Church of England

Bishop of Willesden slams "unChristian" Tories and Ukip


The Clacton fallout has sent a few tremors around Westminster. So has the Heywood & Middleton spin-off. Not only have the people elected their first Ukip MP in a relatively safe Tory seat; they came within a whisker of doing so in a Labour stronghold, reducing a 6000 majority to a delicate 600. Douglas Carswell won 59.7% of the Clacton vote; John Bickley won 38.7% in Heywood & Middleton. Commentators can quibble over the collapse in the Tory and Liberal-Democrat votes, and cavil over Labour’s dire performance just seven months before the General Election. But there is no doubt that the people want change, and, with these jumbo vote-shares, the rise of Ukip points to the tenor and tone of the desired revolution.

This is a cause of dismay to some clergy, who are taking to their Twitter, Blogger and Guardian pulpits to warn of the impending wrath and immanent judgment should such political idolatry and democratic rebellion continue. We know that the Rev’d Giles Fraser “despises” Ukip, and we know that the Bishop of Willesden believes them to be “vacuous” and “a blot on the political landscape”. He sees it as a pastoral duty in Willesden to “persuade people of the errors of Ukip”.  When asked why those errors are any more egregious than those of Labour or the Liberal Democrats, he responded: “because they are racist?”.

The question mark is superfluous: for Bishop Pete, Ukip’s racism is an established matter of fact. When asked very politely to explain how he understands racism and which policies point to this iniquity, he sidestepped definition with the response: “Policies are weasel-worded.” And he adduced three articles to establish the veracity of his case. They were Alex Andreou’s article in the New Statesman: ‘Is Ukip a Party of Bigots? Let’s look at the evidence‘; Mehdi Hasan’s article in the Huffington Post: ‘The Great Ukip Racism Debate: Debunking the Six Main Myths‘; and Hugo Rifkind’s Spectator piece: ‘If Ukip aren’t racist, how come so many racists seem to like them?‘. All impeccably dispassionate, equitable, neutral and politically unbiased journalists with absolutely no motive for artful chicanery or any agenda for falsehood or guile..

One wonders what persuasive evidence the Bishop of Willesden might accept as proof that Jesus was neither crucified nor resurrected. The infallible assertions of the Qur’an? An irrefutable treatise by Richard Dawkins? The compelling biblical scholarship of the National Secular Society?

Some Ukip-ers may indeed be racist. But so are some Tories, and so are more than a few Socialists and Liberals. And so are some Christians. But, surely, the best way to establish whether or not (or the extent to which) this is institutional is to scrutinise statements of policy and interrogate their meaning and potential consequences. You can’t dismiss political policy as “weasel worded” without simultaneously relegating the Christian creeds to doctrinal equivocations and suppressio veri. The written word is fractional and imperfect, but it points to truth and reality.

That would be a good line on which to end the homily. But Father Giles and Bishop Pete just won’t let this go. Yesterday, the vicar tweeted: “Poor @His_Grace wont much like this. Now we are all at it.” And the Bishop tweeted: “And the deserving/undeserving stuff that Tories and UKIP get into is profoundly unChristian. Imago Dei, not Victoriana.” For Bishop Pete there is already an apparent Tory-Ukip pact on social policy and welfare reform.

The thing is..

The piece by the Rev’d Andrew Lightbown to which Giles Fraser links is intelligent and thoughtful in its theological understanding of complex issues of identity and culture. It is naive and simplistic in some of its assertions (it is manifestly possible to talk about Christianity without talking about Christ, and, indeed, to talk about Christ without talking about the work of the Cross: Giles Fraser does it all the time, and there is a rational missiological argument for doing so). But at least it attempts to examine Ukip policy in the light of Scripture, and it does so by that favoured religio-political method of adducing Scripture to support a political worldview, rather than developing policy out of scriptural principles.

In a liberal democratic state which has evolved out of centuries of broad Christian polity, it is not unreasonable for politicians and political parties to do this, if only for electoral purposes. Even the atheist/agnostic Winston Churchill invoked the Church of England and the Christian Faith when it suited him. He once described himself as a “buttress” of the Church of England, “support(ing) it from the outside” rather than being a pillar within. His writings and speeches consistently equate Christianity with enlightenment and Anglicanism with patriotism. When he spoke of Europe, it was as “the fountain of Christian faith and Christian ethics”. Despite professing no faith himself, he unashamedly (ab)used Christianity and the Church to affirm a quasi-prophetic self-belief in his destiny and the battle for national salvation. And he did so by talking about Christianity an awful lot more than he talked about Christ and the Cross.

Margaret Thatcher also talked an awful lot about Christianity, but she did so with an abundance of unapologetic references to Jesus.  In Statecraft, she wrote: “I believe in what are often referred to as ‘Judaeo-Christian’ values: indeed my whole political philosophy is based on them.” In the second volume The Path to Power she went further: “Although I have always resisted the argument that a Christian has to be a Conservative, I have never lost my conviction that there is a deep and providential harmony between the kind of political economy I favour and the insights of Christianity.”

