Wednesday 16 May 2012

Policy statements: Same-sex marriage, minimum alcohol pricing

We see absolutely no reason why UK legislation refers to marriages between gays and lesbians as 'civil partnerships' but then treats them, as far as we can see, in exactly the same way.

As far as we are concerned, the term 'civil partnership' can be abandoned, and whatever statutes there are covering marriages can be amended to make it clear that a marriage can be between any two consenting adults, male, female or otherwise. Stonewall have already published their own draft Extension of Marriage to Same-Sex Couples Bill, which seems perfectly sensible.

Their Section 3 seems far too timid to us. Agreed, all religions except the Church of England and the Church of Wales are ultimately private organisations (most of them exhibiting various degrees of homophobia) which are not under the control of the UK government which has no right to dictate terms, but those two Churches are official, state religions (their bishops sit in the House of Lords; coronations etc are held in a Church of England cathedral) and there is no reason why they cannot be told to name at least a certain number of churches in which same-sex marriages can and will be held, should the couples so wish.
We are appalled by the Scottish government's imposition of a minimum price for alcohol of 50p per unit and mumblings by the UK government that the same will be imposed in England and Wales.

Firstly, there is no binge-drinking epidemic; even if there were, such a price hike will do absolutely nothing to reverse it; and finally, the only real beneficiaries of this will be the large supermarket chains who will be able to increase their prices accordingly.

Alcohol duties themselves push up the price of booze. These are not the worst kind of taxes, but they - especially when combined with VAT on top (a tax we would seek to scrap as soon as possible) - are pretty much at the upper limit of what can be collected. Any higher and all we see is more smuggling and illicit distilleries with no further increase in revenues.


  1. Hi for the Church of England and Wales, wouldn't it be better they were disestablished anyway, rather than insisting that some of their properties will be used to solemnise marriages between same sex couples?

    Also do we actually need a second chamber anyway?

  2. Why disestablish them? They are the national church, which seems to be de rigeur in a nominally Christian country. Do we need a second chamber? No real reason, it's just the way we do things. if we didn't have one then we wouldn't miss it.