The Church of Scotland has agreed to maintain a status quo precluding further ordinations of gay and lesbian clergy, while permitting local congregations to do exactly the opposite – if a suitably crafted church law can be agreed next year. That’s a big ‘if’, says Simon Barrow. As a statement of theological principle, this settlement risks looking a mess. In worldly terms it is classic coalition government. But it raises the key question as to whether the coalition can hold.
With Chris Huhne’s resignation, it is generally agreed that the Liberal Democrats have lost their strongest voice in Cabinet, and will be even less able to exert influence over government policies. His seat as Secretary of State for Energy and Climate Change was barely cold before Conservative backbenchers were pressing for a reduction in subsidies for renewable energy.
Disabled actor, writer and comedian Francesca Martinez, who has been outspoken in support of those challenging the impact on vulnerable people of the Welfare Reform Bill (WRB), put the matter powerfully and poignantly on the This Week TV politics show: the government, she said, is "morally disabled" in its approach to these issues and to the human effect of its policies.
Britain may be broke, but the government's desperation to cut the deficit seems to have its limits. This morning, Eric Pickles has ruled out an increase in council tax for houses valued at more than £1million. He is portraying measures that would affect only the richest as an attack on the "middle class". In reality, the government is consistent in pursuing the interests of the very wealthy at the expense of the rest of us.