Oh yes, this one’ll have had them dancing in the aisles. In a sign of the increasing reliance of government and local authorities upon the good will of spurious “faith groups” and self-appointed “community leaders”, it seems they’re quite literally going to get a free pass. Well, a heavily subsidised one anyway, as Barnet council intends to offer clerics and worshippers heavily discounted parking passes in the borough if they regularly use them for “faith business”.
I think this sounds like a sure signal to “faith groups” and “community leaders” that the lid on the pork barrel is being prized ever further open. Perhaps soon we’ll see supermarkets being forced to discount goods for “religious diets”? Maybe garden centres being forced to give away free palm crosses? The possibilities are endless.
But seriously though, what I want to know is what is so important about travelling to or from a gathering of religious people, that makes it so much more deserving of such privileged treatment than any other gathering. My understanding of a secular country was always in part that people are supposed to be treated equally under the law, whether they be of any faith or none. If we’re now getting to the point of privileging niche groups then I may as well toddle off and join one. I can state from previous experience that the Hare Krishnas make a banging veg curry and are (by and large) a genuinely nice bunch of folks. So Hare Krishna. Now where’s my parking pass, access to ministers, guaranteed media exposure, treatment as an “expert” on any given social issue of the day etc?
Of course, there will be those on the left who may well think this is OK, largely because they simply don’t understand the relationship between religious figures and lay communities in the UK. I’ll mention no names but I’m sure you can take a wild guess of two. It’s just a further sign of the decline in left wing politics here.
On that happy note, enjoy your roast chicken everyone, and don’t forget to say hi to the congregation!
(Hat-Tip for BBC story: Butterflies and Wheels)