But a speech(/sermon) she delivered at the zenith of her power in 1988 is perhaps the most illuminating of all her statements with regard to her faith. She began it by saying that she spoke “personally as a Christian, as well as a politician”. For her, the distinctive marks of Christianity “stem not from the social but from the spiritual side of our lives”. She declared that “we must not profess the Christian faith and go to Church simply because we want social reforms and benefits or a better standard of behaviour; but because we accept the sanctity of life, the responsibility that comes with freedom and the supreme sacrifice of Christ.”

For Thatcher, Scripture gave “a view of the universe, a proper attitude to work, and principles to shape economic and social life”. It is how the theological ‘is’ translates into the political ‘ought’; how Christianity remains relevant to public policy. She derived from her understanding of the Bible a traditional conservative view of the family which is “at the heart of our society and the very nursery of civic virtue. And it is on the family that we in government build our own policies for welfare, education and care”. She was not deluded by the biblical ideal, recognising that “modern society is infinitely more complex” and that “new occasions teach new duties”. It’s just a pity that Bishop Pete doesn’t offer the same latitude. To him, it is all “deserving/undeserving stuff” which is “profoundly unChristian”.

Is it really un-Christian to suggest that the sluggard who lies in his bed until midday is somehow less deserving of benefit, or the sloth who is too lazy to find employment is undeserving of welfare at all? Is it un-Christian to believe that if a man will not work, he shall not eat? Is it un-Christian to seek to distinguish between these cases of indolence and those manifestly deserving cases where people are simply unable to work through incapacity or disability?

There are, of course, inherent tensions in the Christian’s walk of faith within the Conservative Party, and important distinctions to be drawn between Christianity and Conservatism. But that is surely true for all political parties. And the tragedy of the Church of England is that it has long refused and still cannot acknowledge that the Conservative vision may be Christian at all, or that Conservative values and principles may reflect anything of the mind of Christ. For left-leaning clerics, the “Judaeo-Christian tradition” is defined not so much by what it is for as what it is against: if the Tories are moderately malign, Ukip are positively evil. And since both are “right-wing”, they are symbiotic in their policy inspiration and co-active in their political praxis.

You may not agree with the Farage conception of the common good or Ukip’s apprehension of British political life. You may find both utterly antithetical to your Christian worldview. But to smear them as institutionally “racist” is puerile. It is also rather alienating for the 38-60% of the electorate who appear to support them. The National Church has a political obligation and theological mission to be national. When parties are polling at that level, it is incumbent upon parish priests and their bishops to engage in reasoned discourse to establish why, and that requires pastoral sensitivity, theological latitude and mature colloquy.

  • disqus_N9Jawtu8Uw

    Good points Your Grace, well said.

    Pete Broadbent is on the one hand quite clever and on the other not. He is a contradiction. I have a feeling that it was Pete Broadbent at Spring Harvest which, given that Spring Harvest was strongly preaching Scripture is odd.

    All David Cameron and Grant Shapps can think to say now is that to vote for another party is to let the other side in. How utterly childish. The Haywood and Middleton by-election showed how silly that remark is where New Labour almost lost their seat. David Cameron really needs to grow up and learn what conservatism is or change parties. I truly regret having voted conservative at the last election.

  • len

    Cameron and MIlliband are totally out of touch with the ‘ordinary man in the street but ‘UKIP has connected with the concerns of people largely ignored by the main political parties. UKIP has become a voice for those who live in the real world not in the insulated world of wealth and power by such as Cameron and Osborne. Clegg was willing to sell his soul for political power and is now trying to regain some sort of credibility but people have long memories . UKIP seems to be our only hope of getting any sort of democratic process back into our politics.

    When the Church becomes linked with the State it becomes very difficult for them to be objective in ‘the real world’ which most people inhabit.

  • Politically__Incorrect

    Bishop Pete and Giles Fraser both suffer from the same condition, as do many other “Guardian angels”. They cannot distinguish between the issues of immigration and racism. To them, the words are synonymous. Presumably they have some sort of Marxist dictionary at home that gives the same definition to both words. Years of multi-culti brainwashing in this country causes any maention of the “i” word to immediately trigger the guilt centres of the cerebral cortex into a spasm anti-racist rhetoric. It is astonishing how thick we are as a nation on this.

    Of course, if the government were to selectively stop immigration of white Christians from around the world, then the left, including the bish and his socialist mates, would be strangley silent.

    I would put it this way. Imagine your son or daugher tells you they want a party in your house. They want to invite 500 guests. Assuming you don’t live in a mansion, you will almost certainly decline the request. Is it because you hate all their friends? No, it’s a matter of practicality and a desire to preserve the integroty of your home. That’s how I (as a UKIP member) see the immigration issue.

    Let the socialist bishops have their say. Nobody, except those already share their views, are buying it.

  • tiger

    The reality is the left’s obsession with “charity” has marginalised and impoverished millions of ordinary hard working indigenous British people.
    Millions of immigrants of non-UK heritage have flooded into this country not because they admire our culture or our history but merely to enjoy the economic success and wealth of this nation.
    The elite left also seek redemption from their evil past of exploiting the masses of the colonies and excesses in slavery.
    The immigrants have played on this perceived moral failure to work their victim status to the maximum. Our statutes are being filled with protective measures for the multitude of minorities.
    Mrs May’s latest out-burst at the Tory Party conference in relation to terrorism should remind us that we are on the verge of a Stalinist State.
    The ordinary Briton continues to battle to sustain his life, culture and way of life whilst the elite continue to make these simple desires impossible out of concern for minorities. Now we are faced with persecution for voicing any concern.

