Harman - migrant benefits2
Church of England

Ukip racism, bad; Labour racism.. well, I'll get back to you on that

 

“Are you intentionally out to give @UKIP an easy ride from a Christian perspective?” demanded someone called Peter Adams yesterday, in a terse Twitter response to the question: “Has Ukip sold its soul for €2million?” Mr Adams describes himself as a “Christian working in Intercultural & interfaith relations, peacemaking & reconciliation in Luton”, which is undoubtedly a very important job in a town where white Britons are now in a minority and Muslims constitute 24.6% of the population. But it is curious, once again, how a Christian can see the immense worth of inter-cultural peacemaking and the value of interfaith reconciliation, yet be unutterably blind to the significance of the cultural reality of Ukip and the need for the Church to interrogate its policies and engage with its supporters, instead of mocking, misrepresenting and casting them all out to the Ninth Circle of Hell to boil in the blood of those who built the Tower of Babel.

The answer to the question is, of course, ‘No’: there ought to be no “easy ride” for any political party “from a Christian perspective”. It is incumbent upon Christians in a liberal democracy to discern party policy and weigh political integrity, and then to vote as the conscience leads – toward the mitigation of evil. Of course, some Christians believe they shouldn’t vote at all (“because Jesus didn’t”), but by doing so they abdicate their responsibility to be salt and light in the democratic world, and forfeit any right to complain when politicians get it wrong.

Turning Mr Adams’ question on its head, it may be observed, once again, that there are Christians who are (intentionally) out to give Ukip (and its supporters) a particularly hard ride: just as clergy and bishops have viewed the Conservative Party since the Thatcher era with disdain, so Ukip and the rise of Nigel Farage represent a particularly odious “blot on the political landscape” (to use the Bishop of Willesden’s phrase), which, as with Margaret Thatcher, quotes Scripture like the Devil and cloaks evil in light. Such antipathy stems rarely “from a Christian perspective”, but more their own political bias to which they are frequently blind. It’s not so much the Bible they bring to bear, as Scripture skewed toward the ethical socialism of RH Tawney, channelled and sanctified by William Temple, and neatly codified by the Fabian Press.

Take the picture above, and Harriet Harman’s explanation of Labour’s proposals to reform welfare for immigrants (still, for the moment, on iPlayer). She says: “We’re setting out very clear policies to deal with the downside of immigration,” which Andrew Marr then has to prod and jab (five or six times) to prise from her lips. Eventually, we got:

“Basically, if people have committed serious criminal offences in other countries, they shouldn’t be allowed into this country. If they commit criminal offences here, even if they’re an EU citizen, they should be deported back to their country of origin. That on benefits, that, actually, if people want to claim contributory benefits, they should have been here long enough to have paid into the system before they get out; that if your children are abroad you can’t claim child benefit when you’re working here. And that if a new country joins the European Union, there should be transitional protections which cut into the free movement of labour. And as I’ve said before, we don’t want to see (British) people being undercut in terms of their wages..”

All of which echoes ominously the most egregious of Ukip’s “racist” anti-immigration policies. So the question was politely put to our foremost Christian Socialists, the Rev’d Giles Fraser and Bishop Pete of Willesden: “Is Labour’s policy racist?”

There was a long pause in the Twitter space-time continuum.

Father Giles eventually responded: “Politics is as much about signalling as it is saying. It’s what people hear, what you want them to hear. Without saying it.” So, it seems, when Labour explicitly target immigrants, it’s about nebulous signals or inference; and when Ukip does, it’s racist. Father Giles expanded: “Its all signalling. I dislike the Labour signalling. And really dislike the UKIP signalling. They pander to racism.”

From Bishop Pete, the pause was longer; so long, in fact, that he might have been revising the XXXIX Articles, administering the Eucharist to his flock or enjoying a very long liquid lunch. “I’m working,” he grunted. “I assume you want a considered response. Later.”

And when “later” came, the Bishop enlightened: “I share @giles_fraser’s dislike of welfare ‘populism’. I’m at odds with Labour. But choices about entitlement are not racism.”

