I'd love to know what her husband puts in Anne Atkins' morning coffee, because whatever it is, I don't want any of it. I've just had the displeasure of appearing on the Jeremy Vine Show with her to discuss the Liz Truss situation. To say it was a shouting match doesn't do justice to the term.
Her basic premise was that people who have had affairs shouldn't stand for election. But she was so vicious and nasty with it that I am afraid I allowed my inner bitch to let rip at her. She gave as good as she got, but I managed to get the last word and expressed the hope that the South West Norfolk would be less narrow minded than her. It would be difficult not to be, to be honest.
She purports to be a Christian. A less christian person you are never likely to meet. Clearly God never gave her the ability to empathise or express forgiveness.
I shall now calm down, relax and go and have some lunch with the web summit delegates here in Dublin.
UPDATE: Apologies for the rather unfortunate typo in the original headline of this blogpost. It has now been corrected.
UPDATE: You can listen to the show HERE. Scroll in 33 minutes.
UPDATE: Oh how I wish I had known this little snippet before I debated with Ms Atkins. Apparently she thinks Norfolk people are thick... Click HERE. But the one remark from her we all treasure is this... "If we all heeded the Christian teaching, there would be no HIV or Aids.”
An Unpleasant Encunter With Anne Atkins
Whatever you think of her as a person, that's a little bit unnecessary!
Holy crap, Iain, I really hope that the typo in the title is unintentional - if not, this is WAY over the line...
Poor you. she is very odd indeed.
Johann Hari took her apart on Newsnight the other night. She said she was not against gay people or homophobic. She agreed she was against sex outside marriage, and that gay people should not be allowed to marry.
He pointed out that this meant that she thought gay people should never have sex. She seemed surprised at that logic, and said something like "I'm sure that must be one of many stupid things I've said" but couldn't explain what her argument is.
Let him that is without sin amongst us cast the first stone, or as Grannie used to say, Errare Humanum Est.
There are Christians, and then there are Christians.
Isn't God's infinite variety a pleasure to behold!
Oh dear Iain - again you allowed your frustration to spill over into losing your temper, thus humiliating yourself and losing the moral high ground. What a shame.
I liked the typo - or the expression if that's what it was.
However, she's a Christian? How many Christians do you know that follow the teachings of Christ? IMTERPRET them to suit themselves, yes, follow them, sadly, no
I heard the encounter - Atkins came over as a shrill, self-righteous harridan. One can only assume that NO-ONE in her family has ever done anything that Atkins (but not necessarily the rest of us) would consider wrong. As for her much-vaunted Christianity, I thought true Christians practiced forgiveness?
Re the title - as Iain is, presumably, posting from his Blackberry, I guess it's a slip-up. Possibly Freudian in nature, but not intentional. ;o)
I've always valued Anne Atkins' contributions on a whole range of issues. I've found that if I'm ever unsure about where I stand on an issue, I only have to listen to her calmly and precisely set out her arguments to realise with great clarity that I believe exactly the opposite.
She purports to be a Christian. A less christian person you are never likely to meet. Clearly God never gave her the ability to empathise or express forgiveness.
To the rest of us, statements like this look very odd because the Christians see themselves as virtuous whereas, to the rest of us they are tyrants. It must be nice to have a book of magic and spells to support whatever prejudice you like. The fairy-stories have been blighting humanity for long enough, superstitions like this should be enough to disqualify someone from being listened to seriously.
Yep, she's unpleasant and a complete fruit loop with it.
Whenever she appears on Thought for the Day I immediately reach for my revolver.
We ran a schools magazine for a while, and made the same typo - throughout the cunty - just managed to catch it.
I saw on Newsnight this week alongside Johann Hari. It was like the Iran-Iraq war of debates in that I wished they could both lose.
“I managed to get the last word and expressed the hope that the South West Norfolk would be less narrow minded than her. It would be difficult not to be, to be honest.”
Quite so. And unlike you I’d say typical of the nastier sort of christian bigot.
