Fisking Matthew Offord

May 18, 2012 12:21 pm

Matthew Offord is the Tory MP for Hendon. In May 2010 he was elected with a majority of just 106 over Labour’s Andrew Dismore.

There are his views on equal marriage.

Ladies and gentlemen, I’ve never done this before, but I think it’s time for a quick “fisking” of Mr Offord’s remarks.

———-

“My own position is that I will not be voting for legislation that extends marriage for same-sex couples. Having waited many years to get married I acknowledge the value the commitment brings.”

You think YOU’VE waited many years to get married Matthew? Imagine how long a gay couple might have waited.

It is my strong personal, moral and religious belief that the institution of marriage is to provide the foundation of a stable relationship in which those two people of the opposite sex procreate and raise a child. That is physically not possible for same-sex couples so I don’t see the point of introducing a law to allow this.

So marriage isn’t valid without procreation? What about those who can’t conceive? What about those who don’t want children? Marriage is not entirely about childbirth, and hasn’t been for quite some time…

I strongly believe in same-sex couples having the right to a civil registration, in order that they receive the same benefits as opposite-sex couples but not marriage.

Matthew wants same-sex couples to “receive the same benefits as opposite-sex couples” – all except the benefit of getting married that is.

To many this might seem like a trivial matter, particularly since the introduction of Civil Partnerships in 2004 means that same sex couple already enjoy the same rights that married couple do.

Apart from the right to get married. Keep up Matthew.

However the institution of marriage is woven into the fabric of our nation – it affects our courts, inheritance rights and even our schools. And it is the effect on our schools, children and teachers that is worrying so many. Close to 100,000 people have signed the one man, one woman equals marriage petition.

Because that’s how policy is decided now – once 100,000 people sign a petition then the issue is settled. Thank goodness for that then, because once we find the other 50,000 who want Clarkson as PM then we’ll be home and dry.

In regard to education, Section 403 of the Education Act 1996 places a legal requirement on schools to teach children about “the importance of marriage”. If marriage is redefined, schools will have no choice but to give children equivalent teaching on same sex marriage, even those children of a very young age, including those at primary school.

WON’T SOMEBODY THINK OF THE CHILDREN? The underlying tone of this suggests that somehow learning about same sex couples might have a negative effect on children. It neglects, however, the positive impact children learning about same sex couples would have in terms of lessening the likelihood of homophobic bullying in schools.

Also, I may be getting on a bit, but I don’t remember marriage ever coming up when I was at school. Now that either means a) it did but had absolutely no impact on me so I can’t remember or b) it didn’t happen.

I guess there may be a c) teachers are brainwashing our children, but in the reality-based community we ignore nonsense like that…

So what will happen to parents who because of religious, or philosophical beliefs take their children out of lessons? It is simply inconceivable in today’s world where political correctness runs a mock in our institutions, that there would not be profound consequences for those who hold traditional views. Parents who object will be treated as bigots and outcasts, possibly excluded from being on the PTA, or from being a governor.

Hold your horses Matthew. You’ve made a big leap of faith from same sex marriage here. You’ve even fallen back on the old “PC gawn mad” stuff which is “running a mock”. Although Matthew, let me be as strident as you for a moment – those who would pull their kids out of lessons for fear that they might hear about loving same sex relationships are, by my definition at least, bigoted in this regard. Sorry. 

Discriminated against and persecuted because they hold views that have been enshrined in our laws and have been the cornerstone of our society for two thousand years.

Don’t make me list some of the frankly ludicrous laws we’ve had in the last 2000 years Matthew. Don’t make me do it….

And what of the teachers who object to teaching about same sex marriage. Will they face disciplinary action? How will it affect their careers? Will same sex marriage be covered under such subjects as citizenship forming part of the main curriculum taught to our children and tested through examination? These are just some of the questions that the Government has so far failed to answer.

Yes Matthew, there will be a “Big Gay Test” at the end of term*. Honestly this is all getting very silly. Again, at school I don’t ever remember being forced to take a compulsory citizenship test – does anyone else?

I do not believe that same sex marriage would serve to enhance British society or its values.

One of the great problems with using the phrase “values” in a British context is that what those values are is rather contested. Often it’s shorthand for “my values”. So Matthew, here’s what I think of when I think of “British values”. Fair play. And blocking equal marriage seems distinctly unfair to me.

Yours sincerely,

MATTHEW OFFORD MP

* – Note to Matthew, there will NOT be a “Big Gay Test”. That was a joke.

  • http://twitter.com/vickim57 Vicki Morris

    I suppose for ‘citizenship’ he is thinking of PSHE and Citizenship, so that’s fair enough. For the rest: badly argued discriminatory thinking.

  • http://twitter.com/vickim57 Vicki Morris

    I suppose for ‘citizenship’ he is thinking of PSHE and Citizenship, so that’s fair enough. For the rest: badly argued discriminatory thinking.

