Jim Murphy Pope Benedict2
Political Parties

Scotland's Roman Catholic bishops condemn Jim Murphy's hypocrisy

 

Another Pastoral Letter on the General Election – this time from the Catholic Bishops’ Conference of Scotland to their 841,000 worshippers spread across 452 parishes (which is an awful lot of ‘believing without belonging‘). Unlike the long-winded and vacuous Pastoral Letter issued by the House of Bishops of the Church of England, this one is as pithy and trenchant as that issued by their co-religionist bishops in England and Wales. Or perhaps it is even more pungent, because it appears to be a direct assault on Jim Murphy, leader of the Scottish Labour Party, if not a bold decree of direct endorsement of the SNP.

The Letter includes all the usual exhortations in pursuit of their conception of the common good: the imperative of the sanctity of human life; the ‘common sense’ family of heterosexual union; and the predictable swipe at ‘unbridled capitalism’. But it also includes a few woes, if not prophetic denunciations, addressed to Catholic-lite politicians:

..For centuries Christian values underpinned our laws and customs but for Christians today the political complexion of Parliament is secondary to the values and beliefs of those who sit in it. The candidates we send to Parliament go there as our representatives. The values they hold will shape their understanding of what is good for our country.

..In this country, an intolerant form of secularism wants to remove religion from the public square, despite recognition in the Universal Declaration of Human Rights. True human dignity involves the freedom to assemble, to worship and to manifest our beliefs openly. Religious liberty must be non-negotiable in a free society and we should make sure our candidates support it.

..Our politicians enter public service with good hearts and give of their best to build up our lives and our country. Sadly, however, on serious issues, some politicians who profess a Catholic faith remain silent – or even surrender – in the face of grave ethical injustice.

This has been interpreted as a direct intervention in the General Election campaign, criticising specifically Jim Murphy, a practising Roman Catholic, who appears to be not quite practising enough. It will be denied, of course. But when professing Roman Catholic politicians vote against the official teachings and moral orthodoxy of their church, specifically (it seems) in areas relating to sexuality and the sanctity of life, they ought to expect a bit of invective hurled in their general direction, along with the odd asservation of being a whited sepulchre, who ‘appear beautiful outward, but are within full of dead men’s bones, and of all uncleanness‘. The Bishops naturally want the real thing: that is, politicians like Jacob Rees-Mogg, who once famously declared: “I take my whip from the hierarchy of the Roman Catholic Church rather than the Whip’s Office.” And so they conclude:

The time has come for a new generation of Catholics to join political parties and to dedicate ourselves to political service in a way that remains faithful to the Gospel of Jesus Christ, laying the foundations for a new Civilization of Love that serves the common good of all, especially the most vulnerable in our society.

And this provision for the most vulnerable appears to be contingent on one very specific policy:

..Successive UK Governments have made plans to replace and upgrade our nuclear weapons capacity. This is despite the considerable costs involved and in the face of persistent moral objections, to say nothing of international agreements we have entered into which commit us to work against the proliferation of such weapons. While recognising each country’s right to defend itself, the existence of nuclear weapons,and their possible proliferation, continue to represent a grave threat to the human family. Pope Francis reminds us that peace is better fostered by greater equality – not least by fairness towards the poor, refugees and migrants – rather than by increased spending on arms.

It is curious, in a General Election campaign which is about a myriad of nuanced matters, for the Bishops to single out Trident as a very specific policy which must be addressed. There is only one party which is calling for the abolition of Britain’s nuclear deterrent, and that is the SNP. Why is the Catholic Bishops’ Conference of Scotland exhorting the faithful to support the Nationalists? Why do they persist in pouring out such effusive praise on those who agitate to bring an end the United Kingdom?

And what (incidentally?) is the voting record of Alex Salmond and Nicola Sturgeon on those very issues of the moral conscience by which the Bishops judge their co-religionist politicians “who profess a Catholic faith (but) remain silent – or even surrender”? Do they really think those who seek to abolish Trident will be better guardians of the baby in the womb, the heterodox union of the family or the dignity of the disabled, sick and elderly?  The Bishops aren’t still agitating for Scottish independence, are they? Why are they bullying Labour’s poor Jim Murphy, as though he weren’t being harassed enough by the secularising statist Nats?

And (dare one ask?) what about those Church leaders (not to mention one or two known bishops) who profess the Christian Faith but remain silent – or even surrender – in the face of grave moral error? Shouldn’t judgment begin at the house of God?

  • RuariJM

    It’s sailing pretty close to an open endorse,net of the SNP’s position, without quite getting there – not quite.

    The closeness of the Catholic Church in Scotland to the SNP is rather uncomfortable

  • bluedog

    ‘But let me stress again that these are my views. For contrary to common newspaper usage, I am not the Catholic candidate for president. I am the Democratic Party’s candidate for president, who happens also to be a Catholic. I do not speak for my church on public matters, and the church does not speak for me.’

    JFK, September 12th 1960. That was then, this is now.

    • carl jacobs

      There are two interesting implications in this statement.

      1. His Catholicism was incidental to his politics. If he had labeled himself the “Catholic candidate” he would have been claiming that the Catholic religion was an essential part of who he was. Instead he set his religion to the side. He might just as easily have said “I am not the Irish candidate for president. I am the Democratic candidate who happens to be Irish.” The important message is “My religion doesn’t define me. I can pick it up when I want, and I can set it down when I want.”

      2. How a man lives can be separated from what he believes. What does he mean for example when he says “the church does not speak for me”? The Catholic religion defines certain things as true. To be a Catholic is to accept those things as true. Because the Catholic accepts those things as true, he must of necessity carry those truths with him into the public square. They must impact how he lives. The social teaching of the church may not be binding on a politician, but the concepts of truth behind those teachings must be binding. Otherwise, the religion becomes an elaborate ritual hermetically sealed away from life. Ritual is not belief.

      Religion that doesn’t cross with the man into the public square isn’t religion. It’s affectation. The man who claims that his religion is incidental to how he lives isn’t really religious. He is merely playing out a religious role.

      • Inspector General

        Carl, you make no allowance for personal integrity. To be a Catholic is to adhere to the RCC, not to be run by it. Of course, it may be different with Calvinism, but then, Murphy is no Calvinist.

        • Carl actually understands Catholicism, Inspector. He may not agree with it but his presentation is fair and accurate.

          The teachings of the Church, broadly speaking, are twofold. First, there are truths a Catholic must assent to internally as a matter of faith and adhere to in private and public life i.e. those teachings that are either revealed by God (dogma – e.g. Christ’s Incarnation, Resurrection, Assumption of Mary, Papal infallibility etc.) or those based on the Church’s indefectibility and by her constant tradition and teaching (doctrines e.g. sanctity of human life from conception to death, sex exclusive to men and women within permanent marriage cannot be dissolved, a male priesthood etc.). Then there are authoritative Church teachings that are owed different degrees of assent. It is in this latter group where some room for prudential judgement exists for politicians, though even here Church teaching cannot simply be set aside as irrelevant.

          Being a Catholic isn’t about attending Mass once a week and leaving your religion in the Church.

          • carl jacobs

            Why thank you, Jack. You are half way home. All that remains for you is to accept that I am right about RCism as well.

            You’ll get there yet.

          • You were obviously predestined to be a Calvinist for a season or two Carl. God in His wisdom may grant you final insight …. or not. In any event, Jack is staying where he was called to be.

          • Athanasius

            If you’re planning on hoiking Jack into God’s Own Country, Mr Jacobs, I shouldn’t hold my breath; Catholics with a full understanding of the faith rarely turn.

          • Inspector General

            Jack, just sent Carl a reply, but it equally applies to you. Maybe you will look kindly upon it. Maybe not…

        • carl jacobs

          Inspector

          I am saying that a man’s religion must form his personal integrity or his religion is fundamentally a lie. He cannot for example give assent to a Christian view of man, but then check that view when confronting the moral problem of abortion. Religion of necessity makes claims on our public life. We cannot hermetically isolate it into the private sphere lest anyone else be troubled by it.

          • Inspector General

            Carl, you are familiar with the saying ‘mine is a simple faith’. We put trust in Jesus Christ. It does not fall to man to so closely ally himself to the doctrines of the church that he be all but an ordained minister. We are in the main sheep, not shepherds. Having said that, abortion is so distasteful a practice that it is hard to imagine that anyone who claims to be a Christian who is in politics does not speak out against it, though in reality, that is not the case. Presumably, these types want to stay as elected politicians at the cost of their integrity, which is a poor show, and one can’t help feeling that these fellows will answer for this ‘compromise’ on their demise.

  • David

    I do not understand the politics of Scotland enough to say much, but I see, speaking generally now for the whole of the UK, a short-termism in this type of thinking.

    Firstly, a free society, does not last long in the face of its many enemies if it is not at least as well armed as its opponents. Moreover I would doubt whether Mr Jacob Rees-Mogg, MP, loyal Catholic Christian as he no doubt is, would vote to abolish our nuclear weapons ? But I would be happy to be corrected.

    Secondly I find the almost ritual swipe at capitalism, which the C of E, also invariably indulges in, to be simplistic and unhelpful. Like all systems for guiding economic activity, capitalism is far from perfect. So certain aspects need correcting from time to time. So let’s hear what specifically is wrong, and what the solutions are. But to attack generally, a system for production and distribution that has done far more than any other economic system to lift countless millions out of poverty, is to turn a very blind eye to its huge benefits for humanity.

    On the sexual and family morality side of their arguments I agree to a very large extent with the Catholic bishops.

    I hope that there is no lingering pro-Irish nationalism, anti-English sentiment lurking away somewhere inside all this ? Certainly it sits exceedingly comfortably alongside Scottish nationalism I note. I will be interested to see if others comment on that.

    • bluedog

      ‘I hope that there is no lingering pro-Irish nationalism, anti-English sentiment lurking away somewhere inside all this ?’ Of course there is. If you had spent any time in Scotland in the late sixties-early seventies when the Irish Troubles were at their worst you would not see it any other way. This communicant is convinced the secularism that the SNP professes, wisely, is only skin deep. Bubbling under the surface will be the divide that finds its expression in the Old Firm, Rangers vs Celtic.

      • David

        Interesting. I suspected this, but with scant knowledge of the politics of Scotland I thought it best to draw out the opinions of those with first hand knowledge.

  • Inspector General

    It’s Real Politik at work here Cranmer. The Catholic bishops have no intention of alienating themselves from the petty nationalism that be. It doesn’t help that none of us knows exactly how a nationalistic government will function in regards to ‘interested parties’ like Catholics. To be accused of being the enemy within as living standards regress to that of decades ago is not an attractive proposition. And blaming the ‘auld enemy’ south of the border may not be enough.

    • David

      Inspector, thank you for that. You are probably culturally closer to this than me , and therefore more able to say, what I suspected but decided, as an Englishman, not to comment upon.
      As you say they sense that the future is with an “independent” Scotland so they are aligning themselves up with the rising political forces.

      • Inspector General

        Just been reading the SNP manifesto David. A skilled piece of work worthy of the most effective fiscal parasite. Should the Conservatives form the next government, they could do no better than to scrap the Barnett arrangement. Time to bring the McNationalists down to earthly reality. Why not. There’s no more seats to be lost there. They went a long time ago…

        • David

          Interesting. Yes I agree totally.

        • William Lewis

          More common sense missives from the Inspectorate, I see. One wonders if the Inspector General has thought about sending out an electioneering bus to help spread the news. He could even paint it pink and get some sponsorship from the news outlet that goes by that colour.

    • Athanasius

      Petty nationalism, Inspector? May we consequently infer a pro-European vote from your office come that nice Mr Cameron’s “in or out” referendum?

      • Inspector General

        Hardly. One views Scottish nationalism as little better than the aspiration for Cornish independence. The UK is a viable self governing unit. Nothing petty there at all…

        • Athanasius

          Ah, so you would term yourself a British nationalist, then?

          • Inspector General

            Again, nothing petty in that. It is an honourable estate. The alternative is to surrender yourself to values that are not British. Let’s see, how about a presumption of guilt unless you can prove your innocence, for starters…

          • Athanasius

            Oh, I don’t think much of th EU myself, Inspector, but it’s no less valid a union than the one England and Scotland have been in for three hundred years. And, why, for example, should English common law be presumed superior to Scotland’s continental influenced civil law? Sorry, Inspector, but what’s sauce for the English goose is good for the Scottish gander.

          • Inspector General

            But Athanasius, the Scots have their own criminal law, and education system, which is somehow free. They also have free prescriptions and have had their council tax frozen for 7 years. Such sauce that we in England cannot taste. And there’s more. They are about to send God knows how many petty nationalists to Westminster to achieve independence by the back door. To make themselves so unpopular in their wrecking tactics, that England will be beginning for divorce rather than them…

          • carl jacobs

            Interesting. I once mentioned on ‘Spectator’ that Westminster should subvert the referendum by allowing each of the 32 territorial subdivisions of Scotland to decide independently whether to leave the UK or stay. There was much harrumphing by the Scottish nationalists about Scotland being a unitary nation. (Not to mention the fact coercing the recalcitrants is necessary for there to be any hope of forming a viable Scotland.) It seems sauce for the English Goose must carefully kept beyond the reach of certain Scottish game birds.

          • CliveM

            It would be an excellent idea. Once Scotland had rid itself of Glasgow and the other failed areas that voted for independence, what was left would be viable and would make a decent contribution to the UK. Indeed if we could persuade Liverpool and one or two others to follow this example, we might actually be able to do something about the nations debt.

