Bishops divided Brexit Bill
European Union

Bishops divided on Brexit Bill: moral obligation and ethical liberation

Will the Bishops vote for Brexit?‘ was the question posed a few weeks ago. Yesterday the House of Lords voted on an amendment to the European Union (Notification of Withdrawal) Bill, namely that:

Within three months of exercising the power under section 1(1), Ministers of the Crown must bring forward proposals to ensure that citizens of another European Union or European Economic Area country and their family members, who are legally resident in the United Kingdom on the day on which this Act is passed, continue to be treated in the same way with regards to their EU derived-rights and, in the case of residency, their potential to acquire such rights in the future.

It would have been pleasing to have had episcopal unity, but these are the Lords Spiritual where there is no agreed line to take and no whip: each of them is accountable to their conscience and to God. And those consciences and apprehensions of divinity were divided: two bishops voted for the amendment, and three against (the other 21 members of the Bishops’ Bench wimped out were absent for genuine and legitimate reasons of ministerial priority).

The Archbishop of York (a Remainer) was adamant that the Bill must be passed with all haste, unamended; to simply let the Prime Minister and Government get on with it. He said:

My Lords, Uganda was referred to by the noble Viscount, Lord Hailsham. It was regrettable that Idi Amin kicked out two types of Asians—British citizens and Ugandan citizens. My opposition to him was over the Ugandan citizens, who were the largest number. He kicked them out and my coming here in 1974 was as a result of my opposition to such behaviour. So I know how minorities can feel in a place. I know that we need to reassure our European friends who are resident here and want to remain here.

However, I have one great difficulty. Your Lordships’ House can scrutinise and revise legislation, but this simple Bill is simply to confer power on the Prime Minister to notify under Article 50 of the Treaty on the Functioning of the European Union that there is an intention to withdraw. It is giving her the power which I believe only Parliament—not the royal prerogative —can give her. At the meeting of the Lords Spiritual before all this came about, I questioned her right to simply use prerogative power because of what had gone on way back in 1215 in Magna Carta. Clause 39 says:

“No free man shall be seized or imprisoned, or stripped of his rights or possessions, or outlawed or exiled, or deprived of his standing in any way, nor will we proceed with force against him, or send others to do so, except by the lawful judgment of his equals or by the law of the land”—

and by “man” of course we now mean “woman” as well. Clause 40 says:

“To no one will we sell, to no one deny or delay right or justice”.

I think that is still enshrined in the rule of law in this country.

As far as I am concerned, until we have done the negotiation two years down the road, European citizens who are living here now will have every right to be here, like anyone else. People want to give assurance, but I think the assurance will be when the big Bill comes and we begin the debate. Remember, the European Union has free movement of people, free movement of goods and free movement of services. All that this little Bill is doing is starting a race: on your marks, get set, bang—and then they take off.

It will take two years to run this race. During the running of the race, we want to be sure that the concerns that are raised in this debate will come back. If, as I do, we want to see the Government take this decision on behalf of all of us—that EU citizens should be given a guarantee to remain—the best way to do it is to call the bluff of Angela Merkel by saying that we have now triggered Article 50, we will talk about it and unilaterally give the guarantee. It will be much quicker than the three months proposed in this amendment. I want it to be quicker than three months.

The other thing is that if the Government are about to start negotiation, we do not want to legislate piecemeal. Those rights can only be guaranteed not by the Government but by Parliament. We will have to go through another Bill in the middle of other matters. So as far as I am concerned, we need to scrutinise and revise the legislation. I do not want this little enabling Bill, which gives the Prime Minister power to say that we intend to get out, to grow into a very big Christmas tree with many baubles put on it. This House is aware of the concerns of EU citizens. I want to say, “Trigger it”, and then for the Prime Minister to return to the EU and say, “We want to guarantee as of today”, without waiting three months for more legislation, more proposals and more ideas. I do not want to do that.

I voted remain. I wrote in the Telegraph:

“It is sad that one issue has not emerged in the referendum debate: the keeping of promises. The campaign’s two sides seem to agree that the world began yesterday and we are faced with a clean slate and may position ourselves to greatest advantage. But the world, our European neighbours and we ourselves all have a recent history”.

I argued about the need to keep promises about the things we have entered into. Well, that fell on deaf ears and 52% decided to vote to leave, in spite of all the promises we had made and the things we had entered into.

I want to suggest that we leave the Bill as it is. Pass it as quickly as possible and, after all the speeches about guaranteeing European citizens their right to remain, let us do it as quickly as possible—but do not attach it to this Bill. As far as I am concerned, that is not revising or scrutinising the Bill. It is simply adding material which I do not think is very helpful.

At this point, the Archbishop was interrupted by Baroness Jones of Moulsecoomb, who challenged him as to whether he understood the moral obligation on the Government. “These people are not bargaining chips,” she chided. “If we say quite freely that they are free to stay, that gives the moral high ground to the Government in their negotiations.”

As Sir Humphrey Appleby once observed: “It’s interesting that nowadays politicians want to talk about moral issues, and bishops want to talk politics.” The Archbishop responded:

I never want to see any human person used as a bargaining chip. They are made in God’s likeness and as far as I am concerned, they are people and must be treated according to the rule of law in this country. The Prime Minister tried to give a guarantee. Angela Merkel did not want it before Article 50 was triggered. My suggestion is to trigger it and go back to what you promised.

I may be a Primate, but thank God I am not in captivity. The other Primate is definitely in captivity, because he is unwell and his legs have just had an operation—but I am not. I suggest that the sooner this becomes law, the greater the challenge we can give the Prime Minister on what she attempted to do but was prevented from doing because Article 50 had not been triggered. As soon as it is triggered and the power is given, we shall shout as loudly as we can and campaign as much as we can for her to go back to what she originally suggested.

People such as me were shocked, after being here and having to travel round on a travel document and pay huge sums for visas to visit the rest of Europe, to suddenly discover that when naturalised—that is the word that is used—as a British citizen we could suddenly visit the whole of Europe without a visa. That was great stuff, and I applaud it—but, please, this is a very limited Bill and we should pass it as it is.

