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.

I was a member of the audience of ‘Have I Got News For You’ last night where Steve Pound was on the show. He really did make himself look very stupid and did no favours for himself at all. 13th May 2005
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