Brexit Bill - Royal Assent
European Union

As Brexit Bill receives Royal Assent, a lone bishop urges retention of free movement

By now Her Majesty will have set her seal upon the Brexit Bill: La Reyne le veult. At last we have The European Union (Notice of Withdrawal) Act, for which we must all thank Mrs Gina Miller, who single-handedly (with a bit of money from somewhere) ensured that the sovereign UK Parliament has endorsed what the sovereign British people decreed, thereby ending forever all legal doubt and constitutional wrangling over the dubious use of prerogative powers. The Prime Minister is now free to invoke Article 50 of the Lisbon Treaty. We are leaving the European Union. Hallel.. #slap. #Lent.

No bishops voted against the Commons to reinstate the Lords’ amendments. But now, even now, one bishop is insisting that as we leave we must retain free movement of persons (ie uncontrolled and uncontrollable immigration), as prescribed by the Treaty of Rome. The Rt Rev’d Robert Innes writes:

The ability of people to move freely across the UK and continental Europe to find work when they are younger, or to find a more pleasant climate when they are older, has been a wonderful thing. It has brought income to poorer people; it has been culturally enriching; it has probably added years to the lives of some older folk. People sometimes ask me what I’m looking for in the negotiations. It’s quite simple: I’d like things to stay the same. I think that is quite a reasonable negotiating goal, and I’m hoping our government will be able to achieve it.

Robert Innes is the Bishop of in Europe (by which very title the church de-Europeanises England, distinguishing it from the continental ‘other’), and his soothing appeal is to compassion for the elderly, jobs for the young, prosperity for the poor, cultural enrichment for all, and longevity (..really? EU free movement helps people to live longer?).

Here’s what the Rt Rev’d Mark Rylands, Bishop of Shrewsbury, thinks about free movement:

The UK has a proud history of welcoming migrants, and has benefited from the presence and contribution migrants make to society. Unrestricted EU immigration, however, means that we end up discriminating against non-EU nationals. This seems especially perverse when the UK has strong relationships with many other countries of the world through the Commonwealth, not just with the EU. The barriers to employing people from beyond the EU have become more numerous. For a Church in the UK that is weak in mission, it would be particularly welcome to have greater freedom to invite missionaries from the global South here to help us evangelise our country and rediscover our Christian roots.

Unrestricted EU immigration has been adversely affecting the poorest people in the UK. It may seem great if you want to employ a plumber, a nanny, or a builder; but to those competing with immigrants for jobs, houses, or places at schools, it looks very different.

So, far from free movement helping people to live longer, it adds to the sum of human misery by increasing unemployment, exacerbating poverty and placing an intolerable strain on public services, all of which tend to increase blood pressure and cause heart attacks, not mention being a hindrance to global mission.

But the Bishop in Europe wants to keep uncontrolled and uncontrollable immigration for 508 million people. That’s free movement for half a billion people so they can migrate to whichever country offers the best welfare or the highest minimum wage. Perhaps the Bishop never has a problem trying to obtain an appointment with a doctor or a dentist. Perhaps his worries about getting his children into a good school are non-existent. Perhaps he doesn’t meet many people like Sonia from Clacton, who faces a 15-year wait for a council home and “is worried about the impact of immigration on her town”.

Tsk, racists.. xenophobes.. ignorant little-Englanders..

The stupid electorate just don’t know what’s good for them, so we need elite philosopher-guardians like Richard Dawkins (and the Bishops?) to direct and restrain us. With near unanimity, the Bishops of the Church of England urged the British people to vote Remain in the EU Referendum, thereby exacerbating national division. It is impossible for the Church to be a focus for unity, peace and reconciliation when its leaders are themselves divided. What are people to make of an Archbishop of Canterbury who says:

The referendum campaign and its aftermath revealed deep divisions in our society… this feels like the most divided country that I have lived in in my lifetime. Whatever the outcome of the next two years, our nation’s future, particularly for the most vulnerable, will be profoundly damaged if we arrive in 2019 even more divided, without a common vision to confront the opportunities and challenges before us. To meet these opportunities and challenges in every aspect of policy and every level of society, we must find a level of national reconciliation…

..while his representative in Europe is praying for the retention of free movement? Where is national reconciliation to be found when parochial bishops seek to subvert the very national sovereignty for which the majority voted on 23rd June last year, and that is the restoration of our national borders?

The Rt Rev’d Mark Rylands was the only bishop (brave enough?) to declare his support for Brexit, so today the Supreme Governor finds herself giving assent to a Bill which was opposed by her bishops with virtual unanimity. Bishop Philip North urged his fellow bishops “to pay proper attention to the voices of those whose votes have caused this revolution, whether or not we like what we hear”. Perhaps the Bishop in Europe needs to do a bit more listening – to his fellow Bishop in Shrewsbury and the shut-out Bishop of Burnley, if not to the ignorant little-Englanders of Clacton.

  • maigemu

    It is a well known fact that people who go to work in the EU go native. I am sure the words gravy trough do not apply to the bishop but they do to so many others with their vested interests, not only snouts but trotters in the trough.

  • Anton

    Dawkins saying you need a PhD in Economics to predict the consequences of Brexit gave me my best laugh for a long time. Economists can’t predict a booze-up in a lock-in.

    • PessimisticPurple

      True enough. Nobody knows what the consequences of Brexit are going to be. On either side of the debate.

    • James Bolivar DiGriz

      Two very old economist quips:

      If you put 10 economists in a room and ask a question , you’ll get at least 11 different answers.

      If you put 10 economists in a room for a day – they still wouldn’t reach a conclusion.

      • Coniston

        Another one: Economic exams ask the same questions every year, but they change the answers every year.

    • IrishNeanderthal

      What is the difference between today’s government economists and Tudor court astrologers?

      The astrologers did at least base their predictions on real stars.

  • Maalaistollo

    You would think that, with his job title, this bishop might have looked at a bit more of Europe than do most Europhiliacs, who seem to form their view of the marvels of the EU from their visits to holiday villas in France, cruises on the Rhine, ski-ing in the Alps etc. He should look at the marginal (in more than one sense) countries, such as Bulgaria, if he wants to gain an appreciation of what membership of the EU and, in particular, free movement of labour has done for them. The population of Bulgaria has, since the fall of communism, declined from just over 9 million to just over 7 million. Admittedly, people started leaving before they joined the EU but, as we all know, their accession has led to a far greater movement to this and other EU countries. The result for Bulgaria has been catastrophic. It has the fastest rate of population decline in the world, exacerbated by a high death rate and low birth rate.

    I have a Bulgarian in-law, terminally ill, who is receiving the best medical care that is now available, which is a pitiful shadow of the healthcare system they once had. Patients’ families are expected to attend the hospital daily to feed and wash the patient, change their incontinence pads etc because the country is short of nurses by 30,000. Guess where they’ve all gone? Why, to other EU countries of course, where they have ‘probably added years to the lives of some older folk’ in order to further the beatific vision enjoyed by the good Bishop.

    • CliveM

      Good points.

    • Dominic Stockford

      I doubt he regards Bulgaria as ‘Europe’.

      • John

        I think he probably does. Robert Innes’ diocese stretches from Lisbon to Vladivostok, and from the Arctic circle to the Maghreb including, according to his website, a chaplaincy in Sofia.

        • Anton

          He’s the Bishop of Rome?

          • John

            …and a chaplaincy in Rome, yes.

          • Not the Vatican City State.

          • Anton

            You mean the rump that Mussolini left you in return for electoral support after the papacy’s 70-year sulk?

        • Dominic Stockford

          I think he regards it as being in ‘Eastern Europe’, which seems to be another world given the dismissive way the ‘liberal progressives’ talk about it.

    • alternative_perspective

      Excellent post.
      I strongly agree with this position. I find it morally reprehensible to poach a developing nation’s workforce, especially its youth and the highly skilled. When we consider immigration we should flip the concept on its head and consider the consequences of unchecked emigration. Encouraging doctors and nurses etc. to migrate from developing nations is little better than pillaging and asset stripping of the same.
      Frankly, I find it wrong.

      • Maalaistollo

        Thank you. The effects of the population movement appear irreversible, as much of the industry that had any prospects of competing in an open market has been destroyed by asset-strippers from the west, so there is no reason for the younger Bulgarians to return. On present projections, the population will fall by another 2 million over the next 40 years. Still, look on the bright side: the gypsy population is growing and the Turks are busy trying to take back what they lost in 1878, so it should end up as the sort of ‘vibrant, multicultural’ society beloved of western liberals.

        • IrishNeanderthal

          I once saw a chap wearing a T-shirt with the slogan Свобода или смърт!

          He explained that he had worn it while on holiday in Turkey with his Bulgarian wife.

  • Anton

    There are some changes we need to make, though… if we are going to heave out hundreds of thousands of migrant workers who pick the fruit and veg in Lincolnshire yet have hundreds of thousands of unemployed people on benefits, and if we need to reduce the deficit, does not a solution suggest itself?

    • Dominic Stockford

      Many British people have for so long been handed benefits so easily by those seeking to buy their votes that they have lost the will to work hard. As long as such work is done with recognition of the physical difficulties some of us have, why not indeed. (Meaning, yes, I and others could do that kind of work, but I’d be slow and steady, and the employer would have to accept that).

    • alternative_perspective

      I think this is putting the cart before the horse.
      If a child spends a couple of hours per week picking litter from a roadside verge will the same child be as wont to dispose of litter so casually when he is grown?
      What of a child who is taught and experiences the value and reward of endeavour from a young age? Will not the same be less inclined to find themselves in poverty or on state benefits later?
      We need to address the root cause of our issues. We spend too much time and precious resources on curing the symptoms while the malady continues untreated.

      • Anton

        Fair enough. The root cause is family breakdown which the State is encouraging by subsidising its consequences via welfare policies, and by its attitude to sexual matters in state education.

        • …. and the root cause of family breakdown is?

          • Anton

            Sin.

          • … legitimised by “teachings” on private conscience. Remember 1930.