          • skeetstar

            Carl, there is a precedent, the last such plebiscite in these islands took place on a county by county basis

  • Malcolm Smith

    I remember in the United States, the Roman Catholic hierarchy had finally had enough, and announced that any politician who voted for abortion would be refused communion. This took place just as the Democrats had endorsed a candidate, Kerry who was ostensibly Roman Catholic and a supporter of abortion, and everyone watched to see whether he would approach the altar at mass. He was wise enough not too. (But not wise enough to repent.)

    • David

      Quite right too.
      Lack of discipline is an appalling weakness of the present day wishy washy liberal leadership of the C of E.

    • Linus

      He should have gone with a hidden camera, approached the altar and filmed the priest refusing him communion. It would have made a great video clip to put on the Democrats’ website under the heading “Why The Catholic Church Should Be Taxed Like Any Other Political Lobby Group”. It’s what I would have done in his position.

      • dannybhoy

        Linus I would advise you try anything like that.
        You would probably crumble into dust as soon as you crossed the threshold… 🙂

        • Linus

          I was in a church just a couple of days ago. Saint-Julien le Pauvre, the oldest church in Paris dating from Merovingian times. It’s now a Melkite Catholic church that hosts concerts and I was there attending a counter-tenor recital. Very beautiful.

          I didn’t turn to dust. My head didn’t spin and I didn’t start vomiting green goo everywhere. Oh, and I didn’t lay a hand on any crucifixes or give the statue of the lady in the bedsheet a Vivienne Westwood makeover either.

          The roof didn’t fall in on me and no priests started to shriek “the power of Christ compels you!” at me. Sorry to disappoint all you hysterical religionists whose faith resembles an Omen movie, but nothing untoward happened at all. It never does in churches. It’s the same dusty silence for everyone.

          • Dominic Stockford

            Dusty silence? I thought you said it was ‘very beautiful’ counter-tenor recital. Didn’t he sing then?

          • Linus

            His beautiful singing drowned out the dusty silence while it lasted. When the recital was over, the church was dusty and silent again. Dusty silence is the default setting of churches. It can be banished by determined human activity, but always returns.

          • Pubcrawler

            The still, small voice. It’s what hesychasm’s all about.

          • Linus

            I had to look the word hesychasm up. And here I was thinking it didn’t get any crazier than Roman Catholicism! I now see the strange costumes and metallic droning of Orthodoxy aren’t the only things that mark it out as as alien and strange for someone raised in the West…

          • dannybhoy

            “Sorry to disappoint all you hysterical religionists whose faith
            resembles an Omen movie, but nothing untoward happened at all. It never
            does in churches. It’s the same dusty silence for everyone.”

            We really have to work on that sense of humour of yours Linus.
            It must be in there somewhere…

            Matthew 5..
            44″ But I say to you, Love your enemies and pray for those who persecute you, 45 so that you may be sons of your Father who is in heaven. For he makes his sun rise on the evil and on the good, and sends rain on the just and on the unjust.

          • Pubcrawler

            Such a lot of words for so small a point.

          • Phil R

            “It never does in churches”

            Yes it does. Try a few more. BTW you don’t need to be in a church.

          • Athanasius

            Interesting. In the church which I regularly attend, which maintains a very high liturgy (bells, candles, incense, the whole bit), the choir is made up of trained musicians and singers of a professional standard who perform only classical and baroque settings of Latin hymns (no guitars and kumbiah here), but their undoubtedly supreme talents are lost on me. Not on my wife, though, who is neither Catholic or even a believer. She is also a trained singer and accompanies me for the music which I barely hear. It enraptures her as the liturgy does me. We don’t all hear the same silence, Linus: many of us hear what we want to hear. Grow up, boy. Whatever you think you’ve discovered, we’ve all been there before you.

      • Malcolm Smith

        (1) He probably realised that this would lose him a lot more supporters than he would gain.
        (2) It is also possible that even he had a conscience, and that would have been a step too far.
        (3) It is also likely that he isn’t as clever as you, Linus.

  • DanJ0

    Bishops: “The time has come for a new generation of Catholics to join political parties and to dedicate ourselves to political service in a way that remains faithful to the Gospel of Jesus Christ, laying the foundations for a new Civilization of Love that serves the common good of all, especially the most vulnerable in our society.”

    As we have religion in the public square and are committed to religious freedom, I expect imams are telling their congregations something along the same lines behind closed doors. Of course, they won’t be trying to put Catholic Social Teaching into practice but something Islamic according to their idea of how society should look. I suppose the idea of the Common Good also exists in Islamic theology and ought to be implemented through Sharia so that we all live according to Allah’s design whether we want to or not.

    • David

      The Common Good for all alike, Christians or not, is an uniquely Christian idea.
      Whilst not claiming to be an Islamic scholar, my understanding is that Islam sharply differentiates between the believer and the kufar, who are treated as second class citizens.
      No doubt more erudite Christian members of His Grace’s flock, or those that attempt to ravage it, will enlighten us further.

      • dannybhoy

        The CofE leadership engages in interfaith dialogue with leaders of our Muslim communities whilst in Pakistan our Christian brothers and sisters are abused, whole families forced to work making bricks like virtual slaves, and have genuinely awful lives.
        Meanwhile Pakistanis here enjoy all the benefits our society has to offer. When will our Christian leaders ever get around to pointing out the difference and demanding change?

        http://www.news.va/en/news/asiapakistan-discrimination-and-hatred-the-church

        • David

          Indeed. I am a Reformed Anglican, and have no faith in the vast majority of the liberal leadership of the C of E. But there are many faithful Anglicans all over the world, and a growing group here, who remain true to the reformation ideas of being Biblically based. I now feel closer spiritually, to many fellow Christians in the Catholic and Orthodox Churches than many in the liberal section of the C of E., as I can see how they are being faithful to their traditions.

          • dannybhoy

            I’m a deformed Non Conformist myself, and although the boss and I attend an Anglican church we feel much more at home with simplicity of worship and the minimum of structure and bureaucracy. i.e. the early church model…
            🙂
            As long as one accepts the basics of our faith then your denomination is of secondary importance. We learn from each other’s insights and glory in each other’s gifts..

          • David

            I can relate to that. Too much is made of institutional, denominational boundaries. C.S. Lewis with his “mere Christianity” had the right approach.

        • Dominic Stockford

          The Pope also engages in inter-faith meetings.

          http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Day_of_Prayer

      • DanJ0

        The Common Good in CST has a particular meaning and context, though I’ve seen it abused here by one self-identifying Roman Catholic. In Islam, I expect the Common Good relates more to the well-being of community or society. In the public interest, even. In that spirit, there’s the Islamic concept of maslaha al mursalah. So, the punishment of (say) adultery serves the public interest because it discourages immorality, as defined by Islam, and society ought to ordered towards morality, as defined by Islam, through its laws. It is, of course, in the best interests of unbelievers, and of society as a whole, that they recognise the truth of Islam and convert. Etc.

        • Inspector General

          The only ‘Common Good’ Islam allows is for those who believe in Allah. This is a de facto position due to any but believers being rather scarce in areas where Islamic Common Good operates.

          “I suppose”. “I expect”. You really are taking a drink from the cup of great expectations today…

        • “The Common Good in CST has a particular meaning and context, though I’ve seen it abused here by one self-identifying Roman Catholic.”

          Care to elaborate as the rest of your comment suggests you fail to understand the Catholic concept of the “common good”?

          • DanJ0

            Actually, the rest of the comment suggests that it is you who fails to understand the Catholic concept of the Common Good. I’m actually recognising a similarity with your use of it in arguments and maslaha al mursalah in Islam there.

    • Inspector General

      Ah bless! You’re still trying to tarnish Christian culture with Islam. Do keep chipping away if it gives you some relief…

      It is the stuff of wonder where Islam will fit in with an independent national socialist Scotland. A Scotland where everything Scottish is celebrated almost by law, and ‘recent imports’ like English influence disdained, again, almost by law. Unless of course Islam is welcomed to the party as a sacred ‘minority interest’ rather like certain fellows who have problems with the boy-girl business.

      • DanJ0

        If only you were bright enough to see the actual point.

        • Inspector General

          What point…

          • William Lewis

            The point that, when it comes to religion, secularists can’t tell their salvation from their sharia.

          • DanJ0

            I know claims of each pretty well. Are you struggling with it too?

          • Inspector General

            That you seemingly can’t go one post without linking Christianity with Islam is so indicative of your approach to the benefits that Christianity has brought to this country. To wit, your derision of ‘religion’ is unable to stand the rigours of inspection unless you drag in that accursed faith.

          • DanJ0

            Don’t be such a thick twat.

          • Inspector General

            One presumes you vehemently deny the accusation then. In that case, stop linking the two. Surely you can wean yourself off that comfort blanket…

          • DanJ0

            I’m not responsible for your failings and incomprehension. My comment above in reply to Linda continues my actual theme irrespective of the crap you’re writing.

        • Inspector General

          ” I suppose the idea of the Common Good also exists in Islamic theology and ought to be implemented through Sharia so that we all live according to Allah’s design whether we want to or not.”

          This point? A point resting on a ‘mistaken’ supposition, to be generous to you, or an outright lie, to be less so, but more accurate.

    • Leacock

      a) Britain is a Christian nation so Christian influences upon the state are most appropriate (how many crosses are to be found on the flag?)

      b) The Mohammedans have some excellent socially conservative views that ought to serve as a fitting counter to liberal excesses.

      • Linda Stirling

        Yes with beheadings, homophobia, misogyny , zero tolerance for others beliefs . promotion of hatred of those not following Islam . Islam is a middle ages cult that has no place in a modern world

        • DanJ0

          But what if it is true and Allah created our universe?

          • Dreadnaught

            Islam is estimated to be the fastest growing religion in the world.
            With a gun to your head you would more than likely see the light too. Islam is born from and sustained through violence – it like any religion is a cloak to the power hungry opportunists.

          • Islam is the religion of darkness and the devil.

          • William Lewis

            Thankfully, Jesus allows us to reject that hypothesis.

          • DanJ0

            As Muslims reject the hypothesis that Christianity is true, your unsubstantiated assertions don’t really add anything. At the end of the day, getting a sufficient number of people in power will decide how our society goes under the current arrangement.

          • William Lewis

            Muslims may reject Christianity but, much more importantly, they don’t reject Jesus outright. There is some hope and evidence (see for instance the work of Canon White and Carl Medearis) there that the light will penetrate, at least for some of them.

          • DanJ0

            Goodness knows where you’re trotting off with that but I’m going to stay with my points and the original context. Thanks anyway.

          • William Lewis

            No problem. Everyone has their own idea as to what constitutes the common good. A blanket denial of one approach because it has common elements (e.g. belief in God) with another is facile categorisation and opportunistic politicking.

      • DanJ0

        Demonstrably, the UK is not a Christian nation. Christianity is a minority religion in the UK. The State has vestigial aspects, such as an established church. However, our legislation demonstrates the reality. As do the church attendance figures.

        • Inspector General

          Sorry to piss on your arrogance, but over half the country declared their allegiance to Christianity on the last census form.

          EVERYONE, he knows it, he’s been told before, but he still comes here and posts his lies. Of course, the regulars know all about DanJ0 and his necessary secularisation of society to push his gay agenda through, but newbies here need to be made aware, if they haven’t already twigged…

          • DanJ0

            Most of them are probably not even as Christian as you are, Inspector. As I always say when you whine about it, how many of them believe the most basic tenets of Christianity? That is, that Jesus was god in a man and that he died in a cross nearly 2000 years ago as a sinless sacrifice so that people can evade judgement for their own ‘sins’? Considerably fewer, by a country mile, I expect. That’s very different to declaring their allegiance. As we can see from their unrepentant behaviour, of course.

          • Inspector General

            You dare to deny people their faith in Christ? You have the temerity to tell them they are NOT Christians?

            Absolutely breath-taking! You damned liberals are worse than the Marxists who run the Labour party. That’s quite an achievement…

          • DanJ0

            Of course I do.

            You’ll see something similar happening with many of our Muslim citizens, though sadly not all, who deny that ISIL are not Muslims.

            The core point I’m making up there though, is that many of the people who tick the box on the census form almost certainly don’t pass the fundamental and mandatory criterion for being Christian: a belief in Christ and his purpose.

          • sarky

            Back to cultural christians again!!!!
            I’ve had this argument so so many times. But I suppose you cling to any vestige of hope when you’re dying!!!

          • bluedog

            Your last paragraph is just a guess that aligns with your assumptions and your own non-belief. In truth, you don’t know.

          • DanJ0

            It’s an educated guess.

          • sarky

            50% may have ticked the form, but only 4% regularly attend church. I will quite happily say they are not christians.

          • DanJ0

            Just of point of order on what you’ve written as you’re being particularly thick tonight. I don’t advocate a secular society, I advocate a secular State. This ought to be obvious from the fact that, time and again and again and again and again and again and again and again and again and again and again and again and again and again, I write here that I happily support Article 9 of the ECHR, subject to the usual constraints.

          • Inspector General

            No. Doesn’t wash. Are you another who thinks the State is an organism all of its own, and not the authority it should be, a reflection of society. It suits your ends to keep them apart for now. But when the State starts to dictate what society will be, that’s when union will be complete for you…

          • Anton

            More than half the country called themselves Christian on the census form but most of those can’t even be bothered to go to church according to attendance figures. And beyond that, how many read the Bible or pray in their own words?

            I’m not defining a Christian, but there’s more to the definition than just writing the word on a census form in a country where it costs you nothing to do so.

  • Dreadnaught

    Having heard Jim Murphy speak he knocks the goofy teeth out of Millibland. Criticise him for following the wrong religion or political persuasion by all means, but like Farage, he speaks with passion and conviction. If he was leading the Labour Party they wouldn’t be looking to forge alliances with those two small-fry Fishy characters Salmon and Sturgeon.

    • dannybhoy

      Salmon and Sturgeon..
      Clever that!

