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25 February 2015

Astrology on the NHS? At least David Tredinnick is honest

David Tredinnick, the Conservative MP for Bosworth, is under fire after suggesting Astrology should be paid for on the NHS. But at least he's honest in his intentions

By Stephen Bush

David Tredinnick , the Conservative MP for Bosworth, is getting something of a going-over in today’s papers after telling the Mail that he thinks that astrology should be paid for on the NHS, and that people who don’t agree are “racist”.

Mr Tredinnick said:

The opposition (to astrology) is based on what I call the SIP formula – superstition, ignorance, and prejudice.

It tends to be based on superstition, with scientists reacting emotionally, which is always a great irony.

They are also ignorant, because they never study the subject and just say that it is all to do with what appears in the newspapers, which it is not, and they are deeply prejudiced, and racially prejudiced, which is troubling.

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It’s revived old stories about Mr Tredinnick and his eccentric views – with this old Guardian story about his attempt to claim £755 for a computer capable of diagnosing medical conditions using the stars doing the rounds on Twitter.

It’s very easy to laugh at the Bosworth MP – typical Capricorn, should have checked his star chart before speaking to the Mail, etc – and I think we can all agree, barring a nuclear catastrophe, that he should never get within a thousand miles of ministerial office.

But at least he’s honest. Opposition to abortion –  just seven per cent of British people favour further restrictions to abortion access – is actually even more of a niche pursuit than astrology (22 per cent of Brits do it!), and earlier this week Britain’s anti-abortion MPs, having lost the argument in plain language – just seven per cent of British people favour further restrictions to abortion access – tried to weaken Britain’s abortion laws under cover of darkness.

Fiona Bruce’s amendment to the Serious Crime Bill was described as an attempt to prevent so-called gender-selective-abortion. But the reality is that there is no evidence at all that this is taking place in the United Kingdom, and that the real purpose of the amendment was to weaken abortion access as a whole. They were defeated by 91 votes – a far smaller margin than a honest articulation of the amendment’s supporters’ arguments would have gained.

So for all David Tredinnick might be a crank, at least he’s honest about it. Britain’s anti-choice campaigners could learn a lot from him.


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