I have one more suggestion for our Minister: to set up a truth and listening commission in every one of our four nations, so that the divisions which we are seeing at the moment can be healed and to listen to the truth and to what the people of Britain and Northern Ireland are looking for, rather than simply locking it in the Government. For those reasons I will vote against any of the amendments, as I do not think they are revising or improving the legislation. They are simply adding on and adding on.

His arguments clearly persuaded the bishops of St Albans and London (he’s still there) to vote with the Government. The bishops of Leeds and Newcastle, however, took a different moral high ground. Neither was called to speak, but (helpfully) the Bishop of Leeds blogs something along the lines of what he might have said:

When it came to the division, I felt conflicted. I heard clearly the plea not to frustrate or delay the progress of the bill – or to compromise the Government’s freedom to negotiate once Article 50 has been triggered. However, I eventually voted for the amendment because I think the Government has not explained the reciprocal linking of the situations of EU nationals in the UK and UK nationals in the EU. We have some power in the case of the former, but none in the case of the latter.

His argument is worth more than a cursory glance, not least because of this nugget of wisdom:

Two other elements of the debate are worth moaning about, too. (a) The ‘moral high ground’ was claimed repeatedly. Yet, there is never any definition of what makes a position moral in the first place. What we usually mean is that the ground I stand on is moral, whereas the ground you stand on is not. This is a poor – and rather grandstanding – way of conducting a moral argument. (b) The language of ‘moral gesture’ was used by several speakers, and I know what they mean. But, Parliament is there to do moral good, not to make gestures. This way lies trouble.

When Baroness Jones of Moulsecoomb (she wasn’t the only one) berates the Archbishop of York for not understanding the Government’s moral obligation, and he refutes this with appeals to the image of God and the sanctity of a political promise, it becomes clear that +Nick Baines articulates the nexus of the episcopal schism. The bishops of Leeds and Newcastle believe the greater moral good is to be found in binding the hands of the Prime Minister in her Brexit negotiations to ensure that she does the moral good that they have prescribed; that is to grant three million EU citizens swift and unconditional rights of residency. The bishops of York, London and St Albans believe the greater moral good is to be found in giving the Prime Minister maximum freedom to ensure reciprocity; to guarantee that UK citizens living in EU member states are not disadvantaged.

Leeds and Newcastle bind and doubt; York, London and St Albans loose and trust. Both factions are undoubtedly scrutinising and interrogating; doing their legislative-episcopal duty. But it is interesting to observe the division through the lens of liberation, the image of which has become Brexit normative. If Theresa May, the daughter of a High Anglican vicar, is imbued with the New Testament’s ethical witness, she will be neither blind nor deaf to Bishop Nick’s reasoning; indeed, she will embrace it, because she seeks to loves her neighbour, as Christ commanded, being sensitive and attuned to the social and economic realities of EU citizens who have made a home in the UK, and the UK’s dependency upon their contributions.

But +Leeds and +Newcastle seem to incline to the view that the Prime Minister’s path of Brexit liberation is purely political, or more immanently political, with the danger (if not likelihood) of losing touch with the hope and freedom of Christian morality. So she must be bound by an amendment to guarantee this. As Lords Spiritual, their primary task is to remind temporal politicians of the power of and their accountability to God; to ‘save’ legislation from iniquity and injustice. But it seems that ++York, +London and +St Albans are prepared to trust the vicar’s daughter unreservedly with her Brexit eschatology.

The ultimate liberation for EU citizens in the UK is inseparable from the liberation of UK citizens from the EU. Their moral right to remain is contiguous with the Government’s ethical responsibility to secure a true and just liberation. The Archbishop of York optimistically grasps the urgent conviction of a new creation of love and freedom: the Bishop of Leeds hears groaning and sees bondage. The true moral vision is probably perched somewhere in between.

  • David

    I recall that some months ago Mrs May suggested that all should agree that EU citizens living here, or British citizens living in another EU country, should all be reassured that their residency rights would remain in place, both during the two year period and afterwards. She suggested this as a moral position, to clarify that human beings would not be used as bargaining chips. She wanted it agreed and cleared out of the way before the tough horse trading started. Mrs May was right to do that. But Merkel point blank refused !

    So faced with that sort of intransigence it would be totally wrong of the Lords to bind the much needed negotiating leverage that May needs to safeguard the rights of all ex-pats, British especially but also other european countries’ citizens.

    But hey this is just about liberal virtue signalling isn’t it ! My guess is that many of these Left-liberal “lords” could not negotiate their way out of a paper bag, possessing little if any practical experience of doing real, practical and fair deals with anyone.

    Bring back the hereditary Lords, as they were to a man loyal, if somewhat eccentric at times. Failing that scrap the Lords as an upper house. All we need are revising and advising committees of genuine experts, who can be brought in as needed on a consultancy retainer basis, which need not cost a fortune. We do not need hordes of virtue signalling, retired and failed politicians, free loading from the country. Blair’s “reforms” have ruined the Lords. He has the reverse Midas touch that Blair creature. New Zealand manages without a Lords so why do we need these people ?

    • Dominic Stockford

      As I understand it 26 other leaders were happy to agree this in advance – however one, Merkel, refused. I think that we should come to an agreement with all the other 26 in advance, and warn Germans living here that their future is NOT certain.

      • David

        Thank you for that extra information. Yes I agree with you. Dogmatists are usually impossible to negotiate with, but that’s Merkel for you.

      • Anton

        Merkel wants good trade relations with the UK. Can you provide a reference for what you say, please?

        • Dominic Stockford

          I’m sorry, can’t. I am pretty sure it was the Gatestone Institute, somewhere.

