Sunday, December 23, 2007

Blair's Final Betrayal

So Blair has done what most people expected and converted to Catholicism. As to the conversion itself and anyone's personal beliefs I really don't care. I do, as a Catholic myself, feel deeply betrayed by this conversion and the timing of it.

This was not a decision made lightly or even in the few months since he left office. His wife is Catholic as are his children. He has attended Catholic mass for years. The conversion was really always on the cards. And again - a personal decision for him to make and act on himself.

But why in his years as Prime Minister, particularly the final year and a half when we all knew he was stepping down soon, did he never speak out against the institutionalised anti-Catholic legislation in Britain? Why did he never say that the Act of Succession which prevents a future monarch marrying a Catholic is wrong? Why didn't he say that the rule which prevents a Catholic being First Lord of the Treasury is an insult to the millions of Catholics in the country? Catholicism is the only religion that these rules apply to. Blair knew he was going to become a Catholic, why did he not speak out in defence of the religion he respects so much?

As usual with Blair it was a case of making sure his power trip came above everything else. He knew that by following his beliefs he would never have been PM, and that position mattered more to him than anything else. He's a hypocrite.

1 comment:

Political Dissuasion said...

This is a topic I feel strongly about, but not sure in which direction I want to go in. On one hand, I agree.

If he felt he would be decribed as "a nutter" as TB himself put it, is he not highlighting that there are strong, unfair, negative views towards Catholicism within politics? And if this is the case, as Prime Minister, a Prime Minister who prided himself on equality for all, should he not be among the first, not only through his personal experiences and fears but his responsibility as the figurehead of our country, government and political establishment, to come out and say a) this is who I am and should in no way be ashamed of it and neither should anybody else and b) to view me any differently due to these beliefs is wrong.
Never before will there have been someone in such a position of power, with a bigger microphone and wider reach than the opportunity he had while in number 10.
If Labour want to preach equality for all, they should fight for equality for all. When, of all the people in the UK, the PM feels he has to hide his religious beliefs (which are in no way regarded as weirdo cult-esque beliefs), not only do you realise how sizeable and deep-running the discrimination must be, but you also fear for the hope of any progress that could have been made.

But on the other hand, maybe he didn't want to make 'The PM's religious beliefs' something that should be taken into account when deciding on a PM. Maybe he thinks intelligence, ability etc are better qualities on which to judge a person for the job.

I could argue that he feared that if he did try and address this during his premiership, this would create a side to British politics where religion becomes a central issue in party politics and member selection, which in my view, looking at American politics would be a bad rocky road to Nazareth we wouldn't want to travel down as a country.

When religious belief starts becoming more of a selling point to voters than a candidate's policies for health and education then I believe we have lost site of what politics and governance is all about.

I am in no way saying that this is what you were implying should be the case in your original post. But I cannot help but think that Blair knew that our belovedly atrocious media would have turned this into a terrible circus, dividing the country (even further) on 'the religion issue', leaving little time or coalition to get on with governing with things that make a difference to us all.

So, as much as I agree, as I wrote at the top, that here was a chance for one of our most influential PMs in history to change this truly ridiculous bias against a large section of society, it could potentially have ruined plans for ways he thought he could better the nation on issues outside those of religion.

To me, it's sort of like if someone saw one small guy getting badly beaten up and stabbed by ten large men. The right thing to do would be to go over and help him out. But when the result would be two people getting the sh*t kicked out of them and killed, it wouldn't make any real difference, possibly making the whole situation worse.

So his options are 1)get killed in a fight he knows he cannot win, or 2) live to fight the smaller battles which he knows he can make a difference to.

I'm not saying either was right, maybe it was just power hunger, though I doubt it. I'd like to give him the benefit of the doubt that he was trying to avoid a ridiculous period of British politics where we begin to breed a 'Christian right' who's agenda becomes more pressing to them than that of the country.