  • dannybhoy

    To want to control immigration and protect our borders is not racist. It is commonsense.
    To say we want to screen people coming into the country for serious health problems is not discriminatory, it is eminently sensible if you want to protect your society from ebola or HIV/Aids or any other transmissable disease.
    To implement a points system so that we only allow in the people with the skills we need is not to reject the world’s poor and needy, it is recognising that we can only feed our people and house our people and pay our people and supply our people with consumer goodies (and posh german cars) if our economy rather than our welfare state is growing.

    If we keep on importing people because “it’s the right and Christian thing to do” our system will ultimately collapse, our infrastructure will be unable to cope and chaos will ensue.

    If we refuse to thoroughly check who’s coming in and who’s going out ‘because it’s discriminatory’ we will make it so much easier for those who mean us harm to achieve their aims.

    It is the humanistic/religious handwringers who seem to be in thrall to Bishop Tony Blair’s social engineering mantra of “Equality, Diversity and Inclusion.” They are so afraid of transgressing these policies they are prepared to sacrifice our nation so as to realise their dream of a “Coca Cola Nirvana..”

  • Brummie_engineer

    Was the problem in Rotherham due to Christianity?

  • JayBee

    The Christians walk of faith within the Conservative Party has become a Christian exodus from a So-called Conservative Party. A Party that has abandoned all pretence of the Thatcherite ideal that “It is on the family that we in government build our own policies for welfare, education and care” and thrown its lot in with the Fabian social engineers instead.

    Is it any wonder that socially conservative Christians are voting for UKIP in droves. Where else can they have a political voice? Who else will defend their values when
    family life is deluged by alternative lifestyles, welfare defrauded by dependency culture, education polluted by dark perversions taught in class and care corrupted through widespread child abuse and callous disregard for the sanctity of human life? UKIP is far from perfect but it is fundamentally sympathetic to Christianity, unlike the manifestly Unchristian So-called Conservatives, the Illiberal Democrats and the positively anti-Christian Socialists.

    I’ve said it before but it’s worth repeating, beware of spiritual fifth columnists. Be on your guard against revisionist theologians who are muddying the ethos of Churches everywhere not just the CofE. Those who turn the Bible from the inspiration of God into the invention of man by amending His decrees to comply with current legislation and who stifle opponents by accusing them of every phobia in the PC arsenal. Their theological house is built on sand and only fit for a society without foundations.

  • Christina Summers

    Excellent analysis and response to the frustratingly simplistic arguments that seek to manipulate the truth of Christian doctrine, and the doctrine of Christian Truth.

    My one disappointment is that, despite your Thatcher quote (that “we must not profess the Christian faith and go to Church simply because we want social reforms and benefits or a better standard of behaviour; but because we accept the sanctity of life, the responsibility that comes with freedom and the supreme sacrifice of Christ.”), she nevertheless tragically voted in favour of the Abortion Act in 1967.

    So much for her belief in the sanctity of life.

  • grandpa1940

    Regarding the shallow, shrill, and stupid utterances of the ‘Rev’
    Giles Fraser, I sometimes wonder why this clown has access to a toy telephone,
    never mind the microphones of programmes such as the political flagship BBC
    Today programme. Every time this idiot opens his wide, noisy and ultimately useless
    gob, he provides yet another reason why so many people are in fact turning to
    the opponents of the people he seems to espouse; e.g. Labour, the Greens, or sometimes, the Tories.

    If his message is always derogatory of his political opponents, if the words of condemnation are the only ones emerging from his silly mouth, is it any wonder that UKIP views him as one of their better advertising campaigns; that is, alongside the sayings of ‘Our Dave’ whose choice of adjectives when describing UKIP supporters was ‘Fruitcakes, Loonies and Closet Racists’.

    That last statement would have been worth at least half the votes cast for the
    UKIP man in that by-election which was earlier described as an ‘Ultra-Safe
    Labour seat!

  • grutchyngfysch

    I do have to wonder what a sermon on 2 Thessalonians 3 would sound like in the congregations of these critics.

    • Uncle Brian

      The NIV, for all its faults, does have this wording for 2 Thess 3:11: We hear that some among you are idle. They are not busy; they are busybodies. Nagging people all the time, for instance, about the terrible sin they’re committing by supporting Arsenal or by voting Ukip.

  • LoveMeIamALiberal

    Pete and Giles suffer from the delusion common to those on the Left that their politics is a moral mission so those who disagree with them are to some degree immoral. Conservatives see those who hold differeent opinions as not necessarily evil, just having reached the wrong conclusions in good faith.
    Pete also perpetuates the silly insult about the deserving/undeserving poor. If one agrees that one should not pay benefits to those who make no effort to find work (and all political parties agree on this), then one is labelling some people as undeserving, however much one may shy away from this as ‘Victorian’ – ah those evil Victorians.

  • Dreadnaught

    for Bishop Pete, Ukip’s racism is an established matter of fact.

    What a clown; next he’ll be saying anyone should feel guilty for being white skinned because only white skinned people can be racist. That Muslims are a racial group and all Jews are Zionists

    • avi barzel

      All Jews are not Zionists…only the real ones.

