Modernising the Conservatives and splitting the Anglicans – a story of two leaderships

Today is a good day to review the progress of two leaders at modernising their institutions.

David Cameron’s Conservatives are in good shape on the back of election victories. There are many more women prospective candidates. Homosexual MPs and candidates are treated like any other, as their sexual orientation is not relevant to how they do their job. No-one thinks it wrong that there are women in the Shadow Cabinet, or that the party was once led by a woman. Indeed most Conservatives are united in thinking that the party’s most successful period until recently was under a woman leader. David’s strong support for liberty has persuaded most within the party – so much so that the one time leader of the traditionalists in the Shadow Cabinet has just resigned to fight the government more strongly in defence of more civil liberty and less authoritarianism. He did not have the leadership’s encouragement to make such a stand, but I am delighted they back him and want him to win, for his fight is our fight. It is in many ways the ultimate proof that the Conservative party has “got it” and has modernised under David. No-one I think could have written such a script four years ago of how the Conservative party would come together behind the cause of Magna Carta and Habeas Corpus, making them thoroughly modern causes, under threat from a punk modernising government with no sense of history or personal liberty. As someone who backed David Cameron for the leadership when others thought I should vote for the “traditional” candidates, I feel pleased with my choice, and pleased that so many in the party took the same view.

In contrast Rowan Williams’ Anglican Church stumbles over all these same issues. Where Conservatives appoint more women, the Anglican Church faces an internal revolt against allowing women to be bishops. They are miles away from having a woman leader. Homosexuality has rent the Church asunder, with much support in Africa for the alternative manifesto “The Way, the Truth and the Life”, and latent support from traditionalists elsewhere. The archbishop floats on the Church’s website the idea of having associated and constituent churches, where the associated ones will pursue a different approach to main issues, and look to bishops other than the archbishop for their leadership.The Anglican Church gives an uncertain message on the role of the family, their approach to sexual relationships and personal responsibility, often preferring to say nothing. Often they just demand some more British public spending for some other cause as the easy way out.

David Cameron knows that there is still much to do and that there is no reason for complacency. I guess Rowan Williams must have some sense of foreboding as the Anglican Church sets out to prove just like Brown’s Britain that devolution and alternative sources of authority and power do not bring unity back, but foment the forces that wish to pull an institution apart. The Archbishop has not found the words and the actions to unite his unhappy Church. His every word seems to widen the divide, encouraging the warring factions to push further and harder in the direction they wish to go. In contrast, on homosexuality, personal freedom, the role of women and the need to curb the excesses of the authoritarian state the Conservative party has found a new settlement under its Leader.

No sensible Conservative need doubt the Leader’s Conservative credentials. This is the man who led his party in its calls for a referendum on Lisbon and to oppose the whole Treaty. This is the man who led his party to advance cuts in Inheritance Tax for the many, as well as the man who has presided over most important work on how to mend Britain’s damaged society. Under Cameron Conservatives know what we believe in – we believe in opportunity for all, with reform of public sector housing and schooling to make that more of a reality for those currently excluded from home ownership and good education by Labour’s clumsy state. We believe in individual and family responsibility, with welfare reform to encourage and require people to work if they can and where work is available. We believe in looking to the security of our country, with appropriate measures to make the UK and its citizens safer. This includes action to reduce our dependence on imported oil and gas, to increase fuel efficiency, and to look after our green landscape.

There is unity around these central aims. There will be unity about the need to tackle the mess that Labour is creating with the economy, which is now the dominant concern of most voters. In contrast the Anglican Church can look forward to more disunity, as the rival archbishops and bishops set out their stalls. As an Anglican myself, am I to be offered a choice of styles locally? Will I be able to find a church which both values the fine traditional language of the Book of Common Prayer, the great anthems and choral works, yet be rooted in the modern world when it comes to personal freedoms? Watch this space.