Except, of course, when it is Ukip that is assessing the entitlement. If that was a considered response, we must be grateful that the Bishop’s nuanced grasp of the welfare state – and the complex relationship between immigration and poverty, ill health, illiteracy, poor housing, unemployment and alienation – wasn’t condensed into half a tweet. But we observe in both responses the generous inclination to examine Labour’s motives and a desire to understand political “signalling” – often called “dog-whistling” – and to do so from a philosophical perspective of society and community, if not with a Christian consideration of the need to protect of the most vulnerable with a sympathetic understanding of the difficulties in tackling the problems.

All Christians would like to end poverty and herald the New-Jerusalem era of full employment. But convoluted issues of national identity and people’s insecurities about jobs and housing are not addressed by caricaturing right-wing concerns about immigration as some sort of sub-Enoch yearning to wade into rivers of blood. As former Bishop of Chelmsford John Gladwin observes:

Every single piece of legislation on immigration has been criticised by bishops of the Church from the early sixties onwards. Archbishop Michael Ramsey, for example, was a strong public opponent of the Labour Government’s 1968 Immigration Act. The opposition was rooted in moral and religious concerns. The legislation was seen as a thinly disguised attempt at restricting coloured immigration. The use of the concept of ‘patriality’, which in effect gave access to Britain to white people from the Commonwealth and kept at bay Commonwealth citizens who were black, was seen to be particularly offensive.

And so it was. And so the Church of England teamed up with the Roman Catholic Church, the Church of Scotland and the Free Churches to oppose the Act – to no avail. We have come a long way since our immigration policy was formulated on the basis of skin colour. Now no major political party (and surely, by all measurements of political influence or social presence, that includes Ukip – for good or ill – ) sees it as moral to oppose immigrants because of their skin colour. They do, however, all seek to control it (or pretend, within the open borders of the EU, that they can control it). But it is not a racist pursuit, because immigrants are not assessed by their skin colour or ethnicity. Indeed, Ukip favours increased immigration from the Commonwealth – including those with black or brown skin.

The clergy and bishops of the Church of England are charged with acting as the conscience of the nation. They cannot do that – or are substantially hindered from doing it – if they act or speak in a crudely partisan way by posturing or propagating the myth that the British political right is nothing but an obnoxious pressure group obsessed with narrow conceptions of nationhood, nuclear missiles, miners’ strikes, Muslims and monetarism, to the detriment of community peace, societal reconciliation and collective obligation. Perhaps the lefty clergy and bishops might be trusted or respected more if they were wise, disinterested and better inclined to take account of the merits of the argument rather than making terse, hasty and ill-reasoned interventions ad hominem (or ad Ukipem).

  • Excellent piece. Across a whole range of areas UKIP are held to entirely different standards to other parties. Our councillors’ minor misdeeds are seized on, those criminal activities of other parties ignored. Our European parliament groupings associates are examined in minute detail – the crazies sitting next to other parties get a free ride. And, as you say, our reasonable policies on immigration are denounced as racist, while identical proposals from other parties as seen as… reasonable.

    UKIP are accused of being paranoid or screechily quick to take umbrage – but is it any wonder? We think we’re being unfairly treated by media, NGOs, politicians etc because we *are* being unfairly treated. It’s no surprise. We genuinely threaten the established order, so the establishment is fighting back in every way it can.

    • David

      Well said Frank Fisher. The stink of double standards and hypocrisy rises strongly like some form of diabolical incense above most of the unreasoned anti-Ukip rants from any and all of the now increasingly threatened “polite” establishment. They don’t want to lose their sweeties you know, and as for retaining power, well its practise is addictive, so they will do and say almost anything to retain their cosy monopoly. But we will never, ever stop until we have regained the ancient freedoms of England ….
      Excellent announcement today with the gifted Chief Editor of Breitbart joining up, as a chief aide to Farage. That will be bring a quantum leap upwards in the standard and fire power deployed from within Ukip’s media office. Onward and upward !

