Thursday, February 02, 2006

Mrs Whippy

For god's sake, woman - if you are going to lose a vote, don't make the boss the fall guy.

Actually, I think that this improves the bill. I don't doubt that Muslims need the protection that falls to other, ethnically-distinct, religious groups like Jews and Sikhs. The rabble-rousers in the BNP know that they can't attack certain groups because they will come up against laws against racist activities, so they've turned to attacking Muslims. There won't be many prosecutions under the law, but it does send a message that we won't tolerate discrimination.

The problem with the original phrasing of the act would have prohibited insulting a religion, which always struck me as an unreasonable restriction on free speech. I've probably insulted the small-minded nutters at Christian Voice on more than one occasion and will happily take on any bigot who hides behind the veneer of any faith, but I respect those who choose to follow their religious beliefs.

While there are specific issues affecting this vote - there were a number of MPs out of the building for various reasons and thus unable to vote, this wasn't as controversial a division as the ones expected over the forthcoming education bill. Tony could be in for an interesting few months.

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