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31 Comments

  1. Stuart Fairney
    Posted June 29, 2008 at 10:09 am | Permalink

    The Anglicans however, find themselves bound by what they believe to be the inviolate law of God. Consequently, Dr Williams finds himself in the difficult position of trying to modernise an institution with a historic 'constitution' so to speak. Traditionalists make the point that scripture is not an a la carte menu, it is all or it is nothing. Perhaps if they read the bible more closely, they would conclude that given its litany of slaughter, ethnic cleansing, slavery, rape and murder that it is indeed, historic, man-made prejudice which should not form moral guidaance for anyone capable of rationale thought.

  2. wonderfulforhisage
    Posted June 29, 2008 at 10:46 am | Permalink

    The Hon. Gentleman doth protest too much me thinks.

  3. Cliff
    Posted June 29, 2008 at 11:59 am | Permalink

    The Anglican Church has, just like our country, been destroyed by political correctness.
    The Roman Catholic Church does not change to be PC or fashionable and therefore is more united, yes we have had our problems but, on the whole we remain united under the Holy Father.

    I am clearly,according to you, not sensible as I still have some reservations about our leader. I feel he has turned our party into a kind of "Labour Lite" party. I supported Mr Davis and still believe he is nearer to more traditional Conservative views.
    I feel Labour has moved away from its core beliefs and values under Mr Blair and Mr Brown and I believe we have under Mr Cameron. I bet the founders of both parties will be turning in their graves but, hey ho, power at any cost and to hell with principles eh?

    I agree that ones sexuality, gender or race may be irelevant in ones ability to carry out ones role however, by keeping on about it, it may become an issue. We have moved on so that homosexuality is no longer a criminal offence and therefore a homosexual MP can not be easily bribed to avoid exposure.

    I do not see why Mr Cameron went ahead with setting up an "A-List" for candidates, in my view, the only relevant factor is the candidates ability to perform the role of MP. This to me is just more PC nonsense, the very thing I thought we in the Conservative Party were fighting against. I agree, Mrs Thatcher was the greatest leader we ever had and I must point out she attained her position on ability not on PC grounds.

    I would be happy to see more women in the next Conservative cabinet as they often bring a different perspective to the discussions that need to take place however, I would not like to see our cabinet filled with people that were promoted just because of their gender, as that may leave us with a cabinet of over promoted and out of their depth incapable ministers, just as the current Labour government has.

    I would also hope to see more cabinet discussions taking place and not just a party leader dictatorship which appears to be the case with this and the previous government.

    I don't like you referring to the party as "David Cameron's Conservatives" we are not, we are the Conservative and Unionist Party and no leader should be so arrogant to believe he or she owns it. I would have thought a lesson would have been learnt following the recent Hammersmith by-election.

    I am still not sure whether Mr Cameron is doing well or Mr Brown is doing badly, I suspect the latter is more the case.

    I am sure Mr Cameron will read your very supportive blog and perhaps, you will be rewarded with a place in the new Conservative government…..hopefully as The Chancellor.

    Reply: I am not supporting Cameron in pursuit of office. I say what I think about the situation. I am also fed up with all those who agree we need to save our country from Brussels and political correctness venting their spleen on those closer to their position to the joy of the federalists and felow travellers.

  4. John W
    Posted June 29, 2008 at 12:19 pm | Permalink

    Not a biblical scholar are we Stuart?

  5. Posted June 29, 2008 at 2:01 pm | Permalink

    I agree that the Conservatives selling point should be freedom under the rule of law (close to traditional liberalism but a position they have vacated). That would include opposition to ID cards & internment & economic freedom. However if it is to hold it has to be fairly cosistent (I don't ask for perfection since that is not given to living systems). School vouchers which implies selective schools, power policy run on free market not subsidised idealogical principles (ie nuclear & an end to windmill subsidy), maximisation of the economy which really does mean no environmentalist" vetos on even airport expansion & an end to all the health fascist nonsense about passive smoking, salt etc which aren't really dangerous anyway & are not really nanny's business. I think these would all be, on balance, popular with ordinary people but would cause howls from the media.

    As a Scot I don't really understand all the fuss about what the Church of England thinks. However I suspect most English people don't either.

  6. RJ
    Posted June 29, 2008 at 2:15 pm | Permalink

    "Politics is the art of the possible". It is much easier for compromise to be found in politics than in theology, where The Truth is rather the be-all-and-end-all of matters. The Conservative Party is merely an association of MPs wishing to manage the country as best they can. The Church of England must tell gospel truth, and its authority looks somewhat poor if it bends its truths according to the whims of its age.