  • Uncle Brian

    Heywood & Middleton showed that Labour voters are now defecting to Ukip on a sufficient scale to trigger the standard-issue defence mechanism: pinch their policies so that we can say we’re offering everything they offer, and more of it. There is a difficulty, however. For a long time Labour has been preaching the infallible truth that Ukip is not just another political party like the Tories or the Lib Dems, it’s a despicable racist conspiracy of swivel-eyed fruitcakes. So how can we suddenly come out in public and say we’re lifting their ideas? No wonder they’re all at a loss for words.

    • CliveM

      Sorry Uncle Brian but labour has been representing the Tory party in the same terms my whole adult life. I also have an ironic memory of David Steel being heckled as a fascist.

      It’s what labour does. Stops them having to think. UKIP shouldn’t feel so persecuted by it.

    • dannybhoy

      One of the reasons Labour rather disgusts me has nothing to do with socialism and everything to do with their cynicism, dishonesty and opportunism…

      http://www.telegraph.co.uk/news/uknews/law-and-order/6418456/Labour-wanted-mass-immigration-to-make-UK-more-multicultural-says-former-adviser.html

      and migrationwatch..
      http://www.migrationwatchuk.org/pressArticle/83
      and of course Gordon Brown’s famous blunder here..
      http://www.telegraph.co.uk/news/uknews/immigration/10860492/Are-we-all-racist-now.html

      • Uncle Brian

        Danny, a snippet from the first of your three links:
        ministers were nervous and reluctant to discuss such a move publicly for fear it would alienate its “core working class vote”.

        So one political party decided, at the highest level and in cold blood, to pursue a policy that it knew would cause economic harm to the working class. And it wasn’t Ukip!

        I wonder what Ernest Bevin or Jim Callaghan or any other old-time Labour politician who came to the party from the union movement
        would have to say about that.

        • dannybhoy

          I grew up on a council estate after the war. My parents were working class Tories even though they came from the deprived North East.
          There were plenty of Labour supporters up our road, and posters for Conservatives and Labour were prominently displayed in the windows facing the road.
          No windows were smashed, no abuse hurled, and we kids of both Labour or Conservative backgrounds scavenged the gutters for fag packets and neighbours’ rubbish for discarded comics on bin day…..

  • carl jacobs

    A charge of racism isn’t so much a bill of indictment as it is the establishment of a frame of reference. It becomes a defining feature of the center of the coordinate frame such that everything is measured relative to it.

    This is why the same policy advanced by opposite parties can be viewed in opposite ways. You begin with the presupposition that racism is at the heart of your opponent’s identity. Then everything he says may be read according to that presupposition. Does he support immigration reform? That’s because he is racist. Does he support benefit limitations? Too many non-whites get benefits. It’s a self-contained self-generating argument. Virtually anything can be read through this grid. And it has the flexibility to account for other more credible explanations. Sure, he supports limiting benefits to reduce the debt. But that can’t cover his result attitudes.

    It’s a means by which an opponent may be delegitimized without actually being confronted. Everything the opponent says becomes suspect. And (not coincidentally) the accuser inoculates himself by the charge. Since he has so ruthlessly exposed in others, it only stands to reason that he himself could never be a racist. It declares that he is morally pure of the charge. This is toxic political poison – if it works. And it will work, if the charge is true.

    It is however a very bad position to advance once people stop believing it. The BNP is effectively stigmatized by this method because the charge is true. A false charge of racism has quickly diminishing returns. It must be repeated endlessly and often. And that is what these politicians are doing. They are repeating the charge in hopes of making the perception permanent. But there is I think a measure of desperation in this charge. The shrillness of the charge belies the fear that the perception is slipping away.

    • Bit like accusing people of being socialists, wouldn’t you say?

      • carl jacobs

        Well. No, it isn’t. Socialism is defined by a corpus of ideas openly expressed. I can identify a Socialist and he will openly admit to the label. Socialism isn’t a character flaw so much as a catastrophic misunderstanding of human nature.

        • It is a term like ‘racist’ that is open to being misinterpreted, however.

          Agreed, it is a fatal misunderstanding of how best to conduct human affairs in tune with our nature and God’s plan for us.

