“Being brought up in a vicarage, of course the advantage is that you do see people from all walks of life, and particularly in villages you see people from all sorts of backgrounds and all sorts of conditions, in terms of disadvantage and advantage.”
Dawn French in the Vicar of Dibley?
No, it’s our Prime Minister in an interview with The Sunday Times. I am not going to suggest that an Oxfordshire vicarage never sees deprivation. However, as politicians jump on to the sound bites of bashing the liberal elites and protecting the JAM’s (Just About Managing) you do wonder whether this was the street-wisest of self-observations. Rural Oxfordshire is a far journey from those bastions of the Brexit world, Hartlepool and Boston.
In my interpretation of her words she did not go on to say that she would be guided by the Lord above as she endeavours to make “Brexit mean Brexit”. Some interpreted that way. However, she did go on to say:-
“It’s about, ‘Are you doing the right thing?’ If you know you are doing the right thing, you have the confidence, the energy to go and deliver that right message.”
The difficulty with her position is clear. She doesn’t know that she is doing the right thing and she would be wise to recognise that she doesn’t, even if she does not communicate this. If she doesn’t know that she is doing the right thing then, in her own words, it becomes difficult to deliver the right message; any message at all even.
In the lack of clarity it is there. In the fog of her task she has a constant. This I do not criticise – she is being honest. She has allowed herself to be drawn on the subject of her faith.
“I am a practising member of the Church of England and so forth, that lies behind what I do.”
We all know that when politics and religion meet the outcome does not tend to be favourable.
However, at odds with some others in this phoney war fighting to Remain, I see Mrs May’s comments with a degree of optimism. I believe that she recognises her situation, and ours collectively. Even though drawn into matters of faith I do not believe that she has thrown our lot into the almighty and invincible spiritual cart blown along from up in heaven.
Whilst not a person of the church myself I have not forgotten my religious studies entirely. The principles and aims of Christianity are largely admirable, almost from any perspective. Forgiveness, tolerance (well, the eye for an eye bit was in the Old Testament) and even loving thy neighbour. Knowing right from wrong.
Paul Nuttall, the new leader of UKIP is said to be a signatory to an e-petition calling for the reintroduction of the death penalty for convicted child and serial killers. He is in favour, it seems, of restricting abortion rights and is a climate change denier. He advocates abolishing the smoking ban and restoring the right to hunt with dogs. He wants to privatise the NHS.
His predecessor seems intent on maximising self-publicity and has chosen a curious path in cosying up to Trump. The American presidential election was observed in a very interesting way by the British public following the referendum on 23rd June. It was almost as if having flunked an exam there was a perverse sense of relief that another country had come out of the exam with an even lower mark than we had.
I came across many who took some strange comfort in the outcome of Trump’s election. Wrongly in my opinion, they sought to argue that “at least we haven’t got Trump” whereas, of course, a US president only has so many years in office as against the decades of pain, waste and instability that departure from the European Union will cause.
I have heard Piers Morgan say that Theresa May is one of only a few politicians of conviction. Whilst there will have been visitors to the May vicarage who share Nuttall’s views about fox-hunting there will be plenty more who will be deeply uneasy about extreme politicians breaking into the arena. Farage has hopefully exited the stage door but there’s a new act warming up and a lot of people don’t like the look of it, across the spectrum.
The deployment of weapons close to the Polish and Lithuanian borders will not have gone without notice; neither will an MEP’s attempt to foist himself upon the diplomatic service, assisted by his mate with the golden lift.
The European Union is what it says it is. A Union. The concept and value of union will be well appreciated by those with moderate Christian values.
A dose of moderate Christianity will not do the Remain cause any harm so, at this stage, I’m not going to knock it.
Thank you for taking the time to read.