    David Cameron has a natural unifying force at his disposal – a universal desire amongst Conservative supporters to replace the Labour government with *something*, however short of ideal. There is no equivalent force for unity in the Church of England.

    I do not agree with Mr Fairney's last sentance, but this is not the place for theological discussion. The point is that Conservatism is not a religous creed, and indeed, it is a Conservative trait not to put faith in ideological systems of government. The Church is attempting to deal with what is or is not true and timeless, and it is hard to see how a wooly-headed belief that the Church should "move with the times" can be consistent with believing the bible's teachings to be universal truth, rather than transient philosophy.

  7. Posted June 29, 2008 at 4:16 pm | Permalink

    Mr Redwood, there is another way of looking at the resignation-

    it does not make sense for the prospective home sectary to resign in order to fight the government. When all he had to do was to wait a while and he would have been in a position to see through a real defence of civil liberty and less authoritarianism. He would have been able to reduce the 42 days whilst reversing the many other incursions to our civil liberties made by this present government.

    So either Mr Davis is politically short sighted or Mr Cameron would not have allowed him the freedom to make the changes he says he wants.

    Looked at that way it does rather open the question of the veracity of a leadership, which has already reneged on the EPP matter, and on the promise to allow a referendum on the Lisbon treaty. One would naturally assume that a party which has fought hard against this government on several fronts would when they gained power, immediately move to overturn those pieces of legalisation that caused offence in the first place.

    I therefore strongly suspect that Mr Davis resigned not to put pressure on the government but to put pressure on the Conservative leadership to stand by its position as expressed in opposition, once elected to power.

  8. Robert Klein
    Posted June 29, 2008 at 5:25 pm | Permalink

    Are you sure that David Cameron has sound Conservative credentials? Up until a few months ago he was quite happily proposing more and more "Green" taxes to lump us with. It was only recently that he realised that this wasn't what the electorate would support and started chastising Gordon Brown for the same thing he had previously done.

    I wish we could have a real Conservative leader.

  9. mikestallard
    Posted June 29, 2008 at 6:07 pm | Permalink

    David Cameron is a politician. His duty is to form a government to govern this country well and fairly.
    Rowan Williams is a leader of God's church. And that is the problem: what does God exactly want?
    Is it what the Bible tells us? In which case, how out of date is the Bible? What about, for instance, drugs, or smoking, or driving a car? More important, perhaps, what about slavery?
    Is it what the majority of Christians in a certain country happen to think? Maybe it is, in which case, we should go all out for human rights and women's liberation, and child rights, and so on and so on. How do you come to terms with the Gospel in the unbelieving 21st century?
    Is it what we think the Holy Spirit is telling us? In which case, it could be back to the nut cases of the 17th century – the Adamites, the flat earthers and so on.

    Why I changed over and became a Catholic is that we depend on a wholesome mix of Bible, Bishops and common sense and it works throughout the world. There is uniformity which is so badly missing in the Anglican Communion and the freedom which is so badly missing in society at the moment.

    All this sounds totally irrelevant until, as a Vicar, you are asked to baptise a baby (how can a baby be Born Again in the SPirit?) when the next door parish has refused him. Or to remarry a divorcee in the teeth of Christ's prohibition in the new Testament. Or to serve a divorced bishop in the teeth of Paul's admonition to Timothy.

    People get hurt when there is no leadership.

  10. Derek
    Posted June 29, 2008 at 6:27 pm | Permalink

    With more mixed ability schools, windmills and hoodie love I'm surprised you even have to point out how united around shared values the Conservative party is. I've always known with a Cameron party we're on a fast-track to a new, better and more socially mobile world. I don't know what took you so long.

  11. Posted June 29, 2008 at 10:36 pm | Permalink

    we have enough trouble trying to figure out which way each party is blowing….. if the church decides to play the game of bending the rules to placate each noisy pressure group, the game played by politicians, there will be no standards remaining. Standards are so named because they are standard and unchanging, the standards set by the early church are becoming the ‘variables’ of today.