          • Anton

            That generation of Anglicans lived their entire married lives sexually faithfully. Proof it can be done and therefore that contraception, with which you are obsessed and which is not barred by scripture within marriage, is not responsible.

          • True, Jesus never mentioned the contraceptive pill, nor is it mentioned in the Old Testament.

          • Anton

            None of the primitive forms of contraception in use then is mentioned or legislated against in the Law of Moses.

          • So what?

          • Anton

            As you often say, Jack… work it out for yourself.

          • The Mosaic law never contained this authority:

            “Truly I tell you, whatever you bind on earth will be bound in heaven, and whatever you loose on earth will be loosed in heaven.”

          • Anton

            Authority – the word that you are obsessed with in this context. I am indifferent to what “authority” you assert for your arguments. Here it is just you and your words, and me and mine, and the only mutually agreed start point is the Bible.

            Let’s look at the scripture you (mis)quote. This is not a simple future tense in the original, but means “whatever you bind [forbid] on earth shall have been bound in heaven; and whatever you loose [permit] on earth shall have been loosed in heaven”. This makes it clear that it is not man instructing God what to ratify, but man – guided by the Holy Spirit – recognising what God wants to be done in order to further his kingdom. But remember: Jesus castigated those who would add to the law. And there is also the question of who his words apply to.

      • David

        Wise words.

    • IanCad

      Sure does! Now, if we would also reduce the school-leaving age to fourteen or thereabouts labour shortages would be even less of an issue.

  • Dominic Stockford

    This is indeed a major moment in UK history. And a moment for which I thank God. It is clearly his hand at work in this matter. Job 12:23 “He makes nations great, and he destroys them; he enlarges nations, and leads them away.”

    It is however, in your last comment, ABC, that the greatest challenge that the Christian church in England faces today. It is the matter of “…the shut-out Bishop of Burnley…” and all that appertains to that which will yet bring down this nation, if God does not perform some mighty miracle there too. Let us pray….

  • alternative_perspective

    Truth is an opaque thing but one thing I’ve come to realise is that on matters of absolute truth, the question is either / or. On points of derivation or extrapolation the answers tend to be both / and.

    “For now we see through a glass, darkly, but then face to face. Now I know in part; but then shall I know, even as also I am known.”

    To often we find division in the church and nation because we assume an either / or answer where both / and is more appropriate. We plant our standards on one side of the dividing line or other but in reality a bipolar perspective is horribly reductionist.

    From a singular perspective a rubix cube is a singular colour. Change that perspective slightly and one may see two or three colours but our very natures inhibit us from viewing all perspectives truly and simultaneously. In order for us to view the full truth of the cube, how very esoteric, we must manipulate it or employ tools. And herein lies the problem with Human truth: in order for us to fully perceive it we must manipulate it and in doing so we distort it. Or more problematically and likely; we do not possess the means to manipulate the truth, it is fixed and absolute but we are pliable and relative and so suddenly our perception of truth is context dependent. What we know, what we fight for and on occasion denigrate others for – is not truth but our perspective and experience of it.

    Freewill or determinism, real presence or memorial, works or faith: so many bi-poles along which we divide yet in realty the questions we’ve asked are probably wrong and what limits us from grasping this is our pride. Our lack of humility. Our inability to accept that we do not own the truth but are merely observers of it and that others’ are grasping just as feebly at the very same thing but from a bipolar position.

    “For my thoughts are not your thoughts, neither are your ways my ways,” declares the Lord. 9 “As the heavens are higher than the earth, so are my ways higher than your ways and my thoughts than your thoughts.” And yet, we still think we can define, reduce, systematise, dogmatise, command and exploit God’s truth for our own purposes.
    We are quite a pathetic species but remarkably God loves us still.

  • Holger

    Typical Christian hypocrisy. “Love they neighbour” means slam the door in his face. “Feed the poor and hungry” means selfishly keep what you have for yourselves.

    A Christian’s right to get a timely appointment with a doctor apparently trumps all other considerations. I’m not surprised, of course. This is the Christianity I know from my interactions with Anglicans and Catholics. Parochial, selfish people with parochial, selfish concerns, all pretending to love others while hating and fearing them.

    In the words of the late, great George Michael:

    So you scream from behind your door
    Say what’s mine is mine and not yours
    I may have too much but I’ll take my chances
    ´Cause God’s stopped keeping score.
    And you cling to the things they sold you.
    Did you cover your eyes when they told you
    That he can’t come back
    ‘Cause he has no children to come back for…

    There you are mouthing the words of your empty, selfish creed while accusing others of your own besetting sins. You may cry “Lord! Lord!” and prophesy in his name, but he doesn’t know you. Any more than you know yourself.

    • Anton

      Love thy neighbour and Feed the poor and hungry mean at the level of the individual. If you want to learn how a nation is to be governed, read the Old Testament rather than the New. Some principles carry over, but some do not.

      • Holger

        How convenient. If the State is selfish on your behalf then that’s OK. Even if you vote for a selfish policy with the express purpose of excluding others and getting a bigger slice of the cake for yourself.

        Is there anything more hypocritical than a self-satisfied First World Christian? You know, the kind who walks (or waddles, because so often his unrestrained gluttony makes this the only form of self-powered locomotion available to him) past beggars in the street without so much as a backwards glance. “The State will take care of them,” he says (or wheezes). “That’s why I pay taxes.”

        And off he struggles to the polling booth to vote for the party that promises to cut taxes, reduce welfare budgets and slash overseas aid.

        Why does the Church say that doctrine trumps conscience? Perhaps because it realises that Christians don’t have one. A sense of entitlement, certainly. But no real concern for anyone outside their narrow tribal circle. God helps those who help themselves, after all.

        • Anton

          It should not be doctrine that trumps conscience, but scripture. Why? Because your conscience is distorted, not always accurate and badly needs educating.

          • You’re assuming scripture and doctrine can contradict one another. A distorted conscience will distort the understanding of scripture. So who is a reliable interpreter of scripture and how it should be applied in particular circumstances? If individuals shun charitable donations and charitable activity in a post-Christian, secular nation, should a Christian argue against the State providing national and international aid for the poor and needy?

          • Anton

            Actually the point I was making is that scripture is guaranteed right, whereas doctrine isn’t. As for who is a reliable interpreter of scripture, the Holy Spirit of course. And you still haven’t twigged that there is no such thing as a Christian nation nor ever was, neither Catholic protestant nor Orthodox. For that we await the bodily return of our Lord Jesus Christ.

          • The Holy Spirit’s voice is filtered through corrupted minds.

          • Anton

            Agreed. With no Christian exceptions.

          • That’s why the visible Church is critical, charged, as it is, with interpreting and applying the Gospel in changing contexts and times.

          • Anton

            You are right that the Holy Spirit’s voice is filtered through corrupted minds. Give me a diversity of views of which one is right than a monolithic view which is often wrong.

          • Your false assumption being there is never a diversity of views, when, of course, there always is. Often very heated too,. Once heard and considered a decision must then be made – or not. It’s at this point the promise of Christ to His Church kicks in. The Council of Jerusalem set the pattern.

          • Anton

            There is no promise of Christ to his church that its teaching will never be in error. Which is obvious from the Church of Rome’s teaching.

          • The Catholic Church has throughout its history proved itself indefectible, having resisted all kinds of attack from within and without and against every persecution, heresy and schism.

          • Anton

            Delusion.

        • The Explorer

          Overseas Aid. For twelve years, Mobutu transferred the entire Swedish aid budget to the Congo to his Swiss bank account. The Swedes found out when someone decided to see what wonderful things had been done with the money. Britain donated millions to develop a road system in the Western Congo. Investigation showed that not a metre had been laid. But all the money had gone. That’s not an argument against overseas aid per se; it’s just an argument against undue optimism about its efficacy or integrity.

          • Anton

            That’s not an argument against overseas aid per se

            O Yes it is! The only moral function of taxation is to run your own country. May God bless donations to private charities that run projects overseas, but the nationalisation of charity which overseas government aid represents is wholly immoral.

          • Busy Mum

            For the past twenty years every secondary school I know of has sent a party of teenagers to Africa to build schools, wells etc. If I extrapolate that to, say, even 100 schools across the UK (and I believe there well are over 200), that is an awful lot of teenagers doing an awful lot of ‘good’ in Africa.
            I really must go out to Africa myself to dispel the notion I have of a continent covered in schools and wells.
            (Of course it looks really good on one’s UCAS form…what can Africa do for me, rather than what can I do for Africa.)

          • Dominic Stockford

            Quite so. Depressing. Unbiblical. Which of course says we do it for the glory of God, and because of what he has done for us. We seek no sheet of paper or badge of pride for our actions, save that of knowing God asks it of us.

          • Busy Mum

            The irony is that these same teenagers go onto university and start shouting ‘Down with Rhodes’, as though their five day jolly, complete with photos for the school mag, has somehow done more for the Africans than he ever did.

          • The Explorer

            Yes. I’m unclear why Africans should be incapable of building schools or digging wells for themselves.

            But assuming neither schools nor wells had occurred to them, once they had an example of each they could have carried on from there.

          • Inspector General

            Racial Ineptitude. And it’s continent wide. Even after all this time, the African would rather hang on to his stone age life, save a few that escape and come here. Women making the effort, mainly…

          • If one goes out to Africa and digs the well, at least one knows that the well is dug.
            If one gives money to Africans to dig their own wells, alas! One might find the wells undug and the money gone.

          • The Explorer

            Digging the well is one thing. Maintaining it is another. You are more likely to be able/wiling to do that if you have dug it yourself in the first place.

          • Holger

            As you say, that isn’t an argument against overseas aid per se, merely a recommendation to impose conditions on its distribution.

            It’s also a way of justifying parsimony and selfishness by intimating that all overseas aid money may be embezzled and/or misused.

            I’ve heard similar arguments about benefits payments. Either those who receive them will just use the money to buy drink and drugs, or they’ll be encouraged to keep on pumping out children so they live comfortably off the State without having to work.

