This one won’t go away. And yesterday, the Prime Minister chose to ensure that it doesn’t.
It no longer matters who has misinterpreted what judgment or who has misapplied what ruling to which hypothetical scenario. Last week, His Grace chose to deal with two direct quotations – more concerned with the British Constitution and Holy Scripture than with the case of Eunice and Owen Johns directly – but he also was savaged for having misrepresented the facts of the case. If only political debate were conducted on the lines of dispassionate Court reason, it might then be possible to deal with the nuances of the judgment. But it is not. Attempts at an intellectual explanation of the Court’s ruling, as Iain Duncan Smith spluttered last week on Question Time, are doomed to failure: the details are drowned out by the righteous indignation of those who think they know what this story is about. The immediate political imperative is to respond to that, as Dr David Starkey did.
When visiting Derby yesterday, where Mr and Mrs Johns live, the Prime Minister was asked about this case. He unhesitatingly responded that he agreed with the judgment. He’s politically savvy enough to have known that this question might arise, and also that his task is to respond to what the story has become; not what he, Iain Duncan Smith, the Bishop of Buckingham or the Courts say it is.
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