    • Paul Greenwood

      Problem is UK has no Register so it does not know how many EU Nationals are in the UK. It changed the law in Jan 2017 requiring CSI which none knew about…..

      http://www.freemovement.org.uk/comprehensive-sickness-insurance-what-is-it-and-who-needs-it/

    • Anton

      The man whom Juncker has appointed as the EU’s chief negotiator for Brexit has a CV that you couldn’t make up. Michel Barnier lost the vote on the European Constitution and then rewrote it as the Lisbon Treaty which was designed to do the same thing softly softly but was rejected by his own voters in France; became France’s Minister for Agriculture, overseeing the fruits of the corrupt Common Agricultural Policy; pushed for the creation of a European Defence Force which would, of course, undermine NATO; was a regulator of Europe’s banks at the start of the European sovereign debt crisis; and has also been the EU Commissioner for (wait for it) entrepreneurship.

      Let us hope his incompetence extends to the Brexit negotiations.

  • Politically__Incorrect

    If this amendment is passed in the Commons it will effectively mean that British citizens living elsewhere in the EU become “bargaining chips” for Brussels. Anyone who has watched the behaviour of EU leaders and politicians can see they are too petulant and cantankerous to be trusted on this. My conclusion is that those who voted for the amendment, by tying the PM’s hands in negotiations, are simply re-running the referendum again, and trying to cause as much difficulty as possible, and if possible (though it probably isn’t) to scupper the process of Brexit altogether.

    It is fairly typical of the Remain mentality that British citizens matter less than other nationals, and this is revealed in the vote. I’m not sure whether the Government can use the Parliament Act in this situation, but if it can they should use it. Also, whenever Mrs May calls an election, reform of the House Of Lords must be in the Tory manifesto. the Upper House must be made accountable to the people of this country.

    • Dominic Stockford

      Using the Parliament Act means, I believe, a period of chucking things back and forward until impasse, and then a period of some months before the Commons can force it through. Clearly this is not possible on this occasion. We have to hope that if it goes through again the Lords will do as some have promised, and not vote the amendment through again.

      • Politically__Incorrect

        My concern is that if the number of Tory rebels is great enough, the amendment get through the Commons. Mrs May and her team will need some skilful manoeuvring to ensure this does not happen. Maybe a few local Conservative groups talking about de-selection will make those rebels think twice

        • Anton

          Call an election on it in that case. It might just bury the Labour Party for good measure, too.

        • Hi

          It would be interesting if the amendment got through, but was refused royal assent (on the advice of Mrs May). Then they’d be a general election to settle the matter , with a Conservative landslide.

          • Paul Greenwood

            Royal Assent is given by Civil Servants and never sees Buck House.

            “The Queen can give Royal Assent in person but this has not happened since 1854. The Queen’s agreement to give her assent to a Bill is a formality.”

          • Hi

            True. But the Queen always has to act on the advice of her ministers. Therefore if Mrs May said to the Queen I’m officially asking you to refuse royal assent in person , she would have to do so . It would only be a problem if the Queen said no I’m not vetoing this; I think the last time royal assent was refused was by Queen Anne on the advice of her ministers.

            Reference :https://en.m.wikipedia.org/wiki/Scottish_Militia_Bill

            The Scottish Militia Bill (known formerly as the Scotch Militia Bill) is the usual name given to a bill that was passed by the House of Commons and House of Lords of the Parliament of Great Britain in early 1708. However, on 11 March 1708,[1] Queen Anne withheld royal assent on the advice of her ministers for fear that the proposed militia created would be disloyal.[2]

          • Paul Greenwood

            The Monarch has NO power to do anything such except be removed.

            1708 is a very long time ago and Queen Anne was not succeeded by any of her children. No Monarch since 1708 has vetoed any Parliamentary Bill

          • Hi

            The monarch still has the formal power to hold royal assent to a bill. In the example I gave , the last time the royal assent was refused, was ON THE ADVICE OF HER MINISTRY, or in today’s parlance the government. The head of the government is Mrs May. She can “advise” the Queen to veto the bill. And she would. This is called crown prerogative, i.e. formal powers of the Crown exercised by ministers . But an election would almost certainly be held.

          • Paul Greenwood

            Why would she veto a Bill ? That would be another Unelected Institution blocking Art 50

          • Hi

            You don’t quite understand. The amendment passed in the house of lords goes against government policy. If the house of commons agrees with the amendment it would usually become law. However the Crown has the authority to veto this legislation. The Crown does not because the British monarch is constitutional and acts on the advice of the government . The elected government can advise the Queen to veto this amended Bill as it goes against government policy . The precedent for this is the link I gave earlier.

            A general election would have to follow. The conservatives would win. The house of lords would back down and Brexit goes through.

          • Paul Greenwood

            A general election would have to follow.

            Five Year Parliament Act restricts that option. You failed to point out how the ECA 1972 violated The Coronation Oath. Surely The Coronation Oath is the supreme directive for The Monarch, but, as David Starkey pointed out some time ago, the current incumbent is more concerned with keeping her family on the throne than great constitutional issues

          • James Bolivar DiGriz

            “Queen Anne was not succeeded by any of her children”
            Hardly surprising as none of them survived.

          • Paul Greenwood

            Can you think of a better reason /

          • Paul Greenwood

            The Queen could block BreXit and be European of The Year lauded by Blair, Heseltine, Major, Juncker and Schulz……..yes I can see her doing it for Prince Charles.

          • Hi

            You don’t quite understand. See below.

          • Politically__Incorrect

            A GE sounds like a good idea to me, as long as HoL reform was also on the menu

        • As Jack understands it, use of the Parliament Act means a Bill may be passed in the next Parliamentary Session without the consent of the House of Lords under section 2 of the Parliament Act 1911, as amended by the Parliament Act 1949.

          A Parliamentary Session is a parliamentary year. Sessions normally begin in the Spring with the State Opening of Parliament, and run for around 12 months, ending with the prorogation of the session.

          The next session commences in May 2017.

    • David

      Amen to that.