  • Martin

    Perhaps those who wish to end poverty would be wise to review these words:

    For you always have the poor with you, and whenever you want, you can do good for them. But you will not always have me. (Mark 14:7 [ESV])

    Do you see that little word always? It means until the end of time. We won’t get rid of the poor, we should aid them but they’ll still be there. The simple fact is that poverty is relative, the poor share in the relative wealth of the nation.

    • Who wants to end poverty? The issue is how we respond to it and do all we can to both avoid it and then minimise its harm

      “You have the poor among you always, so that you can do good to them when you will; I am not always among you.”

      And why are they always with us, Martin? Is it just a matter of relativity? Of winners and relative losers? What personal, economic and social forces drive the situations that create and sustain poverty?

      And see what is required of us: “do good to them”. Is that really just bunging them a bit of aid? Poverty is relative, of course, but it is also absolute at times and it excludes and marginalises people. If responses are mismanaged, they create dependency on welfare.

      These words of Jesus cannot be taken as sanctioning behaviours that create and maintain poverty.

      • Martin

        HJ

        It would be nice to end poverty, but it won’t happen. Not while we value those who sit in boardrooms and make decisions above the guy who puts our rubbish in a cart.

        There will also be those who choose not to work, how do you treat them?

        And of course there will always be those who are ill, or lacking the wherewithal to make a pile in the City. And widows and orphans.

        There is a lot to be said for private generosity to the poor, it’s probably better that the state for helping those in need. But when the state picks up the tab there will always be those who direct the poor to the workhouse rather than putting their hand in their pocket.

        And one of the biggest causes of debt is gambling, which our political parties seem to consider is worth having. A tax on the poor perhaps.

        • In Mark 14:7, our Lord was, of course, alluding to Deut. 15:11. ‘For the poor will never cease from the land; therefore I command you, saying, “You shall open your hand wide to your brother, to your poor and to your needy in your land.”‘

          We can argue over the best way to do this, but that it needs to be done is beyond question.

          You asked, There will also be those who choose not to work, how do you treat them?
          2 Thes. 3:10. ‘For even when we were with you, we commanded you this: If anyone will not work, neither shall he eat.’

          • Jesus was alluding to the whole of the Old Testament’s social message.

            Surely Martin M, this was directed at those in Christian communities who were wilfully avoiding their duties and spending their time gossiping? Jack has heard this passage so many times as a cloak for ignoring hungry working or unemployed families and impoverished children.

            The very next verse reads: ” And now we are told that there are those among you who live in idleness, neglecting their own business to mind other people’s.”

            And now, suppose that a man has the worldly goods he needs, and sees his brother go in want; if he steels his heart against his brother, how can we say that the love of God dwells in him? 18 My little children, let us shew our love by the true test of action, not by taking phrases on our lips. 19 That proves to us that we take our character from the truth, and we shall be able to satisfy our consciences before God; 20 if our consciences condemn us, it is because God is above conscience, and nothing is hidden from him.[2] 21 Beloved, if conscience does not condemn us, we can appear boldly before God, 22 and he will grant all our requests, since we are keeping his commandments, and living as he would see us live. 23 What he commands is, that we should have faith in the name of his Son Jesus Christ, and at his command should love one another.

          • Martin

            Martin

            I think the evidence from the verse is that it is not the state but the individual who is to be generous.

        • “Oink-onomics” is the term used by Rupert J. Ederer to describe greed and avarice in the free market.

          We surely need to value everybody equally and reward them for effort. One thing that is needed is to prioritise steady and reliable employment. Look at the mushrooming of ‘zero-hours’ contracts.

          “Through the systemic increase in social inequality, both within a single country and between the populations of different countries ( i.e. a massive increase in relative poverty), not only does social cohesion suffer, thereby placing democracy at risk, but so too does the economy, through the progressive erosion of ‘social capital’: the network of relationships of trust, dependability, and respect for rules, all of which are indispensable for any form of civil coexistence ….

          “Economic science tells us that structural insecurity generates anti-productive attitudes wasteful of human resources, inasmuch as workers tend to adapt passively to automatic mechanisms, rather than to release creativity …..

