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Morality and manifestos – what the smaller parties say

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THIS article is a roundup of what the smaller parties’ manifestos say on the moral issues we follow at Christian Concern.

Our responses to ConservativeLabour and Lib Dem manifestos can be read here. 

SNP

The Scottish Nationalist Party manifesto contains no policies on gender recognition or LGBT+ issues other than to reform the asylum system for LGBT+ individuals escaping countries where homosexuality is criminalised, removing demands for proof of sexuality or gender identity (p46). This will make it difficult to assess the genuineness of the asylum claim.

On gambling, the SNP helped lead the campaign to reduce the maximum stake on Fixed Odds Betting Terminals to £2, and pledges to continue to tackle problem gambling. The SNP will press for greater devolution of gambling regulation to the Scottish Parliament and will support a full public health inquiry into gambling related harm (p28).

The SNP manifesto contains strong commitments on online safety with a proposal to appoint a new independent Online Regulator, and for age verification for sites not suitable for children. They also propose a statutory duty of care for social media and gaming organisations ‘to tackle unsuitable content that can lead to self-harm and suicide, sexual exploitation, grooming, abuse and extremism.’ (p28). This is helpful, though the difficulty of defining ‘extremism’ could result in curtailing free speech.

On drugs, the SNP plans to create a Supervised Drug Consumption Facility to allow safe consumption of drugs (p15, 19). This would require a change in the law and risks normalising drug consumption.

UKIP

The UKIP manifesto contains many good policies on the moral issues we follow.

On education, UKIP proposes to repeal laws which infringe on the rights of parents to be primarily responsible for the education of their children (p12). It will retain the rights of parents to opt out of RSE and PSHE lessons, and plan to remove these subjects from the national curriculum (p13). It will repeal the law which implements the ‘LGBT-inclusive’ Relationships Education in primary schools to be made compulsory in 2020. UKIP would also scrap the cap on faith-based selection in faith schools (p12).

On free speech, UKIP promises to end the culture of politically correct policing (p19). Police forces would be required to prioritise and investigate real crimes, rather than the telling of jokes and expression of so-called ‘politically incorrect’ opinions. UKIP will repeal ‘hate speech’ guidelines and scrap guidelines on ‘hate crime’ (p37). UKIP opposes a statutory definition of Islamophobia.

UKIP proposes to raise the Marriage Allowance from 10 per cent to 100 per cent for married couples with dependent children so that basic rate Income Tax allowances are fully transferable (p30). The party opposed same-sex marriage and will oppose any further moves to re-define marriage. It will encourage faith-based adoption agencies that were forced to close for only placing children in traditional families to re-open.

UKIP says it will seek to reduce the number of abortions carried out in the UK (p30). It says abortion or contraception should not be available to under-16s without parents being informed. UKIP will also ‘repeal the Public Space Protection Orders (PSPOs), such as the Ealing PSPO which outlaws silent prayer’ (p37).

On gender reassignment, UKIP rejects any moves to make gender a self-declared condition. ‘Gender is not different to biological sex. There are two sexes – male and female – determined by anatomy and chromosomes’ (p33). UKIP says that medical interventions for children under 18 should be banned (p30). This includes puberty-blocking hormones, cross-sex hormones and surgical interventions.

UKIP proposes to repeal the Equality Act 2010 which gives special rights to people with certain ‘protected characteristics’ (p33). It will replace the Equality Act with legislation to require general non-discrimination against individuals. UKIP will shut down the Equalities and Human Rights Commission and the Government Equalities Office.

UKIP would repeal legislation that gives legal recognition for Sharia courts (p33).

On gambling, UKIP intends to ‘rigorously enforce regulations relating to fixed-odds betting terminals’ (p39). It would repeal the 2005 Gambling Act which allowed betting adverts on pre-watershed TV. It would also conduct an independent review of the impact on British life of the betting industry and the effectiveness of the Gambling Commission.

Brexit Party

The Brexit Party opted for a Contract with the People rather than a manifesto.

The Brexit Party contract contains no policies relating to family issues such as abortion, gender, LGBT, or marriage.

The Brexit Party contract does have strong commitments on free speech. The party will: ‘Require universities to incorporate an obligation to protect legal free speech’ (p7). It also promises to ensure that policing is focused on: ‘combating violent crime, robbery and burglary rather than enforcing restrictions on free speech’ (p17).

Green Party

The Green Party manifesto contains extreme proposals on gender issues and drugs.

The Green Party proposes to allow gender reassignment for under-16s, to de-medicalise gender recognition so that people can self-identify their gender, to remove the spousal veto for gender reassignment, and to allow people to identify as X gender on passports (p63). These proposals go further than any of the mainstream parties.

Relating to abortion the Green Party states that it will ‘ensure that all forms of birth control are free’ (p55). It also promises to: ‘Extend the EU’s Charter of Fundamental Rights to give women in all EU countries access to legal, safe and affordable abortion services’ (p32).

