The problem with Tony Blair is that he is very good at saying one thing while doing exactly the opposite. For example, take his position on the UK's Equality Act. After being forced to back away from plans to create an opt-out allowing Catholic bigots to discriminate against gays, Blair is talking tough, declaring that
"I start from a very firm foundation. There is no place in our society for discrimination."
Meanwhile, he is planning to create exactly such a place, by ensuring that the new regulations will contain a long "transitional period" for adoption agencies, allowing bigots to continue to discriminate until the end of 2008. And to avoid the embarassment of having his weak position strengthened in Parliament by his own backbench, he will not be allowing a free vote. There's no other wayto describe it: despite his tough talk, Blair is soft on bigotry.
Meanwhile, for the proponents of a religious exmption, there's this wonderful example of what this entails from a commenter on European Tribune:
I was listening to 'Any Answers' on Radio 4 earlier, which contained a contribution from a blind person who had been refused access to taxis and restaurants by Muslims because of her assistant dog.
That is now, apparently, and I think rightly, illegal. But I wonder how many of the discrimination-as-a-matter-of-conscience crowd would be willing to stand up and claim this form of exclusion to be just? Or is it only their religiously-inspired prejudices that deserve the protection of law?
I think the answer to the second question is obvious. This isn't about conscience; it's about bigotry, pure and simple.