Thursday, April 29, 2010

Should I Vote for Sophia Coyle – SNP?

I’ve just had the privilege of spending an hour or so over coffee with Sophia Coyle the SNP candidate for the Airdrie and Shotts constituency. She was accompanied by her father Cllr. Michael Coyle and her daughter. Sophia has been active in local politics for a number of years currently serving as a North Lanarkshire Councillor and having previously stood for the Scottish Parliament. Our discussion was focussed on the same three issues that I discussed with the other candidates. Let’s look at them in turn.

Sanctity of Life
– We began by discussing the issues of abortion, embryo experimentation and euthanasia. Sophia indicated that her upbringing and background had given her a deep respect for the sanctity of life. I asked her about her voting intention should she be in the position of having to vote on a potential reduction of the time limit for abortion to a lower level than the current 24 week limit. The SNP’s policy is to give MP’s a free vote on this issue. Sophia indicated that she would certainly vote to reduce the time limit for abortion to a lower level than 24 weeks. She also indicated that she was strongly against experimentation with human embryo’s and was generally uncomfortable with procedures which seemed to be ‘playing God’ with human life.

In relation to assisted suicide and euthanasia, again Sophia indicated that whilst this was a complex issue, she was not in favour of interfering to bring about the end of life. We discussed Margo McDonald’s Assisted Suicide Bill which is passing through the Scottish Parliament and Sophia indicated that if called to vote on a bill such as this one, she would vote against.

Sanctity of Marriage – We then moved on to the area of marriage and human sexuality. Sophia was of the view that the state had now recognised same sex unions as ‘civil partnerships’ and that she would not support any move to make these unions, ‘marriages’ since she believed that marriage was something that existed between a man and a woman. She also indicated that she is not in favour of homosexual partners being given the right to foster and adopt. She confirmed that had she been in the Scottish Parliament when this Bill was going through she would have voted against her party whip to oppose it.

She also indicated fundamental concerns with the sex education teaching within schools and was concerned about the promotion of homosexuality in schools where parental concerns are not taken seriously.

Religious Liberty – We had a discussion concerning religious liberty with specific reference to the Equalities Act and the issue of employment within religious organisations and the use of church buildings. Sophia was of the view that religious organisations should be free to appoint people to jobs, whose belief and lifestyle are consistent with the belief and ethos of the religious organisation. She was also of the view that churches should be able to let out their building to community groups without this compelling them to let the building to groups which were inconsistent with their Christian ethos.

We also spoke about the issue of freedom of speech for Christian groups and she was concerned to make sure that Christian groups were free to speak and act according to their Christian conscience.

We then moved on to speak about the Westminster Declaration 2010 pledge to respect, uphold and protect the right of Christians to hold and express Christian beliefs and act according to Christian conscience. Sophia indicated that she had already emailed Westminster 2010 to indicate that she was supportive of the pledge. She even showed me the email on her blackberry! She also said that the pledge was so minimal that it was amazing that anyone was finding cause not to sign it!

I would like to express my sincere thanks to Sophia Coyle for taking time out of her schedule to spend time chatting through these issues with me. It is greatly appreciated.

So there you are the view from Sophia Coyle! I’m still trying to track down the Labour Party candidate. I’ve had a friendly councilor trying to organise a meeting with her but so far he hasn’t managed to deliver the goods! Never fear your election news hound will continue to track her down! Until next time…


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