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Column: The mixed-up world of morality politics
Something odd’s happening in our council chambers, I noticed during a Hyndburn planning committee meeting.
Labour is historically strong on moral rights and wrongs concerning the poor, women and various minorities – caring socialism. Conservatives traditionally back business and the creation of greater wealth – concerned capitalism.
So, when a lap-dancing club wants planning permission to open in town, you’d confidently back Tories to support it while socialists, famed for their championing of women, would object to lasses becoming sex objects.
Amazingly, the reverse is true in Accrington. The blues rooted for the moral issue, demanding a review of the original decision to approve lap dancing, while the reds focused only on business. Maybe one planning committee councillor’s words give a clue. After I and others had explained how a lap dancing bar was inappropriate in a conservation area, the councillor dismissed us as contributing ‘nothing but moral arguments’.
Maybe his dismissal of morals explains it. Some councillors are under the sad impression that they can no longer consider moral rights and wrongs but merely follow rules and procedure.
When councillors bury their heads and conscie-nces in legal red tape, the most ungodly and disastr-ous decisions can occur.
Admirably, one lady Labour councillor did clearly stand up for womanhood and helped to split the planning committee right down the middle.
Unfortunately, the Labour chairman then cast his deciding vote for lap-dancing.
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