  • I’m from Barcelona

    That the HoL could waste so much time and so much of our money (£184,200 / day + costs), on this asinine, and ultimately futile, amendment is as sure an indication, if one was required, that the whole rotten institution is in urgent need of reform. To surrender British expatriates as bargaining chips to the stinking pile that is the EU whilst pontificating that foreign residents in the UK cannot be used in a similar manner demonstrates the how little regard they have for the people of our sovereign nation. The PM has stated time, and time again, that foreign residents in the UK in post-Brexit Britain, will have rights commensurate with those afforded British residents in the EU. It is way past time for a root and branch overhaul of the HoL. Only those who are on oath to give primacy to the interests of Britain should be allowed anywhere near the place.

    • Politically__Incorrect

      I agree. I think the calls for reform are going grow louder now. The Lords have done a disservice to the nation, betrayed its citizens, and should be held to account for it

      • I’m from Barcelona

        I also believe that a reformed HoL should exclude the Bishops. Their constant demonstrations of just how out of touch they are should be enough to exclude them.

        • 1649again

          I’d keep just the Archbishops, the head of the RCs, a couple of non-conformist leaders and the Chief Rabbi. The rest add nothing.

          • I’m from Barcelona

            Far from adding anything they detract; their fatuous guff also irritates.

        • Coniston
          • I’m from Barcelona

            The final sentence says it all.

          • Martin

            I’d say the problem started in the century before, the 1887 Downgrade Controversy was at its heart.

    • David

      Well said Sir, or perhaps it’s Señor !

    • Paul Greenwood

      Quite why British voters tolerate a Retirement Home for discredited politicians and Union hacks is not clear. Baroness Symons, former Civil Servant Union leader – Angela Smith, Labour Leader in Lords…..Baroness Hogg and husband Viscount Hailsham……..hilarious

      • I’m from Barcelona

        And you’ve only just scratched the surface. As you say, it’s beyond me as to why we put up with it.

      • 1649again

        We have no choice. We elect professional politicians who make quite sure they have a nice paying paying club to retire to if they keep their noses clean.

        • I’m from Barcelona

          “Clean”? Some of the most despicable politicians are promoted to the HoL. That they’ll readily accept the likes of Mandelson, Jenner, etc. only tells how reviled Tony Blair must be within the corridors of power.

          • 1649again

            As in don’t derail the gravy train for other politicians.

          • I’m from Barcelona

            You’ve got it in one mate.

  • Astute, solid, honest points made by the Archbishop of York.

  • Anna

    If this amendment is accepted, the House of Lords will have the joy of seeing British citizens on the continent used as bargaining chips by Angela Merkel and the EU.

    • Sarky

      No fool like an old fool!

      • Politically__Incorrect

        Don’t be so hard on yourself Sarky 🙂

    • Paul Greenwood

      I don’t think Angela Merkel will have much to do with it by September ! It is gesture politics, Sentamu is right. Germany has hundreds of thousands of failed asylum seekers it fails to deport and grants a “Duldung” which lets them stay and ironically they can work which asylum seekers cannot.

      There are elections in Germany’s most populous state this month. It is an SPD dominion which is why Labour created it in 1947 – they are busy trying to get Non-Germans on the voter register to stay in power.

      There are 100,000 UK nationals in Germany including John Cryan, CEO at Deutsche Bank. In the main these are high income groups just like Germans in UK so I don’t see any big problem. More US Citizens live in Germany than UK nationals. They simply get a vIsa and Work Permit and I doubt UK nationals will need either in Germany.

      Germany has no wish to antagonise the UK – it has had adverse consequences previously even if Hitler was an Anglophile (he was). The UK is the jewel in the EU crown – it is the place youth across the EU most wants to visit and it is way ahead of any other location as representing flexibility and opportunity

      • Anna

        “There are 100,000 UK nationals in Germany… In the main these are high income groups just like Germans in UK so I don’t see any big problem.”

        Probably not in Germany, but certainly the British citizens who have chosen to retire in Spain will be affected. Everyone knows that Angela Merkel calls the shots at the EU, and the fact is that she has refused to discuss their status until Brexit is triggered.

        • Paul Greenwood

          Rajoy has already made a deal with UK since British tourists bring 1.5% Spain’s GDP and Spain needs UK market

          • Anna

            He has offered hope, but can he – unilaterally – guarantee their rights while Spain is a member of the EU?

          • Paul Greenwood

            Without UK the power in EU shifts towards Club Med and Central Europe

          • Hi

            He wants Gibraltar.

          • Paul Greenwood

            No he doesn’t. He won’t get it. He wants 1.5% GDP

          • Anna

            Rajoy has asked for ‘co-soveregnity’ over Gibraltar –

            http://en.mercopress.com/2017/02/20/spain-s-rajoy-insists-with-co-sovereignty-for-gibraltar

          • Paul Greenwood

            Ireland has co-sovereignty over N Ireland

          • Hi

            “Ireland has co-sovereignty over N Ireland”

            Err no.

          • 1649again

            Indeed, quite emphatically.

          • Paul Greenwood

            The agreement is binding on the two Governments who have signed it. Dr. FitzGerald could not arrange for it to be binding on two sovereign states including the Republic of Ireland because the constitution of the Republic lays claim to Northern Ireland and he as Prime Minister has no right to abandon that claim on behalf of the Republic in adopting a constitutional guarantee for the majority in Northern Ireland. Such a guarantee can be given as a political gesture, but it has no binding legal force on anyone but the present Government of the Republic. In other words, we are abandoning one of the proudest features of our independence for a mere political gesture from a transitory Government.

            Until now, we could say to interfering foreigners, “Thank you for your interest, but this is our land and you have no right to interfere.” The agreement means that we can no longer say that. From now on, we shall be plagued by Spain demanding a role in the affairs of Gibraltar, Argentina demanding a role in the affairs of the Falklands, and so on. Even Jamaica, India and other states will now have a precedent for demanding the right to be consulted about the grievances of their citizens in the United Kingdom.

            http://hansard.millbanksystems.com/commons/1985/nov/27/anglo-irish-agreement#S6CV0087P0_19851127_HOC_294

          • Hi

            Gibraltar is to the Spanish what the Falklands are to Argentina.

          • Anton

            But they have Ceuta opposite Gibraltar!