          “Human costs always include economic costs, and economic dysfunctions always involve human costs”

          (‘Caritas in Veritate’; Pope Benedict)

          To stay on topic, one can see the economic benefits for global multi-national capitalism of open EU borders – a cheap, flexible and highly motivated workforce, However, it erodes solidarity between individuals and nations. And it also results in a sense of powerless and alienation.

          • Martin

            HJ

            I don’t think greed and avarice are limited to the free market.

            It’s funny how the most desired jobs bring the greatest returns, perhaps that rather contradicts the idea of market forces. Why is it that the nastiest tasks bring so little return?

            As to ‘zero hours’ contracts, do they not, like the use of unpaid interns, reflect the greed of companies who demand experience but are unwilling to train those who have the skills but need experience.

  • Shadrach Fire

    Your Grace,

    I am always intrigued when the term ‘Integrity’ is used and in particular to Politics. Your phrase It is incumbent upon Christians in a liberal democracy to discern party policy and weigh political integrity. Political Integrity is a common statement but to me, lacks qualification. Whose integrity does it refer to? Is it a Biblical integrity, An Islamic Integrity, an Atheists integrity or even the self believing ‘I know it all’ politician who needs to rely on no creed to appreciate what integrity is to them.

    To a Christian there should be but one value upon which integrity is judged and that is a biblically based integrity.

    Where was Harriet Harman when Blair opened the doors?
    And that if a new country joins the European Union, there should be transitional protections which cut into the free movement of labour. And as I’ve said before, we don’t want to see (British) people being undercut in terms of their wages….

  • dannybhoy

    Your Peter Adams is a staff member of St Mary’s Church Luton. He describes his involvement here..

    http://www.idealyse.co.uk/lutonassem/PeterAdams.htm

    • Martin

      Dan

      He doesn’t seem to be interested in promoting peace between Man and God, just religions.

      • And I doubt that he has had a lot of results with the promotion between the dominant ‘religion of peace’ there and the others. He maybe successful in promoting peace between the different branches of Christianity in Luton but I bet there’s not a lot of them left there thesedays.

      • dannybhoy

        From what he has written he perhaps subscribes to that social gospel we were talking about a week or so ago.
        When it comes down to the wire a Christian ,cannot pretend that all religions are of equal value or lead to God. To say that they do is to betray our Lord.
        We respect other people’s beliefs, we respect devotion of belief and we find the areas in which we can agree. Then in all humility, love and awareness of our own failings, we point to Jesus the Son of God and Author of our Salvation.
        There is nothing more wonderful than babies, children,
        …and a group of people from all cultural/racial backgrounds worshipping the Lord Jesus Christ in unity.

  • Malcolm Smith

    Excuse me, but why is it wrong to assess migrants according to their skin colour or ethnicity? It occurs to me that it is a perfectly logical course of action if you want to (a) prevent community conflict, and (b) maintain your national identity. Because governments have been too cowardly to implement it, we have seen an increase in community conflict and a dilution of national identity.
    Perhaps someone would like to come out and explain exactly what “racism” means and why it is always a bad thing, because right now the word is being used simply as an insult to prevent further discussion. Those who use it should be called out and made to justify their stance.
    I am old enough to remember what the word meant. At school we were taught about the evils of racial segregation in the Jim Crow south of the U.S. Racism (we used to call it “racialism” then) had an obvious, practical meaning: mistreating people because of their racial origin. Please not that it was the mistreatment which was the basis of the evil, not the racial bit.
    Now, I know Britain may be a wonderful country, but can anyone seriously suggest that it is a form of mistreatment not be to allowed to settle there?
    The argument has moved from the self-evident moral position that people should not be mistreated because of the colour of their skin, to the questionable proposition that all discrimination on the basis of race is wrong, to the absolutely ridiculous proposition that everyone has a basic human right to settle in Britain.

    • “Excuse me, but why is it wrong to assess migrants according to their skin colour or ethnicity?”

      Perhaps because on its own its entirely irrelevant in making a judgment about the potential contribution of people to the wellbeing of a nation.

