On the TV programme, 'The Big Questions' today the vacuous character of the campaign of the Exclusive Brethren cult was embarrassingly obvious. Here is a direct link: http://www.bbc.co.uk/i/b01r1v3c/?t=21m31s
They had two standard bearers. The hapless Peter Bone MP had to confess that he had not heard the facts of the family disruption dictated by the cult. Peter does not have a reputation as a Commons intellectual giant. He once told EB 'your word is my command'. His oceanic gullibility has not been sullied by the truth on EB.
The other apologist for EB was Julian Smith of Farrer's, a lawyer who was presumably paid for his futile contribution. He said nothing - expect 'be careful what you say'. Was this a veiled threat? If the EB have a case why did they put up two ill-informed advocates to represent them?
Councillor Richard Stay got his points across well. He is a former member of EB who has been 'shut up'. The three seconds of silence that followed Richard's comment about his mother was the most persuasive part of the programme. Bone dropped his head. The other critics of EB were well informed and persuasive. Shame that Bone's interruptions hampered the Third Sector man from fully explaining his expert view that Bone's Bill will do harm. The journalist understands Charity Law and deserved to have had a fair hearing. Bone's Bill is going nowhere. When he learns more about the cult that he has held to his bosom he will start retreating cartwheels to distance himself from the cult's excesses.
EB have done themselves great harm and spent up to £2 million on this foolish campaign. Today's discussion was the best that has been broadcast. It put Radio Four's coverage to shame. The propaganda of EB was answered with convincing testimony. I hope there will be follow-up items in the media.
One unexpected consequence of EB's £1million campaign is grave and could cause them serious problems. A peer was so horrified with the personal accounts of the threat to children in the cult. She has collected personal testimonies. Baroness O'Loan says she is not yet sure what she will do with the information collected about the Brethren. Another consequence is the closure of the Wilton EB school. Very serious allegations were made in a national paper. EB has whistled up the wind. They may now suffer severe consequences.