From Anne Atkins Wiki -
Her contributions to BBC Radio 4’s Thought for the Day have sometimes been controversial.
She raised the question, for instance, as to whether religious self-righteousness could be considered a worse sin than paedophilia, (uh?)
and also questioned the efficacy of psychotherapy.
In November 2007 she defended a motion for Free Speech on BBC2's Newsnight, when the Oxford Union invited extreme right-wing figures David Irving and Nick Griffin to speak: "When you say that the majority view is always right I think that is a deeply dangerous and disturbing thing to say.
I am not for a moment saying that I agree with David Irving or Nick Griffin but I am saying that once you start having truth by democracy you risk silencing some of the most important prophets we have ever had.
She clearly likes to be controversial and illogical.
If she thinks self-righteousness is worse than paedophilia, maybe she should stop being so holier than thou about Liz Truss.
If she believes that a previous holocaust denier such as Nick Griffin is allowed to stand for election, then surely a mere adulterer would be a shoe-in.
Maybe she needs some of that psychotherapy she so disparages, or a lesson in logic.
Well done on this Iain. Is Anne Atkins aligned with any political party? And isn't the great problem with coverage of extra-maritals that it is usually the woman who gets the heat. So Truss is in bother, her friend is not.
If Cameron loses his Truss he'll have no support ...
Gave as good as you got???? You got torn to shreds!!!! And rightly so...
Apologies for the typo in the original headline to this blogpost. It has now been corrected.
Just not corrected in the URL eh Iain. Whoops it'll be there for posterity.
Speaking as a Christian, that is just the sort of situation that makes me cringe and want to apologise. Many of us are not like that and are all too aware of where we err in our own lives, plus it's hardly behaviour that is compatible with the Sermon on the Mount.
That said, whilst I have yet to hear the programme, am glad you tackled her head on :). Sometimes some people need to be told
I notice she once presented a programme on radio called 'Why People Hate Christians' - I wonder why?
Never mind the apologies and correction. I liked it just the way it was.
You needn't apologise for the typo - in fact having listened to the interview I suggest you consider uncorrecting it...
Anyway it's still preserved for posterity in the Twitter feed at the top of the page!
I didn't hear your discussion, but as a Christian I'm shocked by Anne Atkins' view that adultery can't be forgiven. You're not the only one who would have lost his rag when faced with such an intransigent attitude.
With you on this Iain. The problem with the prospective candidate is not whether she had an affair, the problem is whether she tried to cover it up when asked if there was anything in her past that might be an embarass to the Party that she wished to represent.
What do you expect?
It was one of the BBC's flagship we-get-paid-by-ratings-gener... 'public service' 'talk shows'.
I'm surprised they didn't find a much more aggressive gladiatorial sparring partner from a much more extreme opposing 'side' to really get the phone lines buzzing with loonies pro and con.
It makes the Newsnight twofer look almost like they are trying to present two balanced viewpoints.
7:53 And every man went unto his own house. 8:1 Jesus went unto the Mount of Olives. 2 And early in the morning he came again into the temple, and all the people came unto him; and he sat down, and taught them. 3 And the scribes and Pharisees brought unto him a woman taken in adultery; and when they had set her in the midst, 4 They say unto him, Master, this woman was taken in adultery, in the very act. 5 Now Moses in the law commanded us, that such should be stoned: but what sayest thou? 6 This they said, tempting him, that they might have to accuse him. But Jesus stooped down, and with his finger wrote on the ground, as though he heard them not. 7 So when they continued asking him, he lifted up himself, and said unto them, He that is without sin among you, let him first cast a stone at her. 8 And again he stooped down, and wrote on the ground. 9 And they which heard it, being convicted by their own conscience, went out one by one, beginning at the eldest, even unto the last: and Jesus was left alone, and the woman standing in the midst. 10 When Jesus had lifted up himself, and saw none but the woman, he said unto her, Woman, where are those thine accusers? hath no man condemned thee? 11 She said, No man, Lord. And Jesus said unto her, Neither do I condemn thee: go, and sin no more.