            No doubt this happens in some cases, just as no doubt some foreign aid ends up in the wrong hands. Is this a reason to stop giving? Or is it a rationalisation of selfish behaviour?

            Think of the bishop who saved Jean Valjean from arrest by telling the police that the plate he had stolen was actually a gift. Was he a Christian? Or should he have denounced Valjean as a thief and taken back his own? What would you have done?

            I wonder if that question even needs to be asked.

            If you voted for Brexit, your primary motive was self-interest. Dress it up however you like, but your vote was driven by an attitude of “what’s mine is mine and not yours”.

            I don’t think George Michael was a Christian (although I don’t know for sure), but perhaps he was an unwitting prophet. “He can’t come back ’cause he has no children to come back for” would certainly be one explanation of Christ’s dogged and continuing absence.

            Why bother coming back when those who claim to be your children don’t really believe in you. If they did, they’d certainly behave a lot differently.

          • Anton

            Except that Christ DID come back.

          • Holger

            Can you prove that assertion?

            Where’s your independent evidence from multiple corroborating sources, at least one of which is not controlled by the Church with its vested interest in ensuring that the story says what it needs to say in order to keep power in the hands of the clergy?

            Where’s your physical evidence? Have you established beyond reasonable doubt that the resurrection of necrotic flesh is possible?

            All you have is an unsupported claim backed up with the flimsiest and most suspect “evidence” that shows clear signs of having been tampered with and comes from partisan, non-objective sources.

            Believe it if you will. But don’t be surprised when others reject it as pure speculation and fantastical conjecture.

          • Anton

            I can’t prove it to your satisfaction. Does that say something about me or you?

          • Holger

            It says something about both of us.

            One of us is credulous, gullible and easily taken in. The other is not.

            Small children generally don’t need any proof in order to believe. They naively trust whatever adults tell them and will swallow the biggest whoppers hook, line and sinker, especially when their vanity or greed are flattered. This is why your holy book recommends Christians to have faith like children. Set reason, logic and doubt aside and believe despite the lack of evidence.

            And thus are unthinking zealots born.

          • Anton

            I was not born into a Christian family.

          • Holger

            Yes, it’s a mystery to me why some adults allow themselves to be suborned like children.

            I can only imagine it’s because of some fault or lack in their education, leaving them with a void in their nature that needs to be filled.

            Fantasy is so much more effective a filler than imperfect reality, which never gives you everything you want. Fantasy can be tailored to your exact requirements.

            I’ve seen this happen with gay Christians. If they want love, their God will bless gay relationships. If they want to suffer and be martyrs, their God will condemn gay relationships. He takes on a different shape depending on each believer’s beliefs, desires, fears and prejudices.

            Adult converts seem to be among the worst because they’ve experienced the unfilled void inside and simply aren’t strong enough to deal with it. So they fight tooth and nail to hold onto their analgesic God, who dulls their pain and “makes it all better”.

            Why not just go to a pharmacy, buy a packet of Doliprane (or Tylenol or Advil, or whatever) and set up a shrine to it in your home? At least then you’d have something material to focus your worship on.

            But of course pain killers can’t kill every pain, can they? The only universal analgesic is the one you invent in your mind.

          • Anton

            You suppose man is basically beneficient given only the right upbringing and education, in spite of the tale of blood that is human history and the dissatisfaction in most relationships, and then you talk to *me* of fantasy?

            You have a better understanding of what the Bible says about homosexuality than some persons who call themselves gay Christians, anyway.

          • The Explorer

            “It’s also a way of justifying parsimony and selfishness by intimating that all overseas aid money may be embezzled ”

            No. You seemed to suggest that overseas aid is an unqualified good. I was querying that. In Tanzania, for instance, the effect of aid had has been deleterious on agricultural self-sufficiency. Tanzanian farmers, unable to compete with free grain, simply gave up trying.

          • Holger

            I see. Yet more evidence that international aid is pointless or even counterproductive, so the government should stop giving away your tax money to undeserving foreigners.

            Let them starve! What do you care? If they’re not British, they’re not your problem. You’re alright, Jack. That’s all that counts.

            Yes, you really are a typical conservative Christian. All the arguments why you shouldn’t help your fellow man are right at your fingertips. All the arguments why you should are conveniently shoved into the background, never to be mentioned. I’m certainly not going to jog your memory. If your conscience won’t do it for you, far be it from me to intervene.

            If your imaginary god really does exist, you’ll have to justify yourself before him one day. I’m sure he’ll agree with you that foreign corruption justified keeping all the good stuff for yourself. Indeed if he’s anything like you, I’m absolutely sure that’s what he’ll say. In which case the universe really is ruled by a selfish and narcissistic demon, so good luck in heaven. It might not be as different from hell as you had hoped.

          • Anton

            Plenty of secular people resent their tax monies going to non-natives outside their own country, and not just in Britain. You do realise they’d have more that they could give to charity if taxes were that bit lower?

            You like spending other people’s money, but then, who doesn’t?

          • Inspector General

            The Africans managed to feed themselves before the European arrived. They can always fall back on digging for grubs. Born to it, they are.

          • The Explorer

            Bertrand Russell made the point about false compassion. By food aid, you keep people alive who cannot be sustained by the environment; only so that they can die in the next famine. Just giving them food for each crisis is not the answer; they need to build dams, have more efficient agriculture etc.

            The Left seems to assume that those who are rich must have stolen from those who are poor. Not necessarily. They may have worked hard, evolved self-discipline, solved problems, mastered Nature, overcome disease etc. Why some individuals/nations are able to do this while others are not is a question to which I do not have a satisfactory answer.

            The story of Joseph, and the stores of grain enabling survival against the famine is a model for what I’m trying to get at. Does having foresight and forward planning mean that you have an obligation towards those without either? Where does this categorical imperative come from?

          • Holger

            I make nothing of the Christian parables. They may have value as insights into the customs and mores of one particular ancient pastoral culture. But they do not have universal relevance.

            It’s part of the Christian delusion to think that stories written by and for goatherds two thousand years ago in a patriarchal society are relevant to our culture today.

          • The Explorer

            I’m not suggesting the parables have any relevance for you. They are for believers. But you are presuming to say what Christians believe and in that sense the parables are relevant.

            Aphrodite was born off Cyprus near Paphos, and Athene was born out of the head of Zeus.. That need have no relevance to you unless you want to talk about Greek mythology; in which case you mast take it into account.

          • Holger

            Every mythos has its own internal consistency – or lack thereof.

          • The Explorer

            And Christianity’s internal consistency is self-sufficiency. So it is inaccurate to accuse Christianity of hypocrisy for attitudes it does not profess to hold, And which are more appropriate to socialism.

          • The Explorer

            Paul was insistent about supporting widows and orphans. But he also specified that the widows should, if able, do some sort of work for their keep. And orphans would grow up to become financially independent. The idea of being sustained by others cradle to grave, and that you have a right to this simply by existing, is alien to the New Testament.

        • Dominic Stockford

          I know no Christians who behave as you describe. Further, most Christians I know do in fact contribute to the needs of others significantly. You might think our congregation’s annual income of £40k pathetic and worth deriding, but we give 10% of it away to various needs, including a local homeless charity to which we also donate food and other necessaries. We are no special case, worthy of praise, most congregations are like that or better.

          • Holger

            See how easy it is to provoke selfish and self-congratulatory comments (or claims – who knows if they’re true?) from so-called Christians.

            Despite the injunction against bragging and making claims of extraordinary virtue, here we have a typical virtue signalling statement born not of modesty and a desire to do good, but rather a desire to be seen to do good and to establish a reputation as a “good Christian”.

            The bible makes a few choice comments about those who trumpet their virtues to the world. From memory, they’re not very complimentary.

            Yet another Christian demonstrates how his faith has failed to perfect him and how his actions do not live up to his rhetoric. Christianity does not do what it says on the tin. At least not for those who post here. As a product, it’s deeply unconvincing.

            Maybe there are thousands of real Christians out there who don’t brag about the purity of their faith and the virtue of their actions. If so however, you’d expect to find rather more bums on seats in church. Given that the average pew filler conforms more to the type of Christian who haunts this site (proud, bragging, condemnatory haters of thelr fellow man and therefore not Christian at all), one wonders where they hide.

            If they’re modest but don’t attend church, or if they do atrend church but aren’t modest, they’re not Christians, as judged by their own holy book.

            Conclusion: there are no Christians, so even if he exists, he really does have nobody to come back for. Ergo, we’ll all be going to hell. Or joining each other in oblivion. If the latter, more fool you playacting your way through life. If the former, I count on the sufferings of hell being significantly alleviated by witnessing the shock and horror of Christians subjected to the same tortures they so cheerfully wish upon me.

          • Anton

            Your relentless positivity can be hard to take.

          • Dominic Stockford

            You offer vicious calumny against Christians, and then when one Christian offers evidence which denies that vicious calumny you twist it and make of that even further wrong doing. You really have got a troubled heart.

          • Holger

            I present the truth of your own actions to you and you react by denying everything and accusing me of having a “troubled heart”.

            There’s certainly a troubled heart in this conversation. And a troubled mind. And a malformed, if not completely non-existent, conscience along with spades of hubris, self-worship and insufferable conceit. But they’re not mine.

            Perhaps religion isn’t a symptom of mental illness in some cases. Those who recognise their own fallibility and present their faith as a wish rather than an ironclad certainty may perhaps be described as rational to a point. Such is not the case for rigid and unbending zealots like you.

        • Albeit wrapped in vitriol, you make some valid points.

          What your overlooking is the dynamic between individual and collective responsibility. As Jack posted above, loving one’s neighbour starts with a love of God and then ourselves because we are made in His image to be with Him. It is this we extend to our neighbour. We recognise them as children of God.

          The role of the State is different as individual Christians try to express these values in a collective way that preserves the common good. If helping one’s neighbour on the national or international level brings civil chaos and disorder or increases the absolute hardship of citizens, then the State is failing in it’s primary duty. For a democratic nation claiming to be Christian, getting the balance right is where the political process comes into play.

