Queens, Kings and Churches

I am all in favour of a Princess inheriting the Crown if she is the older child. This is a very good time to make this change, as it does not affect any current Prince or Princess likely to inherit. We have two generations of male heirs under either system

I am also all in favour of religious toleration, but this issue is much wider than that. It is a big constitutional issue which goes back to the Reformation foundations of the English and then the British state.

We need to hear from the Church of England on the issue of a Catholic monarch, as the Reformation settlement made the King or Queen Head of the Protestant Anglican Church.

Would the government intend to dis-establish the Church? Would a Catholic monarch agree to be Head of the Anglican Church? Would a Catholic monarch appoint another Anglican member of the royal family Head of the Church? What would happen to the style of religious services which the Head of State had to attend?

Would this re-open the Act of Settlement between England and Scotland. How would it affect the Scottish Church? As always, Lib Dems and Labour know they do not like the inherited tradition, but have nothing to offer by way of sensible replacement.

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54 Comments

  1. Posted March 27, 2009 at 7:46 am | Permalink

    Since the 1701 Act of Settlement required the 1707 Act of Union with Scotland to become law for the Scottish Crown can we get rid of the Act of Union at the same time ?

    One benefit of dis-establishing the Church of England is that it will free Protestants from this Catholic structure and Protestants can abandon bishops and other paraphenalia of Catholicism and build a Reformed Protestantism aligned with the US Churches….this would mean a re-alignment of the Conservative Party as Muslim identity and Protestant identity became defining cultural shifts in the non-Establishment religious groupings.

    Indeed the ejection of Protestants from a Catholic Church of England would be as liberating as when the Pilgrim Fathers landed at Plymouth Rock in Connecticut. The effects of such a Counter-Reformation would allow English sociery to be restructured and changed in ways not available since Oliver Cromwell.

    Brown could also pus Australia into republicanism and break up the Commonwealth by this act. He would then be a truly radical Prime Minister in destroying both economy and society and Labour could then watch the New Forces re-align and sweep them from any prospect of ever holding office ever again

    • Posted March 27, 2009 at 7:04 pm | Permalink

      Yes the effect in Canada and Australia has to be considered

  2. Posted March 27, 2009 at 8:03 am | Permalink

    This would be nothing to do with Gordon trying to cling onto the Scottish Catholic vote?

  3. Posted March 27, 2009 at 8:04 am | Permalink

    I wonder if you are pushing the ecumenical model beyond its limits.

    It is hard to see the Anglican Church co-operating in its own De Facto dis-establishment by not having the King/Queen as head of the church. An obscure Duke or Duchess would seem a poor substitute.

    It is even more difficult (surely impossible) for a catholic with even a passing acquaintance with received teachings (Purgatory, papal infallibility, trans-substantiation, the Immaculate Conception*) heading up an organisation which actively repudiates them.

    Anne Boleyn effectively triggered a schism that no amount of fudge and goodwill can effectively mask. As the always amusing Christopher Hitchens observes, there maybe problems when you base a Church on the family values of Henry VIII.

    (* My due and sincere apologies to any Christians I have misrepresented, I understand the existence of purgatory may not now be received doctrine and I may easily have others wrong entirely or perhaps I imply differences where none exist between C of E and Catholics ~ it’s hard for an aetheist to keep up)

  4. Posted March 27, 2009 at 8:04 am | Permalink

    B R O W N I S M Y S H E P H E R D ……

    BROWN IS MY SHEPHERD, I SHALL NOT WORK.

    HE LEADETH ME BESIDE STILL FACTORIES.

    HE RESTORETH MY FAITH IN THE CONSERVATIVE PARTY.

    HE GUIDETH ME TO THE PATH OF UNEMPLOYMENT.

    YEA, THOUGH I WAIT FOR MY DOLE,

    I OWN THE BANK THAT REFUSES ME.

    BROWN HAS ANNOINTED MY INCOME WITH TAXES,

    MY EXPENSES RUNNETH OVER MY INCOME,

    SURELY, POVERTY AND HARD LIVING WILL FOLLOW ME ALL THE DAYS OF HIS TERM.

    FROM HENCE FORTH, WE WILL LIVE ALL THE DAYS

    OF OUR LIVES IN A RENTED HOME WITH AN OVERSEAS LANDLORD.

    I AM GLAD I AM BRITISH, I AM GLAD THAT I AM FREE.

    BUT I WISH I WAS A DOG AND BROWN WAS A TREE.

    • Posted March 27, 2009 at 4:12 pm | Permalink

      Bloody marvellous!!!!

    • Posted March 27, 2009 at 7:07 pm | Permalink

      Very good – can I quote this .

      Reply: Of course.