      • Dominic Stockford

        Just fishy…

    • Karen Richmond

      Not really. He lacks substance, is unwilling to answer the most straightforward questions, and changes his story to fit the audience. If he were leading the Labour Party they would be in deep trouble. Thankfully the Scottish electorate are pretty savvy and have the measure of him. Compare his dwindling fortunes to those of a genuine politician, such as the First Minister.

      • Uncle Brian

        the Scottish electorate are pretty savvy

        That’s not what the Scottish electorate say about themselves. The ones who voted Yes are still convinced that the No voters are either evil quislings or else morons who don’t know their arse from their elbow, and vice versa reciprocally.

      • ” He lacks substance, is unwilling to answer the most straightforward questions, and changes his story to fit the audience”

        A bit like wee eck then!!

      • Dreadnaught

        Any Labour politician prepared as Murphy is, to sit down with Douglas Murray and the Henry Jackson Society and point to wrongness of the high number of London Borough where white Europeans are in a minority is of a substantive calibre. He not only pisses off the Catholic Church, SNP, Ken Livingston George Galloway et al and the Greens, so he must be doing something right in my view. On the streets of Glasgow he stood his ground against orchestrated attacks and flash mobbing speaking up for a Great Britain United, with passion and no small amount of courage.

        • Karen Richmond

          Unfortunately (given Labours seemingly endless slide in the polls) Murphy also repels a growing sector of the Scottidh electorate. Perhaps it’s the comical mythologising, most notably his facing down a few hecklers with the all of the organs of the British state and its media at his back. He’s hardly Dietrich Bonhoeffer, though I can understand why the timid and easily led need to create heroes to follow.

          • Dreadnaught

            Grow up!

          • Karen Richmond

            Care to elaborate?

          • bluedog

            ‘…though I can understand why the timid and easily led need to create heroes to follow.’ Salmond & Sturgeon?

          • Karen Richmond

            Yes, I’m certain that a proportion of the supporters of all political parties could be described thus. However, let’s.not forget that these two politicians were/are democratically elected leaders of the Scottish Government and both enjoy a sizeable mandate. In contrast, our friend Jim Murphy MP has built his reputation with hot air, sharp elbows and a somewhat selective memory.

    • Athanasius

      “Murphy” and “conviction” in the same sentence? And we’re not talking criminal? Still, I suppose you’re right about Salmond and Sturgeon being small fry: far as I know, neither of them has ever claimed a million pounds in expenses

    • Compton Arthur

      TRIPE

      • Dreadnaught

        I’ll get back to you when you have something to say and hopefully worked out the location and use of the shift key.

        • Uncle Brian

          Looks like you set the barrier too high, Dreadnaught. You scared him away.

      • William Lewis

        The caps-lock-crusader strikes again.

    • CliveM

      Watch out, we have a serious debater challenging our comments “snort” (thank you DanJo :0) )

  • carl jacobs

    You see, if the RC bishops had written a pastoral letter that explicitly and openly attacked abortion, people would complain about the church meddling in politics and how it was trying to impose its religion on others. But if the church rails against Trident, then the church is providing an important moral witness.

    Some political impositions are more equal than others.

    • Uncle Brian

      I tried to give you two upvotes for that, Carl, but Disqus wouldn’t let me.

      • Leacock

        To be honest, it seems a decent letter, far better than I would have expected. Given the emphasis upon (sound) moral values I don’t think it is terribly pro-SNP. Sure there is a pro-forma swipe at capitalism and they are a bunch of wimps who don’t like Trident but I don’t see why that should be interpreted as an endorsement of the SNP much more than the CofE’s corrupt endorsement of examining alternatives to Trident.

    • Albert

      Isn’t this a misreading? Abortion is not on the agenda of the election. Nuclear weapons are.

      • carl jacobs

        Albert

        It was a general comment, and not specific to this election. The general principle holds that churches are allowed to publicly take certain stands but not others. The difference involves the boundaries being invoked.

        • …. and it’s about time – way past time, actually – Christians started crossing those self imposed boundaries.

        • Albert

          I think it’s a contextual thing based on the actual choices voters have. If they had said something about voting for a party that opposed abortion, most electors would scratch their heads and wonder what it meant.

      • ….. but abortion and other significant moral issues should be on the agenda. Isn’t that the underlying message in the Bishops statement?

        • Albert

          Yes, but in terms of the actual choices people are making, the fact that moral position is available is significant, I think.

    • The Bishops statement hardly “rails against Trident”. It poses some legitimate questions. That said, Jack agrees with your general point.

  • CliveM

    I find the RC’s position with regards Labour and the SNP as curious. It’s not as if on issues such as abortion their is any substantive difference between the two parties. As parties they would both like to close the faith schools but daren’t. On the economy they are both Left leaning. So why the imperceptible nod towards the SNP? It can only be that the RC in Scotland wants to break up the UK. It’s Cardinals are Nationalists.
    Considering the history of the Church in Scotland, it’s Irish roots, the continuing links with Ireland and it’s longstanding antagonism towards Westminster and Britishness (remember in the 1950’s more the 50% of Scotland voted Tory, so Scotlands anti-english stance is relatively recent) it hard to come to any other conclusion.

    • Compton Arthur

      UTTER DROSS

      • CliveM

        Are you going to support your statement with anything resembling an argument or would you find that to challenging?

        • Dude

          That’s the cybermats for you …

          • CliveM

            Cybernats not Cybermats (used by the Doctors enemy!!) :0)

    • bluedog

      Out in the Gaeltacht, the power of the RC Archdiocese of Liverpool was always evident. A surprise really, one would have expected Glasgow to impinge. Given the close links between Liverpool and Ireland, this tends to validate your own views. The second surprise is that the SNP has somehow avoided a sectarian divide internally so far. Perhaps this is a treat in store. The third surprise will be if a sectarian divide does not emerge or become a factor in the SNP’s support base.

      • CliveM

        Various Scottish Cardinals have made statements supporting independence. Including Cardinal O’Brian. It is odd that something so divisive, even within the RC itself, should get such vocal support.

        • bluedog

          One wonders if Cardinal Vincent Nicols and Catholic politician Jacob Rees-Mogg will offer statements correcting the anti-British position of the Scottish Catholic Church.

          • CliveM

            The RC OF Scotland is independent of the Church in England, so they would probably say “mind your own business” if they did.

          • bluedog

            One way or another, the Roman Church in Scotland is taking a reputational risk by backing a secularist political party as a winner. And its not as though the RC generally is immune to reputational risk…

          • CliveM

            I agree they are making a mistake aligning themselves to closely to a single party.

            Thing is in the long term it won’t help them anyway. The SNP will ultimately close down the faith schools, set us an aggressively secular state and sideline the Churches anyway. (If allowed).

            It should be remembered at the ‘reconciliation service” following the vote last year, neither Sturgen or Salmon attended. Which I think places in context their view on Christianity.

          • You think Labour intends to do anything different – North or South of the border?

          • CliveM

            Absolutely. However my point I think still stands. Why align yourself with a party who will try to destroy a large part of what you stand for. In its own way, isn’t the Church then being as hypocritical as Murphy?

          • They are considering the options – Labour and SNP, in terms of UK policies, are really no different except on the issue of Trident and how the money might otherwise be spent. It’s a valid consideration. Besides, the message of their statement is considerably wider than this one issue.

    • disqus_zZA6sDUpNy

      Don’t you know about the riots after the vote in 1707 when, with an English army at the border and English ships in the Firth of Forth to bully our MPs into voting for Union, and a bribe to further pressure them to betray their nation for personal gain, the vast majority of Scots were against the Union? We are not anti English today. We are anti domination by an English controlled Westminster.

      • CliveM

        You live in Canada therefore you aren’t dominated by Westminster.

        The Union has lasted 300 successful years and personally it will be sad if bigots and racists break it up.

        There was a referendum last year which voted no . Whatever the failings in 1707 the Union has political and moral legitimacy. For the vast majority of that period it has been supported by the Scottish people.

        Your points are irrelevant.

        • Are you resident in Scotland, Clive and registered to vote there?

          • CliveM

            Not any more, but this is the UK, this is a UK election, I am allowed a say in what happens to my Country, the UK.

          • dannybhoy

            Well said Clive. It is your country as much as it is my country. I have no problem with the Welsh, Scots or (Northern) Irish retaining a sense of pride and tradition, but logically we are all far better off together than pursuing national independence.
            The idea that three tiny countries and northern Ireland should individually strut their stuff on the world stage is laughable; reminiscent of the old banana republic mentality.

        • Richard.Mc

          Clive M. The media won the referendum for the Unionist when your point of view is backed by 95% of news media and only 55% vote for it there is something askew or just totally wrong with the representative view of big business paid for media. I am from Scotland so my point is relevant.

          • Uncle Brian

            The referendum would only have been legitimate if your side had won, right?

          • CliveM

            Got it in one UB!

          • CliveM

            It was a referendum on the date of the SNP’s choice, with a screwed question of SNP’s choice, who systematically abused their executive position to generate an environment as conducive to Seperatism as possible and still they lost the vote.

            Blame the media if you wish, it just exposes a contempt for the electorate.

        • disqus_zZA6sDUpNy

          The Union has no political and moral legitimacy. We were conquered by threats to our trade, by threats the Scots living in England, and when the time came for the Scottish parliament to vote, by an English army gathered at the border and English ships anchored in the Firth of Forth. And we must not forget the bribe which greedy Scottish parliamentarians accepted in payment for their treason. The behaviour of the Westminster government during the referendum campaign was similar to the behaviour of the English Government in the years before 1707. Threats, lies (especially that pensioners would not get their state pensions in independent Scotland), civil service interfering in the campaign, a bribe (Home Rule, Devo-Max, a near Federal system) which they have not paid, etc.

          Immediately after the Union the Westminster government began to violate the Treaty and the Act of Union, just as the Westminster government began to violate the vow the morning after the referendum.

          I recent polls, many Scots who voted NO, realising that they were cheated, say that if another referendum were held they would vote YES.

          • CliveM

            You do whitter on and typical of the SNP you don’t accept the political will of the Scottish people. When the term “Scottish whinge is used, it’s people like you who it’s referred to.

            The Union does have legitimacy and saying otherwise doesn’t make it so. You lie and if you are a Minister you should be ashamed.

            If you are saying that only elections that are fought with absolute honesty and integrity are legitimate then look to your own camp first. Their if frankly something nauseating and hypocritical about a Nationalist complaining about physical intimidation.

          • disqus_zZA6sDUpNy

            “Facts are chiels that winnae ding”.

          • CliveM

            Fact, you lost the vote.

      • What’s with the “we”? Are you resident in Scotland?

        • disqus_zZA6sDUpNy

          I moved to Canada in December 2014. I’m still a Scottish citizen. I may return to spend my retirement in Scotland. Hence the “we”.

      • dannybhoy

        If the Scots had really been against the Union we would have seen a lot more rebels in the mould of William Wallace down the years.
        The fact is that the Scots benefitted greatly from the Union, even if they couldn’t bring themselves to say so..
        Access to better weather,
        better food and underwear..
        Plus more job and career opportunities.
        And we English found another country we could beat at Football and Rugby.

        The main reason ‘the Grizzlers’ are taking over Scotland is the creation of the European Union,
        the gradual loss of British sovereignty to Brussels,
        a weakened economic base and the increasing irrelevance of Westminster…

        • DanJ0

          Underwear. Lol

        • Dreadnaught

          What the Scots like to ignore is the fact that their king James 6 (KJ1 England) inherited the kingdom of England and set the foundation for unity.
          As much as the SNP and the people Scotland traditionally believe they have had a rough deal is largely due to the actions of their own elite.
          Scottish Saltire nationalism grew in popularity and for many is now ‘the truth’ as depicted by the fictional Braveheart myth and movie featuring Smell Gibson; that well known Yankaussieyank, anti-semite and distorter of history. He and Hollywood have a lot to answer for.
          I wonder how he would make a representation of the Darien project without blaming the English for the failed go-it-alone ambition of Imperial Scottish expansion in South America?

          • Inspector General

            What’s so interesting about that unfortunate imperial venture is that the full implications are rarely brought to light when it’s covered. When it failed, it took with it just about all the investable capital the Scots had. For years after, they were as poor as Greeks. Personally, one doeth believe it permanently altered the Scottish character, as anyone who has waited in vain to see a Scotsman rush to the bar to get the first round in will attest to…

          • CliveM

            Speaking of which you still owe me a drink.

            Let he who is without sin……….!

    • You’re reading way too much into the Bishops statement, Clive.

      • CliveM

        Do you deny that more then one Senior Scottish Bishop/Cardinal has made pro Independence Statements?

        • No but then Jack hasn’t followed their statements that closely. Do you have particular statements in mind? Plus, didn’t Pope Francis speak in general terms against separatist movements last year? All Jack’s saying is don’t read a Catholic agenda into Scottish separation.

          • CliveM

            I think the support is more based on personality then deliberate institutional bias. But because of who tends to be chosen for these positions, the Churches history in Scotland and their background, there is a tendency amongst them of leaning towards Independence.

          • Jack thinks you’ll find they “lean” towards Labour and the SNP because of their social policies more than Independence.

          • CliveM

            I did say its Cardinals where nationalists, which is Proddy speak for senior Clergy! Not the institution necessarily.

          • Scotland does not have a functioning Cardinal ….

          • CliveM

            Did have one quite recently. He made his views known.

          • Doubt if they carried much weight given his downfall.

          • CliveM

            Of course he may have been a closet Unionist!! :0)

          • That was bad …. the poor man had a weakness that surfaced when he drank.

          • CliveM

            Forgive me Father for I have sinned :0( hangs head in shame and shuffles off….

            I very nearly responded, “what he sang God save the Queen when pissed!!”