  12. Posted June 30, 2008 at 2:46 am | Permalink

    Oh dear. I have quite a lot of time for Mr Redwood. But this is highly disquieting. Has it really come to this? A Tory – a Tory mind – advocating the surrender of the Church of England to the temporary and pointless gusts of the Spirit of the Age? Whatever happened to the Tories of history who would rather have given their lives than see heresy enthroned in their Church’s dogma, or blasphemy enacted before their Church’s altars, or the Holy Scriptures and the Cross of Christ trampled under foot in this land?

    I understand that a political party feels it must change in accordance with the people. But the Church must not change with the times, nor buckle with the flow; it must seek to direct that flow itself, and change the times to follow its own Eternal tune. Otherwise it wouldn’t be a Church, nor would it have beliefs.

    I think it is worrying that a politician feels the one thing another troubled institution needs is to become more like them. Have you not done enough damage already to your own arena of Parliament? You wish to come after the already sick Church of England too, and embrace it into your descent?

    Reply: I gave no advice to the Archbishop on how to keep it togetehr, merely pointed out why what he is doing will split it more.

  13. Stuart Fairney
    Posted June 30, 2008 at 7:43 am | Permalink

    John W

    A biblical scholar? No. But any casual examination would present you with Numbers 31:7-18 where Moses is all in favour of extermination of everyone but female virgins of the conquered Midianites

    Nor am I greatly impressed by a deity who requires the sacrifice of your son (Abraham and Isaac). Assuming that happened (admittedly unlikely) you can’t help wondering how Isaac felt as he was being lashed to the stake

    Then there is the highly credible idea that every animal species in the world lived within walking distance of Noah’s abode

    Also, I don’t take moral lessons from a deity who thinks it’s okay to biblically (destroy -ed) the towns of Sodom, Gomorrah, Admah, and Zeboim because of the sins of their people including presumably the innocent kids (words left out).

    Let’s not forget the lessons in Deuteronomy 22:23-24 where women who are raped in cities should be stoned to death, clearly not the work of a misogynist that one

    No John, not a scholar, just someone who can read the (word left out) cache of immoral nonsense and conclude I can form my own morals without the help of 3,000 year old fairy stories

  14. johnC
    Posted June 30, 2008 at 10:16 am | Permalink

    I think it is rather unfair to blame Rowan Williams for the disintegration of the Anglican Church, which began long before he became Archbishop of Canterbury. The loss of a common liturgy with the disappearance of the Book of Common Prayer took place at the same time as the loss of a common ministry with the ordination of women in Hong Kong and America in the 1970’s. There was no central authority equivalent to the Pope and the Vatican to hold the Anglican Communion together, and no agreement about what was essential and what could be changed according to local preferences.
    I think your view of personal ‘freedom’ in which everyone is free to do their own thing is not quite the same as the Christian one, which holds that the service of God is ‘perfect freedom’. Christian freedom is linked to the voluntary acceptance of God’s moral authority and a self-discipline which is a long way away from modern libertarianism.

  15. APL
    Posted June 30, 2008 at 10:46 am | Permalink

    wonderfulforhisage: “The Hon. Gentleman doth protest too much me thinks.”

    No, no, Cameron is definately in the Tory party. How about a new political commandment Mr Redwood.

    Thou shalt not spin the truth, for all your spinning will appear transparent.

    Ken Adams: “I therefore strongly suspect that Mr Davis resigned not to put pressure on the government but to put pressure on the Conservative leadership to stand by its position as expressed in opposition, once elected to power.”

    Hmmmm.

    Kudos to David Davis even so.

  16. Freeborn John
    Posted June 30, 2008 at 12:13 pm | Permalink

    If I think back to the last Conservative government the image that first comes to my mind is of authoritarian home secretaries like Michael Howard. He was a pretty good leader of the party but I could not stomach him as Home Secretary. Similarly my main image of the Blair years is of equally authoritarian home secretaries like David Blunkett. David Davis’ stand of behalf of civil liberties is a real breath of fresh air when set against that background. The Liberal Democrats might make similar noises about civil liberties but they give the impression of just going through the motions where as David Davis acts from conviction. The recent comment from John Major that “The threat to liberty is graver than terrorism” had an immediate resonance on me, the like of which I do not recall from any statement by a politician in recent times. I do not regard myself as a Conservative but I have to say that the party has become much more appealing by taking up the neglected cause of liberty.