          By it’s very nature universal suffrage results in the expression of selfish interests when it comes to electing leaders. Unless the electorate has a clear moral and, Jack would argue, Christian outlook, this is inevitable. To vote against one’s own individual interest in favour of the common good and the interests of others, is not a strong feature of secular, liberal democracies.

          • Anton

            You are aware that you are recycling Plato from a mere 24 centuries ago?

          • Why thank you. Great minds and all that. Jack bad a sound education.

          • carl jacobs

            [Rolls eyes]

          • Anton

            You might give him a little of the credit.

          • On the shoulders of giants ….

          • Anton

            Yes, but Newton had the grace to acknowledge the fact by saying that!

          • chiaramonti

            Jesuits?

          • Every first Saturday of the month for 5 years. In the days when the Society was orthodox. Brilliant teachers.

        • Inspector General

          Christianity and the First World Beggar

          The beggar is not abandoned as you might think. Locally, both Cheltenham and Gloucester Social Services interview each and every street beggar they come across in the centre. Here are the findings: 84% are not homeless. Not in the conventional sense. Yes, a small number might be in tempo B&B and have to vacate the room during the day, but they have a place to come back to in the evening. Because they have a permanent address as such, they are entitled to state handouts. The majority though are idle asocials. Nearly all of the 84% of ‘beg’ for drug and alcohol money. The rest, that’s 3 out of 20, are homeless under the official meaning, but the majority of these are ‘life style homeless’. It’s their choice to live like that and if they want to spend the better years of their lives ‘camping’ in shop doorways, they will.

          Personally, one is of the opinion that a rich country like the UK should impound all these characters as stray dogs are and taken to a WW2 POW style camp out of town, where they can rot for all one cares – out of sight and out of mind. The few that do want to make a go of their lives can be better assisted that way with a view to their release one day.

      • 1649again

        Hence why the UK government should not make foreign aid payments. Charity should be individual, not compulsory through the State.

    • alternative_perspective

      I understand the sentiment but I’m not sure you understand the scale of the problem. There are multiple billions of people living in abject poverty, whilst there are a few hundred million people living in relative wealth.
      Our entire society and economic status is predicated on the management of resources and the careful deployment of infrastructure. Open doors immigration would make this impossible and result in massive falls in living standards for those already here but worse than this it would make next to no difference to the world’s problems. Letting in 10m people to the UK would almost certainly lead to economic and social collapse but would make next to no difference to the total problem. Even if the EU and the USA allowed two hundred million people in to their states there would still be thousands of millions living in poverty and both the EU and USA would probably implode.
      Moreover and worst of all, it would impoverish those who did not emigrate and leave their societies stripped of their most valuable assets: their youth, the highly skilled and the highly motivated. Do you think a mother with four children, living in filth and squalor with no access to funds, education or opportunities will be able to escape their plights? No, those who leave will be the doctors, nurses, teachers, professors, engineers and the energetic youth. In short the very people a society needs to succeed. Open doors immigration will condemn those left behind to even lower living standards and life expectancies.
      Your rather nasty condemnation of others is little more than virtue signalling and doesn’t really seem to grasp the seriousness of the problem. If we want to improve the lot of those in poverty we need to ensure their talent stays in their countries. We need to ensure their labour force works on their projects. We need to open trade up to those countries so they can work their way out of poverty with dignity. Nearly half a century of Western aid has done nothing to reduce world poverty and suffering. Increased diversity in the West has resulted in measureable declines in societal cohesion and community action, whilst China’s embrace of trade has raised nearly 1billion people out of poverty in two decades and they have accomplished this without mass migration.
      The answer seem quite clear to me.

      • David

        That’s a very good reply.

    • The Explorer

      It’s love your neighbour as yourself. That means as well as yourself, not instead of yourself.

      Suppose the lifeboat holds twenty. The sort of compassion you are advocating would pile in twenty-five. Result: the boat capsizes, and instead of twenty being saved, twenty-five are drowned.

      I saw a ‘Question Time’ in which a sweet young thing said that all those who wanted to better themselves should be allowed into Britain. As was pointed out to her by David Starkey, if 150 million wanted to better themselves, what then? Take them all? If not, on what basis should some be refused?

      • Anton

        Good old Starkers!

      • Loving one’s neighbour starts with a love of God and then ourselves because we are made in His image to be with Him. It is this we extend to our neighbour. We recognise them as children of God. The role of the State is different as individual Christians try to express these values in a collective way that preserves the common good. If helping one’s neighbour on the national or international level brings civil chaos and disorder or increases the absolute hardship of citizens, then the State is failing in it’s primary duty. For a democratic nation claiming to be Christian, getting the balance right is where the political process comes into play.

    • Inspector General

      Yes. A deceased drug addicted hedonist former convict has much to teach us. Anymore from him?

    • Merchantman

      Who is the accuser of the bretheren?

  • Even the relatively sane (by episcopal standards) Bishop of Shrewsbury cannot mention immigration without going on and on about how wonderful immigration is and how pathetically grateful we should be to migrants. First, inflicting mass immigration on Britain is not wonderful and, the bishop may be surprised to learn, quite unnecessary:

    ‘Britain’s least stagnant period, the late 18th and 19th centuries, a period of unprecedented advancement in culture, politics and healthcare, coincided with almost no significant immigration, despite it also being an age of hugely increased levels of trade…In the 17th century the mono-ethnic Netherlands and England surged ahead of other countries in political and scientific development.’—Ed West, The Diversity Illusion, p120

    Second, what right does Britain have to take the best and brightest of other countries, thereby holding those other countries back? We should make our own way in the world, and if we prove too dull or too idle then we buckle down and improve ourselves.

    • David

      Splendid comment Johnny !

    • alternative_perspective

      Systematic studies are finally quantifying the effects of diversity and the results don’t look good. Liberal professors are scratching their heads and trying to spin the findings of their surveys. Diversity is slowly being proven to be a destructive social force but I doubt this will matter to the liberal set. Diversity and immigration are ideologies and not merely economics.

      • @ alternative_perspective—Liberal professors are scratching their heads and trying to spin the findings of their surveys

        All too true. Robert Putnam scratched his head for five whole years:

        ‘Nothing illustrates the vapidity of mainstream intellectualizing about immigration than the ironic story of social science superstar Robert D Putnam. Last month, Putnam finally published an article about his lavishly-funded 2000 survey of 41 American communities that found that ethnic diversity, especially immigrant diversity, damages trust and “social capital”. Putnam’s data is important, but the spin he worked on for five years to prevent it from being used by “racists and anti-immigration activists” is in some ways even more significant.’—VDARE

    • Busy Mum

      To re-establish the principle of self-improvement would involve overturning the deeply entrenched belief in self-esteem which is wrecking the younger generation.

    • David

      Some immigrants are useful, but not all. The Huguenots brought skills and prosperity. Jews have their skill sets. The Irish virtually built our country, its canals, roads and railways. The Ugandan Indians, fleeing Idi Amin, are a useful, good lot. There are many more who have integrated well and help improve our society, including Poles who remained here after WW2. But we do not need scroungers, marriages involving one man to more than one wife, those who intimidate their women folk or carry out these backward FGM assaults, purveyors of forced marriages, zealots of bizarre and strange, foreign faiths, and especially any and all who actively oppose us.
      So we need to be very selective about who comes through our borders, which are ours to control. We are a tolerant people but we need to stand up for our national interests !

    • bluedog

      One needs to look no further than the economic powerhouses of East Asia, China, Japan and Korea, all of them mono-ethnic and mono-cultural to see the myth of multi-cultural diversity disproved in the modern era.

      • @ bluedog—The pre-diverse West’s unique achievement was to combine success with a level of freedom unknown elsewhere in the world. Talking of Asia, Singapore restrains its diverse population with the Sedition Act.

        • Anton

          Freedom of speech is a Western value. All we need is to recategorise certain religions as seditious political movements on the basis of their own scriptures.

    • Inspector General

      A very important third paragraph, sir. Some decades ago, foreign types who trained as physicians, surgeons from the third world, often sponsored by their governments, could apply to settle in the UK after qualifying and thus deny these oft desperate counties of their expertise. It was ended – eventually…

  • len

    Whats the point of Brexit if we cannot control our borders?.
    The sooner article 50 is put into action the better.
    Just do it!.

  • 1649again

    Well perhaps therein lies the real explanation of Bishop North’s bullying? For even worse than disagreeing with women clergy he surpassed himself in defending people who voted Brexit. The ultimate heresy indeed!

    • Andym

      Who has +North been bullying?

      • 1649again

        In the passive sense as I presume you know from the context.

  • David

    The EU is a malign if not downright evil influence on continental Europe, as well as ourselves. It’s very constitution ignores the reality of the Christian roots of culture. It is an anti-democratic mechanism for control of the masses to favour the profits of irresponsible, footloose international corporations whilst stamping an aggressive “liberal-socialist” social vision on its peoples. Unending immigration providers ever cheaper labour whilst diluting, and eventually destroying, individual nations sense of being a people or a nation.

    Now whilst I am immensely happy that at long last, and in my case having trudged many miles delivering leaflets, and publicly contending for our independence on Saturday town centres stalls, I am concerned for the pain and suffering being inflicted on the people of the fringes of Europe. Their economies are being crushed by the euro, mainly to benefit German exports. I have seen the evidence of this up close.

