Monday, January 17, 2005
Stephen Pound MP and Opus Dei
In an article in today's Independent Review section (available online here), Steve Pound is mentioned as being a guest speaker at Netherhall House, an intercollegiate hall of residence run by Opus Dei, the Catholic organisation that has come to prominence recently as a result of the way it was presented in Dan Brown's book The Da Vinci Code. The tone of the article seems to imply that Steve Pound, as well as several other public figures, are associates of Opus Dei. This is echoed in a statement (apparently) from the National Secular Society, available here, citing The Mail on Sunday as a source. I couldn't verify this as the MoS website requires paid registration, and it will be a cold day in hell that I give that particular publication any of my money.
As far as I can ascertain from a good many web searches, in 2001, Steve Pound MP gave a talk at Netherhall House, entitled "Where Does the Left go from Here?" (as listed on the Netherhall House website here), but has no other obvious connection to Netherhall House or Opus Dei that I can find.
Whilst Opus Dei has rightly complained about how they were presented in The Da Vinci Code, I'm sure that Mr Pound can understand that an association with Opus Dei could be a cause for concern for many of his constituents, especially in the light of the media furore over Secretary of State for Education Ruth Kelly's publicly stated association.
I have emailed Mr Pound regarding this, and, with permission, will post any response here.
UPDATE: In response to an email on the subject of Opus Dei, Mr Pound had the following to say (quoted with permission):
I gave a talk to the students at Netherhall House some years ago and
have certainly never been inclined to join nor, more significantly, have
I been offered the opportunity.
I actually have considerable admiration for the principles of Opus Dei
but as one who is on the liberal wing of the Roman Catholic Church I
doubt that I could adhere to the practices.
Which I guess shows that a) it's really not that difficult to check facts with those concerned before publishing them, and b) the internet is not always the most reliable source of information. Not a surprise, perhaps, but worth bearing in mind.
Tuesday, January 11, 2005
Blair vs. Brown
Stephen Pound on the Blair/Brown rift:
"There is a lot of anger in the party because we can see what we are trying to do being jeopardised by this, it's that serious," - Reuters.
Backbencher Stephen Pound tells GMTV's Sunday Programme today that Blair has been a 'damn good' Prime Minister, but suggests he is nearing the end, adding: 'I think you can't blame the man for being, if not demob-happy, then at least saying "I'm on the last lap now". - Guardian.
Wednesday, January 05, 2005
Camelot Tsunami Donation
"Calls are growing for national lottery operator Camelot to donate the 16 million pounds worth of unclaimed winnings from last year to Asia's tsunami appeal.
"I think it's a wonderful opportunity for Camelot. I can't imagine how they could possibly say 'no,'" said Labour MP Stephen Pound."
From this Reuters article.
There are several quotes from Steve Pound on the British monarchy in this BBC News article on the subject.
Steve Pound vs. Lembit Opik
Mr Pound is well known for his dislike of the tackier aspects of Christmas. Here, the BBC puts him head to head against the Lib Dems best known asteroid spotter, Lembit Opik. Link.
Steve Pound on the Euthanasia Bill
“This is a sane and sensible piece of legislation that sadly may contain within it the germ of something deeply disturbing, and we would like to see that cut out.
“This Bill is not about euthanasia but there is sufficient concern around for the need to make it absolutely clear that it is not about euthanasia. We are in a real mess on this one because a lot of us were mollified by the Howarth amendment. But if the Government is not going to accept that, this is one of those odd things where MPs do have a conscience and we are genuinely worried about this.
“We do not want to lose the body of the Bill but we do not want to be seen to be opening the door to the say-so of a third party — imagine the pressure on families.”
From a Times Online Article here.