more popular position than kowtowing to vocal minorities of religious fanatics.

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