Christians for Ukip? A Plausible Ethical Perspective

Published by Kirby Laing Institute for Christian Ethics

Christians UkipThe United Kingdom Independence Party (Ukip) has made some significant electoral advances since the 2010 General Election, when they secured 3.1% of the popular vote. Not only did the party go on to win the 2014 Elections to the European Parliament with 24 MEPs elected on 26.6% of the vote, but they currently have 430 councillors across 76 local councils, and recently secured their first elected MPs to Westminster following Conservative defections and victory in two volitional by-elections. At the time of writing they are regularly scoring between 12-15% in opinion polls. Christians are deeply divided about the party’s perceived ‘undercurrents’ of racism, nationalism and isolationism which, some aver, put them beyond the pale of religious respectability. But despite episcopal denunciations(1), the party is attracting Christians from across the denominations, including the Church of England and the Roman Catholic Church(2). Continue reading


Don’t let political correctness corrode the art of acting

Published by ConservativeHome

Daniel Day Lewis My Left Foot“Able-bodied actors should not play disabled characters,” says film critic Scott Jordan Harris, writing on the website of the late Roger Ebert. “That they so often do should be a scandal,” Harris submits.

He develops his argument from the anti-discriminatory moral perspective of social equality, advancing that the modern world should no more entertain the able-bodied playing a disabled character than we would a white man playing the Moor of Venice or a chap in Ptolemaic drag prancing around the stage as Egypt’s Cleopatra. Indeed, audiences would most likely find justifiable grievance in a pale actor donning “the Thick-lips” of Othello, or having to watch “Some squeaking Cleopatra boy (her) greatness / I’ th’ posture of a whore”. Nowadays black people play black characters and women play Shakespearean heroines, so there is a certain logic in the belief that disabled roles should be reserved for disabled thespians: in Harris’s terminology, the “performance is automatically authentic”. Continue reading


Cardinal Keith O’Brien shakes the SNP dust from his feet

Published by Daily Mail

Papal visit to UKThe leader of the Roman Catholic Church in Scotland has severed all direct communication with Scotland’s First Minister Alex Salmond over a minor dispute about the rights and wrongs of same-sex marriage. Apparently they still have enormous respect for each other, and remain on first-name terms. But Alex wants Scotland to pioneer gay marriage in the UK, and Keith just doesn’t. I’ve managed to obtain the transcript of their recent telephone conversation on the matter:

First Minister Alex: Guid morn, Jimmy.

Cardinal Keith: Mah name’s Keith, dornt ye ken ‘at? Continue reading


The Colorado shooting is a Groundhog Day tragedy

Published by Daily Mail

Aurora Colorado vigilIt was a casual midnight massacre in a cinema during a screening the new Batman movie ‘The Dark Knight Rises’. And now, just as with every passing mention of Pearl Harbour, Dunblane, or September 11th , this film will most likely be forever synonymous with the tragedy.

Clad in gas mask, ballistics helmet and body armour, the audience thought the shadowy figure was part of the theatre experience, until he released gas-emitting devices and opened fire. But the story is a familiar one: a lone and unsuspected gunman enters a building and fires indiscriminately, targeting whatever moves – men, women and children, this time including a six-year-old girl.

And so the United States of America is (once again) in mourning. The number of dead and injured makes this incident the largest mass shooting in modern US history: Aurora, Colorado, 2012 (70 victims) now follows Fort Hood, Texas, 2009 (37), which followed Northern Illinois University, 2008 (21), which followed Virginia Tech University, 2007 (59), which followed Columbine High School, 1999 (39), which followed Springfield, Oregon, 1998 (25), which followed Killeen, Texas, 1991 (45), which followed Jacksonville, Florida, 1990 (14)… Continue reading


Bob Diamond and the ethics of greed

Published by Daily Mail

bob diamondExquisite sparkling diamonds are forged over billions of years under colossal pressure some 100 miles beneath the earth’s crust. They are only brought within mining distance to the surface by uncontrollable volcanic eruptions and the violent ebb and flow of magma.

So it has been with the Diamond known as Bob, who isn’t actually so exquisite or sparkling, and hasn’t nobly fallen upon his sword on a point of principle in the name of honour for the greater good. No, he desperately ignobly hung on until the magma had become a turbulent lava ball of irate politicians and shareholders, and the pyroclastic flow of super-heated criticism became intolerable. Continue reading


What kind of prime minister gives a free vote on a ‘fundamental human right’?

Published in Daily Mail

Cameron Blair2It’s a longstanding tradition in Parliament that the process of legislating on contentious ethical issues and troubling moral dilemmas must respect the conscience of each individual MP. And so members are usually granted a free vote on the matter at hand, especially if it touches the transcendent, metaphysical and religious. This has long been the case with such emotively-charged concerns as capital punishment, abortion and embryology – matters upon which, in a liberal democracy, the conscience ought not to be coerced.

Or at least that was the case until Tony Blair began his moral crusade to impose ethical uniformity upon us all, in the exalted name of human rights and under the sinister guise of liberty and equality. Continue reading