          • carl jacobs

            but then Jack hasn’t followed their statements that closely

            What??? You live in Scotland. You had to vote in the Referendum. How could you possibly know how to properly vote without receiving guidance from the princes of the church? Shocked, Jack! Utterly shocked I am at your flagrant disregard of the wisdom of the shepherds placed over you.

          • CliveM

            He maybe beginning to see the light……..?!!

          • carl jacobs

            You know … I didn’t think of that. You are right. This could be a positive sign.

          • CliveM

            We can but pray!

          • Grouchy Jack

            No point in proddies praying …. they don’t know how to.

          • CliveM

            LOL

          • dannybhoy

            Proddies Rule!

          • How did the big match between Reds and Blues go today?

          • carl jacobs

            Jack, Jack, Jack, Jack, Jack …

            [Shakes head knowingly]

            Let me tell you a story, Jack.

            When airliners started making wide use of digital computers in avionics, engineers discovered a new phenomenon called the “Neutron Single Event Upset” or NSEU in industry parlance. What happens is that a random neutron smashes into the computer’s memory and flips the state of a bit. A flipped bit in a pointer is what an Engineer calls “a bad day.” NSEUs simply are. You can’t stop them. They are just one of many transient phenomena that happen and then are no more. You design for them and mitigate the effects. It’s part of the burden of living in a sinful world.

            You have to learn to recognize transients, Jack. They happen.

          • Carl, there are bad days and then there are bad days … This was no random event causing a “soft error”.

          • Grouchy Jack

            Jack follows solid Catholic principles – unlike many of the bishops these days.

          • William Lewis

            And yet Jack berates Anglican proddies for not adhering to their Bishops’ pastoral letter! Perhaps that was Perfidious Jack?

          • Did Jack do that? He has no recollection of this. And where has Jack indicated Scottish Catholics should follow the soft suggestion (and that’s all it was) that SNP was sounder concerning Trident (which it might well be)? The Church of England letter was too long to be read by the average voter, in any event. Even Archbishop Cranmer gave up on it.

          • carl jacobs

            How would you know you are following solid Catholic principles unless the bishops tell you? Seems to be another instance of … private judgment.

          • (cough) … Man Utd 4 – 2 … Man City (cough)

            Oh, Jack is more than able to read Catholic encyclicals on social teachings for himself and to form an opinion. As Jack has already said, private judgement is encouraged in those areas where dogma and doctrine are not definitively settled and where prudential judgement comes into play. As the statement says:

            “On the Seventh of May the people of Scotland will vote in what may be the most unpredictable General Election in generations. While each of us alone will decide whom to vote for, the teachings of the Church can offer us a guide as we attempt to reach an informed judgement that advances the common good.”

          • Owl

            Jack, when anyone talks about the “common good” or “for your own benefit” , it runs cold along my back.
            I jus’ know I’m about to get conned/screwed.

  • Athanasius

    Personally, although the politics involved is open to interpretation, I suspect the more interesting aspect is what it is saying about the internal dynamics of the Church. After 50 years of what might be termed Catholic Anglicanism since Vatican II, the liberals are doing what they’ve always done and are quitting in droves, AFTER they’ve done their damage. The only recruits coming through for ordination these days – and the only laity upholding the sacraments – are the traditionalists. Increasingly, THEY are the face of Catholicism. Expect a smaller, much reduced but purer, stronger and above all truly CATHOLIC Church in the future laying it right on the line for any politician trying to trade on the Church’s name.

    • David

      And Amen to that says this traditionalist protestant.
      Liberalism in all its houses, does indeed weaken the host before the liberalism itself, eventually ceases breathing – that’s my gut feeling. To survive into the future stauncher types must lead.

    • The Synod in October will be a cross-roads. Like you, Jack believes this will be the outcome but at the moment it is in the balance.

    • Linus

      Christianity is undergoing an evaporative process in the West at the moment. It’s losing volume in much the same way as any liquid solution will when heat is applied. As it boils down, pure water is lost to the air around it leaving concentrated residue in the bottom of the saucepan.

      That’s what the Church is becoming: an increasingly thick and bitter brew of fundamentalists and extremists that nobody wants to drink. Over time it will evaporate away completely leaving a burnt-on crust and an acrid stench of self-proclaimed martyrdom hanging in the air.

      It’s my generation’s great bad luck to live at the point in time when things are really starting to smell bad. And worse is to come. But some evil smells can be borne when you understand that they’re a necessary part of the decomposition process.

  • carl jacobs

    The Secularist (of the French persuasion) will point to Islam and say “If you don’t want Islam controlling your life according to the dictates of Islam, then you can’t consistently demand the right to control my life according to the dictates of Christianity.” There is a problems with this argument. The assertion is factually incorrect. There is no inconsistency.

    The problem with an Islamic worldview is not that it is religious. The problem with the Islamic worldview is that it is objectively false. I am not interested in preventing dominance by another religion. I am interested in preventing dominance by a false worldview of any origin. This is (not coincidentally) exactly the same argument Secularists make against the participation of all religions in the public sphere. “Religion of any stripe is false. Falsehood should not govern life – and certainly not my life.” I would make the same argument against dominance by a Materialist worldview.

    The Secularist however seeks to privilege his position by placing himself at a (mythical) “neutral point” between religions. It is alleged that everyone can enter this space and agree on some minimal level of ethical behavior independent of religion. Except this manifestly isn’t the case. Religion governs the definition of good from which ethical behavior proceeds. To occupy this “neutral place” a religious participant must not only check his religions understandings at the door. He must also adopt the understandings of good that are inherent in this alleged place of “neutrality.” He just isn’t supposed to recognize these metaphysical presuppositions inherent to the Secularist case.

    So how is the “falseness” of a worldview adjudicated in the public square? By raw power. People who believe worldview X come into the public square and impose it by force on those who disagree. That is why the public square in the West currently reflects a secular materialist outlook. It cannot be otherwise. So long as that dominance is legally and legitimately established, it should not be otherwise.

    • Linus

      A Christian says “God is truth” and lo and behold, God is truth. A Muslim says “Allah is truth” and lo and behold, Allah is a lie. But only in the eyes of the Christian.

      An Atheist says “Neither God nor Allah are truth, or at least we have no convincing evidence that proves they are” and lo and behold … well, there is no lo and behold. All there is is an admission that we don’t have enough knowledge to be able to define truth. And when in doubt, reasonable people will agree to disagree and work out a system of government that everyone can live with. One that doesn’t impose religious beliefs on anyone, or let them impose their religious beliefs on anyone else.

      Secularism is the best form of government for diverse societies. The only alternative is theocracy, which can only work when a large majority believes in the ruling faith and is willing to impose it on those who do not believe in it. That large majority is lacking in Western societies. There just aren’t enough Christians to be able to force the rest of us to live according to your values. Same thing for Jews and Muslims. You have the freedom to live your lives according to your religious precepts, but you do not have the freedom to impose them on others. If you want the power to force others to live according to your lights, start wishing for Dr Who to turn up in his tardis and take you back to the 16th century. Or convert to Islam and move to Saudi Arabia. But if you want to stay where you are, you’ll have to accept secular government. That’s just the way it is.

  • len

    ‘Roman Catholic bishops condemn Jim Murphy’s hypocrisy’ . Matthew 7:5 springs to mind?

    Judgement has already started in the house of God for those who do not have a love of the Truth……

  • Albert

    What a strange post, particularly from an Anglican. And how odd, not to be able to see the difference between a Catholic politician and one who is not.

    • Certainly, Jim Murphy’s understanding of Catholic moral teachings concerning the place of sex within marriage is, let’s say, limited. Then again, since Humanae Vitae the Catholic Church seems to have countenanced the exercise of private judgement over a doctrine regarded as definitive and infallible. A declining population, divorce and remarriage, IVF, and homosexual ‘marriage’ was the inevitable outcome when the Christian Churches broke the link between the marital act and procreation. Really, the Bishops need to ensure the Catholic laity is better informed across the board about Church teaching – and not just politicians on the single issue of homosexual ‘marriage’.

  • Dominic Stockford

    Fascinating ideas held by the Roman Bishops. Notable that the Christian Party is utterly committed in opposition to abortion, opposition to ‘same sex marriage’, opposition to ‘dignity in dying’, and all these modern attacks on humanity as God has created it. However, they are also clear about the need to retain Trident.

    “…the Christian Party believes in the retention of an adequate nuclear deterrent by those nations with proven responsibility in their maintenance. In pursuit of multilateral disarmament we propose the creation of an overarching body to begin the process of integrating the world’s nuclear arsenal in a multilateral manner for the common defence of the free nations of the world and the promotion of world peace.”

    Then again, the Christian Party also states that “We believe the Holy Bible to be inspired, infallible, written Word of God to whose precepts, given for the good of nations and individuals, all man’s law must submit.” which wouldn’t be the position of the Roman Bishops. Maybe this is behind the difference?

    • disqus_zZA6sDUpNy

      I’m a Christian Minister, living in Canada, We have the Christian Heritage Party. I agree with them and the Christian Party in Scotland about the sanctity of life, which is why I oppose nuclear weapons. I consider the philosophical basis, and the “trickle down” economics, of Capitalism to be utterly in opposition to the teaching of Jesus. I really cannot understand how a Christian can be Tory. I don’t agree with all the the Roman Catholic (I am a catholic Christian) bishops say, but I agree with their broad hint that, despite its shortcomings, the SNP is the party Christians should be voting for.

      • carl jacobs

        That’s nice.

        This would be the same SNP whose “plan” for building an independent Scotland amounted to “Love will find a way”, correct? Perhaps they aren’t the best choice, after all. Some connection to the real world is always desirable in a political party.

        You can complain about economics all you like. You can complain about the tide as well. But if you stand in its way, you will get inundated. No one owes you a minimum standard of living.

        • disqus_zZA6sDUpNy

          World renowned economists support the SNPs economic plans, and continue to support the plans proposed by Nicola Sturgeon. GES figures show that Scotland subsidises England, even though we son’t owe England a minimum standard of living.

          • CliveM

            What world renowned economists? Give us names. P

          • disqus_zZA6sDUpNy

            Joseph Stiglits, Hughes Hallett, Paul Krugman. You may find the link below enlightening. Though in the pro-independence Business for Scotland, the report is on a BBC interview, which is fair – remarkable for the biased BBC.

            http://www.businessforscotland.co.uk/peston-documentary-proves-nothing-to-fear-with-independence/

          • CliveM

            Hughes Hallet is not world renowned. The other two are left wing economists who forecast that Osbornes economic plan would lead to stagnation and perpetual depression. I think they also supported Ed Balls.

            They have also been discredited.

            It is interesting you claim they have reviewed Sturgeons proposed plan. I note they seemed to be talking independence vote, not current election. It matters not.

            Now to your misrepresentation of the 1707 vote. The troops and ships weren’t there to impose a vote or the will of the English parliament but to intervene in the event of trouble following the vote.

            Money flowed both ways. The supporters had more of it. The vote was typical of the era. The SNP tried to challenge the legitimacy of the vote in the European Courts and failed.

          • disqus_zZA6sDUpNy

            “The troops and ships weren’t there to impose a vote or the will of the English parliament but to intervene in the event of trouble following the vote.” An acceptance of Unionist propaganda. Though I studied Scottish history for two years at university in the 1970s I had forgotten the details. I do well remember my lecturer talking about the English claim that their military were there to intervene in case of trouble. The Scottish government had not asked them to intervene. Everyone know that they were there as a threat to ensure that the members of the Estates voted the “right way”. Fear of England making war when we could not afford it was large in the minds of the members.

            Your correspondence motivated to do some reading. Following are some statements from part of the Highers Curriculum by Education Scotland and the BBC. Google History – Higher – The Treaty of Union – Resources pages 48-50 – but it won’t take too long to read the whole article.

            A member of the Scottish Estates, Roxburgh, wrote in a letter, “If Union fails, war will never be avoided…” and “I am thoroughly convinced that if we do not go into the Succession, or a Union, very soon, Conquest will certainly be, upon the first Peace’. By this he evidently meant as soon as the English armies were free from war in Europe.

            The article further states:

            “The making of the United Kingdom in 1707 was the product of power, control and negotiation. England had the military power to coerce and the fiscal power to persuade. The English ministry was intent on controlling through political incorporation what had become a
            rogue state in terms of commercial exchange. Likewise Queen Anne was intent on terminating what she conceived to be the rogue behaviour of the Scottish
            Estates in seeking to limit the prerogative powers of the crown.”

            “The English Government behaved like skilful but
            ruthless confidence tricksters… What was on offer was preferable to an invasion and its consequences. So why not opt for the lesser evil?”

          • CliveM
          • CliveM

            It’s very interesting the way you have presented this quote. Let’s state from the outset that the comment you have quoted was not related to the Act of Union Debate 1707 or any fear of an imminent English invasion. It is interesting that except for the ‘Scotland Rampant’ style websites, none mention any fear of an English invasion as playing a serious role in the process (most don’t mention it at all). It is interesting also that it doesn’t appear to have played any serious role in the Parliamentary debates. Indeed the ‘Mother Caledonia’ Speech by Belhaven mentions it not at all.

            Roxburgh was talking about a general concern he held. He had mentioned it before as far back as 1704 (were the armies and navy hanging around that long?). It was an on-going Scottish concern completely unrelated to any non-existent pressure in the Union Treaty discussions. This is the context of the article you quoted. But of course you know this and yet you deliberately misrepresented it.

            Still it’s always good to toe the party line.

            Now with relation to the ‘bribes’. This is 1707, this was a normal process of patronage at the time. There is no evidence it changed the vote as most of the recipients i.e. the Darian investors, where anyway desperate for a Treaty with England to ensure trade between the two countries. If there was any ‘unfair’ pressure applied, it was in England’s threat to effectively close the Border to trade between the two Countries and its growing Empire. This was at a time when Scotland had suffered a series of disastrous harvests and was in a desperate financial state.