As for the typo, well I am no theologian but there must be something in Leviticus about it.
I don't get it Iain. You have had great fun in recent years blogging about Labour affairs (Prescott, Goldsmith) but now affairs are suddenly 'private matters'. Or does this only apply to Tory affairs?
A reading from the Gospel according to St John, chapter viii:
And now the scribes and Pharisees brought to him a woman who had been found committing adultery, and made her stand there in full view; "Master, they said, this woman has been caught in the act of adultery. Moses, in his law, prescribed that such persons should be stoned to death; what of you? What is your sentence?" They said this to put him to the test, hoping to find a charge to bring against him.
But Jesus bent down, and began writing on the ground with his finger. When he found that they continued to question him, he looked up and said to them, "Whichever of you is free from sin shall cast the first stone at her." Then he bent down again, and went on writing on the ground. And they began to go out one by one, beginning with the eldest, till Jesus was left alone with the woman, still standing in full view.
Then Jesus looked up, and asked her, "Woman, where are your accusers? Has no one condemned you?"
"No one, Lord," she said.
And Jesus said to her, "I will not condemn you either. Go, and do not sin again henceforward."
Forgiveness is perhaps appropriate for an affair.
But what of the charge that she was once a Liberal Democrat? Off with her head.
Even politicians are allowed a private life. Personally, if I were one of the electorate with a chance to vote on her, I wouldn't base my choice on an affair!
The important thing regarding the affair is that her and her husband talked it through and that he forgave her. There endeth that story.
I agree with Iain, it has nothing whatsoever to do with the ability to be an MP, hopefully this crazy attempt will fall flat on its face.
My GOD that was funny!!
You should reinstate your typo..
The Anne Atkins person is evil, twisted and long overdue for being cast out of civilised society.
"you allowed your frustration to spill over into losing your temper"
Sometimes, Seebag old bean, a spontaneous display of basic humanity, especially when faced with an outrageous farrago of hypocrisy, is the only thing that will jolt someone out of their bubble of impugnity.
People who are careful what they say generally have something to hide. Cut Iain some slack.
Sorry I missed your error in the headline, was it by any chance that you had left out the following words:
and had written only the other three.
If so, I think you were right the first time and should not have bothered to change it.
Is the argument not about moral leadership? Should politicians preach about "morals" whilst failing to live up to the very standards they spout on about?
How often do we see politicians and the clergy lecturing us on the media about how society SHOULD live?
The awful John Major "back to basics" comes to mind.
At the end of the day it should be LEFT to the people of her constituency to decide if they think she's the right person to represent them Iain not some wet liberal media type like you.
As for homosexuals and women and the Church can I ask an obvious question? Why don't homosexuals and women set up their own Church as Henry 8th did and perform your own marriage ceremonies and you can have women Bishops and the like and let the rest of the Christian Church get on with doing whatever it is they do.
As an Atheist I've NEVER understood why women and the gay community don't just leave them alone and form their own church.
Just listened to the radio article and I have to say you both had valid points.
I can't agree with the attempt to dismiss the issue with these suggestions:
1) It doesn't matter. Well clearly a breach of a personal oath and the damage to another marriage does matter when your considering character.
2) Its Christian to forgive - let him who is without sin cast the first stone. Its true Christianity offers unconditional forgiveness for those who repent and accept the grace on offer from Christ. But that doesn't rule out consequences. There are equally passages in the NT about choosing your leaders with good reputations and families.
3) She's not the only one who's done this. That's just a argument for no standards at all.
Of course what none of us likes is being preached at by people who set themselves up as better than us. Christ warns us that just thinking about something is as bad as doing it. That most likely means most of the people reading this are a bit uncomfortable, I know I am, about condemning Liz Truss from a position of self proclaimed moral superiority.
Liz Truss is clearly very talented. Talented enough to one day hold high office, even the highest. So character does matter, but if she understands what happened in terms of being wrong and a mistake then it shouldn't bar her.