      • Nooooo ….. the real Jew is a now Roman Catholic !

        • dannybhoy

          Spoken tongue in cheek of course HJ!
          “But some of these branches from Abraham’s tree–some of the people of
          Israel–have been broken off. And you Gentiles, who were branches from a
          wild olive tree, have been grafted in. So now you also receive the
          blessing God has promised Abraham and his children, sharing in the rich
          nourishment from the root of God’s special olive tree.”
          Both redeemed Jews and redeemed Gentiles will eventually make up God’s people.
          Though there might be some mutual squabbling and resentment for a time….
          As the great Woody Allen once said, paraphrasing Isaiah 11:6
          “And the lion and the lamb shall lie down together: but the lamb won’t get much sleep…”

          • There’ s ‘history’ to my comment to Avi, Danny.
            My father was a convert from orthodox Judaism to Roman Catholicism. Its a comment he made frequently. Well, strictly speaking, he would say:“the real Jew is a now a Christian”.

          • dannybhoy

            I just knew there was a reason I liked you HJ

          • Given time Danny, we’ll have a fall-out ! Jack has had many a ‘heated debate’ with Avi and Hannah et al and it hasn’t always been kindly or terribly wise.

            My dad converted during the Second WW – Battle of Monte Cassino seems to have triggered it, and he was confirmed in it when stationed in Berlin and finally Jerusalem. Traumatic for him.

            Jack is a revert ‘cradle Catholic’. From childhood Catholicism, onto radical Marxism, then back to Christianity via a Jewish author and various Catholic literature. Dad always said you couldn’t understand the New Testament without knowing the Jewish Testament.

          • dannybhoy

            “Dad always said you couldn’t understand the New Testament without knowing the Jewish Testament.”
            Your Dad was totally right. The Brith haHadasha makes no sense without the Tenach.
            You know the old saying,
            “Two Jews, three opinions!”
            I can understand why theologically and culturally there would be some tensions, but as a non Jew I think we Christians should respect the differences without compromising our own beliefs.
            I personally experienced a great deal of kindness from the Israelis I met and worked with, but I know “Messianic Jews” in the congragations I attended could have a hard time of it. (As did Arab Christians from Muslims.)
            I think a sense of betrayal and loss, plus there’s a different understanding of sin and salvation..
            But that’s all for another day!

          • dannybhoy

            People of Cranmer Blog! I have just become aware that one of my computers has been hacked and that apart from other things my comments seed to have disappeared into the ether.
            So having checked with another system I find that in fact my comments have all been posted.
            I apologise therefore to Hapy Jack and Cressida for any apparent “barminess” in my responses and will set about dealing with the compromised operating system.
            It just goes to show how vigilant we all need to be…

          • dannybhoy

            I replied to both your posts and they have disappeared! Maybe I forgot to press “Post”.
            Anyway I said I do agree with your Dad and I understand why there would be tensions. In Israel there was aggro between Messianic Jews and Jewish Jews and Chritian Arabs and Muslim Arabs.
            A sense of betrayal, of treachery etc etc. One can understand why that might be.
            I think we Christians can learn from our Jewish friends, and one has to accept that we Christians have a lot to answer for. I also think the Jewish sense of family, community, and respect for education and learning are admirable

          • Cressida de Nova

            I only became aware that I was a Christian from my experience of living for ten years in Jewry exclusively with very little exposure to goyim. What I learned was that I had a different way of approaching life even though I shared a background of similar educational and professional experience with them.Previously I had assumed that everyone one from the same societal pecking order thought basically in the same way.

            It seems to me that Protestants have already learned a lot from our Jewish friends and adopted the Jewish interpretation of sin and salvation, which is the reason I prefer Jews to Protestants. Protestants are supposed to be Christians.Jews have integrity and don’t pretend to be anything other than Jews.

            I agree there are many admirable traits that you have mentioned which have enabled Jews to survive and thrive in fairly consistent persecution throughout history… so what stops you from converting to Judaism? Perhaps you don’t need to if you are already a Protestant.

          • dannybhoy

            Happy Jack’s story I understood, and I understand from my own experiences why Jewish people would react negatively to another Jewish person becoming a Christian.
            Forgive my dimness, but I didn’t quite follow your story of being brought up in a Jewish context and then finding out that you were/are actually a Goy?
            The Jewish – European nominal Christian relationship is a very sad one, but as I get older I find my thinking being modified in terms of prejudice expressed as antisemitism.
            The Tenach exhorts ‘us’ to be kind to the stranger..

            “17For the Lord your God is God of gods and Lord of lords, the great, the mighty, and the awesome God, who is not partial and takes no bribe.
            18He executes justice for the fatherless and the widow, and loves the sojourner, giving him food and clothing.
            19Love the sojourner, therefore, for you were sojourners in the land of Egypt.”

            The reality is that most people are NOT kind or loving to the stranger. They are suspicious; and the more different the stranger is, the more suspicious and hostile they may become.
            Examples: British peoples’ historic attitudes towards the Irish, French, the Germans, the Yanks, the Indians and Africans -and especially the Canadians – Oy Veh!
            In Israel, Askenazi attitudes towards Sephardi or Mizrachi Jews, attitudes towards Ethiopian Jews etc etc.
            The list goes on and the reality is that human beings are tribal and therefore suspicious of outsiders.
            So whilst I accept the reality of antisemitism and the particularly virulent and evil examples we have seen in so called Christian Europe, it has to be acknowledged that tribalism and suspicion of strangers is a universal reality.

