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john davies
notes from a small vicar
from a parish
in Liverpool, UK

    Saturday, April 02, 2005
    Some salvation in Sin City
    I know a former vicar of Brighton's Kemptown who calls it Sin City. Which means it's a bit on the edge. Which is saying something in a town which is pretty much altogether on the edge anyway. So it's perhaps not that surprising to read in this week's special New Stateswoman that Kemptown's Lib Dem candidate, Marina Pepper, is a former page-three girl and a practising white witch.

    She comes from a 'hippie' childhood, and followed her mother into witchcraft. "It was the 1970s, wholefood, self sufficiency, pagan revival thing," she said in a very good BBC interview, trying to explain her mother's attraction to Wicca. She says it brought her up to respect the seasons and where food comes from.

    Now Marina knows that being a white witch may not be a vote-winner in all quarters. "I think it bothers some Christians because for centuries they have organised witch hunts."

    But I wonder if they may have it wrong-way about. "It was witchcraft that took me into conventional politics more than anything else," she says, "We hold the earth most dear, so dumping rubbish, or climate change, is offensive to me."

    It is important that we all live within the means of the earth, "which is why we have a vegetable box system, run community recycling with the local pre-school, encourage people to walk and use the bus - little things", she says.

    In her younger days, as well as training in journalism and raising money by modelling she got involved in fighting chemical factories, ran a campsite with a cafe, worked on a goat farm, looked after a child and ran a community theatre.

    Last Christmas, while not celebrating the festival herself - though she bought presents for her children - she generously opened her house to locals who would otherwise be spending Christmas alone.

    "As someone said to me recently, if you lost the broom you'd be a Christian."

    Interesting comment, that, because I doubt she's got a broom...