Maybe she should continue to apply to other primaries and make a start with a local association who will appreciate and understand her.
Yes, well those militant Christians are always a nasty bunch - as hateful as militant Muslims.
@freedomscaresme said ...
"because the Christians see themselves as virtuous whereas, to the rest of us they are tyrants. It must be nice to have a book of magic and spells to support whatever prejudice you like."
Eh no. A key point of Christianity is that no one is virtuous ....
Ouch! Sorry to say it mate but this was not your finest hour. You ignored the first, second and third rule of media training
(i) do not speak over other people
(ii) do not hurl personal abuse
(iii) do not lose control of your emotions
"Cripes!" as Bullermanbozza would say.
Iain, were you using your old laptop with the worn out keys to type that headline?
Wow. Anne Atkins sounded completely hideous. I can't believe I'm going to say this - well done, Iain. You were the voice of reason.
David Cameron has such a struggle to face with those old school Tories. You can see why 'Local Conservative Associations' are such a great source of material for stand up comedians.
Out with the old and in with the new. I can't bear hypocrites...
Change is coming to the UK.
To be fair Iain it was your opening statement that set it all off, and then to use the word "narrow-minded" about people not liking their politicians having affairs didn't help and gave her ammunition to twist that.
So there are people who aren't happy that the woman had an affair and didn't openly mention it. That is their prerogative.
No need to jump on the "narrow-minded" bandwagon.
You cannot argue with a fanatic, especially a religious fanatic. They do not know the meaning of logic or tolerance.
just listened to this. i suspect the shrill witch has herself been spurned for another in the past and has unresolved anger management issues as a result.
Sorry Iain, I'm a fan of your blog and read it every day, but you did yourself no favours in this case. Whilst Anne Atkins' views may be unfashionable, they'd strike a chord with many. On this, you were wrong.
Iain, you missed a treat of a headline for this story :
An Unpleasant Affair With Anne Atkins
Tut tut !
Sentient wv : colocid
I'm so glad she's on TeamTory I wouldn't want her on mine.
Iain, I loved your despairing "Jesus Christ" when she was ranting near the end. Laughed out loud!
I preferred the original headline.
What a nasty piece of work she was!
Ian you might want to link to hari demolishing her on newsnight - she really made a fool of herself: http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=rDE2Z9hI3NU
If I lived in Norfolk I'd make sure of avoiding Anne Atkins.
Hysterical, bigoted, narrow-minded and so dreadfully unfair.
You performed well under an unhinged attack.
Does she still appear on Thought For The Day?!?! That slot and a few other irritations were the reason I moved to Radio 5 in the mornings.
When Anne Atkin says "What people what is", she is actually saying "What I insist people are to get".
Authoritarian does not quite cover it, no?
All Christian's are practising.
It's just that some need more practice than others...
Of course that would include John Major and Paddy Ashdown ... and Robin Cook and John Prescott, Hmm.
She is a prime example of why Christianity is in its death throes in the UK.
The media organisations really should avoid Christian or other bigots to comment upon politics and society, despite the fact that they goad the Daily Mail brigade into fits of self-righteousness. If I were you, Iain, I wouldn't allow your paths to cross again!
So there was someone on the programme that was a "shrill, self-righteous harridan" Not Anne Atkins though! Calm down Iain, when are you and the rest of the Non-Norfolkians going to realise that it is not the fact she had an affair, was a Liberal Democratic, want to abolish the Monarchy, it's because the poor benighted selection committee in my neighbouring constituency was not told about these factettes and allowed to make up their minds with all the information to hand. So stop banging on about affairs, what concerns us here in Norfolk is far more important than tawdry little boring legovers. Yawn.
Hee hee - have just been onto the Telegraph article you linked to regarding the Norfolk comment and there is an interesting typo - I assume it is a type and they do know the difference between Anglican and Anglian......
The Christian author pointed out that her family come from the East Anglican county and she spends every summer on the coast - "I'm virtually a Norfolk dweller myself."
