Sunday Trading Laws — March 13, 2012

Sunday Trading Laws

Vince Cable was caught out last week for having attacked the Coalition for lacking a growth plan. Vince has obviously forgotten that a) He’s part of the Coalition b) His department should be encouraging growth.

So I’ve thought of an idea for him. Scrap the Sunday Trading Laws! This a policy that won’t sit well with the “natural conservative” or religious types. But, frankly, I don’t really care. I understand their views, but I don’t believe in a world where the private sphere of Religion should be influencing the public realm of politics. So that’s one complaint dealt with quickly.

The weekend, the great bastion of freedom from the boring, slavish week of work, right? What do people do? They drink, they see friends and family and they shop. But bizarrely, they have to do the most of their shopping on Saturday’s, because we have state enforced opening and closing times on Sunday’s here in the UK.

Before 1994, the people of the UK couldn’t shop at all on Sundays. Now we’ve had “great progress” and we can shop for 6 hours, normally between 10am-4pm.

Surely I cannot be the only person to think that this is just ridiculous. If we scrap the bill, then people can fully enjoy their weekends and shop like they do any other day of the week. Sunday isn’t special to the large majority of people in the UK. It’s just another day, it should be their choice when to shop.


Militant Secularism? – Give me a break! — February 14, 2012

Militant Secularism? – Give me a break!



Baroness Warsi has today accused Britain of being under threat from “militant secularists” whose methods are reminiscent of “totalitarian regimes.” My gut reaction to such a statement is one of disgust. Secularism does not deserve to be compared to totalitarianism in any way!

Wasri is the latest Conservative to come out against secularism and the so called marginalisation of religion. David Cameron came out last year asserting that “the UK was a Christian country and we should do more to defend that.” A lot of the rhetoric from Cameron and now Warsi is on tolerance and morality. Apparently being an atheist instantly makes you intolerant of all faiths.

This is far from the truth. I am an atheist, but I am not intolerant of any faith. In fact, I would argue that people more likely to be intolerant and ignorant of other faiths, are religious people themselves. Christian faith schools teach predominantly Christian teachings, perhaps giving a passing two week reference “all other faiths” leaving their students with no understanding of other religions and deeply ignorant.

The myth that religion is required for morality is one that I thought had been busted in recent years. Religion does not not make you a moral person, far from it. We can debate at length if morality is innate, or if it is progressive, either way, reading a religious text cover to cover isn’t the answer.

Warsi has the cheek to say that secularism is intolerant and totalitarian. Let’s have a quick look at the biggest faiths in the UK and see how long it takes me to if they are intolerant . Christians are a tolerant bunch right? Love thy neighbour, don’t covet another man’s wife etc.. Reasonable chaps? Erm, just don’t talk to them about homosexuality. Same goes for Islam, very nice people, just don’t talk about equality for women. Yes these are gross generalisations (based on the ideas of their leaders/texts), but they are mainly stylised facts, so I only half-apologise for them, and doesn’t Warsi do that when she accuses secularists of the intolerance? Just don’t get me started on Catholics. Jeez.

One of the foundations of a liberal society is the ability to practice your faith without the risk of being persecuted or marginalised. As an atheist and a secularist this is the last thing I want. Practise your faith by all means, but do not for one second think you can trample on the fundamental rights of others in the name of it.

The Conservative Party is really running the risk of upsetting the younger, liberal branch of its membership with this continued focus on religion and morality.