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17 May 2012

The weekly WHIP: 17 May 2012

The weekly WHIP: 17 May 2012

ASA / Cranmer

The Advertising Standards Authority (ASA) have got themselves into a bit of hot water after they received complaints about adverts for the Coalition for Marriage. Leading the charge against this investigation is the long deceased Archbishop of Canterbury, Thomas Cranmer. His Grace's ashes received a missive from the ASA asking for information and requesting confidentiality. To which he responded by putting their questions on his blog.

Cranmer has received widespread support for his cause including from Max Wind-Cowie and the National Secular Society, with the press picking up the story. This whirlwind of attention provoked the ASA to respond. Not that this did much good to dampen down the fury of the anonymous blogger, as Cranmer responded to their public response, and then to their private response to him.

If you want a comprehensive summary of who said what about this, head over to the eChurch blog.

Insult me!

The National Secular Society seems to be growing fond of partnering with Christians to protect free speech. A motley crew made up of the NSS, The Christian Institute, David Davis and Peter Tatchell launched a campaign in parliament to amend the Public Order Act, to ensure people aren't arrested for insulting behaviour.

Section 5 of the Public Order Act makes it possible for the police to arrest people on the basis that someone is insulted - which can be very subjective. The law would still protect people from abusive and threatening words and behaviour. Find out more at the Reform Section 5 website.

Who's the Queen of Gibraltar?

The Queen of Spain has cancelled a visit to the UK where she was due to have lunch with Her Majesty Queen Elizabeth II along with other monarchs including the Emperor of Japan, due to ongoing disputes over Gibraltar.

Spain still claim ownership of Gibraltar which since 1713 has been ruled by the United Kingdom under the Treaty of Utrecht. Prince Edward and his wife Sophie are due to visit Gibraltar in June, as part of the celebrations to mark the Queen's Diamond Jubilee, which appears to have sparked this latest bout of frosty Anglo-Iberian relations and prompted the declined lunch invitation.


Eurogeddon appears to be looming ever closer, or maybe we should call it Grexit. Either way, things aren't looking too rosy. The Prime Minister's comments at PMQs and speech this week raised the prospect that Greece may have to leave the Euro if things don't start to improve.

Blue Peter

Veering away from the political, into the iconic realms of childhood television, news this week that the BBC were shifting all their children's television off BBC1 and BBC2 and onto the dedicated children's channels, was greeted with dismay.

At points this dismay verged on hysteria - the WHIP doesn't think Blue Peter can be held responsible for upholding family life. But then again, a generation of children may grow up never knowing what sticky back plastic is or how to build Tracey Island in 90 seconds.