Jammy dodger Evan Harris has come up seventh in the ballot for Private Members’ Bills. As for what the ballot is about – names get put in a hat, and then pulled out at random – and the lucky ones are giving some time in Parliament to introduce a Bill. You have to come near the top to have any chance of getting your Bill through. I enter each time – but have never been lucky enough – as yet.
Anyway – Evan is taking forward the accession issue (one I had some success with last year) that females are shunted out of line to the throne by males (‘primogeniture’ ) as part of his Bill. He is also bringing in the issue around Catholics being prohibited from sitting on the British throne.
It’s about time this ‘discrimination’ was eliminated. To me it’s a no-brainer. When I managed to get it on the agenda last year and forced the Government into having to say that it would act it seemed – from the discussion on the floor of the chamber – that there was (on the whole) cross -party agreement. The Tories, not surprisingly, were the least keen as I remember their spokesperson, Dominic Grieve, whilst giving it lukewarm support suggesting that it wasn’t important really.
Well – you can always say that something that affects so relatively few people is unimportant – but I would say that there is no clearer symbol of the message that goes out in this land – that women are second class citizens and the lack of impetus to change is demonstrable evidence of this.
No doubt the other chestnut that will raise its head will be ‘if we’re talking about accession – surely we should have the debate about whether there should be a monarchy at all’.
No, no, no, no – whatever views there are on becoming a republic – this is a separate issue. As long as we do have a monarchy we should ensure that it does not enshrine discrimination against women or Catholics. Way to go Evan!