            England didn’t need to invade and it didn’t want to invade. It is a deliberate misrepresentation of Nationalists to foment anti-English sentiment today.

            And it’s pathetic.

          • carl jacobs

            What plan? “Britain will give us a currency union” is not a plan. “The BOE will act as lender of last resort” is not a plan. You seem to think your current level of prosperity is independent of your association with Great Britain. It isn’t.

            You have no idea what currency you will use. You aren’t getting into the EU. You aren’t getting unconditional access to the pound. You are going to experience capital flight and job loss. You are goung to create transaction costs with your major trading partner. You are going to a spend yourself into oblivion setting up your social democratic welfare state. You have no currency reserves built up. Your oil revene is declining. And your population is getting old. What could possibly go wrong with this plan?

          • disqus_zZA6sDUpNy

            You have been sucking at the tit of Project Fear, and drinking its propaganda unpasteurised.

          • carl jacobs

            Ummm … no. What I said is factual.

            1. Scotland is not getting a currency union. Britain has no incentive to offer it, and Scotland wouldn’t accept the political/budgetary conditions that Britain would impose. And even if Britain agreed to it, Britain wouldn’t follow through

            2. Scotland is not getting into the EU. Its numbers aren’t good enough. Its debt is something like 1200% of GDP. Greece has put paid to Scotland for a while. Besides which, there are nations that won’t want to encourage separatism.

            Ergo, Scotland will have no access to hard currency. So it will either:

            1. “Dollarize” with the pound sterling.
            2. Print its own currency.

            In both cases Scotland will need a large cash reserve to guarantee deposits, and defend its currency. Which it doesn’t have, and won’t be able to accumulate given its social spending plans.

            So what do you think all those people and businesses with assets valued in pounds are going to do? Wait until they get forcibly converted? No. They are going to get their money and capital out of Scotland as soon as possible. Why? Because they will worry about the stability of the currency and Scotland’s inability to support its banks. That’s why last August all those banks and financial institutions said they would leave Scotland if the vote was “Yes.” And what do you think all those defense contractors are going to do – since their major customer won’t be Scotland? They will move south to make sure to maintain presence in the same country as the MoD. And then what? After all that capital flight and all that business flight, what then happens to your tax revenue and job base?

            None of this is “Project Fear.” It’s more like predicting that when a rock falls in water, the rock will get wet.

      • Maybe concerning Trident the SNP better reflects Catholic teachings – maybe, as these have not been definitively stated and really are a matter for prudential judgement. However, on all other issues they are miles away from Christianity.

        In terms of personal morality, they support contraception for school children, abortion on demand, homosexual marriage and are very close to supporting assisted self-murder. They have brought in legislation that undermines family life with the State effectively intruding into every child’s life and parents being potentially side-lined. In economic policy the SNP is fiercely income redistribution (i.e. high taxation and high public benefits) and socialist-collectivist in outlook. Rather than supporting individual effort and a free market of small businesses, they want to plan, control and .run all things. For a good insight into their politics think ‘Old Labour’.

      • Uncle Brian

        I really cannot understand how a Christian can be Tory.
        There are evidently a great many things that you really cannot understand. You need to try harder.

      • Matthew Rowe

        ‘I really cannot understand how a Christian can be Tory’?
        Funny because I really cannot understand how a Christian can be so judgemental

        • dannybhoy

          He is of course wrong, but I don’t think he’s being judgmental.

          • Inspector General

            Being judgmental is what somebody is who doesn’t agree with you…

          • dannybhoy

            Now you’re being judgmental!
            Or do I mean critical?
            Oh now I’m being disgreeable..
            Or do I mean opinionated ?
            Perhaps he was simply pontificating?
            One has to avoid being dogmatic in these matters…

      • Inspector General

        And Jesus said unto his disciples “Look, you lot, you know I’m always telling you my kingdom is not of this world. Well, I’ve changed my mind. And I won’t be sending you out after me to spread the word to all nations. Nay, I am to found the Jewish Nationalist Party.” And the disciples looked at one another, and themselves, for verily, this was not on the cards. “Anyway, it’s manifesto time. Dream up a wish list of goodies to tempt the electorate. Feel free to indulge, there is no wrong policy. And here’s the clever bit, we’re going to get Caesar to pay for it all”. And Peter said unto Judas. “Alright, off you go and see how much we can get for him…”

        • disqus_zZA6sDUpNy

          Jesus Christ’s Kingdom is not of this world, but it is in this world. “Your Kingdom come”.

      • Shuvah05

        Though in the U.K. it does” trickle down to ” to a free Health service ,Housing benefit, Unemployment Benefit etc etc in fact far more generous than any Catholic Nation you may wish to name.

        • Dreadnaught

          There’s nothing ‘free’ about the NHS and Welfare System that costs taxpayers a substantial amount of their pay packets.

      • Darter Noster

        “the SNP is the party Christians should be voting for”

        That really rather depends on whether you believe that the best way to follow Christian values in politics is a combination of monolithic, Marxist-derived statist control over everyone’s lives and the Government-mandated redistribution of wealth – which impoverishes everyone, has failed every time it has ever been tried, and worked so brilliantly for Francois Hollande – and the kind of distasteful, shortbread-tin, tartan nationalism which if tried in England Bishops of all colours would be falling out of their pulpits to condemn.

        Unilateral nuclear disarmament has done wonders in securing peace and independence for Ukraine hasn’t it? If only we all realised that the Russian bombers routinely testing our air defences were in fact just a surprise friendly international air tattoo.

        • disqus_zZA6sDUpNy

          I believe that Capitalism, which deprives the poor in order to enrich the rich, as it does in Coalitions legislation and policies concerning welfare etc. is thoroughly antithetical to the message of Jesus and His concern for the poor. Marxist type Socialism, which is Stateism and controls every aspect of human life, is also antithetical. I think that a mixture of limited free enterprise and publicly own and directed services (NHS, Railways, Bus services, water and sewer provision etc.) strike a balance. Public ownership need not mean state ownership. Local communities could own and manage their own services, through electted boards of directors etc.

      • Darter Noster

        And if the Catholic Church in Canada declared for the Parti Quebecois how happy would you be?

        • disqus_zZA6sDUpNy

          I don’t think a Church should declare for a particular party. It should declare for social justice and the freedom of a nation to make its own choice about who governs it and how it’s governed. If there is only one major party in that nation whose platform favours poor and disadvantaged people, sets limits on profits of banks and businesses, and supports legislation in favour of trade unions and workers, has a just graduated tax system that practises the policy of “From each according to his ability and to each according to his need”, as the Gospel demands, then the Churches address of the Gospel to those issues may well point in the direction of that party without naming it.

    • “In pursuit of multilateral disarmament we propose the creation of an overarching body to begin the process of integrating the world’s nuclear arsenal in a multilateral manner for the common defence of the free nations of the world and the promotion of world peace.”

      The Catholic bishops ideas may be “fascinating”. To claim the objective is multilateral disarmament and then to pursue it via some sort of multinational body that will integrate oversee the world’s nuclear arsenal is fanciful, especially as it contradicts the objective to provide the “common defence of the free nations”.

      The question the Catholic Church poses is whether it is consistent with scripture to unleash the massive destruction associated with nuclear weapons?

      And perhaps you could explain this a bit further:

      “Then again, the Christian Party also states that “We believe the Holy Bible to be inspired, infallible, written Word of God to whose precepts, given for the good of nations and individuals, all man’s law must submit.” which wouldn’t be the position of the Roman Bishops. Maybe this is behind the difference?”

      • Dominic Stockford

        ‘Scripture Alone’ – sola Scriptura – not a Roman position.

        • Uncle Brian

          Definitely not. And for good reason.

        • Hmmm …. but that passage says nothing about sola Scriptura. A Catholic wouldn’t fundamentally disagree with it – except s/he would replace “conform” for “submit” in the last clause. Besides, the “precepts” have to be interpreted and applied and that’s where the divide exists.

        • Grouchy Jack

          Where is Trident mentioned in scripture?

  • William Lewis

    So the Scottish Catholics want their coreligionists to join political parties that support the removal of Trident irrespective, or perhaps because of, their determination to destroy the United Kingdom. And this from an organisation that derives its temporal authority from a foreign power! Questions should be asked.

    • bluedog

      The leopard has not and cannot change its spots, William.

      • William Lewis

        Indeed bluedog. The reformers thought so too, I believe.

    • Lol ….. Jack thinks you’ll find the Church lacks any temporal power these days and also that Pope Francis wields none; besides he has spoken against small divisive nationalist movements. You do know the Catholic population is 17% in Scotland and 11% in England and Wales?

      (Perhaps the Vatican’s master plan is to develop nuclear weapons and wants all other nations to disarm so it can seize world power)

      • William Lewis

        I’m not too worried about the numbers, Happy Jack, but rather the principles, jurisdictions and authorities involved here.

        I have no idea as to the Vatican’s designs for nuclear supremacy but I find its campaign for Scottish unilateral nuclear disarmament distinctly odd. Particularly given the political support for the SNP that that entails.

        • It’s a reasonable position for a Christian Church to take. Is it moral to spend billions on supporting weapons of mass destruction? Where’s the progress in multinational disarmament? Valid questions, Jack would say. And it’s hardly a “campaign”.
          As for “jurisdictions and authorities”, as you saying the world wide Catholic Church shouldn’t be able to offer an opinion on British politics to its followers?

          • David Milligan

            As Jim Murphy would say, “I’m a multilateralist which means that I want all nuclear powers to disarm at the same time and that’s what we’ve been working on”.

            Hmm, so let me see if I get this straight Mr Murphy, you want everyone to disarm whilst the UK prepares to embark on re-armament?

            That doesn’t seem very logical or fair, does it?

            Kindest regards,

            David Milligan
            scot2.scot

          • Of course, given China’s population and its capacity to wage conventional war, and the general feminisation of Western men, there will need to be massive investment in conventional arms and men. Does anybody actually believe the major players are committed to multinational disarmament.

          • carl jacobs

            Why stop there, Jack. Why not just “outlaw” war altogether and agree to total disarmament.

            What could possibly go wrong?

          • CliveM

            That’s not what’s being said though. Your point is disengenuous. If their was ever multilateral disarmament the the UK would give up its weapons. However until that extremely improbable event happens, we should keep our deterrence effective.

          • David Milligan

            No, you entirely miss the point and the only point. If there’s staged multilateralism where you give up one of yours and we’ll give up one of ours. If that process is truly in effect then why would we purchase an upgrade?

            My point is most certainly not disingenuous and just asks a very awkward question of those who would promote the upgrade of Trident.

            Quote
            “I’m a multilateralist which means that I want all nuclear powers to disarm at the same time and that’s what we’ve been working on”

            This a direct quote from Jim Murphy at the Scottish Leaders Debate, so that is what is being said.

            Question: Do you actually think that having Trident actually keeps you and your family safe?

            It most certainly doesn’t.

            The real threat isn’t from any nation state no matter how renegade, the threat is those who would hold us to ransom by threatening a nuclear detonation of a “dirty” bomb in one of our cities. Terrorist organisations already have the means, it’s just a matter of time.

            If that happens, what innocent population do we incinerate in revenge?

            Answer me that…

            Kindest regards,

            David Milligan
            scot2.scot

          • Darter Noster

            That presumably explains why the Soviet Union spent a fortune funding CND with suitcases of cash whilst also developing SS20s…?

          • Darter Noster

            “The real threat isn’t from any nation state no matter how renegade”

            And the only reason why that is true is because any renegade nation faces the threat of nuclear retaliation. If every non-renegade state disarmed unilaterally then every renegade state would be able to hold them unilaterally to ransom. Of course it would be better if nuclear weapons had never been invented, but now that they have you cannot put the genie back in the bottle. It might be better if gunpowder had never been invented, but it was, and despite efforts to control it every state realised they needed guns.

            Explain successfully to Kim Jong Un that no nuclear weapons are needed, and then get back to us.

          • David Milligan

            I’ll ask Kim next time I meet him….idiot!

            Of all the conflicts that the UK has been involved in, no nukes were used.

            I’ll ask you a simple question here, if you and your entire family were killed in a nuclear attack, would you wish the mostly innocent population of the attacking country to be incinerated in revenge?

            What did they do to deserve that?

            I’m a Christian and I couldn’t possibly sanction such an action.

            Kindest regards,

            David Milligan
            scot2.scot

          • Darter Noster

            “I’ll ask you a simple question here, if you and your entire family were killed in a nuclear attack, would you wish the mostly innocent population of the attacking country to be incinerated in revenge?”

            No, I’d want the population of the attacking country to know that if they used nuclear weapons then they would receive exactly the same back, and then they would not do so in the first place.

            Idiot.

          • carl jacobs

            I’m a Christian and I couldn’t possibly sanction such an action.

            And I’m a Christian, and I agreed to pull the trigger if ordered. One of us spouts idealistic nonsense while the other stood alert. One of us doesn’t live in a vassal state of the Soviet Union because the other acted.

            I wonder which is which?

          • David Milligan

            Comments like that are untruthful and unhelpful. I know many in the CND and it would be them that would deal harshly with such an offer, or such a claim.

            If that was a joke it’s in very poor taste.

            If it’s not then it’s a very dangerous thing to say about an organisation that has many of our Westminster and Scottish politicians in its ranks.

            Kindest regards,

            David Milligan
            scot2.scot

          • Darter Noster

            It is far from a joke; it’s an established fact that money from the Soviet embassy found its way to CND and groups like the Greenham Common protesters.