    Two summer ago I drove the full length of Italy to its tip, on a winding route deliberately avoiding the tourist traps, thereby including all the most rural and remote places. The state of their public infrastructure was truly shocking. Whole regions were in a state of decay due to unemployment and factory closures, and the near collapse of the local taxation base. Several of our group’s cars broke down due to the pounding from the unbelievably poor rural roads. Mine being a specially strengthened Volvo historic rally prepared car coped, just about, although I had to tighten bolts and screws repeatedly and improvise, to jury-rig a few roadside repairs. Mafia corruption was obvious to any experienced senior public service director such as myself. My own bank account was hit. The worst thing was the obvious despair due to unemployment amongst what appeared to be the bright, smart, polite, helpful young people we met in the small towns. My subsequent research revealed that Italian industry cannot compete using an overvalued euro. They need their own currency again, then they can sell far more of the good products that the skilled Italian people design and make. Italy is being sacrificed on the altar of German success. It is wrong. Although I cannot claim the same up close experience, I understand that problems in Portugal are similar. Meanwhile the people of Greece are being ground down into abject poverty and suffering to keep the Socialist – Liberal political fantasy of the EU afloat, and the EU’s bureaucrats and politicos well supplied in wines and extravagant salaries. It is all very wrong, if not downright evil.

    My prayers are now with Geert Wilders, Marine Le Pen and all who are pledged to destroy this malign construct the EU.
    Long live the peoples of Europe.
    Three cheers for Brexit !
    God Bless Queen Elizabeth !

    • 1649again

      Well done David. Italy’s once thriving manufacturing base been decimated, indeed worse for over a third has gone since it entered the Euro and still it shrinks. Everything the EU touches it corrupts and damages, it is a truly anti human and anti Christian construct.

      • David

        Thank you 1649.
        Yes indeed the EU is toxic economically, culturally and politically.

    • Maalaistollo

      It’s not just the southern and eastern European countries that are suffering. You won’t read much in the press here about the Finnish economy, which on some assessments is every bit as bad as Greece’s, with no prospect of improvement for the foreseeable future. It can’t all be blamed on the EU of course, but the destruction of their agriculture certainly can. Comparing the Finnish countryside as it is now with how it was 30 years ago is very depressing.

      • David

        Thank you. That’s interesting. I know a lot about Sweden, Norway and Denmark having spent some time in all three countries. I have friends in both Norway and Denmark, but of Finland I know little. I once drove the full length of Finland southwards, from the northern Cape heading due south, but we were moving at “some” considerable speed stopping only for fuel, oil and mechanical checks and toilets – we ate literally, on the move. So my impressions of Finland are at best vague.

        • Maalaistollo

          But I expect you remember the trees, which will have increased in size the further you went south! The post-war settlement with the Soviet Union worked very well for Finland economically, although it came at quite a political price, and the country seems never to have recovered from the loss of that in 1991, which coincided with the general European recession. I was there at the time, watching the banks go bust one by one. Against that background they seem to have thought that EU membership would give them economic and strategic security. It appears to have done neither but, as here until recently, it was heresy to suggest that the EU was less than perfect.

          • David

            Yes the trees ! It’s the same on the west side of the peninsula, Norway, as well. In the far north they shrink until they are literally, only horizontal species, after that it’s just moss for the reindeer and the final 200 miles up to Nordcap is bare arsed
            rock !

          • Anton

            Best holiday of my life was in Iceland. Very few trees there, tis like the Flow Country but harsher.

          • David

            Yes it is an amazing island, with few, tiny trees. I’ve been twice. The last time, a family holiday, we hired a car and drove around the entire circumference on Route 1. It is quite an experience.

          • Anton

            In the 1980s I and five friends hired a short wheelbase Land Rover and took it round the Ring Road and frequently off it, on a round tour lasting 10 days. One evening we reached a very remote spot where we were certain that only a decent 4×4 could get, and saw a Citroen Deux Chevaux there! Each of us brought a book to read out in the evenings, as varied as Njal’s Saga, Auden’s Letters from Iceland, and Desmond Bagley’s Running Blind (a spy thriller set there). At one place a stream off a glacier merged with a volcanic spring and you could choose the temperature to float in, literally from boiling to freezing, although of course you had to get in (and worse, out) from the freezing side. Doing that under the midnight sun was remarkable.

          • David

            That sounds really great ! Ours was a more family tour. But I did “ease” the normal saloon I hired over some pretty rough ground, including past several “No Cars Permitted” signs, which was a bit of a chance. We did the hot springs dip in a remote pool thing. At the far end of Norway there is no night at mid-summer – like northern Iceland – incredible !

    • Greece, Portugal, Spain, Ireland and Italy – all once strong, orthodox Christian nations.

      • David

        Agreed.

        • It’s a protestant plot ….. :o)

          • David

            Hatched in secret chambers underneath the Vatican !

          • It’s the Lizards.

          • David

            Well done Jack.
            You’ve sussed it !
            It’s those shape – shifting Lizards !
            We must shoot them on sight !

          • 1649again

            Let’s bring back the Test Act to help us identify them.

          • David

            Then we can blast the lizards with our guns, or lure them into cunning traps where with longbow in hand, I’ll fill them full of arrows fitted with armour piercing arrow heads.

          • 1649again

            Great. I’ll bring my rifles and shot guns.

          • David

            Splendid !

          • betteroffoutofit

            So where’s that “Treaty of Rome” hidden, then?

          • David

            Do keep up !
            Jack and I have established beyond all reasonable human and non-human doubt, that the Shape Shifting Lizards ate the last copy !

          • betteroffoutofit

            Ah … I see. So all that cliffhanging in “The Italian Job [’69]” was just another virtual mafality ploy!

          • David

            Yes and no. It was merely the opening sequel.
            In part two they all fell off the cliff, but were saved by their hidden parachutes. They had in fact, all been in training for undercover operations with the Para. Regiment. The foreign bank robbery was really just 20th C style privateering, in Europe, “liberating” funds using Minis, not ships – all very entrepreneurial eh !

      • Hi

        Have no fear , people from those orthodox Christian nations are all getting jobs in the UK , as well as eastern Europeans . I once asked a Portuguese girl why she wanted a particular job, the answer was “there’s no jobs in Portugal”, which I think has like a grain of truth as they like the others have massive youth unemployment . No wonder the EU wanted freedom of movement as a principle. Once the drawbridge is up those countries will have to deal with their problems without the safety valve of emigration. Between millions of poor unemployed youth and millions of refugees, Europe will be a powder keg ready for civil violence.

        • David

          Yes Hannah. I have up-close experience of this.
          Fifteen years ago, starting in Bilbao, I drove an ancient car the length of the Picos D’Europa westwards through Spain and then, near its westernmost extremity, turned southwards driving more than half the length of Portugal through the mountains to Lisboa. Spain was relatively prosperous at the time, but the contrast with conditions in Portugal was stark. On the Spanish side of the border tractors ploughed the fields; on Portugal’s side they used oxen. It was incredible !
          The farms were run by women and children under sixteen. All the men were overseas, scattered over the prosperous countries of the EU. So yes of course they seek work in the moderately prosperous UK, where we retained control of our own currency and therefore economy. And yes once free movement is over, and we can once again pick and choose who we let in, it will force their governments to take those fiscal measures necessary to stimulate investment, thus generating new jobs in their own country, instead of using us as one of their crutches.

          • Anton

            But they will have their own currency, which will help.

        • Dominic Stockford

          40% youth unemployment is a pretty good encouragement to do a runner.

      • David

        Yes. I was particularly saddened by the obvious attacks on the Christian faith, and the Catholic Church especially, last time I was in the Republic. Some of them really seem to have it in, big time for the Catholic Church.
        On the lighter side, I managed to buy some delightful Irish church singing, CDs – in folk form – for my car.

        • You do a lot of driving, David. Rallies?

          • David

            Yes, when younger I was involved in rallying classic cars, often long distances, which is about endurance really. But two years ago, after the big trip to the tip of Italy and back, I decided to switch to less gruelling trips.

    • Terry Mushroom

      I read yesterday that Rome’s infrastructure – roads, parks, dustbins etc – are in an increasingly poor state. (Now can’t find the link, of course!)

      • David

        Yes that is true. Quite why the local authorities are not maintaining the existing infrastructure and building new I don’t know. It may be a typical Italian political impasse or maybe an acute shortage of funds.

    • Merchantman

      I think the trouble with the EU is the it’s not supposed to benefit the general populus. Remember Jesus’ comment about the Sabbath when the Pharisees questioned him about his peregrinations with his disciples? ‘Is man made for the Sabbath or the Sabbath for man?’. The EU is an anti-christian Pharisees construct.

      • David

        In the sense that, as then, the EU is meant to benefit just the elites yes, I agree with you.
        The religious leaders of first century Israel collaborated with the Roman empire, against the ordinary people, to benefit themselves. So now we see politicians and various other hangers on, ignoring the difficulties that the EU gives the people, to benefit only themselves. As I went around many houses delivering leaflets it was obvious that some, not all, of the well off, didn’t care about the problems of the working class and were very snobbish in their attitude to anyone wanting to leave. But there was also a significant slice of the well off, amongst whose ranks I stand, who did care about everyone in the country and the whole idea of democracy, freedom and the overall good of our nation.

        • Merchantman

          I was really directly thinking of the BBC excerpt of High Priest Dawkins whining on about the elites busted manifesto, and how the plain man’s innate unsuitability to partake in Democracy has been its undoing.
          I’m not a leveller or any such thing, but as I see it; with the sidelining of the quasi christian state we were quite obviously until recently, ruled by a progressive secular priesthood for whom the retention of power for its own and their sakes is paramount. And Dawkins, etc, etc are its Priesthood in that they cannot be gainsaid because they know best. In a mysterious way however the plain men are not so stupid. As R Dylan once said there’s ‘a slow train commin’
          That’s why we should all be grateful Parliament has had the final say on the people’s Brexit.
          I believe Britain has a special place.

          • David

            Dawkins is a Cambridge academic. During my professional life I had numerous dealings with them, regarding land. Some were fine but there was always an undefinable, condescending “we know best” attitude with most of them. Academics live in such a narrow protected world they start to believe that they are clever, not just in their incredibly narrow fields, but in everything. Dawkins in my opinion is one of the worst. The plain man who lives in reality usually develops a better judgement, of necessity, as no one protects them !

          • Pubcrawler

            “Dawkins is a Cambridge academic.”

            Calumny! He’s all Oxford’s.