          • Hi

            Gibraltar is British and proudly so, especially amongst the Sephardi British Jews who live there.

          • IrishNeanderthal

            I was watching Portillo in Greece yesterday. At the time of his Bradshaw (1913), Thessaloniki had just been retaken from the Ottoman Empire.

            Only a third of the population of the city was Greek: a half were Sephardi Jews whose ancestors had been expelled from Spain: presumably they spoke Ladino.

          • Paul Greenwood

            Not quite. Gibraltar is Treaty of Utrecht 1713 which has many other clauses than simply Gibraltar, and would involve global adjustments. Argentina simply claims to have inherited Spain’s island possessions although Britain enforced sovereignty in 1771 over Spain.

          • Anna

            Rajoy has asked for ‘co-soveregnity’ over Gibraltar –
            http://en.mercopress.com/2017/02/20/spain-s-rajoy-insists-with-co-sovereignty-for-gibraltar

        • Paul Greenwood

          Merkel calls NO shots in EU. You are way out of touch

          • Hi

            Tell that to the Greeks!

          • Paul Greenwood

            It is Obama who set the agenda for the Greeks through Merkel. Watch how things change. The IMF is run by the US Treasury and has changed policy

          • James Bolivar DiGriz

            Not what I hear from my friend who works for the IMF.

            The head of which is currently Christine Lagarde whoc is European like every other head of the IMF. The Worl Bank, on the other hand, is always lead by an American.

          • Paul Greenwood

            “led” is the English way……Lagarde was Head of Baker & McKenzie which is her key attribute. IMF is funded by US Treasury and Congress refuses to increase funding yet the US dare not reform the IMF giving China, Brasil and India more say. The Us Treasury runs the IMF and that is why IMF funds have been used to fund war in Ukraine (Illegal) and funding Greece (illegal) and most IMF funds are tied up in Europe.

            Lagarde had to prop up French and German banks and Allianz SE which were heavily loaded with Greek Sovereign Debt now shunted off to ECB

          • James Bolivar DiGriz

            “IMF is funded by US Treasury”
            Simply untrue. I stopped reading at that point as anything based on that has to be nonsense.

          • Paul Greenwood
          • James Bolivar DiGriz

            Thank you for proving that what you wrote previously is not true, i.e. you said “IMF is funded by US Treasury” and your links show that this is not true.

          • Paul Greenwood

            IMF is controlled by US Treasury Secretary because Us has largest quota. It is well known it has never intervened in Washindton DC despite being within walking distance of US Treasury. US is a bigger basket case than most IMF targets. It loaned huge sums to Ukraine which NO independent organisation would ever do. It has over-loaned to Greece to save EuroZone.

            It is well known IMF is subservient to US Treasury Secretary as Tom Geithner will tell you.

          • James Bolivar DiGriz

            Last comment because you are just posting obvious nonsense.

            “IMF is controlled by US Treasury Secretary because because Us has largest quota”

            Yes a whole 17%! So the US provides 17% of the money (not all of it as you said) and has 17% of the votes.

            “It is well known IMF is subservient to US Treasury Secretary”

            Yes loads of people know this, well for a start there is Paul & there is Mr Greenwood.

            “as Tom Geithner will tell you”

            Who’s that? Any relation to as Tim Geithner?

          • Paul Greenwood

            http://cepr.net/press-center/press-releases/us-and-europe-continue-to-maintain-control-of-imf-despite-small-changes-in-voting-structure

            with 16.73 percent of votes, the U.S. dwarfs all other member countries’ voting shares, both before and after the latest changes, and that outside of Brazil, Russia, India and China, voting shares for the rest of the developing world have actually decreased by 3 percentage points.

            “The shift of 2.35 percentage points to China is far too small to make any significant difference in how the organization is run,” CEPR Co-Director, and co-author of the brief, Mark Weisbrot said today. “Also, the U.S. importantly still has veto power over an array of major decisions.

            “The IMF will continue to be dominated by the finance ministries of the rich countries, with U.S. Treasury at the top, and the governments of the vast majority of the world’s people will have very little say.”

            The OECD countries have 63.09 percent of votes at the IMF, but represent only 45.6 percent of the global economy (on a purchasing power parity —PPP — basis). China’s 18.6 percent of the world economy (on a PPP basis) is more than the U.S., and China has more than four times the population of the U.S., but the U.S. has more than 2.6 times China’s voting share at the Fund.

            “The changes in voting share at the IMF have been very small, doing almost nothing to alter the balance of power in one of the world’s most important institutions,” said Weisbrot. “Even in terms of representing the world’s biggest economies, IMF governance structure is vastly outdated and ensures that the U.S. and Europe will continue to control the Fund.”

          • Paul Greenwood
          • Dominic Stockford

            Lagarde, the convicted, now what was it, fraudster maybe?

          • Paul Greenwood

            Fraud is the basis of many legal and finance careers not to mention political office

          • Hi

            Well that’s nonsensical. The Merkel government has been quite consistent on how to deal with the Greeks.

          • Paul Greenwood

            No it has not. Schauble has a very different policy from Merkel. As does Gabriel.

          • Anna

            Well, someone who can pressure European nations to take in refugees against the wishes of their citizens wields disproportionate power in the EU. In comparison, Cameron had to be content with crumbs when he sought a deal before the Referendum.

          • Paul Greenwood

            I don’t know of any EU country that has done what Merkel wanted. Italy is stuck with the problem because Cameron and Sarkozy murdered Ghadaffi who was stopping it. Erdogan has flooded Greece and Austria and Bulgaria because the EU states failed to pay what they agreed to fund refugee camps in Lebanon and Turkey.

  • Paul Greenwood

    http://www.freemovement.org.uk/comprehensive-sickness-insurance-what-is-it-and-who-needs-it/

    This is the problem in the UK and it affects EEA Nationals more than EU

  • I’m from Barcelona

    They don’t live there, but for £300 per day plus subsidised wining and dining it’s a cosy club for members.

    • Hi

      It’s the best retirement home in London?

      • I’m from Barcelona

        More of a Darby & Joan in ermine.