            Why was this? Because the Soviet Union profoundly believed that if NATO gave up nuclear weapons then the Warsaw Pact could cheerfully and safely follow suit?

            Utter rubbish, and I will not insult you by suggesting that you are stupid enough to believe that. The only thing that kept the peace and stopped a Third World War was the fact that both sides were armed to the teeth and too afraid to use those weapons on each other.

            Much as all of us might regret it nuclear weapons have been invented, and the only thing that will stop them being used is the fact that both sides in a conflict have got them. Nothing whatsoever will be achieved by powers like Britain and the US giving up nuclear weapons whilst North Korea, Iran, Pakistan and God knows who else races to get them.

          • Anton

            Cathy (Baroness) Ashton, who was CND’s Treasurer, denies it. I couldn’t possibly comment. The Soviets had the motive, but do have you the evidence?

          • Dreadnaught

            If there’s staged multilateralism where you give up one of yours and we’ll give up one of ours. etc:

            Which is hunkydory in theory but who’s to know how many devices each NP is holding? Everyone involved must have and reveal the exact hand he’s holding then as the smaller arsenals drop out you reach the impass of who gets to dispose of the ‘last’ warhead and Boom Boom – out go the lights! Your faith in the honesty of tyrants and despots is touching even if it is just slightly too trusting to be a credible defence policy.
            Knowledge can not be made into non-knowledge.

          • Anton

            Rumour has it that al Qaeda were informed with plausible deniability soon after 9/11 that something very nasty might happen to Mecca if the USA experienced a repeat.

          • CliveM

            You have completely changed your point, but never mind.

            Firstly no one is arguing that multilateralism is happening. So your first question is a straw man.

            What is being said? Don’t disarm until everyone does and in the meantime keep your deterrent plausible.

            Your point about a dirty bomb has no relevance to the question of deterrence. It is one threat, not the only one.

            I don’t think anyone has ever suggested we incinerate a group of people for a terrorist attack, so your question is again a straw man.

          • William Lewis

            Yes, where issues of British sovereignty and security are involved.

          • Oooops …. edit ….

          • The Catholic Church has reluctantly accepted the strategy of nuclear deterrence recognising the accumulation of arms serves to deter enemy attacks. However, it was always ‘deterrence’ based on balance, not as an end in itself but as a step towards disarmament. Today nuclear-weapon states are engaged in reinvestment in their nuclear weapons, pouring tens of billions of dollars into new technologies. This is the institutionalisation of deterrence with nuclear-weapon states pursuing nuclear advantage and maintaining that nuclear weapons are fundamental to their security doctrines.

            Pope Benedict XVI stated the Catholic Church’s position on World Peace Day, 1 January 2006, when he asked:

            “What can be said, too, about those governments which count on nuclear arms as a means of ensuring the security of their countries? Along with countless persons of good will, one can state that this point of view is not only baneful but also completely fallacious. In a nuclear war there would be no victors, only victims. The truth of peace requires that all – whether those governments which openly or secretly possess nuclear arms, or those planning to acquire them – agree to change their course by clear and firm decisions, and strive for a progressive and concerted nuclear disarmament. The resources which would be saved could then be employed in projects of development capable of benefiting all their people, especially the poor.”

            Experts estimate that more than $1 trillion has been spent on developing and maintaining nuclear arsenals and hundreds of billons of additional dollars are being channeled to maintain them. With development needs across the globe outpacing the resources being devoted to address them, pouring hundreds of billions of dollars into the world’s nuclear arsenals is seen as socially sinful and a gross misplacement of priorities.

            The point of a nuclear weapon is to kill massively; the killing and the poisonous radiation cannot be contained. The social and economic consequences of nuclear war in a world whose life-support systems are intimately interconnected would be catastrophic – severe physical damage from radiation; the collapse of food production and distribution and even water supplies; widespread starvation; disease; and mass social chaos.

            The Catholic Church is correct in keeping these issues in the forefronts of people’s minds. The task is not to make the world safer through the threat of nuclear weapons, but to make the world safer from nuclear weapons through mutual and verifiable disarmament. The moral end is a world free of the threat of nuclear weapons.
            The question then is how the Trident programme is compatible with this goal rather than just sustaining deterrence as the policy?

          • William Lewis

            ” The task is not to make the world safer through the threat of nuclear weapons, but to make the world safer from nuclear weapons through mutual and verifiable disarmament.”

            “The question then is how the Trident programme is compatible with this goal rather than just sustaining deterrence as the policy?”

            There’s a very simple answer to that question. Getting rid of Trident will not be mutual.

          • The point is nobody is taking disarmament seriously and as the Catholic Church is worldwide it has a message for all nations and not just Britain.

          • William Lewis

            I believe that global, verifiable nuclear disarmament cannot be achieved any time soon – even though the Vatican may urge it so. Therefore, for Britain to follow their advice would pose a significant security risk.

          • CliveM

            I remember being slightly startled in the early ’80’s by a young Christian stating his support for nuclear weapons. He expected them to be used and would hasten the second coming!

            However in relation to the second coming, I don’t see any serious Hlobal disarmament this side of it.

          • William Lewis

            Indeed Clive. The second coming is God’s business. British national security is the primary responsibility of British (not Vatican) government.

          • …. and that’s the area where every Catholic has to make up his or her own mind.

          • David Milligan

            Would it? Hmm, I beg to differ there. Trident provides no safety for anyone.

            It is an entirely pointless thing to have.

            Did you know that every 5 years the Americans make a decision on whether to continue providing Trident to the UK?

            That is a fact and was released to the world by Robin Cook MP in an open letter shortly before his death. In fact a former chancellor nicknamed Trident as “Rent-a-Rocket”.

            I laugh when I hear the words “independent nuclear deterrent” – there’s nothing independent about it…nothing.

            In fact it has been suggested to the UK govt that they give up Trident and concentrate on building the British Army. Who by? The Chiefs of Staff of the US Military and then several Congressmen followed suit.

            Trident is considered to be just a working part of the US Defence.

            We should join the 190 countries in the world who don’t have nuclear weapons.

            Kindest regards,

            David Milligan
            scot2.scot

          • bluedog

            Mr Milligan, you confuse two issues.

            Firstly there is the effectiveness of the nuclear deterrent, which can be demonstrated by the lack of war between the major powers in the period since the surrender of Japan in 1945. Prior to the development of nuclear weapons it became abundantly clear that large conventional forces did nothing to prevent war but possibly ensured it.

            The second point you make is valid. The US does appear to control Trident and the US would almost certainly regard the UK Trident as a multiplier of its own nuclear deterrent. There must be a case for a truly independent British nuclear deterrent if there is to be a nuclear deterrent. Otherwise the UK just becomes another target in an attack on the US for reasons the UK may not have been able to influence or control.

          • David Milligan

            Not confused but I see your point whilst not agreeing with it if that makes sense.

            Since WWII there have been many conflicts by proxy between the major powers. We have come so close to WWIII during the intervening time that the ownership of these things is entirely stupid. Don’t forget in 1962 during the Cuba missile crisis, it was a Russian nuclear sub captain armed with nuclear torpedoes that saved the day by disobeying orders.

            That self same selfless act was carried out in the 80’s at the height of the cold war by a US pilot who disobeyed a direct order.

            Do you really want to live in a world where nuclear disaster awaits us all and relies on the values and goodness of people within the system to prevent that?

            Kindest regards,

            David Milligan
            scot2.scot

          • William Lewis

            The argument is not whether nuclear weapons are dangerous but whether unilateral disarmament makes them more dangerous for us or not.

          • carl jacobs

            I just know I am going to regret this but …

            That self same selfless act was carried out in the 80’s at the height of the cold war by a US pilot who disobeyed a direct order.

            What exactly are you talking about? Remember this before you answer. I was in SAC in the 80s.

          • carl jacobs

            No answer. Yes, I thought not.

          • Leacock

            Indeed, Trident is overly expensive and not sufficiently British, but a truly independent British nuclear arsenal is desperately needed!

          • bluedog

            The problem for the Roman Church is that it is not just Christian or worse, Protestant, nations who own the bomb.

            There are Orthodox bombs, Confucian bombs, a Hindu bomb or two, Jewish bombs and horror of horrors, Muslim bombs. Please advise the Vatican that the Muslims have not only sworn to eradicate the owners of the Jewish bombs but are quite likely to vaporise all the Christians too. Not only this but the Muslims specifically target Rome, and implicitly the Vatican.

            There is only one logical solution; a Vatican bomb. Lack of such a device renders the Vatican dependent on the nuclear deterrent of others, including possibly Jews and Protestants. And yet the Vatican is apparently determined to subvert a leading Protestant state. Hypocrisy or startling folly? Both.

          • Hmmm …. doesn’t sound too good does it.
            And what is the world doing to eliminate nuclear weapons after all the promises made about disarmament? The actual use of such weapons would be gravely immoral so its unlikely there will ever be a Catholic bomb.

          • bluedog

            As the Vatican is self-evidently a prime nuclear target, the institution is a threat to the security of the Italian state. One can foresee removal of the Vatican to Sardinia or Elba, possibly even Lampedusa, in order to hedge the risk.

            Nuclear non-proliferation went out of the window after the Indians and Israelis went nuclear outside the NPT, which was never subsequently enforced. The prospects of disarmament are now zero.

          • David Milligan

            Then the Orange Order would arm itself in case the Vatican bomb was launched at one of their little halls.

            Reality check needed. Or meds.

            Kindest regards,

            David Milligan
            scot2.scot

          • bluedog

            Indeed, Mr Milligan. The threat of Non-Conformist bombs is always front of mind. Imagine what the Scientologists might do if suitably equipped.

          • carl jacobs

            That’s because disarmament is not a serious position. There has never been an instance in the history of man of nations voluntarily foregoing weapons that provide such significant capability. Arms control treaties don’t work, and for a very simple reason. There is no actual way to verify the conduct of your enemy. If you get rid of them, and he doesn’t, you are screwed.

          • Happy Jack
            “The Catholic Church is correct in keeping these issues in the forefronts of people’s minds. The task is not to make the world safer through the threat of nuclear weapons, but to make the world safer from nuclear weapons through mutual and verifiable disarmament. The moral end is a world free of the threat of nuclear weapons.”

            But, we have been a safer place through the threat of nuclear war. Anyone who fires the first rocket will be immediately annihilated by someone else who was allied to them. Nobody will want to bring this about because it’s a guaranteed death sentence for the whole country, so there is no point.

            Since their existence countries have come close to detonating weapons but have stopped short, and there have been incidents where hair-raising accidents involving planes carrying nuclear bombs that have collided fortunately their bombs did not detonate.

            What would we develop in its place human nature being what it is needs to be kept in tension.
            I believe we should keep Trident but not add anymore nuclear weapons to our cache. I also think the Yanks should lead the way and downsize theirs to just one or two sorts rather than the thousands they have now.
            Four other countries North Korea, Pakistan, Israel and India have got nuclear weapons since the Nuclear Non-Proliferation Treaty was signed. The problem is nuclear weapons getting into the hands of uneducated hotheads.

          • History suggests we’re heading for nuclear annihilation at some point. Should the bombs start flying, the logic is they will continue doing so.

          • That will be the end of the world then and nobody really wants that, I would imagine not even the nastiest regime on earth as they will be signing their own death warrant. There are despots who want to rule it, control it or exploit it and they can’t do that if they destroy it.

          • Religious fanatics or crazed despots can be very irrational, Marie.

          • carl jacobs

            The Catholic Church isn’t in a position to “reluctantly accept” a strategy of deterrence. It isn’t responsible for the task, and it certainly isn’t responsible for the consequences of its assertions. It merely yaps from the corner. That’s a common feature of people who take this whole “nuclear weapons are immoral” tack. They are utterly immune from the consequences of their position. It remains an abstract ideal in which they may admire their reflection. But it could never become a practical reality since someone is going to carry the necessary weight for them.

            Let’s assume Britain cashes in its nuclear deterrent. Britain can still remain secure behind the American umbrella even as it commends itself for its principled non-nuclear stance. It’s easy to take a principled stand when there are no actual consequences for doing so. If you want to take a principled stand, then do so such that you aren’t protected by someone else. Go naked into the world, and experience the reality of nakedness. We’ll see how far your principles carry you.

            It’s not unlike pacifism. It only means something when the oppressor’s boot is on your throat. The proclamation of “I won’t kill” means very little when it is made from behind a wall formed by men who would kill.

          • The Catholic Church is, of course, entitled to teach whatever it considers to be right and moral conduct. It’s position on nuclear weapons is:

            “Any act of war aimed indiscriminately at the destruction of entire cities or of extensive areas along with their population is a crime against God and man himself. It merits unequivocal and unhesitating condemnation””
            (Vatican II)

            Pope John Paul II restated the Catholic position on nuclear deterrence in 1982:

            “In current conditions, ‘deterrence’ based on balance, certainly not as an end in itself but as a step along the way towards a progressive disarmament, may still be judged morally acceptable. Nonetheless, in order to ensure peace, it is indispensable not to be satisfied with the minimum which is always susceptible to the real danger of explosion.”
            The world needs to be rid of all nuclear weapons.

          • carl jacobs

            Jack

            The Catholic Church is, of course, entitled to teach whatever it considers to be right and moral conduct.

            Yes, it is so entitled. That doesn’t necessarily imply that it can teach intelligently or knowledgeably on the subject. There are many subject that the bishops know absolutely nothing about. And yet they presume to speak on them as if they have authority. And either way, it amounts to yapping from the corner. The RCC isn’t responsible to make the decision. It’s free to offer advice unconstrained from any burden of consequence.

            The world needs to be rid of all nuclear weapons.

            That’s a nice vision. The world also needs to be rid of droughts. Perhaps you could invent a weather control machine to solve that problem. In the meantime you might try offering some realistic suggestion towards realizing your nuclear-free vision. Something that will make it more than a dramatic pose fit for framing and turn it into an achieveable reality.

