Friday, December 18, 2009

Merton Conservative leader blames Catholics for rising school places in Merton

Now I haven't blogged for a while - pressure of other things in my life has intervened, but I felt compelled to report the following remarks made by the Leader of Merton Council, David Williams at the Cabinet last Monday. At the meeting, following a statement by the Vicar of St Marks school, Rev Stephen Coulson about the Conservative administration's decision to not go forward with the modernisation plans for primary schools, he said as an aside "that rising school places were the fault of local Catholics”.

Many people were of course outraged by the remarks, for s start it was untrue, and secondly the rising birth rate is not a Catholic phenomena, but a problem that exists across London. As councillors we've a duty and a responsibility to respect the beliefs of other religion and not act in a discriminatory way. We may not agree with the principles of a faith, but people have a right to be respected for their religious beliefs.

The story has been reported on in the local Guardian this week, and when asked for a comment on his remarks in the Guardian he stated, “it was absolutely in jest. I wouldn't have wanted anyone to take offence. It was a flip remark, and maybe I should be more careful in making flip remarks”. He may believe that it was “in jest”, but to a large number of Catholics these remarks are not seen as some light-hearted joke. A link to the Guardian story is here:

The matter has now been reported to the Standards Committee of Merton Council for further consideration.


Anonymous Peter Miles said...

I do respect other people's beliefs but I don't agree that those beliefs should remain unchallenged just because they are religious beliefs. I am always polite and friendly to Jehova's Witnesses when they come round knocking on my door - even though I disagree with their beliefs profoundly I do respect their right to hold them. But attaching the label 'religious' or 'faith' to beliefs does not place them above criticism or debate or humour. And Councillor Williams remarks were obviously meant as humour! To treat them seriously and report them to the Standards Committee reaks of humourless political opportunism: lighten up, Martin!

8:43 pm  

Post a Comment

<< Home