      • Anton

        Best day care centre for the elderly.

        • Politically__Incorrect

          … and they all get to dress up and get plastered in the bar.

      • 1649again

        Less exclusive than Whites though.

  • Politically__Incorrect

    Karl or Graucho?

  • Jeremy Corbyn ordered his MPs to support the Bill unamended when it went through the Commons. Will he do so again? Yesterday he described the result of the Lords vote as “great news” He might permit or require Labour his MPs to back this amendment in the Commons.

    The situation is further complicated by another Lords vote next week on a further amendment which would give MPs a “meaningful vote” on the outcome of Mrs May’s negotiations with the EU. This vote which could also go against the Government and may be supported by Labour and a number of Conservative MP’s.

    The amended Bill will return to the House of Commons on March 13th and March 14th, when MPs will decide whether to keep the changes. If they do not, and the Lords remain intransigent, the legislation could will delayed until the next session of Parliament which commences in May 2017.
    Interesting times ……

    • Anton

      Corbyn was always anti-EU till he became Labour leader. He is a throwback to the days of the 1970s when the Tories were pro-EU and Labour was anti.

  • Sarky

    Call me cynical, but don’t many of the lords have their fingers in pies, that require immigrant labour to keep them in moats and duck houses?

    • Politically__Incorrect

      I bet a few of them have a Romanian butler.

    • 1649again

      A la Vaz?

      • I’m from Barcelona

        Naughty.

        • 1649again

          It was the reference to fingers and immigrants that triggered me.

          • I’m from Barcelona

            Understandably so. Good morning.

          • 1649again

            Morning Manuel.

      • Sarky

        Not that kind of immigrant labour!!!!!
        Just take a look at the register of lords interests. Makes a good read.

    • bluedog

      Immigrants are needed to solve the servant problem.

    • Sarky, you’re cynical.

  • CliveM

    There is a fundamental piece of dishonesty underlying this amendment. This isn’t about EU Citizens rights, this is about undermining the Governments negotiating position. They hope to make it so weak and the resulting outcome so unpalatable that they hope to be able to trigger a second referendum, with a different result.

    Blair, Heseltine, Farron and co have not given up.

    Btw, few people seriously believe there is any chance of the U.K. Govt (or any other EU Government) actually kicking out hundreds of thousands, if not millions of residents. It’s all posturing.

    • 1649again

      Quite right. This is all about the establishment, at the behest of the Deep State, sabotaging the UK’s chances of a smooth and successful full Brexit. Similar tactics are underway in the US where the Deep State is using the media and Democrats to attack Sessions as they seek to knock over Trump’s key supporters one-by-one. THis is a war on two democratic events that were not supposed to happen.

  • Inspector General

    One wonders if the 40 work to a rota to man the place. Or do they just ‘drop in’ if they’ve nothing better and grab the attendance fee… Best not turn up, if you are a man of God, racked by uncertainty, which seems quite likely to be an Anglican bishops lot these days. If you are nowhere near the place, you can’t be blamed either way.

    The defeat was no doubt helped by over 100 Liberally Non-Democrats rather than untrusting priests. The order of the day being to wreck the thing and defy the people’s wishes it would not surprise.

    Who’d have thought it, eh! That the party of the wishy washy and drug decriminalising would all fall in behind EU quisling Farron to a man…you can almost hear the thud of boots on the ground as they come to attention together.

    • Dominic Stockford

      And Farron lays claim to being a Christian. Pah! (As I am sure you would say…)

      • Perhaps you could declare an anathema on him ….

        • len

          There a lot of those about these days.

          • Not in the Catholic Church, Len. As already explained, in Greek, anathema literally means: placed on high, suspended or set aside. Anathema was a canonical penalty at one time, involving excommunication, not a curse. This penalty was abolished in the new Code of Canon Law in 1983.

          • len

            Not one of the infallible whatsits then?.

          • The canons of Trent still stand as infallible. Alas the Church dispensed with suspending heretics generations ago. You shall have to seek martyrdom elsewhere. A trip to Riyadh with your sandwich board, perhaps? Dominic can accompany you and 1649 and Anton can carry your luggage. One way tickets.

          • len

            Who knows what the future holds?

          • Cressida de Nova

            Don’t forget to take lots of pics and send them to us…

          • len

            Want another cabbage thrown in your direction?.

          • Anton …. ?

          • Anton

            Persecution for all serious Christians whether Catholic or protestant.

          • 1649again

            So was the church infallible when it was burning ‘heretics’ or only infallible when it stopped burning ‘heretics’?
            Your etc,
            Confused

          • The Church is both human and spirtitual. You work it out.

          • 1649again

            But how is one to tell which is one and which is another unless one employs one’s subjective conscience, which is the against the the whole point of infallibility surely, i.e. so that we are not to question the teaching?

          • You could start with forming a rational and unbiased understanding of Catholic doctrine concerning this.

          • carl jacobs

            No Catholic actually knows the content of infallible teaching. That’s one of the beauties of the system.

          • Infallible teachings taught by Councils and ex-cathedra statements are clear but do leave room for different interpretations within defined parameters. Applying these in changing circumstances will, naturally, generate debate and discussion. What’s not so clear is the indefectible teachings of the ordinary magisterium until these are definitively stated by the Pope when there is need. The debate, discussion, clarification and development of doctrine is an ongoing process and ensures the Church remains alive and vibrant.

          • Anton

            Let all compare this cloud of verbiage with the way Christ spoke in the gospels!

          • Yes, perhaps for the narrow minded and rigid who are unfamiliar with Catholicism, it is too much to cope with. We have a tradition of resolving differences, rather than stamping our feet and running off to form new churches. Much of what is in the Gospels require careful study, clarification and development and this deposit of faith is handed down through the generations, protected and applied to changing circumstances and situations. We unite around the Apostolic authority of the Bishops and the Pope who are charged with steering this process and preserving doctrinal continuity and integrity.

        • 1649again

          Dominic got out over the wire and through the minefield, but the dogs will hound him through the fields and woods until he’s over the border. Anathema doesn’t begin to describe it.