          • The use of nuclear weapons would be immoral. In terms of Christian morality, bearing in mind our destination is eternal life, invasion and subjection would be a preferable option to their use and the destruction that would ensue. If this is accepted as the moral basis for decisions, then, in addition to maintaining what was to be a temporary deterrence, the West should be seeking and ensuring the enforcement of the removal of all these weapons of indiscriminate mass destruction.
            The Church has a duty to offer a clear Christian framework to the world for considering temporal options. It’s not “yapping from the corner” at all. It is fulfilling its mission. It’s the same with its social teachings and those on personal morality. Everyone’s their own little Caesar today claiming their own ‘expertise’ as a basis for ignoring morality. The West will be invaded by China or Russia without nuclear weapons; the economy will collapse if there is too much interference; there will be too many children for the earth’s resources if people stop contracepting.

      • David

        Jack, You should keep that bit in the brackets to yourself, otherwise the cunning Master Plan will have been revealed !

        • Jack has already been summoned to the Vatican bunker to explain ….

          • David

            Our prayers go with you….

      • IanCad

        Those pesky Jesuits again!! Einstein was one in disguise!

        • CliveM

          Was he really? Well you live and learn.

          • IanCad

            I’m getting all mixed up. That was the Jewish plot to take over the world. Or was it the Freemasons?

          • CliveM

            I thought it was Rosicrucians? Or is that Templars? Whoa, hold it, that would be Freemasons?

            Oh I don’t know. Let’s blame the Lizard people.

  • Darter Noster

    In the event of a Conservative majority in England being locked out of Government by the SNP, can we have a vote on English independence?

    Personally, I love the SNP and have been rooting for them for years.

    • Now, now, don’t cheer on the destruction of Scotland because you want Independence for England ….

      • Darter Noster

        “Destruction of Scotland” assumes that, in the event of Scottish independence, the SNP would preside over a one-party state in the same way that the ANC has done in South Africa; Scotland is a cradle of modern capitalism, and I don’t believe that every Scot who believes in independence also believes in the socialist fantasy of the SNP. In the event of independence the Scottish Tories would be freed from their damaging association with UK governments, and could advocate a sensible economic policy for Scotland.

        I love Scotland; I want to see it do well. But I am an Englishman first and foremost, and I resent the fact that people (including Bishops) who fall over themselves to condemn any form of English nationalism as worse than Hitler will nevertheless wet their cassocks supporting the SNP and Plaid Cymru.

        England is my country, and I love it, and I am fed up of English people of whatever race, colour, creed and heritage having to hide that fact whilst a ludicrous and historically false narrative of “Celtic” nationalism is treated as the best thing since Mandela’s parole form.

    • hoddles

      Who are you asking? The English have 550 out of 650 seats. If the English spent less time whingeing and more time doing things they might be able to have what they claim to want.

      • Darter Noster

        It sounds like we both support the same political party – the SNP – and yet you’re moaning at me. What more do you want?

        • hoddles

          I have a feeling you support the Conservative and Unionist Party and that your support for the SNP is a means to an end. It’s time you stopped relying on the SNP to deliver what the English appear to want.

        • Hmmm …. you support a party promoting:

          “a combination of monolithic, Marxist-derived statist control over everyone’s lives and the Government-mandated redistribution of wealth – which impoverishes everyone, has failed every time it has ever been tried, and worked so brilliantly for Francois Hollande – and the kind of distasteful, shortbread-tin, tartan nationalism which if tried in England Bishops of all colours would be falling out of their pulpits to condemn.”

          Yep, sounds like it.

  • David Milligan

    It has been a wonderful debate with a good range of views, I thank you all for that.

    I would ask that each of you thinks of the Christian way to deal with this. If the Lord Jesus was standing right next to you in such a debate, what would He tell you to say?

    It’s time to get rid. Those Roman Catholic Bishops aren’t daft.

    Besides which, I can think of a whole shopping list of stuff to spend the eventual cost of £100 Billion. We need that money don’t we?

    Kindest regards and best wishes,

    David Milligan
    scot2.scot

    • Darter Noster

      I’m pretty sure that if The Lord Jesus were standing beside me he wouldn’t be whispering that left wing policies were the way, the truth and the life. The New Testament and the Labour or Green Party manifestoes are not the same thing, no matter what some would like us to think.

  • David

    If as seems likely SNP make Scotland theirs, and Independence for Scotland becomes inevitable, how long will it be until parties based in the rest of the country, and especially in England, support Scottish independence ? Not long I suspect.

    The Conservatives are firmly behind the union, as a principle, as are UK1P, though it’s not one of their major points. Labour I sense are still in shock over losing so many of their seats to SNP, and are therefore more about retaining the hope of regaining them, than having a firm emotional commitment to any form of national constitutional arrangement.

    If England feels that it is suffering by being joined to Scotland, as is the case with many of the politically middle of the road and right of centre people than I know, then independence for Scotland will not be far away, is my guess.

    Next problem up for consideration then becomes the EU. That just leaves the easy problem of national identity, and what being “English” (or Welsh and N.Irish) really means, which is soon dealt with ! ( he says ironically ).

    • Linus

      Scottish independence doesn’t seem necessary in this day and age, but if it’s going to happen just for the hell of it then I hope our leaders will have the good sense to re-establish the Auld Allliance, thus encircling England in a defensive net and thwarting its almost evangelical tendency to try and export its strange social and political ideas to Europe.

      I’m not convinced though. We have Spain to humour and recognizing a breakaway region might not be the best way of doing that. And Ms Sturgeon doesn’t look like she’s particularly francophile in her outlook and tastes, although she might get on well with Martine Aubry. And they both have potato sack chic and a firm set to their jaw in common with Angela Merkel, so perhaps a triple axis linking Berlin, Lille and Edinburgh is where power will be concentrated in post Scottish independence Europe.

      All very satisfactory for France. No more Azincourts in our future, just the pleasant prospect of a humiliated hereditary enemy disintegrating before our eyes. The longer it drags out, the better it will be. Failing confidence in all things British will undermine the City of London’s economic importance and even former colonies like India will start looking for solutions elsewhere (as they already have with their recent order of Rafale fighters from us). England can never hope to hold on to the place of prestige reserved for Britain. It will dwindle back into insular insignificance.

      And all because one perma-tanned politician decided to devolve power to a notoriously irrascible and uncooperative people living in a bleak and far-flung part of his empire who’ve never forgiven the English for being richer than them. A tragi-comedy of Shakespearian proportions. Let’s hope diminished England will give birth to a dramatist capable of expressing it.

      • David

        For myself I am not interested in England being a prestige nation any more. We’ve done that and worn the T – shirt, which now has been washed, ironed and put away.
        Wales and N.Ireland could decide whether they want to remain in the club or not, I am easy either way.
        My objective is for us to be a creative, inventive and truly global trading nation, which is where we started from, once more unfettered from foreign powers, making all our own laws as a politically and legally independent nation. Our defence posture and culture should then reflect all that.
        But I would like to see our current dysfunctional system of representative democracy replaced by a truly democratic one like the Swiss have. But first we need to break free of the EU Empire.
        There that’s my primary political shopping list.

        • Linus

          The days of politically and legally independent nation states are drawing to a close. We’ll all soon be locked into more or less loosely knit federations such as the EU as our economies become more and more transnational and less and less capable of prospering on their own. That’s what makes the Scottish bid for independence so pointless. All that will happen is that they’ll celebrate being free of English rule and then be quietly absorbed back into the EU.

          No political party capable of winning an election will take England out of the EU. All those Ukippers who dream of seeing Nigel Farage in Number 10 are fooling themselves. Your first past the post system makes it impossible for a party that has no seats at one election to win more than a few at the next. Any balance of power will be held by the SNP, which of course is highly pro-European.

          Dream your dreams of political independence for England by all means. But they really are just dreams.

          • David

            “The days of politically and legally independent nation states are drawing to a close”.
            Really ? Try some small ones just for starters, all successful too, by any standards, including Australia, New Zealand, Norway, Switzerland, and so on….
            The inevitability you point towards, is a wish, not an inevitability.
            Voluntary trading arrangements are one thing, which is what your point turns upon it seems.
            But why the leap to political union from that ? A political union is not a necessary corollary of inter-nation trading.

          • Linus

            Political union follows in the wake of free market trading blocs. It has to. Only if the entire free market is subject to the same tax and regulatory régimes can the market be truly free. Why do you think the EU exists?

            Of course political union can be pretty loose to start with, as it currently is in the EU. But with time greater integration will come. I don’t see a United States of Europe for a long time because the language and culture barriers imposed by centuries of separation would make a US-style federation unworkable. There’s no real sense of European identity, and the problem of language is a real one. But that doesn’t mean we can’t have a loose federation where each state retains a degree of autonomy but key economic and fiscal matters are managed centrally.

            That’s what Europe is moving towards and I understand that many of the English don’t like that idea. But the rest of us aren’t going to stop just because you don’t want to play the game. If you want to leave, leave. The problem is, you keep talking about it, but you never actually go.

            I don’t think you’ll get your referendum on Europe because the Tories won’t be in power to grant it. Labour and the SNP have no plans to take the UK out of the EU and as they’re likely to be forming your next government, your dreams of a fortress England will remain unrealized.

          • William Lewis

            Only if the entire free market is subject to the same tax and regulatory régimes can the market be truly free.

            Socialist poppycock. There is no reason why tax and regulatory regimes cannot be used to differentiate both market/trading costs and social provision. Indeed tax competition can be a good way to drive back state overreach.

          • David

            Well said !
            Good logo too !
            +

          • William Lewis

            Thank you David.

          • Linus

            Tax competition merely allows one state to undercut another. It’s how Britain has kickstarted its economy and attracted so much French capital in the process.

            In the old Europe we would have retaliated by imposing tariffs. Now we can’t, so Britain has the advantage over us. It’s politically impossible for our government, especially the current one, to cut our own tax rates, so we just have to stand aside and watch capital and enterprise flow out of the country.

            Standardised tax rates would rob the British of the only advantage they have in Europe, apart from your “flexible” (i.e. exploitative) labour laws of course. No wonder entrepreneurs want to set up shop in the UK. They can hire and fire at will and use zero hour contracts to reduce their overheads to a minimum and then pay little or no tax.

            And you want to leave? Fine by me, although I do think that if you go, we should erect tariff barriers to compensate for your unfair competitive practices. At the moment you have your cake and you can eat it too, yet still this is not enough for you. You want unrestricted access to our markets, but only on your terms.

            It doesn’t work that way, I’m afraid. If you want the advantages of being in the club, you have to pay the dues.

          • William Lewis

            “Tax competition merely allows one state to undercut another. It’s how Britain has kickstarted its economy and attracted so much French capital in the process.”

            You say that like it’s a bad thing.

            “And you want to leave? Fine by me, although I do think that if you go, we should erect tariff barriers to compensate for your unfair competitive practices. “

            Who are you to say what constitutes a fair tax regime? Besides it is our competitive, growing GDP that is subsidising the French, socialist, flaccid economy through increased EU payments. So you require us to pay compensation if we stay in and compensation if we leave! It seems that you are always trying to compensate for something or other.

          • Linus

            At the moment you undercut us with your lower tax rates and we can’t deny you access to our market because of existing European agreements. But if you leave Europe, those agreements no longer apply, so we can put tariffs in place that will protect us from your unfair competitive practices.

            If you’re a member of the club you benefit from the rules. If you’re not, you don’t. The rules require more prosperous members to contribute more, but in return they provide unfettered access to the single European market.

            You can’t have your cake and eat it too. If you want out then you’re free to leave. But if you leave, you lose your membership privileges.

            It really is as simple as that.

          • CliveM

            Linus

            You make it sound as if the impact of this on France is our fault. You do still have legitimate ways of addressing this problem, France just chooses not to. Instead, through the single market, it tries to impose the same restrictions and problems on others, which it foolishly and voluntarily imposes on itself.

            There is a big, bad world out there and we need to respond to it. Sticking your head in the sand and hoping it goes away (like Hollande is doing) is at best a short cut to disaster. As you have implicitly admitted in the past.

          • Linus

            Our system does need to change but it will only change gradually.

            Due to our revolutionary past, socialism is an entrenched force here. You can’t change that overnight. It took Mrs Thatcher more than a decade to change British attitudes, which were not nearly as deeply rooted as ours over such a large proportion of the population. Even then she didn’t succeed completely, as evidenced by the continuing existence of the Labour Party and other socialist groups like the SNP as significant forces in British politics.

            Change will come in France. People can see with their own eyes that socialist solutions are failing to deliver results. Their heads understand that we need change,but their hearts are still wedded to the revolutionary ideals of liberté, égalité, fraternité. They haven’t made the leap from old style state-imposed equality to free market social democracy. They will eventually, but it will take time.

            Until this sea-change in attitudes happens, we’re sitting ducks for any predator nation within the EU that wants to exploit our internal market by undercutting us as European rules allow them to do. Britain with its history of aggression against us seems to have no qualms about taking advantage of the situation, and realistically we only have ourselves to blame for agreeing to rules that we weren’t in a position to play by ourselves. As long as Britain stays in the EU and contributes its fair share to the running costs of the Union, we’re prepared to live with the status quo. It may even provoke a faster transformation of our own society. But if you leave and a portion of the profits you reap from us are no longer reinvested in our common interests, we’ll have to shut you out of our markets with tariff barriers.

            Britain cannot have its cake and eat it too. By all means stay in, but if you leave, don’t expect to hold to the privileges of membership.

          • CliveM

            Socialism can never be completely killed off. It appeals to people’s sense of entitlement and what is more it also says to people “you continue sitting on your large arse parasiting off others, in the moral thing to do”.

