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Saturday 8 December 2012

Nadine Dorries Sells The Religion Pass

Today the Daily Mail is the latest paper to go after the Tory MP for Mid Bedfordshire (yes, it’s her again) Nadine Dorries. The Dacre hackery has decided to soften up its target with a hatchet job on her former husband, and thus to taint her by association. And its clinching information nugget is that no marriage (nor divorce) papers can be found for the fragrant Nadine and her ex.

So that’s the kind of damning evidence that is only of any use to Daily Mail readers, then. But it does show that the press attack on Ms Dorries is not confined to the Maily Telegraph, and moreover that it is coming (unusually) from the same side of the political spectrum that she inhabits. Given this increasing level of interest, then, it might serve her well to get her arguments in order.

And one subject on which she might usefully make a start is human rights: after all, all good right wingers are hot on freedom, and so one might think that laws guaranteeing that freedom would meet with approval. But Nadine is unhappy with the European Convention on Human Rights (ECHR) from which she has decided the UK should withdraw, because she believes it is against one particular freedom.

That freedom is religious freedom. That, I thought when reading her assertion, is a strange interpretation of things: the UK does not appear to present any problem to any religion being practised here. So the next stop was Lord Bingham’s speech on the subject of the rights enshrined in the ECHR, in which he briefly described each one. It is a description I would commend to Ms Dorries.

Here’s the relevant extract: “The right to life. The right not to be tortured or subjected to inhuman or degrading treatment or punishment. The right not to be enslaved. The right to liberty and security of the person. The right to a fair trial. The right not to be retrospectively penalised. The right to respect for private and family life. Freedom of thought, conscience and religion. Freedom of expression. Freedom of assembly and association. The right to marry. The right not to be discriminated against in the enjoyment of those rights. The right not to have our property taken away except in the public interest and with compensation. The right of fair access to the country’s educational system. The right to free elections”.

Yes, Nadine Dorries wants the UK to withdraw from a convention that guarantees freedom of religion ... so that its citizens can enjoy freedom of religion. Whether that is a display of stupidity, wilfulness or ignorance I will leave to others to decide, but one thing is for certain: anyone who can’t get the basics of the ECHR straight should not be sitting in the House of Commons and potentially passing judgment on it.

That, and not phantom marriage certificates, is what the media should really be exposing. While they fail to do so, Nadine Dorries will simply carry on as before.

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