Funny how the media elite and the EU generally are so tolerant of paedophilia ( ref my earlier Anne Atkins comment where she lightens paedophilia as a crime).
Kate McCann writes on her blog that she cannot understand why Britain wants to be in the EU where a largescale and brutal child sex industry is tolerated.
That hasn't been mentioned anywhere in the media.
Anne Atkins seems to be another paedophile-justifier. Bloody weird this media lot. And damned nasty to boot.
I don't know if you are married, Mr Dale but lots of us fear adultery and being on the receiving end is something many of us worry about.
Never mind, 'it doesn't matter, not many killed', for a lot of people it's the worst thing that will happen to them. My wife, aged 43, still cries when she recalls being forced to meet her father's mistress.
Old Truss didn't think much about the first Mrs Hope, did she? Unless Mrs Hope was really horrible, in which case I think we can be much less harsh in our judgments.
You're out of step on this, as you were defending that 'young mother' 49 year-old Julie Kirkbride....
Still, maybe your attitudes towards women is a reflection of why so many girls cherish their gay male friends...
@Anonymous at 4.55
Has Google not reached Norfolk yet, then?
No one's mentioned that her so called expertise didn't stop her own teenage daughter running away from home 12 years ago. She even trotted that our a couple of years ago to show how she empaphised with the McCann's http://www.dailymail.co.uk/news/article-480775/I-know-Kate-feels--happened-daughter-vanished.html
She seems far to strident and uncompromising for Thought for the Day. Don't you have to be a fully paid up moral relativist for that, particularly if you are the token Christian. In fact a bit of hellfire and damnation might liven it up.
The view put forward by Atkins may strike a chord with many who feel there is a willingness, particularly about metropolitan types, to make light of matters such as cheating on spouses. It isn't twisted or bigoted to think such behaviour wrong. However, life goes on. Very few people have never done anything that they do not subsequently regret. It is therefore likely that most candidates will, like pretty much everyone else, be fallible.
Do we want legislators who habitually throw up or urinate in the street while rat-arsed, spend much of their time in a haze of dope or ripped to the tits on coke and can't make it through a week without fooling around with someone to whom they were not married (or, for that matter, in a CP)? It might liven up the tabloids but I would tentatively suggest most people would not. But would we really be any more likely to be better served by our democracy if we automatically excluded from possible office everyone who had failed to lead a truly blameless life at all times? I very much doubt it. Constituencies (and I would suggest, electors) should judge a candidate as they are now. Provided they have cleaned up their act why hold against them every mistake they may ever have made?
If (as seems to be the case) Liz Truss has sorted things out then the local assoc should grow up, get over it and devote its efforts to getting her elected rather than raking over the past.
Re this Atkins woman, why are religious people judgmental, surely that's blaspheming!!
Iain, I sometimes criticise you on here, but I heard the original broadcast today and I thought you were superb. You really put that vile woman in her place.
I think Ms Atkins is ghastly, a pharisee, so corrupting of her own religion that she might as well have a hook hand and be called Abu Atkins.
Almost as bizarre though is that as a Daily Maily Flag'n'Bible Waving Right Winger she also seems rather more representative of the kind of person Iain Dale usually hero worships on a weekly basis ;-D
She purports to be a Christian.
What did you expect then !
I'd forgotten about Anne Atkins. One of the few times I've ever written to the BBC was a few years ago in response to a homophobic Thought For The Day she did. Happily I've managed to avoid her pronouncements since. Is it possible that anyone has respect for this individual?
I, along with several other posters, have no gripe with Liz Truss, who may or maynot prove to be an exceptional MP/candidate.
However, SWN clearly feel they have been misled either by Central Office or the candidate or, possibly, by both.
It does not matter that members could have made enquiries themeselves. They were entitled to take Central Office and the candidate on trust. (Yes - the names of the finalists were leaked to local newspapers but official documentation sent to attendees was silent on this matter - making formal research well nigh impossible for many.)