  17. Cliff
    Posted June 30, 2008 at 1:36 pm | Permalink

    All right I give up!!

    I agree with whatever you say and in particular I believe Mr Cameron is the greatest leader we have ever had. I believe he will unite the party with his great Conservative policies and that he will appeal to the traditionalists, because he is so Conservative by nature. He is right and the rest of us are all wrong.

    I believe Mr Brown is being defeated by Mr Cameron and not by his own dubious policies and lack lustre performance.

    I believe we are all united behind our great leader and I look forward to saving the planet, nay the universe, under Mr Cameron’s leadership. I look forward to embracing hoodies and hutus.

    Please delete my previous post as it serves no purpose to be held until the thread has died and then put up.

    I can see political debate will be safe, protected and indeed encouraged under a government of David Cameron’s Conservatives.

    I am now ready for my medication nurse.

  18. Cliff
    Posted June 30, 2008 at 5:47 pm | Permalink

    John:

    I have offended you and I apologise. Sometimes I get really carried away at the keyboard and say things I would be less likely to say face to face.

    It seems to me that when a political leader says modernise in relation to their party, they actually mean they are moving away from the main ideals, values and beliefs that were traditionally at the heart of that party and the basis on which that party was founded. We have seen this with the Labour Party and again, in my opinion, we are seeing it with our own party.

    The frustrating thing for me and I suspect, others with similar more traditional beliefs like mine, is that I feel there is no longer a party that reflects my political views. The Conservative Party, under most of the previous leaders, did.

    I find it difficult to put my finger on exactly what we stand for now and what our priorities actually are. It seems that Mr Cameron’s main message is about inclusiveness and being green. I feel Mr Davis has hit on something that is more important to many of us than being green or inclusive; Cutting back the size of the state and the amount of interference from the state in our lives I would suggest, is more in keeping with our more traditional beliefs.

    As each party struggles to take the centre ground, those that are left wing are no longer represented by the Labour Party and those of us that are right of centre, no longer feel our traditional party, The Conservatives, represents us.

    It seems to me, that both of the main parties have adopted the worse of their rival’s ideology and have kept the worse of their own ideologies.

    I accept that this blog is yours and funded by you and therefore ultimately, you have editorial control but, I have noticed that on a few occasions now, when I have been a little controversial or critical of our party leader in my postings, it has been rejected or held for several days and then posted once the thread has died, so effectively, no one will read it.

    I always thought political blogs were about the free and frank exchange of ideas, even Labour home allows postings that are critical of their party and it’s leadership.

    Yes, perhaps disagreeing amongst ourselves plays into the other parties and the EUSSR’s hands but, my principles will not allow me to stay silent while I believe I see the party being destroyed by being taken further away from our more traditional position.
    Were we therefore wrong in the past and were our past leaders and founders wrong, because that is what I feel is implied as we move further and further away from our core principles?

    I accept you are in a more difficult position than myself, as your utterings would be used by the media, to bash you and our party with, should you be critical. I accept that should you wish to disagree with Mr Cameron, you do so in private.

    I accept that we need as a country, (if we still are a country post Lisbon) to get rid of the Labour government and to put right, yet again, the damage caused, however I do not support the idea of getting back into power by moving our position so much that we alienate many of our supporters.

    We are seeing the rise of some of the more extreme fringe parties and we see a general distrust of the political class by the general population, it is my view that by being less clear as to where we stand and by blurring the edges of where Labour ends and the Conservative Party begins, we are in danger of confusing the electorate or turning them off politics even more.

    In my view, little or no choice regarding the position of the parties, means no democracy.

    Reply: You have not offended me and I do believe in a lively exchange of views. If someone blogs in a way which is close to a libel on a person or company, or gets close to breaking the laws on discrimination/racial/sexual language I need time to consider the blog and how to edit it to protect the site and the writer. As I do this myself I do not always have the time immediately to do that. I accept many criticisms of the Leadership on the blog, but I do think I have the right to say why I think DC is the best chance people have if they want to salavge something from this mire of EU power grab, political correctness and wasteful public sector.