On education, the Green Party plans to: ‘End the opt-out of LGBTIQA+ inclusive PHSE classes at school’ (p63). This will make LGBTIQA+ indoctrination compulsory for primary school children.

The Green Party plans to decriminalise drugs by repealing the Misuse of Drugs Act 1971 and the Psychoactive Substances Act 2016. They plan to ‘pardon and expunge the criminal records of all individuals previously convicted for possession and small-scale supply of drugs’ (p67). They intend to create a legalised, regulated system of drug control, including licensed cannabis social clubs, and allowing adults to grow cannabis at home (p67). This will normalise drug use and result in many more mental health and addiction issues as a result.

On religious freedom, the Green Party promises to ‘defend the right of people of all faiths – to express their faith, be that in religious clothing, food or reasonable accommodation of religious observance. We will also work with religious communities to defend the safety of places of worship’ (p61). This is a helpful commitment to reasonable accommodation of religious practices.

DUP

The DUP manifesto is supplemented by a policy plan document and contains nothing about gender or LGBT issues.

The DUP promises to retain and strengthen the role of the Special Envoy on Freedom of Religion or Belief and to implement the recommendations of the Truro Review (p16).

On abortion, the DUP promises to protect mothers and unborn life by promoting a culture of choosing life in Northern Ireland (p26). The DUP wants the Assembly to act to fill the dangerous vacuum of law and guidance that the Creasy legislation creates (Policy Plan p18). The party proposes to distribute baby boxes designed to help parents start life with a new baby. It also plans to provide perinatal hospice care for women pregnant with a child diagnosed with a lethal or severely life-limiting condition.

The DUP has previously resisted demands for same-sex marriage and liberalisation of abortion laws in Northern Ireland.

Sinn Fein

The Sinn Fein manifesto contains no policies relating to the moral issues we follow.

A Sinn Fein policy document articulates support for same-sex marriage, gender self-determination, including for 16- and 17-year-olds, and legal recognition of non-binary gender.

Plaid Cymru

The Plaid Cymru manifesto contains extreme proposals on gender recognition.

Plaid Cymru proposes to de-medicalise gender reassignment so that people can self-identify their gender (p40). The party also proposes to reform the Equality Act to include ‘gender identity’ as a protected characteristic and to remove the terms ‘gender reassignment’ and ‘transsexual’ from the Act. This would make it illegal to discriminate against someone on the basis of their acquired gender, so that self-defining women can demand full treatment as women in all situations.

On drugs, Plaid Cymru is calling for a National Commission on reforming drug law (p18). It cites the example of Portugal where drugs have been decriminalised since 2001.

The Plaid Cymru manifesto contains no proposals on abortion or marriage or other moral issues that we follow.

Christian Peoples Alliance (CPA)

The CPA manifesto contains some good policies on the moral issues.

On gender, CPA proposes to make it ‘illegal or provide or perform any kind of gender reassignment treatment or surgery on children under 18 years of age’ (p15). It will also not fund any gender-reassignment surgery for adults on the NHS, with the exception of surgery for some intersex conditions.

CPA proposes a marriage grant of £12,000 when men and women get married, conditional on marital awareness training, and a further grant of £6,000 on the birth of their first child conditional on further training (p7). CPA will make the tax threshold fully transferable from husband to wife if there is a child under five in the family. CPA has opposed all attempts to redefine marriage and will repeal laws which have attempted to do this (p9). CPA will require that couples who apply for adoption are married of the opposite sex (p10), and encourage adoption agencies which place children only in traditional families.

On abortion, CPA proposes to repeal the 1967 Abortion Act and the 1990 Human Fertilisation Act so that all unborn children are legally protected from intentional destruction (p18). It would divert the £200million of taxpayers’ money spent on funding abortion here and abroad to supporting mothers in crisis pregnancies.

On free speech, CPA would abolish the concepts of ‘hate crimes’ and ‘hate incidents’ which are subjectively determined and can restrict free speech (p33).

On education, CPA is against compulsory sex education, and prefers an ‘opt-in’ system for such learning which would be extra-curricular, rather than parents having to opt out (p40). CPA would allow faith schools have set their own admission policies, and would want all schools to teach about Christianity (p41).

CPA would restore Sunday as a day of rest and family time (p12). CPA will close most retail outlets by limiting numbers employed on Sunday to five people on any premises, and make it illegal to make Sunday a compulsory day of work.

On gambling, CPA would repeal the Gambling Act 2005 and ban advertising of all gambling (p36).

CPA would make all direct aid to government conditional on Christians and other faith groups not being persecuted (p48).

This article was first published on Christian Concern on December 6, 2019, and is republished by kind permission. 

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Tim Dieppehttps://www.conservativewoman.co.uk
Tim Dieppe is Head of Public Policy at Christian Concern.

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