As another poster has said the whole point of trust is that you put yourself in the hands of someone else. It's what personal and public relationships are built on and what frequently makes them stronger and worthwhile. We pay our subs, we pay our CCHQ levies - in return I do not think it unreasonable that we should be treated like adults - particularly when it comes to such an important a matter as picking a potential MP.
As regards adultery being a private matter. I think there may be some confusion here. Adultery is not the same as consensual and legal sex between two unencumbered adults.
Marriage is a PUBLIC contract between two people in front of representatives of church and state, families and friends. It therefore follows that it should not be broken in PRIVATE - at least not without sanction if necessary. Sadly for Liz Truss, it seems likely a sanction will be enforced on this occasion.
"If we all heeded the Christian teaching, there would be no HIV or Aids."
Would you mind explaing exactly how she is wrong here, Iain?
If Ms. Atkins could explain how adhering to Christian priciples could stop a Simian Immunodeficiency Virus passing from apes to humans somewhere in Africa about 60 years ago, then becoming very adept at human-human transmission, I would like to hear.
Possibly it was intelligently designed by a benevolent God.
You may have had a different response if Anne Atkins had been called Annuda Ardon or something similar, in keeping with these modern times!
Excuse the dodgy blog name (not mine), but they do the best summary of the time when Anne Atkins tried to seduce her son online. I'm not kidding.
It would be interesting to investigate how her family values manifest in the behaviour of her adult daughter at the University of Cambridge, wouldn't it?
Come on, Iain! You don't think that they're going to invite a proper Christian on to a show like that?
Who wants a boring, reasonable, realistic and reflective person, who understands that lfe is full of greys and who can deal with difficult issues while still demonstrating that the fruit of the Spirit is love, joy, peace, patience, kindness, goodness, faithfulness, gentleness and self-control?
Wouldn't that just be too serious and oh, so tedious?
Just about the most basic tenet of Christianity is that we are all sinners. We all fall short in our behaviour and the challenge is to recognise that in ourselves and to genuinely repent when we do wrong. Knowing that no-one is perfect, it is unwise to the point of foolishness to demand perfection in others. What is required is a balanced judgement that remembers that we are all subject to human frailties. Simply assuming that any transgression puts an individual beyond redemption or completely devalues them as a person shows an astonishing misunderstanding of the Christian message.
Sorry Iain you are wrong. Affairs etc. are very relevant in public life.
I'm particularly enjoying the original title of this post. I bet Obnoxio The Clown is jealous of it...
Anne Atkins made a bit of an arse of herself but don't be so smug. You made as big an arse of yourself as she did.
"If we all heeded the Christian teaching, there would be no HIV or Aids."
I'm puzzled as to why you dispute this. Mutual and permanent monogomy between a man and woman is completely safe from HIV/Aids, other than from unusual events such as a contaminated blood transfusion.
Concerning Anne herself, I generally find her contributions to Radio 4's Thought for the Day better than most, although her manner is irritating and patronising (or should that be matronising?). She is, of course, in good company alongside the casually patronising bishop of Southwark and the routinely snide Giles Fraser. (Rabbi Lionel Blue's nonsense is at least entertaining.)
So I can understand why people who don't agree with her find her irritating (and she didn't convince me on this occasion), but Ian's own performance was hardly flawless on the rudeness front, and I never trust arguments on the basis that what we believe today is automatically superior to that of previous generations, what C S Lewis called "chronological snobbery."
Iain, Anne Atkins is I'm afraid just a Christian nutter!! She seem to forget the term "fogiveness" in Christianity. I constantly see her popping up on the TV and radio talking about the breakdown of the family. Make a voodoo doll of her, next to your one of George Galloway!
I've just been listening to the lunatic Atkins on PM, attempting to defend "hang-em-high" Cherie Blair's decision. to give a nere-do-well who appeared in her court a suspended sentence "because you are religious".
I'm not surprised your encounter with this demento was so unpleasant.
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