  19. APL
    Posted July 1, 2008 at 2:27 am | Permalink

    Cliff: “Sometimes I get really carried away at the keyboard ..”

    Don’t worry, you are not alone there!

    JR: “I need time to consider the blog and how to edit it to protect the site and the writer.”

    I think that is a fair appraisal of what happens. One or two of my posts have been delayed for a while, one or two never appear. I agree, it is after all Mr Redwoods blog. I admire him for permitting the energetic exchange of views he does.

    However, I too have serious doubts about Mr Cameron, I think he is too enthralled by the Green faction, I do not think his conservative credentials are nearly as clearly defined as Mr Redwood wishes us to believe.

    I also agree that the edges of political influence have been blurred, some creatures have taken advantage to infiltrate the Tory party to its disadvantage.

    Events now unfolding will radically redefine *everything*, the fence will shortly be a very uncomfortable place to sit.

  20. Rose
    Posted July 1, 2008 at 1:08 pm | Permalink

    I never understand the hostility of some conservatives to their leader’s natural concern for the environment. Conservation and concern for the environment were exclusively Conservative preoccupations. Historically, the world over, it was socialism, communism, and to some extent liberalism, which stood for untrammelled pollution and degradation in the name of heavy industrialisation at any cost, both to people and the environment. Mr Cameron is merely returning the party to its proper responsibilities: to protect the family, the traditional institutions of our country, and the environment. That is what Conservatives are there for, and these are all fundamental things Mrs Thatcher would have attended to after her heroic struggle against socialism if she had been allowed time.

    That is not to say that the Green Party, which has usurped the cause of the environment, is not a socialist party in reality; rather that the Conservative party should never have left a gap in which that essentially left wing movement could grow. (In the same way that they should not have left a gap for the BNP, which is essentially another one issue party with a left wing agenda not fully understood by the electorate.)

  21. Stuart Fairney
    Posted July 1, 2008 at 3:07 pm | Permalink

    As this seems to be a day for contrition, allow me to add I had clearly overdosed on various aetheist writers of note, no offence was intended. I would take issue with the one of the contributors above however, whilst not a biblical scholar in any sense, I have read the bible (notably Numbers 31:7-18 Deuteronomy 22:23-24 and a host of others) and find little in it that offers morality any more than it offers a reasonable guide to the creation of the universe.

  22. Posted July 1, 2008 at 3:36 pm | Permalink

    There is an Anglican church which values traditional choral worship according to the Book of Common Prayer and yet supports the values of personal freedom, the cause of women in ministry at all levels, and has an inclusive and welcoming attitude towards all people regardless of sexual orientation. It is in Wokingham; the parish church of All Saints.

    However, it is worth noting that whilst we offer the traditional choral services regularly, attendance at them is minimal; whilst our modern language service of Parish Communion attracts 200 people every week.

  23. mikestallard
    Posted July 1, 2008 at 8:34 pm | Permalink

    “I have read the bible ……. and find little in it that offers morality”
    Stuart – look again at the sublime message of the Gospels, which compares very favourably with the teachings of the Buddha (smile and wave!), the Stoic philosophers (ditto), JS Mill and J Bentham (Gradgrind), the utterly righteous Jews, the legal minded Muslims and the vast sprawl of Hinduism.
    Tolle lege!

  24. APL
    Posted July 1, 2008 at 10:17 pm | Permalink

    Rosie: “I never understand the hostility of some conservatives to their leader’s natural concern for the environment.”

    In the first instance what Cameron thinks about the environment is a personal matter for him, he has no business imposing his opinions on you or I, simply because our opinions happen to be generally aligned on some other totally unconnected matters.

    As he chooses his religion, if he has one, he is perfectly at liberty to cycle to work, as I did for three years between Tottenham and the West end, of course I did not ask my driver to toddle along behind me in my limo all for the benefit of the meeja. But overall, despite inconsiderate London drivers I felt better for the exercise.