          • David

            My mistake !
            But I think you’ll find that the underlying “tendencies” are similar. It’s about an assumed entitlement to rule !

          • Pubcrawler

            That I don’t dispute. Mary Beard springs to mind — and I wish that hadn’t just happened, I feel queasy now…

          • David

            My sympathies !
            Have another beer, then the image will fade away.

  • len

    To have open borders in Europe verges on insanity.
    Islamic terrorists are quite clearly getting into Europe with migrants.Some of the migrants are not even from war zones but are economic migrants.Many of the services in the UK are already breaking down because they are hopelessly overloaded.The UK is an Island with finite resources.
    What sane person would leave the doors to his house open to anyone who wanted to enter his house?.
    This is not saying send all the migrants home, or pull up the drawbridge(as some extremists have accused the UK of proposing)
    But some sort of control is needed on immigration.

    • David

      Yes, indeed.

  • Irene’s Daughter

    In view of chaos in Netherlands about Turks, I enquired of internet ‘how many turks are there in a) Netherlands and b) Europe. In the Netherlands – some half a million. In Europe as a whole – six million. So if they all want to come here because of their rage against the Netherlands etc., bringing their rage with them, where exactly will we put them? Has the Bishop of Europe ever asked himself that? Doubt it really.

    PS – if they want to vote for Erdogan – why don’t they cross the border back the way they came?

    • David

      If they want to be Turk then the place for that is Turkey not Holland.

  • Susan Ellis

    The reason people wanted to come out if EU is to control migration! There would have been more who would have voted for this if they had not voted to stay in EU for Economy.
    EU have been quite horrible because we want to leave acting like cult leaders who don’t want members to leave. We would have been with so many wanting to leave to have remained due to miserable morale especially if we had remained and they had drawn ever closer union.
    There are some super EU care workers so where do they stand with their rights?
    We need to put our hope and trust in God for our future as a nation!

    • Dominic Stockford

      The care workers are already here. They have no problem.

  • As membership of the EU is not a doctrinal issue in the Church of England (unlike condoning pre-marital sex, abortion and the “marriage” of homosexual couples) the Bishops are free to say what they will on this matter. Jack would sooner hear them speak about Jesus Christ and how we should live according to His Way. If some truly believe staying in Europe is the moral course to take, then let them express their private opinions.

    • David

      Precisely Jack.

  • Politically__Incorrect

    I see Gina Miller is threatening further court action if, in two years time, Parliament does not get a “proper” vote on the deal. My hope is that in two years time Mrs Miller might have grown up a bit. I hope she feels her money was well-spent.

    • Maalaistollo

      I thought it was Mr Soros’s money. He’s always been a great friend of this country, hasn’t he?

      • David

        I believe that her husband’s investment companies receive funds from Soros.

      • 1649again

        Oh, the Mr Soros who allegedly made his first fortune turning in fellow Jews to the Nazis and is on record as saying it was the best tie of his life?

        • Anton

          I’m interested in a reference for that. Ezra Levant said so in Canada and got sued and had to retract. I’m not aware that Soros disproved it in court, though.

          • 1649again

            As ever it’s a thing that’s bandied around on line frequently which is why I said allegedly. I try to find a citation.

          • 1649again

            Try this.

          • Anton

            Interesting; thanks!

          • 1649again

            From the goat’s mouth as it were.

    • Anton

      She can safely be ignored.

    • 1649again

      I think many people are getting thoroughly sick of wealthy immigrants telling the native population what they must do, and equally with immigrants of a certain faith persuasion colonising whole neighbourhoods and trying to impose their benighted practices on us This will not end well.

    • betteroffoutofit

      “. . . in two years time Mrs Miller might have grown up a bit.” No, no, no! It’s not a “gender” thing: boys aren’t the only ones who take after Peter Pan …

  • chefofsinners

    I am puzzled by this ‘divided country’ narrative, which was taken up by the remainers the moment the referendum was lost. Every time democracy decides, there is a division. How is this any different? In a country used to being ruled for five years by any party that can muster 40% of the popular vote, why is 52%, on a single issue, such a problem?
    The only division is that which is perpetuated by the losers’ continual bleating, and their endless attempts to deny the will of the electorate. They make Nicola Sturgeon look reasonable.

    • carl jacobs

      There is a real division between two fundamentally different views of the nation state. However, this is only a problem because the “wrong” side won. If the “right” side had won the vote, then there would still be division but it wouldn’t matter.

      Because really. Who cares what serfs think? They are just supposed to do what they are told.

      • 1649again

        Correct. It revealed that the elite no longer understand their own people as they don’t live or work with them, and hence the shock.

        • Maalaistollo

          And as today’s piece demonstrates, most bishops are very definitely among the ‘elite’. It’s interesting to read what the Bible has to say about most religious leaders. Some things never change.

          • 1649again

            Indeed. The moment they start dressing apart and carrying staffs it all starts to go to their heads it seems.

        • carl jacobs

          They just don’t understand that the EU is the prototype for a post national future. It’s just so … enlightened. To think that the next stage of man’s political evolution should be preempted by men in white vans.

          There is a reason progressives are entitled to run things, you know.

        • Sarky

          No longer understand their own people?? They never did.

          • 1649again

            Strangley, I think many, particularly in the country.

          • Anton

            Missing ‘did’?

            “If the French noblesse had been capable of playing cricket with their peasants, their chateaux would never have been burnt” – GM Trevelyan.

          • 1649again

            Tablet mode = more typos.

    • Royinsouthwest

      I confess to dividing the country by voting differently from most bishops. If I was an arrogant snob (or an even more arrogant one to anyone who thinks I already fit that description) I could claim that the bishops were the ones who divided the country by voting differently from me because unlike them I sided with the majority.

      • David

        Bravo !
        Simple logic is the best, and often quite devastating !

      • chefofsinners

        Shame on you for having an opinion. It is so divisive.

  • Inspector General

    The best definition of personal wealth in this overcrowded-as-it-is country are those who do or will own their own property, and those who don’t and never will. So, this recent item by on line BBC was of particular interest…
    ————————————————————–
    Rents fall for first time in six years
    http://www.bbc.co.uk/news/business-39253693
    —————————————————————
    Of course, the BBC had to have it that this was due to a stream of buy-to-let properties coming on to the market before tax changes, and did not mention a rather obvious causation, that the mighty flow of Eastern Europeans coming our way has abated. Indeed, many have gone, back to where they belong perhaps, or on to parasite some other still in the EU promising economy.

    How does an Inspector know this – simples. He lives among these types. And really, there are less of them these days.

    So there you go. Some of our poorest people, the often overlooked renting young, have a double boost from Brexit. Rents on their way down, and more chance of a permanent job to pay it. Not that our bishop-of-the-continent would be over concerned with those types in their cold damp homes. Those ex-pats who invite him round for drinks and a meal in a Spanish villa are much more to his taste perhaps.

  • bluedog

    Your Grace, one reads of momentum, and not for the first time. It is easy to see that Brexit will create momentum for constitutional reform on a number of fronts, not least of which will be to the House of Lords. Given that there are now some 900 worthies giving their earnest and selfless attention to matters of importance, one can foresee pressure for a less extravagant commitment of human resources. It seems only right that the burden of these peers should be reduced, and many of them allowed to return to their families once the Brexit emergency has passed. In particular, one can imagine that the time spent in the HoL by the Lords Spiritual is a major and unwelcome distraction from their pastoral duties. Would it not therefore be prudent to restrict the bishops representation to that of the two Archbishops?

    • David

      Your ideas are too restrained.
      The H of Lords has proven that it is does not possess sufficient constitutional merit to justify its continued existence. It must be abolished.
      Scrutiny of Bills can be achieved in a far more efficient, cheaper way by creating, as and when required, specific committees for particular, maybe one-off purposes. These committees would be of a job and finish nature, comprising not faded ex-politicos, luvvies or media types, but genuine experts in whatever the subject required, such as scientists, technologists, agriculturalist, defence experts and even a few of the (pro-British) faith groups. We can achieve focussed groups of genuine experts and save ourselves a fortune.

      • Inspector General

        Yes, you have something there, David. A panel of experts in their field on a purely advisory basis. Not necessarily the same experts each time. To send a bill back to the commons. Big changes happening now in the UK. After 45 years of socialist EU malaise, the restraints are off…

        • David

          Yes you’ve got the idea, spot on Inspector !
          We need to end crony politics – the corrupt idea that you reward mates, cronies and helpers, with sinecures in the Upper House. That is wrong !
          As with setting up any public task, involving spending the tax payers hard earned cash, the only legitimate criteria for designing the project and decision making are : –
          Firstly define the task crisply, and then design the job to secure the necessary outcome. then : – Ask,
          1. Who is best for this job, to secure a very good outcome – select personnel by merit alone !
          2. How can this task be achieved by the most economic means, without compromising the overriding, and first objective, doing the job well.
          All else is flammery, distraction and maybe even corruption – to be eliminated ruthlessly !
          We need to redesign how Parliament works starting with the H of Lords.

          • Inspector General

            Good man, David. Our way, cronyism would be a criminal offence with a maximum penalty of 10 years imprisonment!

            If it were backdated, just imagine who would be arrested this night!

      • bluedog

        Close students of my posts on the House of Lords will recall that my agenda is a federal British constitution with an elected House of Lords structured as a senate. The constituencies of the ‘Lords’ in this instance are the underlying devolved nations, including England, that together comprise the over-lying federal entity, the United Kingdom. In this situation, each nation returns an equal number of ‘Lords’ to represent it in the upper house. So if Wales has say, 25 Lords, so does England, Scotland and United Ireland.

        Restrained? I don’t think so. The current suggestion to get rid of all but two Lords Spiritual is simply salami tactics.

        • Inspector General

          You are wrong, sir. We have one law making chamber. One is enough. Two, and you have rivalry. But we do need experts of a certain age who can be granted senatorial status and be able to be selected to form a committee, of no more than 30 souls, who can scrutinise the commons bills. Fellows chosen not for their political affections, but for their knowledge and insight of a subject. The House of Lords stinks as it is – you want to make it worse!