      • Inspector General

        To Farron’s credit (blimey – must be getting old) militant LGBT only (only!) hold him in ‘deep suspicion’ for his Christianity. They have yet to accord him the greatest of honours in our book, to wit, ‘bigot’. That is not to say they haven’t tried to trip him up, they have, but he’s not biting…

  • Martin

    Isn’t it interesting that the bishops refrained from voting against the perversion of marriage bill, yet some feel free to vote against this. Would any like to explain themselves?

    • Cressida de Nova

      My first reaction and that of many others was the same I am sure. Even more puzzling how can any Christian in conscience be associated with the Anglican Church in view of their support of ssm? How do the Bishops defend their stance on perversion.? It is impossible to do so.The Anglican Church is a political organisation with a veneer of very diluted Christianity.

      • Anton

        Can’t think what other organisation that describes…

        • 1649again

          What proportion of RC communicants in the West practice contraception one wonders and can you tell me the Church Leader’s position on contraception please?

          • Cressida de Nova

            You know the RC does not support contraception. It is a sin How could I possibly know the numbers who practise contraception in West? Jack might know. I don’t know if you even have sin in your religion. If a Catholic practises contraception then they have commited a mortal sin and effectively have excommunicated themselves from the Church unless they seek forgiveness with the intention of never doing so again. There are also degrees of sin. In spite of you thinking that Catholicism is a one size fits all religion….it is not. Compassion and circumstances are considered,There is no sin that cannot be forgiven provided there is genuine remorse sorrow atonement and intention never to reoffend. Emphasis is on genuine. You can lie to a priest but you can never lie to God. Catholics are encouraged ‘to examine their consciences’ from a very early age so they can be self analytical enough to understand their motivations .
            The Catholic Bishop would never be able to support anti Christian practice even if the laity did. They dont get a vote on the Holy Writ. It’s writ and they are compelled to abide by what lies therin.There would be a lot fewer Catholics receiving the sacraments if that were the case. Your lot have got it back to front.

          • Many Catholics do not follow Church teaching relating to sexual morality for a variety of reasons. However, very few wear this as a “badge of honour” and most who attend Mass will be aware they are in a situation of serious objective sin and will not receive Holy Communion.

      • William Lewis

        If the Anglican Church was the House of CoE Bishops then you might have a point, as it isn’t …

        • David

          Quite !
          Many here make that mistake, which is an understandable one as the media and His Grace’s articles focus on the top layers, where many have long been worldly. The faith is still active and expanding amongst some of the lower layers.

          • Cressida de Nova

            How can the laity be at odds with its leaders.? They voted for them.These Bishops do not appear to be answerable to anyone let alone the Almighty. I have heard Welby say publicly that there are four references in the NT that do not support ssm. So how is it possible that these Bishops support ssm. Does Welby support ssm. If he does why don’t you all leave? Or split… organise yourself into a group with Christian vicars who follow the NT and the few Christian Bishops who do as well.. Of course if you could overcome your anti Catholic indoctrination …it would be a better and easier solution to convert to Catholicism. The big Anglican mess I’m afraid can never be unravelled now.

            Excuse me for a moment while I take cover….a lot of cabbages seem to be flying in my direction:)

          • len

            Here comes another!.

        • Cressida de Nova

          I am not au fait with Protestant ways. The Bishops are CoE Bishops. I thought they were the leaders of the Anglican Church.
          How can the Anglican Church be separate from its leaders?

          • William Lewis

            The Anglican Church is a communion of Protestant churches, of which the CoE is one. There are Anglican bishops all around the world.

          • Cressida de Nova

            Sorry I don’t have an understanding of how it all works. I thought that the CoE is the Anglican Church and the other Protestant denominations originally broke away from the CoE for reasons of dissatisfaction’ giving themselves different titles and renouncing some of the CoE rituals ,biblical interpretations etc.I have always known the CoE as the Anglican Church .I did not know the Protestant denominations are all supportive of each other and indeed are a communion (community. ) I had no idea of the merger of the Anglican CoE with all the others.

          • You are absolutely right!
            You don’t have an understanding of how it all works.

          • So why not explain it all?

          • It’s complex, Cressie.

            There is no single “Anglican Church” with universal juridical authority since each national or regional church has full autonomy, but the majority of Anglicans are members of churches which are part of the international “Anglican Communion”. The churches of the Anglican Communion are linked to the See of Canterbury and the Archbishop of Canterbury who is a focus of Anglican unit but he has no formal authority. There are a number of churches that are not within the Anglican Communion which consider themselves to be Anglican, such as those referred to as Continuing Anglican churches and those which are part of the Anglican Realignment movement.

            Other Protestant denominations are not Anglican and many who blog here are not members of the Church of England. These denominations hold a range and variety of views. What complicates it all even further is that the Church of England, an Anglican church, has a variety of theologies among its members and clergy, ranging from Puritan and Calvinist through to Arminianism and Evangelical (and these differ in theology too), and Anglo-Catholicism (that shares similar views to Roman Catholicism).

            Confused?

          • Cressida de Nova

            Thank you Jack. Very complicated arrangement. I think that all Protestant religions are opposed to Catholicism That is the raison d’etre of Protestantism…a rejection of Catholicism . Anglo Catholicism must be very unpopular amongst Protestants if it resembles Catholicism. So what denomination is HG?

          • HG Church of England. Apart from that, Jack would hazard a wild guess he’s somewhere between a moderate Anglo-Catholic in ecclesiology and a conservative Evangelical in exegesis.

          • Cressida de Nova

            I wont persist with this….Thanks anyway. All a bit too modern,post modern and mad pour moi !

          • Anton

            You must surely have seen Jack pontificating here about how the mistakes of individual Catholics, even high-up ones, do not reflect Rome’s formal doctrine. Same with the CoE, and its formal doctrine remains against SSM (if only just). This is simply a point of information and consistency, as I am not myself an Anglican.

          • Cressida de Nova

            What denomination are you?

