|Bill English When I noticed that Bill English had been interviewed for the latest issue of the fundamentalist newspaper Challenge Weekly, I dutifully linked to the website.
It's not exactly news that English is a conservative Catholic. He tends to remind us of the fact every time that there's a debate over issues of family policy, reproductive and sexual health and palliative care. However, his interview does raise some concerns about the National Party's apparent newfound theoretical commitment to democratic pluralism, not to mention his contradiction of his leader on several points. English seems to envision a Key-led (?) National administration more akin to those of George Bush and John Howard than the more moderate David Cameron, Leader of the UK Conservative Opposition. English argues that we're demonising the Christian Right. Wrong. The Christian Right does not share mainstream democratic cornerstone values like religious freedom and faith-state separation. In this country, as is surprisingly observed within his interview, Christian religious observance is shrinking, while those of no formal religious stance, and other historic great faiths, is growing. Regardless, English lambasts social engineering, central government provision of social welfare and questions the current opprobrium that the Exclusive Brethren that Labour and social liberals hold. Ah, that would be the same Exclusive Brethren that tried to undermine democratic institutions within this country through buying influence within the Opposition, would it? As documented within Nicky Hager's book on the subject last year? And with this candid little statement, English also manages to throw into doubt National's real commitment to campaign donor and electoral funding finance reform, which Key assured us was not controversial within his party. And what does he mean, "these things can change if there's public support?" Does this mean that our civil unions are not safe under a National administration? The Deputy Leader of the Opposition has some explaining to do, otherwise one would assume he still harbours Tory born to rule illusions. One hopes not. John O'Neill "Church has Place in Our Secular Society:" Challenge Weekly: 14.05.07 www.challengeweekly.co.nz Campaign for Open Government: www.cog.org.nz Nicky Hager: The Hollow Men: Nelson: Craig Potton: 2006. Craig Young - 19th May 2007