What’s with the British Labour Party?

I like looking at British news sources like the Guardian and the BBC. Their contents seem much better than the appalling crap put out by the mass media here in the United States.

One benefit is the Guardian also regularly runs explicitly secularist and skeptical columns by the likes of Polly Toynbee, AC Grayling, and Susan Blackmore. (They even ran a column of mine once.)

Polly Toynbee’s latest is a good example, but it leaves me with a question. She points out that it is the Labour Party that is behind much of the recent push toward more public religiosity in very secular Britain:

The unctuous claim there is a special religious ethos that can be poured like a sauce over schools and public services to improve them morally has been bought, to a depressing extent, by Labour, and over a third of all state schools are now religious institutions – despite overwhelming evidence that their only unique quality is selection of better pupils, storing up trouble with ever more cultural segregation.

But why? That is, why Labour in particular?

Historically, you expect conservatives to be more religion-friendly, and liberal and left parties to be more wary of religion in public life. So, is this yet another way in which New Labour has really been a center-right party? Or is it more of an artifact of Tony Blair’s nauseating religiosity?

I don’t follow UK politics closely enough to know what’s happening. With any luck, someone will comment.

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About Taner Edis

Professor of physics at Truman State University


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