      “Racism (we used to call it “racialism” then) had an obvious, practical meaning: mistreating people because of their racial origin. Please not that it was the mistreatment which was the basis of the evil, not the racial bit.”

      Mistreatment because of their racial origin. The two cannot be so easily separated.

      “The argument has moved from the self-evident moral position that people should not be mistreated because of the colour of their skin, to the questionable proposition that all discrimination on the basis of race is wrong,”

      Er, isn’t discrimination based solely on skin pigmentation self-evidently immoral i.e. a form of mistreatment?

      ” …. to the absolutely ridiculous proposition that everyone has a basic human right to settle in Britain.”

      Everyone? No one is advocating that at all. Anyway, at present, the issue is EU open borders and the free movement of people. As a nation we have had a perfectly legitimate right to decide who can settle here, the numbers involved and to make judgements about the economic impact and social cohesion etc.. Should this right be returned, to exercise it on the on the basis of skin colour would not be legitimate. In fact, it would be racism – or racialism, if you prefer this term.

      • Malcolm Smith

        In reply to these questions: no, discrimination solely on the basis of skin colour is not self-evidently immoral. Can you quote the relevant biblical passage? This is something which has been drummed into our collective psyche so effectively that it has become a Pavlovian reflex, but it is not so. On the contrary, preference for one’s own people is self-evidently correct.
        If you examine the instances where “racism” is inappropriate, you will inevitably find it is something involving mistreatment.
        And no, it does not follow that exercising immigration control on the basis of skin colour is not legitimate. Not everybody can be allowed to enter. If A is allowed, it does not follow that B has suffered an injustice if he is not allowed. Being excluded from someone else’s country is not the same as being mistreated. If you wish to call it “racism”, then you must explain your definition of the term, and why it should be considered wrong in all circumstances, rather than just most circumstances. That is why I said that the term is simply used as a form of abuse to limit discussion.
        And, in reply to Carl Jacobs, as a zoologist I am well aware that race is not functionally a meaningless concept. There might be a continuum between the races, but the major races are as obvious as the breeds of dogs. And, that being the case, people are always going to identify themselves and each other on that basis. In the vast majority of cases, no doubt, race doesn’t matter, but in some cases it does.
        And, in the matter of national identity, for heaven’s sake! Britain is a white country.

        • Dreadnaught

          ‘Race’ is meaningless. Skin colour is a lottery and of no consequence. What really causes friction is the assumed right of incomers to Cultural equivalence and adherence to norms incompatible within the host environment.

          • IanCad

            You’re getting better and better.
            Bravo!!

        • carl jacobs

          Malcolm Smith

          Britain is a white country.

          So all those non-white legal citizens of the UK by definition can never be British? What defines the ‘Britishness’ of white? I’m white but have very little British ancestry. Am I the right type of ‘white’ to be considered potentially British?

          Here, let’s cut to the chase. If a white woman brings home a black man in tow, and says “Daddy, this is the man I will marry” should her father object? His criteria should be “Will this man keep his covenant with my daughter? Will he fulfill his responsibility before God as a husband? Is he a believer?” If she has chosen wisely in regard to these questions, then he should consider himself blessed of God though his future son-in-law be black as pitch. It does not matter if his grandchildren look like him. What matters is the spiritual resemblance. Skin counts for nothing.

          carl

          • dannybhoy

            “So all those non-white legal citizens of the UK by definition can never be British?”
            If Britain remains yes, they will.
            What we have to get in context is that for people like myself of a certain vintage, born into a Britain that traced its history back and back into antiquity; we came from a race of people (Caucasians) who populated Europe, and whose roots (according to evolutionists) were in Africa.
            I don’t accept that.
            I believe that God built into the creatures he created the ability to adapt to their environment. Some survived and thrived, some went the way of the Tai Kwon Dodo…
            So man was able to adapt by going darker or whiter according to their environment.
            The essence of man is the ability to reason, to question, to adapt.
            As long as a person is able to accept that another culture offers the prospect of a better and more secure life, and they are willing to pledge allegiance (tribalism again) to that culture, in time they will become accepted as part of that culture.
            But the reality is that through marriage they will physically come to resemble the people of their adopted and adoptive culture.

