15:43  |  14 September 11
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Current Poll Results

Subjects of Debate

Should all further immigration cease?
immigration
Yes - 82% No - 18%
Should the BNP be banned?
BNP, banning of
Yes - 4% No - 96%
Should the National Front be banned?
National Front, banning of
Yes - 13% No - 87%
Should smokers be banned from smoking in public places?
Why is the government hypocritically victimising smokers who die earlier and are less of a burden on the NHS and pay significant sums of tobacco duty? Because it can? Because it is now the fashion to do so? Because Nanny thinks it is bad for us? Should we obey Nanny? Should yet another bossy directive be funded through the council tax that infringes the liberty of taxpayers and is clearly another job-creation scheme for petty officials who will be photographing us smoking and giving us on-the-spot fines? At what point does the term "law-abiding" become "passive submission to unnecessary and unjust laws"? Does the infantilised citizen deserve Liberty if he is not prepared to defend it?
Yes - 31% No - 69%
Should the Sexual Orientation Regulations have been brought into force?
One area where faith groups feel they've been forced to submit to a secularist agenda is in equal rights for homosexuals. The sexual orientation regulations bill - due to become law in April - covers the provisions of goods and services to gays and lesbians. If anyone discriminates against others on the grounds of their sexuality they could face hefty fines or lawsuits. But the law's being held up following fierce opposition from faith-based organisations who object to homosexual practise and want the government to grant them exemptions. The legislation could have serious implications for businesses, schools, churches and adoption agencies which operate on religious principles.
Yes - 26% No - 74%
Should Rabbi Aharon Cohen be ostracised by his fellow Jews for saying that he prayed "that ... the state known as Israel, be totally and peacefully dissolved"?
A handful of Orthodox Jews have attended Iran's controversial conference questioning the Nazi genocide of the Jews - not because they deny the Holocaust but because they object to using it as justification for the existence of Israel.

With their distinctive hats, beards and side locks, these men may, to the untrained eye, look like any other Orthodox believers in Jerusalem or New York. But the Jews who went to Tehran are different.

Some of them belong to Neturei Karta (Guardians of the City), a Hasidic sect of a few thousand people which views Zionism - the movement to establish a Jewish national home or state in what was Palestine - as a "poison" threatening "true Jews".

A representative, UK-based Rabbi Aharon Cohen, told the conference he prayed "that the underlying cause of strife and bloodshed in the Middle East, namely the state known as Israel, be totally and peacefully dissolved".

In its place, Rabbi Cohen said, should be "a regime fully in accordance with the aspirations of the Palestinians when Arab and Jew will be able to live peacefully together as they did for centuries".

Neturei Karta believes the very idea of an Israeli state goes against the Jewish religion.

The book of Jewish law or Talmud, they say, teaches that believers may not use human force to create a Jewish state before the coming of the Messiah.




But how do Neturei Karta and other Orthodox Jews such as Austria-based Rabbi Moishe Ayre Friedman justify attending such a controversial conference?

Rabbi Friedman told BBC Radio 4's PM programme that he was not in Tehran to debate whether the Holocaust happened or not, but to look at its lessons.

He says the Holocaust was being used to legitimise the suffering of other peoples and he wanted to break what he called a taboo on discussing it.

The main thing, he argued, was not Jewish suffering in the past but the use of the Holocaust as a "tool of commercial, military and media power".

In what many other Jews would consider the height of naivety, he commended Iranian President Mahmoud Ahmadinejad for wanting "a secured future for innocent Jewish people in Europe and elsewhere".

In his speech to the conference, Neturei Karta's Rabbi Cohen said there was no doubt about the Holocaust and it would be "a terrible affront to the memory of those who perished to belittle the guilt of the crime in any way".

However, he also argued that the genocide had been divine will. "The Zionists, with their secular pompous approach behave in complete opposition to this philosophy and dare to say 'Never Again'.

"They have the audacity to think that they can prevent the Almighty from repeating a Holocaust. This is heresy."

Neturei Karta's views are regarded with abhorrence by most other Orthodox Jews, according to Rabbi Jeremy Rosen of the Yakar centre in London.

"And I think, frankly, even among the Hasidic world, by and large Neturei Karta are regarded as freaks," the Orthodox rabbi told the BBC News website.
Yes - 20% No - 80%
Should women have been given the vote?
The patronising wooing of women by David Cameron suggests he thinks they are stupid. Are they? Will they vote for him because they think he is a good-looking kind-seeming man who will look after them and protect them and their children because he has a disabled son? Will they vote for him because he is seen to do the dishes and help with the housework even though he has no policies and won't even talk about cutting taxes? Is the undecided female voter really as stupid as all that? If someone is undecided should they be voting at all? People (male or female) who pay no taxes and don't know what's good for them or have no thought-through view about what is good for society or the country should not have the vote, should they? The male/female ratio of the membership here is currently approximately 4:1 (22 November 2007). Women are just not interested, are they? Or are too busy? Or don't care? Or cannot discuss politics without taking disagreement with their views as a personal insult?
Yes - 91% No - 9%
Should parking permit charges for gas-guzzling vehicles be drastically raised?
Does it do any good? Will it save the environment? Or is it an illegal attempt at raising revenue by the local council that is contrary to the 1984 Road Traffic Regulation Act (which specifies that parking schemes may only be used for traffic management rather than revenue-raising purposes)?
Yes - 36% No - 64%
Should Britain have invaded Iraq?
What was it for? What did good did it do? Can the UK justify its policy of removing dictators in other countries who do not threaten it and presume to tell other countries how to run their affairs? Would it be a good thing to have a foreign policy independent of the US for a change?
Yes - 22% No - 78%
Should Trident be replaced?
Should Britain retain its nuclear deterrent?

ARGUMENTS FOR:

Nuclear weapons have guaranteed our security for two generations. They remain the ultimate deterrent to any aggressor, and the best means of ensuring peace.

Time-lag in development means the decision to replace Trident can't wait. The world is still dangerous. Nobody can tell how much more dangerous it will be when Trident is obsolete.

It is desirable to check nuclear proliferation, but probably impossible. So it would be folly to scrap our nuclear weapons when potentially hostile states like Iran are about to acquire a nuclear capability.

Possession of nuclear weapons gives us clout. Unilateral nuclear disarmament would "send a Foreign Secretary naked into the conference chamber" (Nye Bevan, 1957).

Every British government since 1945 has seen the necessity of having a nuclear deterrent. Tony Blair was once a member of CND. It is his experience of realities which now makes him call for Trident's replacement.


ARGUMENTS AGAINST:

Nuclear weapons are immoral. We must prevent their proliferation. The more states that have them, the more certain it is they will be used. Britain can set an example by unilateral nuclear disarmament.

Maintaining our nuclear arsenal is too expensive. It takes a disproportionate share of the nation's defence budget.

Replacing Trident is like preparing to fight the Cold War again. But no country now presents a nuclear threat to us, so the weapons are of no use.

We are more likely to be engaged in low-level warfare in which nuclear weapons are irrelevant. To meet the challenge of asymetric warfare (Iraq, Afghanistan), we should spend more on conventional forces and properly equip them.

Possession of nuclear weapons is an outmoded virility symbol. Countries like Germany, Spain, Canada and Australia do without them and have as much global influence as Britain.
Yes - 87% No - 13%
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