Wednesday, September 24, 2008

Why Won't You Superstitious God Botherers Support Us?

One of the most solid voting blocks for Labour has historically been Roman Catholics, I can't find the data to hand but trust me it is true. So I wonder if the resignation from the cabinet of the devoutly Catholic Ruth Kelly is part of a growing alienation with the Labour party among that group.

Recent government actions of gay adoption, embryo research and a backbench attempt to loosen Northern Ireland's abortion laws have put catholics in a difficult position. With the leftist urge to find heretics rather than converts this has made Ruth Kelly a minor hate figure with the liberal left.

This antipathy towards Catholics might also explain why the Politics Home survey found that the swing towards the Tories was particularly strong in the North West.

Last week I said that Ruth Kelly was one of the only members of the government who had the ability to succeed in a field other than Labour politics. She had previously worked for the Financial Times and the Bank of England, so is clearly very able. Now she is gone the complete list of full cabinet ministers who have had any kind of career success outside of politics is..... absolutely no one (although the Attorney General, Baroness Scotland is a successful lawyer she isn't an official member of the cabinet).

This backs up my theory that the only reason the cabinet haven't rebelled against Gordon Brown yet is that they know that if they lose their cabinet positions they will never find a job of comparable stature.


JuliaM said...

"I wonder if the resignation from the cabinet of the devoutly Catholic Ruth Kelly is part of a growing alienation with the Labour party among that group."

I certainly don't believe it's because she really does want to 'spend more time with her family'...

Aaron Heath said...

Kelly is in a tricky seat - she'll more than likely lose in any election.

She's an economist by trade. She'll want to find a job in the city before her income stream is cut off by the electorate.

Ross said...

Julia, I agree if it was about the children she would have quit earlier when they were pre schoolers.

Aaron, that makes sense.

staybryte said...

Not sure about the Catholic voting bloc. The general estimate for Catholics in the UK is about 5 million (I think). I'd estimate a good half of these are in Scotland and Northern Ireland.

As for English Catholics I'm not sure they could be viewed as a cohesive whole. Many of them are pretty nominal and are Catholic by heritage and ancestry rather than belief and inclination.

Anyone got any stats?

Ross said...

I've seen stats for the last election which indicate that Labour got 53% of Catholic votes, compared to around 35% of the general population. So whilst they can't be viewed as a cohesive whole, they lean towards Labour more than the population at large.

I suspect that historically the support has been even higher but I can't find any data to hand.