  • Slakah

    So what will happen to parents who because of religious, or philosophical beliefs take their children out of lessons? It is simply inconceivable in today’s world where political correctness runs a mock in our institutions, that there would not be profound consequences for those who hold traditional views. Parents who object will be treated as bigots and outcasts, possibly excluded from being on the PTA, or from being a governor.
    At this point, he appears to be advocating ignorance in schools. I really cannot fathom why he would be against allowing children to be aware of the world around them, does he believe acknowledgement of gay marriage will somehow be morally detrimental to children. Children learn of far greater evils in school than even the most strident fundamentalist can attach to gay marriage, and yet most seem to come out the other end better for it.Many religions at this current time, are banned from carrying out their religious beliefs on same sex marriage (Quakers, many protestant churches, etc). Purely because some other religions deem religious couples to be lesser than their heterosexual counterparts.

  • Kirstin

    Of course LGBT people don’t have equal rights, even if we assume civil partnerships and marriage are legally equivalent – trans people who want to legally change their gender, and are married have to get divorced then get a civil partnership (and vice versa), which constitutes a break in relationship for tax and pensions, also suggesting that just because of a legal gender change your relationship has somehow changed, or needs reviewed is somewhat offensive.

    • jaime taurosangastre candelas

      It is only “trans-gender” T people who have a genuine case for claiming inequality, not the LGB individuals who as you say are equally treated already.  There are around 5,000 in the UK, and while I feel strongly that they should be placed onto the same legal basis as everyone else, it appears to be some technical revisions in the law could achieve this (ie not requiring a formal divorce and then a civil partnership to the enduring partner).

      I am glad that you acknowledge that “trans-gender” is actually only a legal status, rather than anything scientifically or biologically achievable.  There is a surprising amount of ignorance on this.

  • Kokopops

    Mark Ferguson for Hendon MP?

  • http://adventuresandjapes.wordpress.com/ Adventures and Japes

    2000 year old society? 

    Every time we got a new administration in the last 2000 years, a new set of values and laws has been imposed (and each with a new take on marriage). 

Latest

  • News US Tory adviser boasts about wages boom in America as British wages hit slowest growth on record

    US Tory adviser boasts about wages boom in America as British wages hit slowest growth on record

    Jim Messina, the former Obama adviser hired by the Conservatives’ to help run their election campaign next year, enjoys tweeting about the successes of the American President – despite his unpopularity with fellow Democrats for taking a job working with Cameron. He won’t be endearing himself to the Tories either if he carries on with tweets like this: While cheering on US wage growth may be a good idea for Democrats in the run-up to the mid-terms this November, the […]

    Read more →
  • News Miliband promises “biggest reforms of the railways since privatisation”

    Miliband promises “biggest reforms of the railways since privatisation”

    Ed Miliband pledged that Labour would introduce the “biggest reforms of the railways since privatisation”, during a visit to Hastings today. During a Q&A, Mliband told the audience that if the Tories were re-elected then commuters in the town could see their rail fares rise by £265 to almost £5,000 a year. He promised that a Labour Government would take tough action to ensure that this would not happen: “A Labour government would cap annual fares on every route and […]

    Read more →
  • Comment Despite the government’s claims of recovery, the foodbank crisis isn’t going away

    Despite the government’s claims of recovery, the foodbank crisis isn’t going away

    This week, following on from my work with Leeds West foodbank and the Yorkshire Evening Post’s (YEP) excellent campaign raising awareness of the issue, I attended the launch of a new foodbank in Horsforth, one of the wards in my constituency, to show my support for the valuable work they do. Our current MP, a Tory, has been completely silent on the issue, while members of his own government have refused to meet representatives of the Trussell Trust to discuss […]

    Read more →
  • News David Lammy latest MP to call for all-minority ethnic shortlists

    David Lammy latest MP to call for all-minority ethnic shortlists

    David Lammy, MP for Tottenham, has become the latest Labour MP to suggest applying all-minority ethnic shortlists to future parliamentary selections in order to increase representation for black and minority ethnic (BME) people in Westminster. Responding to research carried out by former Labour minister Parmjit Dhanda and the Insight Public Affairs group on the lack of representation in the House of Commons, Lammy said: “Clearly none of the parties have any room for complacency when it comes to BME representation. […]

    Read more →
  • Featured Scotland Even the hecklers get soaked in this old style political tour

    Even the hecklers get soaked in this old style political tour

    In the first of a new weekly Scottish Referendum column for LabourList, Labour’s Shadow International Development Secretary Jim Murphy, writes from the Western Isles and seaside towns leg of his #100Streets tour. When I started my #100Streets in 100 days speaking tour a couple of weeks ago I thought the biggest threat would be Scotland’s summer. Despite the weather you’ve seen on television at Glasgow’s brilliant Commonwealth games it has taken until yesterday for me to get properly drenched by […]

    Read more →