            Actually our low taxes have got nothing to do with anti French antagonism. It’s because Thatcher and to a lesser extent some of her successors, think it’s the right thing to do.

          • David

            Sorry I am not buying your rubbishy political theory.
            Plenty of free, independent advanced nations like Japan do very well indeed without being locked into anything apart form a defence pact, in their case obviously with the US.
            Your socialist trick is to, ever so reasonably, portray the future you want as inevitable, which it isn’t !
            The EU, as you say has no natural “demos”, and therefore any coming together will only ever be fragile, if at all.
            Your dream your socialist dreams if you wish, but I am not buying them as in any way inevitable.

          • Linus

            I’m all for every country doing what it wants to. If England wants to leave the EU, it should leave. But it shouldn’t expect unfettered access to the single European market if it does.

            I see the latest opinion polls are giving the Tories a lead now. If the trend holds, Cameron may even get a majority. You may then get your referendum on Europe. If you vote to leave, the vast majority of us here in France will just shrug and get on with our lives. The Germans probably won’t even notice.

            Your choice of course. And if it means fewer Brits buying homes here and then sponging off our welfare system, many will welcome that choice. Funny how the French we send to you are independently wealthy and highly entrepreneurial, whereas the Brits we get in return are old, penurious and looking for free medical care. Do we win by the exchange?

            I think not…

          • David

            Given up on matters strategic and significant have we..
            Descending to details, and twisting the facts are we..
            The EU market, particularly the Germans, who sell us many of their fine cars, need UK car buyers rather more than we need them…. enough said on that…. it’s simple economics, but that’s challenging isn’t it …
            You know damn well that the UK benefits from the vigorous, young, entrepreneurial French who are attracted to our system, and repulsed by the over regulated French one. Our gain, and a French loss – fine, France has made its choices.
            You know damn well that the retired Brits. in the sunny parts of continental Europe, have pensions and are not threatening local jobs…so not quite as you spin it…
            But don’t let mere facts and reality get in the way of your dreamy, socialist nonsense…
            On your bike with you…

          • Linus

            Retired Brits are health tourists. They’re falling to pieces after years of an unhealthy British diet and lifestyle and clog up our hospitals in quest of treatment they couldn’t get in their own country without having to pay for it. EU agreements mean we have to treat them as if they were French and had been contributing to our health system all their lives. That would be the first thing I would scrap if Britain left the EU.

            German cars might cost a little more if Britain were no longer in the EU, but if you had the choice between a BMW and a Ford Mondeo, what would you buy? Germany will always have a market for its cars in the Britain no matter how much they cost because the British can’t produce a decent car.

            And yes, our system is over regulated and needs to be reformed. But there are cultural differences that make that a slow and difficult goal to achieve. Many younger entrepreneurs don’t want to wait for things to improve and it’s hard to blame them. So they migrate across the Channel and set up shop in England. But their businesses are still targeted at the European market, so without access to Europe, there’s no point in being there.

            Leave the EU and the influx of capital and talent into your country will dry up. Nobody goes to live in England because they love the place and desperately want to be there. They go to make money. If they can’t, they’ll stay where they are or go elsewhere.

          • David

            Linus, you are doing very well.
            Keep up the anti-Brit. rhetoric if you could.
            Even better, could you turn up the volume ?
            A good push on the UK, edging us out of the EU – a push from your end, will assist our efforts here greatly, and be much appreciated.
            Blessings.

          • Linus

            The UK won’t leave the EU. England might, but if it tries to drag Scotland along with it, the chances of there still being a UK to leave anything are nil.

            I’ve always maintained that it would be a shame to see any part of the UK leave the EU. We’re stronger together than we are apart. But the greatest loser if England does go its own way will not be us. In fact we’ll probably benefit from the flight of capital and investment that will follow such a leap in the dark. Markets hate uncertainty and nothing is less certain than England’s ability to prosper outside the single market.

            Still, I don’t think it will happen. The extremist opinions of the readers of this blog do not reflect the reality of the British political landscape. If they did, Ukip would be on course for a massive victory. And it isn’t.

            You keep on banging your Euroskeptic drum though. It’s in perfect tune with your Christian drum and they both make a terrible racket, but that’s what marginal personalities do in order to attract attention. You don’t have widespread public support and your hysterical warnings and Chicken Little antics simply make most people ignore you. So carry on as you are. You’re doing more for the cause of a united and secular Europe than you know.

          • David

            An united secular Europe !
            Really !
            Your ability to ignore reality is incredible.

          • Linus

            My ability to ignore reality?

            Europe is a secular reality and despite the dreams of religious obsessives, it isn’t some kind of latter day Holy Roman Empire with a pope at its head and an emperor ruling in the name of Christ.

            Europe is and will always remain a secular construct. No European laws are formulated in the name of god. All references to religion are scrupulously avoided.

            This is the reality of Europe. You might not like it but it’s here and it works and it’s going nowhere. Populist protest movements can’t change that because they only reflect the will of a minority.

          • David

            Yes everyone is aware of the secular nature of the EU project.
            But the reality many point to is the rapidly rising Islamic demographic, particularly in France.
            But you are obviously supremely confident that a secular regime will continue into the future. Maybe you handle your fears by seeing only what you wish to see, like many humans, all of us probably to some extent.
            Clearly because of the present trajectory, the future for a secular regime is being questioned by many.
            But believe what you wish, as no one can be totally sure of the future. However my money is on secularism being a short lived historical aberration, but no one really knows.

          • Linus

            And my money is on religion dying away as a political force.

            We’re seeing the last gasp of Christianity in the form of isolated politicians railing against the perceived rise of Islam. What they fail to understand is that Islam as a credible political force is limited to a relatively small immigrant population that is not growing as an overall percentage of the population.

            The same demographic tendencies that have rendered Christianity a spent force in Europe also operate within immigrant communities. The Muslim birth rate drops precipitously with each successive generation. They don’t “breed like rabbits” and will not “outnumber us in 30 years”. This is pure fantasy and has been repeated by many populists over the years for every wave of immigration our country has received. We haven’t been swamped by Italians, or Poles, or the Vietnamese, or the Roma, or any other other minority. And we won’t be swamped by Muslims.

            Of this I am completely sure. All the figures and our own history bear it out. History also shows us that the forces of conservatism always try to instrumentalise immigration and turn it into a “live or die” issue when it is nothing of the sort.

            Populists and demagogues always resort to the same old tricks and stratagems, and they always fail.

          • David

            You are entitled to your opinion.
            But the demographic trajectory speaks very differently to many, including me.

          • Linus

            Christians see what you want to see because your vision is clouded by the absolute necessity of makîng your prophecies of doom come true.

            You can’t analyse the data objectively and work out a conclusion based on what they actually show. Your conclusion is predetermined and data are accepted or rejected based solely on whether they support your argument or not.

            This is why you have no credibility. Your beliefs are dogmatic rather than based on reasoned analysis, so your judgment cannot be trusted.

          • David

            The ironic thing about secularism is that claims are made regarding its impartiality and objectivity that it simply does not have.

            That is why you claim total confidence regarding future outcomes that are simply not justified by the information available and emerging.

            There are none so blind as those who believe that they see everything with perfect clarity.

            Secularism has brought into play forces that it neither understands nor is capable of taming.

            So constrained are you, by your all consuming world view, that you cannot see what is happening. I do believe that you have put yourself beyond the reach of argument and reason.

          • Linus

            Everything you write describes the Christian world view perfectly.

            “Total confidence … none so blind … believe they see everything … constrained … by your all-consuming world view … beyond the reach of argument and reason.”

            All these phrases describe Christians with a degree of accuracy that would almost be comical were it not so tragic.

            I believe in what I see, not in invisible phantoms from ancient legends. When I look at data, I interpret them in the light of how similar situations have unfolded in the past, not how I would like them to turn out, or how my holy book tells me they will turn out because that is what is written.

            There are no guaranteed outcomes, but there are degrees of likelihood and I believe it is highly likely that the problems we are currently experiencing with immigrant communities will be resolved as they always have been in the past.

            There will be challenges and conflicts, again as there always have been in similar situations in the past. But a way forward has always been found in the past and one will be found now. The world won’t stop spinning. We won’t wake up tomorrow to find that Muslims have seized control. These fantastic ideas are spread around assiduously by people such as yourself who hope to profit from the climate of confrontation and fear that conflicts between different communities can generate.

            Scaremongering tactics are high on the list of Christian tricks and stratagems. You can’t rationally persuade anyone that your faith is more than a childish belief in spooks and fairies, so the next best thing is to try to frighten us into taking refuge in your big Daddy God who’ll protect us from the nasty Muslims who want to murder us, but only if we grovel at his feet and beg forgiveness for breaking his arbitrary rules.

            It’s ludicrous and laughable. It just doesn’t accord with the available data. And you wonder why Christians are seen as being completely away with the fairies…

          • David

            Rant on my friend.
            I’ve come to the conclusion that your specialism is putting your head deeply in the sand.

          • CliveM

            The Polls on this are unclear, but recent polling suggests a strengthening support for the EU. Interestingly this hardening in support coincided with UKIP finally getting MP’s and looking as if they finally have to be taken seriously.

            For UKIP this seems to be a mixed blessing. However their is one clear benefit to UKIP, the elimination of the BNP. UKIP may have their failings, but they are massively preferable to them.

          • Linus

            Like Hess and Speer were preferable to Hitler and Goebbels, you mean…

          • CliveM

            No not like that at all……….

            They are not like the French National Front. They also don’t have the same vote or political power around the Country.

          • Linus

            I thought Ukip was going to be your next government! At least that’s what some who post here maintain, although perhaps those claims have become less strident in recent months as Ukip lurches from one PR disaster to the next.

            You say they aren’t as extreme as the BNP but a careful study of their candidates’ claims does not bear this out. For every moderate statement Farage comes out with, there are 10 extreme ones from various candidates, which clearly shows that their base support is significantly to the right of the image the leadership is trying to project.

            Ukip and the BNP are both outgrowths of the same political tendency: reaction based on fear and a desire to blame the outsider for all your ills. They’re trying to project different public faces but their essential similarity is evident to all who look beyond the spin.

            Farage is like Marine Le Pen: smart enough to know that if he lets the mask slip, he’ll be unelectable. But where he differs from Le Pen is that he’s not smart enough (or a skilled or experienced enough politician) to impose discipline on his party and rein in the nutters and extremists. Le Pen is very good at this, which is why the FN has become a credible force under her leadership. We have no way of knowing whether she shares her father’s anti-Semitic opinions as she’s very careful never to express any such views in public. Whatever she thinks, she doesn’t want us to think she hates Jews because that would make her as unelectable as her father. So she has imposed very strict discipline on all FN candidates. All must toe the party line and avoid controversial statements. Her problem is that her mad old fool of a father refuses to be bound by her authority and regularly spouts anti-Semitic diatribes, which embarrass his daughter and undermine her credibility. Relations between them have turned so sour that she’s currently trying to have him expelled from the party.

            And there you have the key problem with the far right. These parties are full of extremists nutters and even someone with the force of personality of q Marine Le Pen can’t control them completely. Vote for them at your peril. If ever they gain power and their leaders are distracted from the task of keeping them all singing from the same hymn book, all hell will break loose.

          • CliveM

            No the BNP are a outgrowth of despair and fear. UKIP are an outgrowth of nostalgia. A wish for things to be the way they were. I understand that view. People have had change rammed down their throat even when it wasn’t asked for. However as you say we are where we are and the question has to be how best to handle it. It doesn’t make you a flat earther however to suggest a more discriminative view on immigration is probably called for. I don’t and won’t vote UKIP.

            I thought M. Le Pen was putting his hope in the ‘Marrionette’?

          • Linus

            Yes, Marion is the pliable young sock puppet that Marine was never going to be, so the old madman will try to use her as a weapon against his daughter to regain control of his party.

            Whatever happens now the FN will be weakened. People don’t vote for parties that are tearing themselves apart in internecine warfare.

          • CliveM

            Well that’s true.

  • It is sad to think that in the 21st Century, people still do not understand what true liberty and justice really is all about. We are free to speak and live our lives to the full like Jesus said; ” I have come that you may life in all its abundance.” The freedom to speak and live our lives to the full, is lost when we deny others that freedom.
    In the 21st Century The People – who are the Church of Christ.; are more educated and aware of what is right and wrong, than some people would like. If we live by the two commandments Jesus gave us; “Love the Lord Thy God; with all thy heart, soul, mind and strength; and thy neighbour as thyself;” then we will do God’s will.
    Church leaders with their ancient and out dated understanding of the truth, want to drag the people back to the dark ages, where they can be manipulated and controlled. A Catholic Bishop has no right to tell others that Heterosexual Marriage is common sense and that we cannot allow the Gay Community to have same sex marriage, when in a more enlightened and liberated world is embracing it. Only good can come from same sex marriage, and those in the church that speak out against it, lose their right of freedom and liberty. If they cannot embrace every child of God, then they will lose everything. Homophobia is an ancient evil that polluted the Sacred Word of God.
    The hatred in the church spills out into the world, and so they have a choice: When Peter in Acts 11 (I Believe) was shown three times food from heaven that was forbidden by Jewish Law and told to eat and he refused; God said; “What I have cleansed; do not call unclean. God lives; Jesus lives and they are not stuck in some book or letter written thousands of years ago. They speak to the generation of today with new vigour and strength the new wine of God’s Spirit.
    Ancient Scripture is like old wine skins, but the living Spirit of God is new wine bursting free from old doctrine and laws that had no living heart. We have the living Christ; And I Await My Bridegroom, like we all should. Gay and Straight together; Jesus is Lord!

    • pete

      Christ must then be evil because HE Nuked SODOM!!