            If you want examples of that, have a look at the physical properties of people in the Muslim world; where over centuries the defeated enemies of Islam have been assimilated into the original Arab founders of Islam.

        • carl jacobs

          Malcolm Smith

          The question is not whether people identify on the basis of race. The question is “Should people identify on the basis of race.” Is there some ontological difference between a black man and a white man in the eyes of God who is no respector of persons? If God sees no difference, then we should see no difference. Or is there a difference in your mind? Surely you don’t buy the Imperial ego-flattering notions of white European racial superiority.

          Men are not dogs. Christ did not die for dogs but for men. We don’t breed men to produce certain characteristics for the performance of desired functions. If men and women choose to couple within their own racial bandwidth, that is their business. But that doesn’t make one bandwidth better than another. It doesn’t mean that couples can’t legitimately form outside of established bandwidths. It doesn’t make the children of such pairings any less worthy. What difference does it make? Was Moses less a prophet because he took a dark-skinned wife? Will a man be lesser in the Kingdom of Heaven because of his dark skin?

          “White and delightsome” is a Mormon concept. It’s not a Christian concept.

          carl

      • dannybhoy

        Well put HJ, but it goes back to this thing about tribalism, which I think affects so much of who we are and how we view the world.
        I greatly enjoyed my time working my way around the world in the MN, seeing other countries other lifestyles etc. It was both exciting (I wasn’t a Christian at the time) and educational.
        As a Christian I believe as Carl Jacobs says above, that “God looks on the heart.” Yet I would be a liar if I said I like living in a country where I don’t need to travel to see the world, because it’s now all here on the dooorstep.
        I liked the country of my childhood, when we were by and large a white homogenous society, with a sense of history and a sense of belonging.
        I don’t feel like that any more. I feel my country is being taken away from me and I am increasingly a stranger in my own land.

        It can’t be changed now, but what we can do is demand that our politicians ensure that our traditional laws and values remain binding on all British citizens, and we stop making allowances for practices which are fundamentally opposed to our own, including respect for the person, for women, homosexuals and our great institutions and freedoms.

        Every person, regardless of colour regardless of background living here accepting our rules and values and loyal to Queen and country is a valued British citizen. But I think older people like myself who remember a different Britain find the adjustments hardest.

    • carl jacobs

      Malvern Smith

      Why is racism wrong? Because race is functionally a meaningless concept. Human beings are fertile across all races (which means that God will bless any coupling of races. ) Race isn’t therefore a set of discrete points but a broad continuous spectrum on which all of us fit somewhere. That means we are all ontologically the same. There is no objective distinction of persons based upon these cosmetic racial differences. Man tends to judge by externals and race is the ultimate external. But God looks at the heart.

      Now, perhaps you could explain what national identity has to do with race.

  • Politically__Incorrect

    I don’t remember the last time a UK political party was stigmatised and misrepresented as much as UKIP. The demonisation of the party and its many supporters, by the Left, including many in the CofE, is sheer ignorance and intellectual laziness, laced with a generous does of hypocisy too (as shown by the replies to HG’s tweet above).

    I recently attended a local UKIP branch meeting for the first time. There were no fruitcakes or swivel-eyed loonies. There were no raving racists, homophobes, or mysogynists. On the contrary, they were all slightly reserved but kindly people who have discovered the long-lost concept of nationhood and a desire to repatriate our sovereignty.

    It infuriates me the way bishops and others insult ordinary people like these. I’m glad to say there was no disillusionment amongst them despite all that . In fact each insult seems to increase their resolve .