          • bluedog

            ‘Two, and you have rivalry.’ No you don’t. If there are two chambers each with a separate constituency there is no rivalry, just the representation of separate interest. Ridiculous to suggest I want to make the HoL worse. Ridiculous to suggest that just 30 ‘Lords’ can fulfil the function of a house of review.

          • Inspector General

            Not at all. Democracy is a bloody dangerous thing. There are people living in the UK here and now who are destined to be blown up, thanks to the wisdom of both of houses in allowing mass Islamic immigration. That’s what the Security Services are saying in other words. We want LESS democracy, not more!

          • IanCad

            Right Inspector! For a start raise the minimum voting age to 21 for those who have been in gainful employment for three years. The same to apply to those attending institutes of higher education. No vote until after three years of employment. Disallow the franchise to all government employees – that includes schoolteachers and the entire public education industry.
            Ideally of course, would be a restriction to only the property owning male head of household. Reverting to the Forty Shilling Freeholder (adjusted for inflation) may be a step too far, even for me.

          • Inspector General

            Steady on, Ian!

          • Inspector General

            By the way. Wales is a country held back by an asinine devotion to an all but dead language, without knowledge of which you can’t ascend in the Welsh public services. A quarter of the seats to that crowd? You’ve been licking dodgy bones…

          • bluedog

            There is a price to pay. Try to think of the greater good rather than focussing on minor irritants. The alternative is to repeal all acts of devolution, and one suspects that the Scotland Act 1998 is front of mind in that regard at present.

          • Inspector General

            There’s no shame in admitting you are wrong. This man has and has gone onto greater thought resulting…

          • bluedog

            Agreed the government must sit principally in one house and that’s the House of Commons as is the case today. The PM must be an individual who can dominate and command the HoC. Earlier posts talk about the HoL being a house of review, and therefore not the seat of govt. But it could have been clearer.

          • Royinsouthwest

            It is not all but dead. It was still widely spoken even in many of the coal mining valleys when my father was a boy and the numbers are increasing again. Immigrants from England and further afield normally learnt Welsh in order to fit in until the last few decades of the 19th century when they came in floods and then arrogantly expected the locals to adapt to them instead.

            Also the educational system in the 19th century tried to discourage Welsh and did little for it until the last few decades of the 20th century. The Great Depression of the 1930s and economic mismanagement since also harmed the language by making Welsh speakers leave to find jobs in England.

          • Anton

            “Two and you have rivalry” is the point. It’s called separation of powers. Power should be dispersed widely to prevent any one body gaining too much of it.

          • Inspector General

            It doesn’t actually work that way, Anton. Not since Charles I. You may be thinking of the separation of the legislative, executive and judiciary, from a time when we could trust the judiciary. (Fair enough, it’s not usually our judges at fault but that odd ball European justice we’ve yet to leave, but surely will…)

        • David

          I agree that “salami” slicing is just the cowards way of avoiding serious, necessary reform.
          I want to abolish the Upper House. All we need are reviewing and advising mechanisms. There are far more “fit for purpose” ways of achieving that economically.
          It’s time for big, really radical reform that squeezes out corruption !

          • bluedog

            Salami tactics aren’t the cowards way, they merely imply a process of conditioning for further reform. Incremental change can be less cathartic and easier to implement than radical reform. As things stand, the British constitution is structured in a way that grants the PM of the day absolute discretion (by way of Royal Prerogative) of every aspect of governance. And you say, ‘It’s time for big, really radical reform that squeezes out corruption !’

            Ever heard of the separation of the powers? Your proscription is a licence for the consolidation of the powers. A development that enables corruption.

        • Sybaseguru

          The obvious first pass at changing the Lords is to apply similar rules as the Lords Spiritual to the others. ie the Tories choose ‘x’ Lords to represent them – it can be a different selection based on expertise etc according to what is being discussed, so it might be a different selection for a Defence discussion to a Trafficked women discussion. The Labour party pick ‘y’ Lords. x & y are dependent on the overall share of the country vote. This could be extended to all parties with at least 1 MP and then the rest fight among themselves for maybe 10 seats and the Lords Spiritual stay as is.

          • bluedog

            There are a large number of moving parts in the overall situation today and amongst them is the proposed reduction in the size of the HoC. If this ever happens, quite apart from any wider constitutional considerations, the HoL is going to look not slightly bloated, but grossly bloated in comparison. Against the Commons with 600 members, the HoL is going to come under enormous pressure to cut its numbers to say, 300. Taking this further, if the 26 Lords Spiritual remain as they are in number, they jump from 2.8% of the sitting peers to 8.6%. One wonders if the country is ready for this, or anything like it. A pro-rata number of Lords Spiritual would be 8 or 9.

            You suggest, ‘x & y are dependent on the overall share of the country vote. ‘ This certainly makes more sense than the current situation which seems utterly random and generally hostile to a centre right government. The only way the government transacts business at present is by perpetually threatening to undermine or destroy the HoL. There must be a better way.

      • Dominic Stockford

        But who would chose these worthies? On that point this suggestion fails.

        A second chamber chosen by lot (using the Jury service list and selection process), (and with all former MPs banned, as well as lawyers) paid a salary commensurate with the MPs, and serving for 10 years maximum, would do the job just as well. And have the advantage of being a responsibility that anyone in the UK could know might be theirs.

        • 1649again

          Agreed plus at least a third dawn from the old Hereditaries. They served us well.

          • IanCad

            I think you and Dominic should jointly chair a commission on HoL’s reform.

          • 1649again

            It would be fun.

          • Dominic Stockford

            I wouldn’t say no – the Lords worked reasonably well until it was wrecked by Blair and his cronies.

          • betteroffoutofit

            Yes – For the most part, I think they had a stake in the continued development of the country — to the mutual benefit of themselves and the People: whom they had grown to know and understand.

        • Martin

          Dominic

          Interesting idea, certainly I’d be happy to see any of those with whom I recently spent three weeks in such a role. But would they, would a 75 year old be willing to travel to London, and what of the farms two of those I served with? To leave your career for three weeks is one thing, but 10 years? I spent a great many years commuting and I’d not do it again for all the tea in China or India or wherever.

          And since the Lords are routinely overruled by the Commons these days is it not time for a completely new methodology?

          How about a house based on the governance of the county councils, with a representative of each being there subject to their localities whim, political party whips not being allowed.

          Or lengthen the the tenure of elections so that alternate elections might be for each house, perhaps splitting the constituencies between each. Again, banning political party whips

          Of course both these options would require that neither house could overrule the other.

          We could, of course, also have an option where the citizen at home could have a say, as long as our electronic age lasts.

          Trouble is, all this weakens the power of the political elite, who have the final say, so I won’t hold my breath.

          • Dominic Stockford

            To age, we can place an age limit on starting – Jury service is supposed to have one… Say 60. Also, people are free to turn the opportunity down if they are chosen,and the selection may have to be run several times through before we have the required number (Maybe 100 of the old hereditary Lords, and another 300). If people who took part were also given a pension and a hereditary title (which gives no perks with it) then we might find people less unwilling to join.

        • IanCad

          Good point Dominic. It has been my experience that most appointees rise to their assigned role. Duty, honour, and all that.
          I am not yet so cynical as to believe all men are solely driven by the prospect of gain.

        • Mrs Proudie of Barchester

          It could be known as the Council of the Realms, which sounds nice and grand and takes in all parts of the Union, but the members would not be lords – they could use the post nominal CR …

          • bluedog

            Sounds rather Arthurian, Mrs P.

          • Royinsouthwest

            Arthur was a Celt, not a Saxon.

          • Merchantman

            Or Romano-Celt?

          • Royinsouthwest

            Yes, he may well have been one.

          • Maalaistollo

            Was there not also the theory that he might have been a post-Roman cavalry officer trying to maintain civilisation in the face of barbarian opposition – a bit like Ian Smith in Rhodesia?

          • Hi Mrs Prouide

            Or call it the Witenaġemot also known as the Witan,the Anglo Saxon legislature, before those Normans took charge.

        • Redrose82

          How about a second chamber made up of JPs who have been required to retire from serving on the bench.having reached the age of 70. At that age they are mostly well in possession of their faculties and they have proved themselves to be worthy citizens by the fact that they have given their services without any financial reward. I must at this point register a personal interest but as I would also suggest an upper age limit of 80 this would well preclude me from qualifying.

          • Dominic Stockford

            Don’t like that – it rules out many good people for no good reason.

      • WimsThePhoenix

        I’d like to see a PR-based system explicitly not open to anyone who has held a political post, with their electorate having the power of recall if they misbehave. Call them senators if that works.

  • Sybaseguru

    Europe – an interesting place – Bishop Robert Innes title is I believe the Bishop of Gibraltar in Europe. But there’s also another anglican bishop – Rt. Rev. Pierre Whalon – who is the Episcopal Bishop (TEC to you and me). So we have 2 anglican bishops in one geographic province(C of E please note). The latter, being an American must surely believe in independence from an unelected power, whilst the former is bishop of a place that is a thorn in the flesh to the Spanish. If you had to pick a contentious place to be bishop of, this would be it. I suspect the Bishop of Gibraltar may be worried about his job and wondering if he may find it difficult to travel once the EU shackles are taken off Spain – but then I believe he lives in Brussels.

    • Dominic Stockford

      The Bishop of Gibraltar lives in Brussels? Really? He needs to be told to move forthwith.

      • Royinsouthwest

        What, even further away? Finland would do as that is in the EU.

        • Maalaistollo

          Not sure what the Finns have done to deserve that. Still, he might learn some useful things, such as the Finnish approach to conversation: ‘If we do not have anything to say, we do not say anything.’

        • Dominic Stockford

          Not quite what I meant, but an excellent riposte.