    Nor have I asked anyone else to put a windmill on their roof, just because I have the urge to do so. Should I take leave of my senses and put a windmill on my roof, it would be in direct contradiction of my knowledge that the cost of doing so far outweighs the benefits of any electricity it might generate. Not to mention the structural damage it may well cause to my house.

    Should too, I decide to look at the North Polar Ice cap, I would be sure to do it in the most ecologically economical manner, knowing as I do that flying by jet, is an evil thing, also that asking a load of freeloading meeja folk along would just compound the sin and generally make the ice melt faster, thus contributing to the supposed decline of the North polar ice cap that I had gone there to see in the first place. That to me would not seem like a very conservative action, nor an economical one.

    Lastly, he is not my leader, we shouldn’t be encouraging the cult of personality in UK politics, that sort of thing is for the Labour party and North Korea, David Cameron is just a chump who at the right time happened to pull the right strings among his Meeja chums – surprising actually since Meeja is the only place he has ever worked. Whereas his opponent who had fewer friends in the Meeja, has recently demonstrated he holds true to some real conservative principles.

    Rosie: “Conservation and concern for the environment were exclusively Conservative preoccupations.”

    No, not correct. Conservative concern for the environment arises principally from the concept of private property. That is it, if you own something you tend to care for it. Private property is the founding principle of true conservatism.

    The Socialists, like the Green party (and it is worth mentioning here the BNP usually wrongly branded by BBC smear a ‘far right party’ ) you mention, are each of them collectivists, they refute the concept of private property. The result is since no one owns a thing, no one cares for it. That is what leads to the sort of situation you describe. I believe it is called ‘the tragedy of the commons’.

    Why am I hostile to ‘my’ leader? Because at each opportunity to show some backbone, demonstrate some principle, he has declined. Be it to keep his promise to take the conservative s out of the EPP or, well, what other promise has Cameron made?

  25. Stuart Fairney
    Posted July 2, 2008 at 10:11 am | Permalink

    Mike

    I was perhaps unclear, I was not suggesting the bible is better or worse than any other religous texts or indeed the Stoics. If you insist on looking somewhere for morality in philosophy, might I suggest you take a look at the works of Ayn Rand?

  26. Cliff
    Posted July 2, 2008 at 10:58 am | Permalink

    Rev. David Hodgson:

    I think the split in the C of E is a little more than whether the book of common prayer is used or not.

    Are you saying by supporting the "personal freedom" agenda that the gospels are wrong?

    Was Jesus Christ wrong not to appoint female apostles?
    Was he also wrong not to allow men to lay with men as men would with a woman?
    (sentence left out-ed)
    As I understand it, the Christian teaching is that marriage is confined to one man and one woman. Sexual intercourse is confined to within a marriage. Unmarried people, according to the scriptures, should refrain from sex, that must include homosexuals. Not attractive in the modern world but, does that make it wrong?

    The Lord tells us to hate the sin but love the sinner, ie love the person but reject the sin.
    Modern people may not like the teachings but, the teachings are the teachings. It is not man's place to pick and choose which scriptures he accepts. If one decides to cut out one teaching they dislike and someone else decides to do the same, soon you have nothing left. In the Catholic Church we have a saying that we have a shortage of applicants wishing to join the Priesthood but we have a surplus of people that wish to be Pope.

    I believe many of society's ills have happened since we in the UK have turned away from Christiananity and it's moral code.
    The media have led the anti Christian message, aided by successive governments.
    Children no longer attend Sunday school and neither did their parents, so where do they get their moral guidance from now? They won't get it from a politicised education system or from the media.

    Is it right to abandon ones principles just to be acceptable to people? Is this not what the political parties have done and have they not also lost support?

    I do feel for the C of E and would urge any Christians that still hold the teachings of the bible to be true to consider coming home to the Catholic Church.

    May the Lord bless you and open your heart to his message.

  27. mikestallard
    Posted July 2, 2008 at 8:46 pm | Permalink

    I do want, if I am allowed, to come back on this.
    "Pursuing personal interest is rational, and not seeking personal interest is irrational." What kind of person does that make me, I wonder….
    Compare this with the sublime:
    "-'Love your neighbour as yourself.' – And he said 'Who is my neighbour?' -'A certain man was going down from Jerusalem to Jericho…..' "

    Anyway, the lady you mentioned smoked cigarettes! Outrageous!

