Wednesday 15 July 2009

CalMac to run Sunday Service

Having just come back from Egypt, one of the striking memories was how a brief visit to Cairo can reinforce the need to respect cultures of those you are visiting - without any effort it is easy to cause offence or at the very least discomfort. However that is two way and whilst religious doctrine in downtown Cairo may cause some eye brow raising at European dress it does no more. It allows the freedom of tourists to dress in their own way not only for economic reasons but for reasons of social acceptance.

So is it not astonishing that here we are in the 21st Century and there is still an argument about whether a boat can bring visitors to and from a Scottish island on a Sunday?

Respect for religious beliefs is a given until those religious beliefs impinge on the freedoms of others. Surely?

If the hotelier wishes not to open their hotel, or their bar or their restaurant that is their perogative but as I recall CalMac previously received legal advice who said it would be unlawful to refuse to run a service because of the religious views of just part of a community.

The opposite case was put by The Lord's Day Observance Society who after taking their own legal counsel they said that a six-day timetable did not erode an individual's human rights unless access to a ferry was denied on religious grounds.

"If a service is being provided, for example a ferry is running on a particular date, it would be unlawful to deny that service to any person because of their religious belief or lack of it."

"To any person?" What about to all persons?

Now how would Christopher Brookmyre or Ian Banks novelise this one...

Read the BBC article on the proposed service.

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