Why would a straight couple want a civil partnership over a marriage?

Bride and groom figurines, June 2012 by David Precious

When the Marriage (Same Sex Couples) Act passed in 2013 the issue of whether straight people should be allowed to enter into a civil partnership was quietly left to one side.

Given that civil partnerships were brought in by Tony Blair’s government in part to avoid having to call gay marriage “marriage”, it is understandable that many felt straight couples would have no need for the newfangled contract.

Yet this week Rebecca Steinfeld and Charles Keidan will dispute the government’s ban on straight civil partnerships in the Royal Courts of Justice, arguing that the discrimination breaches their rights to family life.

Continue Reading

What’s so unfair about ‘Fat Cat Tuesday’?

Kitten Looking Up, August 2012 by Belal Khan

The New Year can always be relied upon to provide newspapers with a steady flow of stories they write every damn year, pausing only to change some of the figures.

And so it is on the first Tuesday of 2016 we are presented with “Fat Cat Tuesday”, the amusingly named creation of the think tank-cum-lobby group High Pay Centre that points out that top chief executives still make a lot more money than you.

Continue Reading

The Department for Education might allow Christian propaganda, but it doesn’t demand it

Leamington Church, February 2014 by barnyz

Much hullabaloo erupted on Monday over the education secretary Nicky Morgan’s policy update on religious teaching in schools, which swatted atheists aside whilst pushing Christianity to the fore.

Morgan was forced to revise the policy following a court ruling in November that found atheism, humanism and other non-religious views were being excluded unlawfully from the religious studies curriculum at GCSE level.

The resultant updates have since led to some amusing headlines from newspapers both sympathetic and hostile to faith-heads, which on first sight would lead one to believe the Tories are launching some mass Christian propaganda exercise.

Continue Reading

Why we called the Joe Biden presidential campaign wrong

Joe Biden, October 2012 by DonkeyHotey

It’s not been a sterling year for predictions among the political punderati in Britain.

Firstly, all the British pollsters got the headline result of the general election wrong. Then pretty much everybody dismissed Jeremy Corbyn as a possible leader of Labour, only for him to go on and win 60 percent of the vote.

But at least it seems Britons are not the only ones flubbing our predictions. Most everyone in the United States thought that Joe Biden, current vice president, would contest the Democratic ticket to run for the top job in Washington.

Continue Reading

What you should know about Westminster’s Vote Leave, the rival to Leave.EU

Vote Leave screencap, October 2015

For the past few months there have been agitations from the “anti-establishment” eurosceptics about the emergence of a Westminster alternative to the Leave.EU coalition.

And on Thursday night Vote Leave officially launched with a slickly cut campaign video and the backing of MPs from Ukip, Labour and the Conservatives (the Lib Dem members being europhiles):

That list of MPs includes Steve Baker (Conservative), Douglas Carswell (Ukip), Kate Hoey (Labour). Kelvin Hopkins (Labour), Bernard Jenkin (C), Owen Paterson (C), and Graham Stringer (Labour).

Prominent donors backing the campaign include the likes of Tory donor Peter Cruddas, Labour donor John Mills, and Ukip donor Stuart Wheeler, who has gifted the fringe party some £700,000 over the last five years.

All of this is the work of Matthew Elliott, founder of pressure group the TaxPayers’ Alliance and the man behind the No2AV campaign that thoroughly trounced attempts to reform Britain’s voting system in 2011.

His other group, Business for Britain, was recently hedging its bets on the European question, claiming that it was waiting for prime minister David Cameron’s negotiations to finish before it made a decision to setup Vote Leave.

Indeed in an interview with BBC Radio 4’s Today show, Jon Moynihan of Vote Leave said of the changes his group wanted:

“We’ve now reluctantly come to the conclusion that those changes are not going to take place…what we want to achieve is a common market, not a political union.”

Neither group has chosen to include Ukip leader Nigel Farage as their champion, many fearing that he is too divisive a figure and that he might scare off potential leavers in the debate.

Ultimately only one side will be chosen as the main campaign group for leaving the EU, giving it access to greater funding.

An ICM poll cited in Vote Leave’s press release has 44 percent opting to leave compared to 39 percent opting to stay, the “leave” side having only gained the upper hand in recent months.

Image Credit – Vote Leave screenshot, October 2015