    • wyclif

      Well, this is the CofE we’re talking about. Sadly, the CofE has fallen on hard times with regard to the quality of their clergy (they’ve also fallen on hard times in general, with parish churches being sold to mosques, but that’s a different comment thread). Gone are the days of theological titans like J.B. Lightfoot, John Keble, or even Michael Ramsey. Those men of profundity, conviction, and great intelligence have been replaced by quasi-Marxists and other varieties of socialist or leftist know-nothings, men (and women!) who extend a wet finger to the wind to detect which way the political wind is blowing and then promptly drift in whatever direction it happens to be moving at the moment. In reality, most of them are apparatchik cowards who are unwilling to stick their necks out for truth, lest it jeopardise their position in the church bureaucracy.

  • There was a particularly crude cartoon attacking UKIP members as ‘turds’ is the latest Private Eye. The Eye of course pokes fun and abuse at all parties and long may it do so but in the case of UKIP never gets beyond crude stereotyping.

    I am reminded of C S Lewis’ observation about ‘the joke that is assumed to have been made’ where the mere mention of a disapprovef idea, person or group with a knowing snigger or sneer leads to guffaws, regardless of actual evidence.

    Smears and stereotypes are easier than proper critical analysis. Its a shame to see the Eye acting no better than liberal Anglicans and the BBC. I was in London yesterday-you can hardly move for overcrowding. Just because Nick Griffin said ‘the country’s full’ doesn’t mean it isn’t and I am sick of self righteous lefty bien pensants with or without dog collars trying to kill discussion about immigration by screaming ‘Racist! Racist!’

  • Law & Religion UK

    Michael Ramsey, not “Ramsay”.

  • The political right has seemingly failed to convince those called by God to be bishops of its ideas for almost 40 years. Catholic, Evangelicals and Liberals alike. And this is the Bishops fault? I am not sure that this is how democratic politics is supposed to work.

    I argue again that there is very little right wing political parties offer that benefits Churchmen* professionally or privately. Certainty in London immigration has contributed to a renewal of personal, spirit filled, active Christian faith. Why would I want it to stop?

    *I would be delighted to know an inclusive alternative. Ecclesiasticals?

    • wyclif

      Aren’t churchmen obligated to advocate what is best for their people, which is not necessarily what benefits clergymen? To be a member of the clergy is to be sacrificial. As to the current occupants of episcopal sees pulling the levers of power in CofE today, see my comment below.

      • Yes of course they are. And for clergy the boundaries between personal and professional interests are frequently blurred. Whatever makes our jobs easier enables us to spend more time preaching the Gospel.

  • I’m still trying to find out which of UKIP’s policies are racist. I’m aware that from time to time members/supporters of the party may have made remarks which some might consider to be racist, but that is the same for all parties.
    Unless, of course, words such as “immigrant”, “Asian”, “Rotherham”, “child rape” etc are now deemed to be racist.
    Exactly which of UKIP’s published policies is racist?

  • Royinsouthwest

    There is nothing inherently wrong with the concept of “patriality.” As a British citizen I object to the idea that those of my nieces and nephews who are citizens of Commonwealth countries should have less favourable treatment than EU citizens if they wanted to immigrate to Britain, or even when they come here on holiday and are waiting in a different queue at Heathrow.

    Family loyalties are important. Saying this does not make me a racist since many of my relations are of mixed race, but even if they were all white the same argument would apply.

  • Athanasius

    “The clergy and bishops of the Church of England are charged with acting as the conscience of the nation.”

    Actually, and at the risk of sounding like a troll (for I’m quite serious), they are charged with validating whatever it is the government wants to do, since that was the reason the CofE was set up by Henry VIII in the first place. It did all right in that limited regard for several hundred years, and only began to drift onto the rocks when it actually DID start to grow a conscience. I suspect that that experiment is now too far gone to ever reverse, and since that makes the CofE more hindrance than help to the government (any government) may I suggest that it take the ferry back over the Tiber, there being no specifically British use to which it can further be put?

    As to the meat of the post itself, I agree with Mr Thomas Cranmer – you don’t have to like UKIP to accept that they’re no more inherently racist than any of the other parties.

    • dannybhoy

      Well said.

  • Chalcedon

    How can UKIP be at all racist when it is talking about stopping the influx of white Europeans, Caucasians, like me (as in Anglo Saxon) from the EU? This is patently absurd. They are nationalist/patriotic not racist at all.