            Going back to your Protestant observations, I wonder if you are referring to nominal Protestants, as you might to nominal Catholics or nominal Jews?

            I am not sure that Protestants or Catholics do have the same understanding of sin and salvation as our Jewish brethren.
            Although we practicing Christians should acknowledge that salvation is of the Jews, that our Saviour is Yeshua haMeshiach, and that of all peoples and all religions Christians should feel closest to and an affection for, the Jewish people we have to accept that certain aspects of our theologies are quite different.
            And finally…..!
            I have seriously considered conversion to Judaism at least twice, but even though there are many aspects of Jewish life that I find extremely attractive and inspirational I haven’t.

            Ultimately it is my belief in Jesus as Lord and Saviour, God in human form, Lord of Heaven and earth; who out of His great love and compassion for us human beings voluntarily hung on that cross and died for me and all mankind.
            I could never ever deny His Divinity, and to convert would be to betray the reality of what He has done for me and in me.

          • dannybhoy

            Be aware that my first action this morning was to write you a comprehensive response. Then I edited it slightly, then it disappeared…. 🙁
            I think I must be slipping into bad habits with my postings as it has already happened with Happy Jack.
            So because your comment intrigued me I am going to give you the concentrated and potted response as I remember it.

            1) Forgive my dimness but I didn’t understand your 10 years Jewish experience as a Goy thing. How would you describe your religious/philosophical views now?
            2) I am not sure that “Protestants” have learnt much from the Jewish people, nor that our understanding of sin and salvation are the same, and I know that there are Jewish people who comment here who would agree.
            3) Christians owe their faith and salvation to the Jews, the Jews imo are still in a Covenant relationship with God, that God honours even if some of His ancient people don’t. All Christians owe it to themselves to try to visit Israel or connect with Jewish organisations not to try and convert them, but to learn from and be inspired by all that is best in Judaism. Even just to loosen up a little!
            4) Just as there are nominal Protestants (because no one is born a Christian), there are nominal Jews, nominal Catholics etc.
            5) I have seriously considered conversion. I loved Israel, I loved the joy I witnessed there, I love my Jewish brother in law. I have seen Jewish people living the things that we as Christians say we believe, and on and on.
            But I could never deny my belief that the Lord Jesus Christ is the promised Meshiach, that He is God in human form, that His death on the Cross has universal significance for all men because through Him God demonstrated His love and redemption for fallen man.
            That He rose again from the dead because as a man He lived a perfect and sinless life and death could not hold Him. That He died for me personally as well as all mankind, and I belong to Him.

          • dannybhoy

            Did you ever read Arthur Katz’s book
            “Ben Israel: Odyssey of a Modern Jew” ?

      • carl jacobs


        Shouldn’t that be “Not all Jews are Zionists.” Maybe the Mrs should start editing your posts…


        • avi barzel

          Pedant. English is a living language…and a butchered and tortured one beyond recognition by you Yanks ….

          • carl jacobs


            Yeah, this phrase….

            and a butchered and tortured one beyond recognition by you Yanks

            … It could use some work. If only you had access to a skilled expert whose very profession involved the use of language.

            Oh, wait…


  • CliveM

    Bishop Pete and co, are all getting a bit shrill and panicky sounding. Even though I am no fan of UKIP, it doesn’t take a massive about of thought to work out that restricting immigration is not the same as being racist. The thing is they don’t want to engage on this question, what they want to do is close down the debate and they are using that old tool of the left, moral abuse ie your position is evil, therefore you are evil, therefore I don’t need to engage on this question.
    There are good reasons for some level of immigration, they do their cause no good by their frankly petulant manner.

    • Uncle Brian

      Bishop Pete and co, are all getting a bit shrill and panicky sounding. With any luck we shall soon see that they have good cause to be panicking.

  • Happy Jack believes there is a truth in this statement:
    “For a political party to talk about Christianity without talking about Christ is to render Christ an idol, to manufacture him into a political and identikit caricature of the Divine and this is graceless in the extreme.”
    Now, as Christians we say we ‘know’ how God wants us to live our personal lives and how we ought to approach temporal affairs to achieve the common good. And yet look how we openly disagree on basics.
    There’s a danger in claiming to base one’s political party’s program on Christian values. This cultural approach tends to particularise and cherry-pick. And what are these values nowadays? The various churches are failing to agree. Everyone is grabbing a piece of Christ’s tunic in an attempt to gain influence, win friends and influence people.

    • CliveM

      Happy Jack

      “Everyone is grabbing a piece of Christ’s tunic in an attempt to gain influence, win friends and influence people.”

      Sadly I’m not sure that’s true anymore. It’s seems to me that the Priests are grabbing a piece of the politicians tunic in an attemp to gain friends and influence people.

      It one of the things that seem to have gone wrong!