  • chefofsinners

    Unaccustomed as I am to sounding a contrary note…

    The bishop and overseer of our souls clearly believes that all seven billion of the world’s population should be granted free access to the heavenly kingdom. This is good because it will prolong their lives for all eternity. Of course some will choose to head south in search of warmer weather and they will assuredly find it.
    However all of the elect-orate will eventually realise what is good for them.

  • Inspector General

    Everybody who follows Cranmer content tonight? That’s good, if you are.

    Consider this. A British man and women in a small one bedroom flat. The baby is crying in the crib in the lounge. They need a social housing place. A house, but it could be years away. You see, others coming in from the continent have so called immediate need, so everyone else gets pushed back. Thart’s how it is. How could it be other?

    Still wringing your hands about EU chancers over here?

    • David

      Yes. It is, alongside many other influences, a struggle for scare resources.

      So it is the same not only with access to housing, but also with access to schools for your children or maternity care or the health services, or most of our public infrastructures, which are often grossly overcrowded. In our tiny islands even space is, of necessity, strictly rationed through the planning system, which feeds into the high land prices and high house prices.

      Those with their eyes open can see all these problems. But if you live in your “Westminster” or other well protected, wealthy bubble, and don’t experience or look to see the problems that some people suffer, then you are blissfully unaware of the realities of the mass, unending immigration that our political elites have brought down upon the working classes. It is the “why don’t they eat cake” syndrome – ignore it for ever and you get violent revolution. Hopefully democracy, if respected by the political class, will avoid such terrible consequences.

    • Manfarang

      The council houses were sold off and now people complain of shortages. Other infrastructure has lacked investment. Scandinavia has better facilities because its citizens are prepared to pay higher taxes to fund social spending.

  • Redrose82

    An odd ode to Bishop Innes and his ilk’

    Remoaners stop your whining
    And silly Heseltining
    The Brexit sun is shining
    This is a glorious day.

    So cease your belly aching
    And gloomy news a faking
    The EU we’re forsaking
    Three cheers for Mrs May.

    A letter she is sending
    Our partnership amending
    And thus ’twill all be ending
    In Independence Day..

    • Sarky

      There was an old Bishop named Rob,
      Who thought it was part of his job,
      To open the doors,
      And flood these great shores,
      Good job we all think he’s a knob.

      • Shows potential, Sarky.

        • Sarky

          There was an old papist named jack,
          Who on st paddys went out for the craic,
          He started a fight,
          With a girl who was slight,
          And ended up flat on his back.

    • chefofsinners

      Would fit the tune Crimond.

      • Redrose82

        Hardly.

  • Laurence Target

    The Bishop in Europe does not as such represent the Archbishop of Canterbury – he is the Bishop in Europe.

    • 1649again

      And? There must be more…

      • Pubcrawler

        Portugal is not part of the Diocese in Europe, and as an extra-provincial diocese reports directly to the AoC.

        • Manfarang

          The Lusitanian Catholic Apostolic Evangelical Church.

          • Anton

            Four adjectives! What does that say?

          • Manfarang

            It must be very colourful.

  • Manfarang

    The economic power houses are in the East, those that believe people in the West can continued to be mollycoddled are in for a bitter disappointment.

  • magnolia

    Your Grace, what is a horror movie like that doing on a nice Christian blog? And I thought Dawkins didn’t believe in the supernatural. So why threaten us with deep dark hellish gloom?

    • Royinsouthwest

      He claimed that leaving the EU will affect our grandchildren’s future. I agree with Dawkins about that. It was because of the effect it will have on our future as an independent nation that I voted “leave.” Does Dawkins really think that a “remain” vote would not have affected our grandchildren’s future? If so, is that because he thinks the EU does not affect anything?

      He also said the you need a PhD in economics to understand what the effect will be on our economy. That is wrong on two levels.

      First of all, if it were true then Dawkins should not have had a vote since he does not have a PhD in economics.

      Second, most economists would agree that the record of the profession in making economic forecasts is not very good. How many economists predicted the International banking crisis and recession that started in 2008?

      Going back a bit further, in 1997 Professor Robert C. Merton of Harvard University and Professor Myron S. Scholes of Stanford University were awarded the Nobel Prize for economics their method of determining the value of derivatives. The two professors put their expertise to use in a firm, or hedge fund, called Long Term Capital Management (LTCM). The year after they got the Nobel Prize LTCM had to be rescued a cost of $3.5 billion because of worries that its collapse would have severe repercussions for the world financial system.

      I wonder if Professor Dawkins has heard of a book called “the Tyranny of Experts” by William Easterly? There is an interesting review of it at Matt Ridley’s blog.

      http://www.rationaloptimist.com/blog/the-tyranny-of-experts.aspx

      • Manfarang

        I prefer economic history myself. The post WW2 industrial decline of the UK is unlikely to go in reverse. When the grandchildren are of age England will be well down in the world economic league tables.

        • Royinsouthwest

          And where will France, Germany, Italy and Spain be?

          • Manfarang

            More hi-tech.

        • Anton

          Yes, I’ve long regarded history as the best way to make sense of all subjects except the hard sciences.

    • William Lewis

      Dawkins is such a charlatan. He weaves a web of scientific methodology with economic theory and proposes a form of economic determinism where only the experts know what is going to happen to our grand children. He is so enamoured with this materialistic model of humanity that concepts such as freedom and self determination must be excluded (as they cannot be measured) and when the “experts” clearly get it wrong then the answer can only be more/better experts.

      • CliveM

        Good post. Problem with Dawkins he thinks he’s an expert in a lot of things he knows nothing about.

        Like theology.

      • Anton

        The key to Dawkins is to understand that he is a controversialist. He was a controversialist within evolutionary biology and genetics before he started pronouncing on things he knows little about, such as theology. (This is a comment about Dawkins, not about evolution!) We Christians should be grateful to him for the number of people he turns off atheism.

  • David

    With a name like “Pubcrawler”, I’d wager he holds his drink better that that !

  • Pubcrawler

    Oi!

    There isn’t enough beer in the world for that to happen.

    • CliveM

      Ha, you’ll be writing love poems in Latin!

      • Pubcrawler

        Infamy! Infamy!

        • CliveM

          Methinks you doth protest too much.

          • Pubcrawler

            [A pint or few of oatmeal stout later…]

            *Paddington-style hard stare*

  • chefofsinners

    I see Spreadshit Phil has been at it again.

    • Anton

      Nice, but you want the second line to begin with a D, which then makes it OK to rhyme Hammond with Mammon. I’m sure you are up to it…

      • chefofsinners

        How’s that?

        • Anton

          There once was a man called Hammon…
          Do-ing his bit as a servant of mammon

          Tom Lehrer used to split words across lines, and I think he said he got it from Cole Porter with whose works I am unfamiliar.

          • chefofsinners

            Who got it from Gilbert and Sullivan

  • David

    I see that Geert Wilders did well in the Dutch elections, but not well enough to become the main party within their complex governing system. Overall there have been losses for the main left party, gains for the smaller groups and a shift to centre and right parties. Overall it amounts to significant change, but it is it sufficient to save Holland from ceasing to be Holland in fifty years ?

    • IanCad

      You’ll never get hired by the BBC David. It was hailed as a victory for Prime Minister Rutte, whose party lost 25% of their seats; and a great defeat for Wilders, who gained a 33% improvement in seats won.
      No! Up may mean down; right – left; normalcy – prejudiced; and evil good in this strange world.
      I should add: I hold no brief for Wilders, and consider him a narrow minded bigot.

      • Anton

        I consider him a Statesman in waiting. Here is his magnificent speech to the House of Lords in 2010:

        http://gatesofvienna.blogspot.co.uk/2010/03/geert-wilders-speech-in-house-of-lords.html

        • IanCad

          Stirring stuff Anton! I second his entire speech, as also, I condemn those who dragged him through the courts in an attempt to silence him.
          As one who has consistently stated on this blog that it is from religious liberty all other freedoms stem, I do think him ill-judged to call for the closing of Mosques and the banning of the burqua – an ill-disguised and dangerous first step in the expulsion of Muslims from Holland. His appeal thus will resonate with the mob, those active and fickle louts whose instincts tend to violence if sanction be given them.
          Populism can be very dangerous. I think Nigel Farage recognizes that and has not yet trod, nor seems likely to, the path of Geert Wilders.

          • Anton

            Populism is just the name used for democracy by people who think it gave the wrong result.

            Some religions need to be reclassified as political movements, which the West knows how to deal with.

          • IanCad

            Certainly when religious communities trespass into the political realm – to the extent that they scheme to replace governments – then curbs need to be applied.
            Populism is democracy writ large. Pure democracy – the unrestrained will of the people – is a dreadful beast, needing the curbs of constitutional restraint to check its tyrannical nature.

          • Anton

            But who writes the constitution and how?

          • IanCad

            Well Anton; even though today the current trend is set toward the defanging of the “Elites” it would seem to me that, nevertheless, it is from those gentry constitututions are fashioned.

            Certainly our 1689 Bill of Rights had little input from the masses but it was to that group the benefits of a just, fair and liberal declaration of rights and obligations spread its greatest blessings. Same with the US Constitution – it was fashioned by the cream of society yet its benefits passed down to all.

            The deposit of history, and the lessons therefrom, by God’s grace, inspired wise and brave men to cast off their individual needs and interests to fashion documents of deep and abiding wisdom that have stood the test of time.

            Can’t see it happening today.

      • David

        That made me laugh ! Thank you.
        Yes my “Statistics for Scientists” course, was rather more rigorous and fact based than the BBC’s take on reality !
        Best wishes.

  • CliveM

    The Article 50 bill gets Royal Assent today. We live in interesting times.

    • David

      Thanks for the update Clive.

  • disqus_N9Jawtu8Uw

    So “Did David Cameron require 2/3rds majority … No he didn’t” so says Dawkins …… but then Dawkins is too ignorant to know that Ted Heath didn’t demand 2/3rds majority either to take us into the EEC (as it was then) which by Dawkins logic is exactly the same constitutional amendment.

    He really isn’t worth listening to any more!