          • Anton

            Denomination? Free congregation, madam, like the apostolic church.

      • Paul Greenwood

        Don’t get your hopes up. ECUSA in USA is a Pagan Church. EKD in Germany is a joke unable to work out how to commemorate the 500th Anniversary of a Roman Catholic Prelate who nailed 95 Theses to the door of the Schlosskirche in Wittenberg. At least the Roman Church in Mainz put Luther on a float on Rosenmontag

    • David

      Explain that you say ! How about, because they are driven not by rational thought or Biblical revealed truth but by Socialist beliefs – mostly anyway ? Chartres is no socialist though.

      • Martin

        David

        I’d rather they explained themselves, though you’re probably right.

  • Dominic Stockford

    Not an elected chamber. Politicians and political parties will take it over. Unless there is a way of having people who aren’t lawyers, previous MPs, or SPADs from getting in it would be a total disaster. And even then they’d find a way round it. The old system worked, until Bliar changed it.

    A method of random choice of members, using the Jury choosing system, would be pretty good. Maybe using those who have actually sat on a jury, rather than those who found some way to slide out of doing it. Pay them the same as MPs to be members, for a period of 10 years, then given them an honorary title as thanks. And, as above, don’t allow ex-MPs or lawyers to be members.

    • Anton

      SPADs? Signals Passed At Danger?

      How about one first-past-the-post chamber and one proportional-representation chamber?

      The big problem at Westminster is the party system. Over the centuries it has got progressively stronger over the conscience of individual MPs. I see no way of preventing it, but suggestions are welcome.

      • Dominic Stockford

        Which is why the random idea is what I came up with. Its the only way of avoiding the major parties and their hold over the consciousness of the British public.

        (SPADs = Special Advisors)

      • Martin

        Anton

        How about restricting the funding of political parties to the amount they can raise from a flat membership fee.

      • bluedog

        ‘How about one first-past-the-post chamber and one proportional-representation chamber?’

        The road to civil war. Which has precedence? There can never be two assemblies representing the same constituency.

        • Anton

          I’m just floating the suggestion. First-past-the-post is well suited to constituencies and PR isn’t, which would settle that issue.

          • bluedog

            I’m talking constituency in the broader sense, not the administrative sense. Note the singular.

        • Malcolm Smith

          This is the situation in Australia, except that we don’t use anything as crude as first-past-the-post. In the House of Representatives, we have preference voting. In other words, if Peter gets 45% of the vote, Paul 40%, and Mary 15%, Mary’s supporters get to decide whether they want Peter or Paul. This system was introduced in 1918 to prevent Labour winning without a majority vote, simply because their opponents were disunited.
          On the other hand, the Senate is elected on proportional representation, with equal numbers of senators for each state.
          It isn’t working very well right now, but most of the time it works very well – better than the system in the Old Country.

          • bluedog

            Yes, but Australia also has compulsory voting, which is a curious manifestation of democracy. Without that, preference voting in the House of Reps could be very interesting indeed. It’s probably time for Australia to ditch both PR and CV and go for FPTP. Much simpler and the results are instant and less likely to be subject to recount.

            But that’s by the by. The real issue is House of Lords reform, which naturally follows the inevitability of a federal constitution within which there is an English parliament.

      • carl jacobs

        SPADs?

        Société pour l’aviation et ses dérivés

    • 1649again

      45% Hereditaries, 45% selected by lot from a list of tax paying citizens an 10% people eminent in their field. No political patronage or party whip.

      • Dominic Stockford

        That also sounds like it would work.

  • bluedog

    A great speech by ++ York. It is heartening to see the more intelligent Remainers appreciating the nature of the opportunity presented by Brexit. Most impressive to witness a Damascene conversion by an Archbishop.

    • I’m from Barcelona

      As pleasing as it was surprising.

      • 1649again

        He should have been ABC.

        • I’m from Barcelona

          Without a doubt.

        • CliveM

          He would have made Welby look right wing.

          • 1649again

            Not so sure. He’s less predictable.

        • Anton

          Nazir Ali should have been.

          • 1649again

            Agree but he’d given up by then.

        • Martin

          I can’t say I find him spiritually inspiring.

        • David

          No, as Anton below says, the best ABC we never had is undoubtedly Bishop Michael Nazir-Ali.

  • 1649again

    That wonderful multiculti paradise and paragon of free speech that is Sweden has not only today announced the reintroduction of conscription (losing control of the streets while the police are all resigning?) on the same day that the German Foreign Ministry announces travel warnings to Sweden citing high risk of imminent terrorism. Of course Mr Trump was making it all up.

    • I’m from Barcelona

      And with nary an assist from Mystic Meg. Incredible, unless of course he’d actually been reading #notthemsm.

      • 1649again

        You mean perhaps his access to the world’s largest and most sophisticated intelligence agencies? He’d rather believe them than the BBC, CNN etc? Shocking.

        • I’m from Barcelona

          I know. Whatever will he think of next?

          • The wiccans are claiming to have bound Trump with a spell.

          • David

            That’ll be the day !

    • len

      Nothing to see in Sweden.Move along now……

  • bluedog

    A federal Britain is on the cards and entails a Senate. For the sake of tradition the senators can be called peers and hold the title of Lord or Lady. Trannies can be addressed as O Lordy.

    • It’ll be fabulous, darling.

    • William Lewis

      Trannies would be addressed as my Lardy.

  • chefofsinners

    There’s a photo for the Sentamu family album. Two fingers to the world, and one of ’em up Chartres’ nose.

    • len

      Just noticed that Chef..What could he be saying?.

      • chefofsinners

        A fist and a V-sign. ‘Tis the symbol of the miraculous 52%:
        Did not our Lord sustain the multitudes with five loaves and two fishes?

        • LII to you too.

        • William Lewis

          “Up yours, de Lords.”?

  • Demon Teddy Bear

    It is pretty sickening to be told that we the people have a supposed moral obligation to grant residency to 3 million foreigners.

    No we bloody don’t, and those who suggest it should be hanged for treason.