      • One fears it is a symbiotic relationship of the parasitical variety. Its root is the drive to mass market a popular product, be it religion or a particular party or policy, where majority public approval is what counts.
        How can any political party or church representative authentically talk of Christ whilst not resisting abortion, serial divorce and marriage, the promotion of sexual relationships prohibited by scripture, consumerism, exploitation etc. etc. We no longer debate the “how” of a Christian society because we have abandoned the “what”.
        UKIP’s policy on the EU and immigration isn’t racist per se, its arguably sensible for the common good of this nation. But why cover it in a cloak of Christianity when really its about defending the economic and social stability of this nation and its cultural inheritance?

        • CliveM

          There is little doubt that some people who are racist will vote for UKIP because of their immigration policy. That doesn’t make it necessarily racist.

          Always be suspicious of politicians and priests (and bishops) who grandstand for their favoured audience. They are looking for applause, not truth. I think it is right for a Priest to ask awkward questions of our politicians. Sadly that isn’t what is happening here. It is simply lazy abuse.

      • dannybhoy

        I certainly agree with that. The Church of England is a part of the Establishment, but perhaps regarded by its members as a slightly dotty and lonely spinster aunt..

    • dannybhoy

      Spoken with the gravity befitting a new grandpa…

    • avi barzel

      What’s this, you’re a grandpa? Congratulations! All the best!

      • Thank you, Avi. Lucy, the most beautiful granddaughter in the world – bar none.

        • avi barzel

          Well, seeing that you are awake after 1 AM your time most days, methinks you’re eminently suited to hold and rock or drive all over town little Lucy all night should she decide to be colicky. We’ll keep your place here for you….

          • She’s absolutely gorgeous, Avi, Saw her again this evening and this old heart melted.

      • dannybhoy

        bit late to the party barzel. The cigar Jack had laid aside for you has gone stale..

        • avi barzel

          I have a humidor!

          • dannybhoy

            Then you should see a doctor Avi.
            These things can be operated on… 🙂

          • avi barzel

            You made me google “humidor” just to make certain I still remember English…I resent that!

          • dannybhoy

            I was getting confused with this…
            “And the men that died not were smitten with the emerods: and the cry of the city went up to heaven…” I Samuel 5:16.
            I know that nowadays there are some very good creams. 😉

  • Uncle Brian

    So what’s the outlook now for the General Election? Is Ukip beginning to emerge as the new third party? Last time round, the score was Lib Dems 57, Ukip nil. What’s the forecast now?

    • dannybhoy

      I think Nigel Farage is playing a canny game. The thing is that he is very blokish, very astute and when he says “I want my country back!”
      My heart says,
      “So do I..”

    • JayBee

      Latest poll produced for Daily Mail today:
      Labour 253 MPs, Conservatives 187, Ukip 128, Lib Dems 11, and other parties, such as the SNP, 71.
      Need a few more polls to verify this prediction. Parliament would be well and truly hung on these figures.
      Read more:

      • Uncle Brian

        Hung, drawn and quartered. There doesn’t seem to be a workable coalition anywhere in those numbers. Thanks for the information, JayBee.

        • IanCad

          Look on the bright side.

          A hung Parliament can’t do anything – or at least, not very much.

          The best state for modern governments.

          • Merchantman

            Look on the bright side- and there will be any Scots MPs in the forthcoming English Parliament where the real business will be done. God Willing.

  • NewburyExile

    The question that should be asked is why the AoC has done nothing to reign in the Bishop of Willesden and why the Bishop of London has done nothing about Giles Fraser. Whatever happened to ‘conduct unbecoming a clerk in Holy Orders’?

    • Uncle Brian

      Willesden is not a diocese in its own right, it says here, but only an “area” within the Diocese of London. The de facto clerical pecking order may not perhaps be what it seems to be on paper, but on the face of it, it rather looks as though the Bishop of Willesden is subordinate to the Bishop of London, rather than reporting directly to the Province of Canterbury.

      On your main point, about “conduct unbecoming to a clerk in Holy Orders,” I think you’ve got it exactly right.

  • Barbarus

    whilst I am UKIP-sceptic, there is something profoundly wrong with left-wing bishops adopting fashionable radical views like an embarrassing Dad at a teenage bop.

  • martin

    The sad fact is that many bishops are un christian. Ie they do not truely follow Jesus Christ. It is written was his mantra…. not thiers

  • carl jacobs

    I actually thought the letter started off well. Making Christ into an Idol of politics is certainly a temptation and not just on the Left. But then he got around to Scripture…

    The problem with the letter by Andrew Lightbown
    may be found in the scriptural examples he provides. He lets them stand as silent advocates for the case he would make. What exactly is their connection to Nigel Farage or UKIP and its policies? He doesn’t say. The aurhor is content to let the reader infer his point. That lets him avoid the hard work of connecting the dots. It’s much easier to make a case with innuendo than with facts.

    The exegesis in the argument could not be called bad. There would first have to be some exegesis in the argument to judge. The author simply states a verse and assumes it has some relevance to the point he is making. Jesus quotes from Isaiah of himself, and ipso facto, is ‘radically inclusive’ where the reader is left to infer what that means. He refers to Simeon without explaining what it means to be a light to the Gentiles. The author makes statements that while true are divorced from the actual point of the text. In the end, he is doing exactly what he condemns. He is making an Idol of the Word in order to facilitate a political purpose.

