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Sunday, 10 February 2013

Turner, Tories & Our Island

In the recent Commons vote, it was decided that gender shouldn't dictate who you can or cannot marry. (Almost. But I'll get back to that.) The vote was carried 400 to 175. 136 of those that opposed the Marriage (Same Sex Couples) Bill were Tories; that's approximately half of the party. The Island's MP Andrew Turner was one of those that voted in opposition.

Given his voting record, I suspect his reason for opposition is more down to a personal prejudice rather than the wishes of his constituency. An article published in On The Wight by a man I know and respect, Johnathan Dodd, addresses the situation very well; however, I personally want to tackle our MP's stated reasons for this opposition, as given here in his comment the morning after the debate and vote:

“Last night’s debate was largely conducted in a measured and respectful way – the House of Commons is often at its best when it is most thoughtful. I was particularly struck by something said by Sir Tony Baldry during the debate :
“I am confident that we are all created in the image of God, whether we be straight, gay, bisexual, or transsexual. We are all equally worthy in God’s sight and equally loved by God. I am also sure that we are and should be equally welcome at God’s table. But equalness does not always equate with being the same.”
“I fully endorse those sentiments and I hope many others can do so. This is an emotive and divisive issue with feelings running high on all sides – but I hope that debate on the Island and elsewhere can be conducted with respect for other people’s points of view. Both sides claim a majority who support them – they cannot both be right!”
“I remain concerned about the lack of a democratic mandate for this proposal – not a single MP in the House of Commons was elected on a promise to bring this measure in. “Gay Marriage would bring about a fundamental change to our society – on that I hope all sides can agree. The debate yesterday was subject to a parliamentary device called a programme motion – which greatly restricts the time it can be debated. This Bill will now move through its various stages then move to the House of Lords where debate cannot be cut short in such a way and the details of the Bill and its ramifications and can be more thoroughly debated.”

 Equalness dos not always equate with being the same. What an interesting sentiment. For one thing it smacks very much of the common quote from Animal Farm. "All animals are equal - some animals are more equal than others." Ironically another MP in opposition to the bill stated that the bill itself was Orwellian, though failed to explain precisely how. But more worrying is that the sentiment in and of itself carries echoes of Separate But Equal - the US political doctrine that led to racial segregation.

It is worthy of mention that Andrew Turner did not make mention of "democratic mandate" when the NHS was cut to ribbons. It wasn't something he has brought up about any of the military conflicts we've been involved with, or with the bailing out of banks, or with the upcoming interest in remaining in the EU. It's only ever seemed to matter now that it is on this, as he puts it, highly emotive topic. A topic that, it bears mention, will have no bearing or relevance on his life whatsoever.

It is also worthy of mention that Andrew Turner's complaint of the programme motion was absent when - despite myself and a number of Island residents writing, calling and communicating with him to indicate our opposition - the Digital Economy Act was forced through with a tiny debate in the darkest hour of night.

It has been a long time since Andrew Turner has actually represented our interests in anything aside from an apparent interest in ferry prices. This most recent debacle has proven that not only is he not a suitable representative for the Isle of Wight, but he's more interested in his own personal bias and prejudice than any communication he received from his constituents.

I may not agree with anyone wanting to vote Conservative in the next election. But for your own sake - get someone to run that has some credibility. I may not want this Island to be Tory-controlled, but this man needs to go.