  28. Posted July 3, 2008 at 11:34 am | Permalink

    APL you are right about private property not collectivism being the way to defend the environment. The tragedy of the commons & of eastern European pollution have been demonstrated repeatedly. It is also worth mentioning that the first Clean Air Act was introduced by the Tories in the 1950s long before the Green Party was thought of. My opinion, for what it is worth, is that virtually all Green leaders don't care about the environment & are merely Luddites using it as a rallying call.

    I would say that there has been a historical trend of Conservatism which has ben similarly Luddite – from the time when Wellington oppoded railways on the grounds that it would let the common people move round the country to John Major's evocation of old maids bycling. It is not a side of conservatism I have much sympathy for as my call on another thread for the working classes to be able to have houses in the country will have shown.

    I doubt if Mr Cameron, having been a strong Thatcherite when first in Parliament, is overly concerned which idealogical wing of the party, if any, his apparent commitment to opposing global warming, came from.

  29. Cliff
    Posted July 3, 2008 at 12:30 pm | Permalink

    Many people that wish to bash those of the Christian faith resort to selectively quoting the old testament.

    The Chritian faith is based on the teachings of Jesus Christ as contained in the Gospels of the new testament.

    The main message in the new testament is to love one another and to love God. Love the sinner, hate the sin.

    It is true that there are many bloody episodes and many apparently strange laws (Read in the context of a modern world) in the old testament, however, most of the books to which critics refer are histories rather than teachings.

    The problem with any faith, when discussing it with a non believer is just that, a religious faith is a faith as opposed to something one can see or touch.

    I always say the following in reply to someone that mocks my choice to follow my chosen religion:

    It is better to live life believing that there is a God and then find out after death that there is not, then to live a life believing there is not a God only to discover after death that there is a God………..Are you prepared to take that risk?

  30. Stuart Fairney
    Posted July 3, 2008 at 4:34 pm | Permalink

    Mike

    ’Love your neighbour as yourself’

    Why?

  31. Rose
    Posted July 4, 2008 at 1:58 pm | Permalink

    APL you make some heartfelt points. I agree wholeheartedly with your point about collectivism and the tragedy of the commons, and I sympathise with your dislike of the title 'Leader of the Conservative Party'. But what should we call him instead and has this question come up before?
    I also agree with Neil that concern for clean air, water, and the landscape, need not, and should not, be Luddite. There is so much that could have been done to prevent our cities from becoming the noisy and dirty places they are, if only we had been responsible and far-sighted in our energy policy. But that is something, like defence, and rail transportation, which needs to be national, not private in its direction. Just think if all that money which was sucked into subsidisng rising house prices had gone into sorting out fusion instead.

    I don't agree with you though, APL, about the shoe chauffeur business. That was black propaganda peddled by Chris Huhne and co. and taken up eagerly by the BBC, to make you think the bike was just for the cameras. Red boxes contain important State documents and cannot at the moment be carried about in a pannier as if they were the shopping. And someone who gets into trouble for edging ahead at the traffic lights etc is obviously a real bicyclist trying to stay alive. You have only to look at the difference in energy between him and car-bound Brown to see the good that bicycling is doing him. Ditto for Boris vis a vis taxi-bound Livingstone. It is a great pity that so many people swallowed this lie and that it is still appearing, as it would otherwise have been good advertising for bikes – and goodness, we need it, with the pollution and unfitness our country suffers from compared with other more go-ahead countries where people of all ages bicycle in safety without wearing helmets or lycra. Rather than knock him for riding a bike, welcome it, and use it to get safer arrangements for bicyclists – so that they may multiply in numbers, for all our benefit.

  • About John Redwood


    John Redwood won a free place at Kent College, Canterbury, He graduated from Magdalen College Oxford, has a DPhil and is a fellow of All Souls College. A businessman by background, he has been a director of NM Rothschild merchant bank and chairman of a quoted industrial PLC.

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