    Unless, of course, he is not writing to Nigel Farage at all but rather to the already-convinced. In which case he has just thrown out well-known markers to evoke a sage nodding of the collective head. If so, then this letter isn’t an argument so much as a shared experience. The progressive intellectuals gather to mourn the darkness of Farage so that their own enlightenment may be seen more clearly.


  • James60498 .

    Clearly these Bishops are talking nonsense.

    However. I wonder how many people voted UKIP because they believed that they were anti- “gay marriage”.

    I have written to the UKIP candidate in one of this year’s by elections offering to assist subject to his answers on three questions.

    His answer on abortion wasn’t bad at all. His answer on “assisted death” was personal and carefully thought out, if not exactly what I wanted to hear.

    His answer to “would you vote to repeal Same Sex Marriage (sic)” was a party answer. The answer of a party whose leadership had clearly been got at by the Gay Mafia. He told me what they had done and said at the time the bill had been in Parliament. What the European Court would do, but nowhere said what he would do if he ever got into Parliament. Then changed the subject.

    I suspect it suits them to have people believe what they want to about their intentions. Very reminiscent of the LibDems really.

    • dannybhoy

      I was aware that some policies were at odds with my own beliefs but on the key issues and the need for more accountability I was satisfied.
      After all just as you never find a church that suits exactly, so it is with politics.
      And in some cases the two things have much in common…. 😉

      • After this comment: “just as you never find a church that suits exactly”, Jack will call Opus Dei off …..

    • DTNorth

      Annul my marriage and I will break your face.

  • “The chief danger that confronts the coming century will be religion without the Holy Ghost, Christianity without Christ, forgiveness without repentance,
    salvation without regeneration, politics without God, heaven without hell.”

    William Booth

  • bluedog

    Your Grace, Bishop Pete is a soixante-huitard, one of those whose world view was formed at a time when it was discovered that Jesus was in fact the first socialist, and that his entry into Jerusalem on Palm Sunday was simply a precursor of the CND marches. Once this association of ideas is understood it becomes possible to extend the logic into a belief that any who oppose such enlightenment must be racist, and homophobic, and global warming deniers, to boot. So for Bishop Pete to regard UKIP as anything other than racist would be entirely inconsistent. His only mistake so far is failing to mention the other attributes of the standard litany of Leftist contempt, and focussing solely on the racism of UKIP. Farage’s comments about migrants with HIV give cause for optimism.

    The success of UKIP highlights an extraordinary weakness on the part of the Cameroons.

    Coming as they do from privileged and largely metropolitan backgrounds, Cameron and his cronies have never had any experience of working closely with the so-called working classes. The Cameroon experience is limited to the professions, the media and politics itself. They could therefore never recognise that the White British working-class had become a political open goal, something your communicant has been raving on about for years, given the retreat of Labour to a similar metropolitan bourgeois clique. The days when Labour represented the cream of the working-class are long gone.

    There are no creatures in the Realm more conservative and patriotically British than the old White British working class, and of course, they are repelled by weirdo excursions like SSM. And this is the constituency being targeted so brilliantly by UKIP. In terms of their life experience, Cameron and Miliband have far more in common with each other than either of them have with a Scouser or a Geordie, and oh how it shows.

    • James60498 .

      I spent aeons campaigning for the Tories. I was out canvassing a council estate alone at the age of 17.
      Whenever I was canvassing a nice middle class area I wondered around in desperation imagining total wipeout as I was left disappointed by the voters answer.

      But then on the council estates I enjoyed it far more. Sure every house filled me with dread that I may be attacked. But I never was and many of these people gave me a positive response.

      You see they were conservatives. They weren’t voting for the party of the rich but the party of the conservative.

      The Tory Party is no longer the party of the conservative. There is no longer any reason for these people to vote for it. So yes they will vote UKIP.

      And not only will they vote UKIP but those who couldn’t vote Tory “because my dad would turn in his grave” will also vote UKIP.

      The main parties are all deservedly in big trouble. The problem is the only ones to replace them are the bunch of misfits led by the womanising pub crawler in chief.

      We need a realistic Christian Party with Christian and conservative policies. And we need Christians to wake up and work and vote for it.

      • bluedog

        You raise an interesting point, James60498. The British people have never elected a divorced individual as their leader, and both Nigel Farage and Boris Johnson carry this stigma.

        • disqus_N9Jawtu8Uw

          True Britishness, (unlike the niaive, childish, PC, Britishness of the Home Secretary), is “Live and let live but be quiet and don’t ram things down my throat”.

          Either Nigel Farage or Boris Johnson can get elected because of true Britishness.

          It was true Britishness that elected Ted Heath. We all knew he was gay, everyone knew he was gay, but nobody said anything. It was Nick Clegg who stupidly said that “One day we’ll have a homosexual Prime Minister and nobody will think anything of it”. Clearly nobody had told the dutch idiot about Edward Heath.

      • I know a number of people who would never, ever vote for the Tories, and simply abstain because they are disillusioned with Labour whom appear to be no longer a party for the “workers” with their views on benefits and immigration. These are the voters who hopefully will be persuaded to vote UKIP.
        I don’t think we need a Christian Party as such; what I do think we need is a party that espouses broad Judeo-Christian morals and ethics rather than pretending to have a mish-mash of beliefs in order to try to appease all the various minority groups.

