It does, however, have the amusing side-effect of watching the Tories pull themselves apart. Not content with destroying their party over the issue of Europe, they seemed determined to put another nail in their electoral coffin by splitting their party again over an issue, that seems to barely register across the country - not surprising given the economic climate, while ensuring that many more Tory members and helpers will leave in their droves. The Tories appear to have a death wish.
There is however a far more important point and it is one of democracy. The issue, which has serious implications for the relationship between the church and state needs serious debate, instead it has been reduced to cynical Tory political calculation for the next election. The voters have seen it for the cynicism that it is:
A ComRes survey published today found that 62 per cent of voters and 68 per cent of Tories believe marriage should continue to be defined as a ‘life-long exclusive commitment between a man and a woman’.It's also worth noting that the so-called heavyweights supporting Cameron, John Major and Boris Johnson are not elected as MPs. Nor will it stop there, as Peter Bone MP says in the Independent (pictured above):
In a further blow for the PM, 65 per cent agree that his plans to legalise gay marriage are ‘more to do with trying to make the Conservative Party look trendy and modern’ than a matter of conviction.
"If this were a genuine free vote, which of course it isn't, I reckon most Conservative MPs would vote against." He added: "The Prime Minister is absolutely wrong on this. This 'cast-iron guarantee' he has given that no church will be forced to marry someone is obviously false, because the European courts will intervene.But the money quote is this one from Mr Bone:
"What will happen when a couple goes to a local church, same sex, saying they want to be married [and] that church turns them down? Off to a European court and, heigh-ho, all churches will be forced to.
"It was in no party manifesto, there is no mandate for the Prime Minister to do this; he is absolutely wrong to be doing it now..."And in one sentence Mr Bone (unwittingly I suggest) has summed up everything that is wrong. The voters' appear to be against it, Cameron has no mandate, yet he will still force this issue through Parliament against the wishes of the majority of the population opposed, topped off eventually with an intervention from European Courts which will expand the consequences of the law. Yet another example of how democracy has gone seriously AWOL in this country.
The antidote to all this is the 6 demands of the Harrogate Agenda. Parliament in its current form is not fit for purpose.