Titus Oates does Glasgow North East
Sounds of the brakes being slammed on and the screeching of tires as the car is put into a sharp reverse in Glasgow.
spokesmen for the Labour and Conservatives parties told the Scottish Catholic Observer this week the politicians had been misquoted, their comments taken out of context, and that neither believed that membership of Opus Dei would bar a candidate from public office.
This looks like a definite reverse ferret.
But connoisseurs of bigotry shouldn't be disheartened, there's still one group which is up for some old-fashioned Catholic-bashing.
None too subtly playing the dual loyalties card, Titus Oates of the National Secular Society opined,
“The concern for voters would be that such a person would have their allegiance to the Church and not to the SNP. It is one thing to bring your religious beliefs to politics, but it is another to bring the dogmas of a right-wing Catholic organisation. That would be the worry for voters.”
Warming to his theme, Oates claimed that David Kerr had tried to "guilt trip" his critics into silence.
In fact, David Kerr had nothing more than plead for his religion not to be made an issue of in the election but in the topsy-turvy truth-distorting world of the NSS where "good" is inevitably described as "bad" and every Catholic in public office is carictured as a villain this is par for the course.
Hence Opus Dei is an "extremist" organisation, even though it doesn't teach anything the Catholic Church doesn't teach and Oates insisted, David Kerr's membership of a perfectly legal, legitimate organisation is an issue that the electorate of Glasgow North East should be "made aware of" even though David Kerr is emphatically not campaigning on a religious platform of introducing compulsory fish-eating on Friday.
Of course, the NSS has a lot of er, previous m'lud when it comes to stirring the currents of ancient hatreds and bullying people to whom it takes exception.
Two years ago, Titus Oates sprang to the defence of Dolphinarium favourite and honorary NSS member, la Venomballs when she caused uproar by suggesting that Catholics should be discriminated against in public office. Typically, he didn't just defend the bigots' champion, he also went on the attack against journalist Paul Donovan, who he described as having "launched a fussilade against her".
In fact Paul Donovan just reported the facts and gave la Nutball plenty of opportunity to reply. It's called being a journalist and writing relevant copy.
See that twisting of the facts, that distortion of the truth again, that aggressive totalitarian instinct for controlling the press and lashing out at any reporter who doesn't toe the NSS line? That's Oates's modus operandi, as is his scraping the bottom of every barrel of stereotypes his feeble impotent imagination can reach for.
In Oates's mind, Catholics are all the same. They are invariably sinister stooges of a foreign power, bent on breaking Britain under the Vatican cosh. Catholic bishops are "opportunists" who think "they have the whip hand" which they can direct with "hysterical ranting". Catholics have an "enforcement machine", which started a "campaign to silence" Mary Honeyball. Catholics are also secretive and duplicitous: "Ruth Kelly the Labour MP who became a cabinet minister, was revealed by the press to be a member of Opus Dei – she did not volunteer the information herself" and on and on.
And don't think that Titus and his friends restrict themselves to defaming Catholics in public life or running down working journalists doing their jobs. No way Jose Maria. Like the big badass fighters they are, they're a dab hand at picking on civilians, like Mrs Jackie Parkes. That must've taken some guts, boys. And, ooh, wasn't it sidesplitting to say, "this Catholic mum lives up to every stereotypie imaginable - and then some" .
That comment probably wasn't just an accident, by the way. Judging by the types the NSS invites to be honorary members, the fertility rates of different social groups are a cause of a lot of anxiety at 23 Red Lion Square. And yes, I am talking about the fragrant Baroness "tell the poor to have fewer children" Flather. She made those notorious remarks in 2004. Two years later, the NSS which has almost as obsessive a media monitoring operation as this blog does, welcomed her as an honorary member.
Ed West put it well when he described the National Secular Society not as secularists but as Athiest bigots. From producing what looks like dodgy research in an attempt to drive chaplains out of hospitals through bitching at working journalists to bullying civilian bloggers, there is no level the NSS will not stoop to in its drive to make the lives of religious people as unpleasant as possible. This isn't just another pressure group to be taken seriously in the corridors of power. The NSS is a purveyor of prejudice and it should be shunned by everybody.