        • Manfarang

          A young lady on a council estate in Hartlepool did tell me she was a Ukip supporter and from a Labour background. I don’t think she knew of the full implications of what she was supporting.

          • The same could be said of most supporters of Labour. When I was working, most Labour voters that I knew seemed to vote Labour because it was the thing to do rather than from any knowledge of their policies. Probably true of the Tory supporters as well. Indeed the main impression that I’ve gained throughout my life is that few actually vote for a party, most vote against another party.

      • Manfarang

        Yes I liked canvassing council estates.I could always get someone who lived on one signed up as a party member.

    • carl jacobs


      A what?

      [google, google]

      Oh my goodness, Dog. I know that commenting on weblogs is a contact sport but…. calling your opponent ‘French!’ There are some lines that you just shouldn’t cross.


      • bluedog

        Thank you, Carl, it was a difficult decision and not taken without hours of prayer and soul-searching. However, using French names/words that neither party really understands confers an immediate superiority in certain circles of British society.

        The emergence of UKIP is a classic electoral response to the phenomenon described by Charles A Murray in his book, ‘Coming Apart’, which I really must read.

        • Cressida de Nova

          You are correct bluedog. All well educated people globally speak French. The Norman Invasion was a God send to your isle. It transformed English into a rich and civilised language.

          • ukfred


      • Carl, such comments do not assist Jack’s attempts at trying to establish an Entente Cordiale between you and Cressida de Nova.

        • carl jacobs


          That ain’t gonna happen, Jack. I don’t pay any attention to her. And she, well … that’s all I will say.


    • avi barzel

      Soixante-huitard. Gosh, Blue dog, I’m truly humbled. Rather shocking to encounter after three days of electronic deprivation too. I’ll survive, but won’t ever be the same….

    • Manfarang

      “Coming as they do from privileged and largely metropolitan backgrounds”
      What sort of background do you think Farage is from?

      • bluedog

        Privileged and largely metropolitan. Your point?

        • Manfarang

          He has no contact with the “working class” and his ideas are just traditional Tory.
          The traditional working class is in decline with the loss of heavy industry.

  • Yes, the Christian loves his neighbour whoever he is and wherever he comes from, but the fundamental point is this – Does the open doors immigration policy of recent years constitute a conformity to God’s purposes? Is it God’s will that Britain abandons border controls, so as to fulfil the goal of an ever more diverse society?

    If we listen to what most churches in Britain have been saying regarding the migrant influx of the last 50 years, we must conclude that mass immigration is nothing less than a wonderful fulfilling of God’s purposes for mankind. The Bible, however, does not endorse such a view, teaching rather the need to respect national boundaries.

    In Deuteronomy 32:8 we read, ”The most High divided to the nations their inheritance … he set the bounds of the people”. So here is God’s own stamp upon the legitimacy of nationhood and national borders.

    In Numbers 20 and 21 we read of the Israelites travelling from the wilderness to the Promised Land. They needed to pass through the territory belonging to the Edomites and the Amorites. So they asked the kings of these two nations for permission to travel through their lands. Moses thus carefully observed the Edomites’ and Amorites’ boundaries as being ordained of God, and worthy of all respect.

    It is also not legitimate to use the ‘all one in Christ’ text – Galatians 3:28 – to justify the obliteration of national identity. When Paul says, “In Christ there is neither Jew nor Greek”, he is stating that men of every nation may be partakers of the covenant of grace, not that nationhood should be destroyed.

    Galatians 3:28 has simply nothing to do with immigration at all, and is no way an abrogation of God’s ordination of nationhood for the peoples of the world, an ordination which goes back to the time of the Tower of Babel. Rigorous control of a nation’s borders is in fact thoroughly righteous behaviour in the sight of God.

    • dannybhoy

      Very good points Reverend.
      In fact this is what I base my own view of nationalism on; that God scattered the peoples, Genesis 11:1-9 and why I don’t agree with multiculturalism.
      God demanded that His people Israel (whom He has not abandoned) keep themselves separate. By mixing up cultures and religions and pretending that they are all of equal value, we are undermining the values that built our own nation and made it the attractive and safe place that people want to come live in. It is exactly the same process that did for the Roman Empire.
      So whilst we should reach out to all living in this country and treat everyone with kindness and respect, the fact is we have opened our doors to some very unChristian beliefs and practices that will war against the Christian Church.

      • I totally agree Danny. Our contemporary society simply does not appreciate the enormous debt which it owes to the purifying influence of the Christian Gospel, and by that one means the message of personal salvation from sin, not the social gospel of theological liberalism which has consistently advocated multiculturalism.

  • Gerhard

    I’d love to know how the like of Giles Fraser and Pete Broadbent view the concept of sin. I’d love to know what their views are on the resurrection and how it relates to this concept of sin. Pretty basic stuff for a confessing Christian I know, but something tells me that they are of the ‘sin is so old fashioned’ and that the resurrection should be viewed in purely ‘metaphorical’ terms camp. These concepts are are first and foremost what distinguish a Christian from a non-Christian. Could it be that these clergymen are not Christian by definition?

  • A relevant comment from a past Anglican worthy on nationhood and Christianity :

    John Wesley wrote, “We feel in ourselves a strong … kind of natural affection for our country, which we apprehend Christianity was never designed either to root out or to impair”.