  5. Posted March 27, 2009 at 8:11 am | Permalink

    Sorry, I think it is a rotten time to make this change. The discussion will be hijacked by the Government to distract attention from the mess they are making of the economy. I am sure they will give any amount of time to debate it – just like fox hunting. However, they were only prepared to give just minutes to debate spending billions on bale outs.

  6. Posted March 27, 2009 at 8:18 am | Permalink

    I don’t consider having a State-approved religious denomination with special privileges to be sustainable these days. The only thing supporting the C of E as the established church is some pretty dodgy history, but that is by-the-by.

    It wasn’t so long ago that church-going was a part of life whether or not the congregation actually believed in what was preached. But we are not in the 1950s and 60s, not only has the religious balance in the country changed enormously since then, so has practical politics.

    We are not ruled according to religious dogma, we are ruled by a government and a Parliament who have to take practical decisions. No doubt some judge the validity of those decisions according to how they fit with their religious beliefs. Fair enough. Horses for courses. Others judge the decisions by different criteria, criteria of almost infinite variety.

    I find it inexcusable that a number of C of E Bishops are guaranteed seats (and speaking and voting rights) in the House of Lords. How can it be justified when the Chief Rabbi, the RC Archbishop of Westminster and whatever the most senior people are in the other major faiths, are not afforded the same courtesy? The chaps (or chapesses) who reach the top in the major faiths are extremely able people. Either we automatically include them all (ideally with speaking but not voting rights) or we automatically include none.

    The days of an established church (more accurately, in my view, an established denomination of Christianity) are long gone. That being the case, the argument for succession to the throne being circumscribed by religious criteria necessarily falls.

  7. Posted March 27, 2009 at 8:19 am | Permalink

    We are not a Catholic country so there should not be a Catholic Monarch. Simple as that really and that is nothing to do with religious intolerance. It’s a statement of fact.

  8. Posted March 27, 2009 at 8:22 am | Permalink

    Mr Redwood, someone should remind Mr Harris MP, what is Sedition

    Sedition is a term of law which refers to conduct, such as speech and organisation, that is deemed by the legal authority as tending toward insurrection against the established order. Sedition often includes subversion of a constitution and incitement of discontent (or resistance) to lawful authority.

    The lawful authority which enables him to promote his seditious bill in parliament is given to him through the provisions of the Bill of Rights 1689.

    “That the freedom of speech and debates or proceedings in Parliament ought not to be impeached or questioned in any court or place out of Parliament;” (“uniquely discriminatory”)

    Someone should suggest that he read fully the Bill of Rights 1689, for it is not a creature of Parliament, it is a contract between the crown and the people.

  9. Posted March 27, 2009 at 8:42 am | Permalink

    I am in favour of any constitutional change, that will make Anne, (Princess Royal), the successor to Elizabeth II.

    The rest can “naff off”.

  10. Posted March 27, 2009 at 8:44 am | Permalink

    Firstly I am no monarchist, although I do support the role of the immediate Royal Family (better than a President)

    See no reason in these modern times why we cannot have a female in line for the throne.

    The present Queen is completing her duties in a very dignified and knowledgable manner.

    As to the Monarch also being head of the Church not so sure about this one.
    Why should the Monarch automatically be head of the Church, do we not have the Archbishop of Canterbury filling this role.

    What if a future Monarch in standing converted to Islam or some other Religion or cult ?????

  11. Posted March 27, 2009 at 9:15 am | Permalink

    Call me cynical but could there be some other reason why Nulab abd BBC are pushing this story today?
    What’s the point because (1) no one trusts Nulab to put forward any coherent constitutional reform and (2) they won’t be round long enough to put it into practice anyway? Haven’t we got better things to be thinking about like restarting our shattered economy?

  12. Posted March 27, 2009 at 9:27 am | Permalink

    We are closing in on a wider constitutional reorder.

    This is sold to the gullible public as being about equality and fairness – but that’s not why the Vatican is demanding it, perhaps its is in exchange for a vote boosting visit by their pontiff before Gordon Brown has to face the ballot box for the first time. Is there nothing Brown wouldn’t do to cling onto power ?

    The danger for the right is that we haven’t done enough thinking about how we might replace the monarchy and current state if we had to.

    Labour are about to kick out the corner stone of the English and British state, we need to consider what to do after the collapse.

  13. Posted March 27, 2009 at 9:33 am | Permalink

    I worshipped in the RC Church for over 40 years, some of them living in the most sectarian parts of Glasgow, and never once heard anybody say to me that the Act of Settlement really got on their wick. This is, as has been said, a piece of electioneering by Brown that could have dangerous consequences. Disestablish the CofE and you leave ajar the constitutional door that is at the moment (just) keeping out the radical militant atheists and Muslims.

    But if the Act of Settlement is to be revoked, why not transfer the duties of Fidei Defensor and Head of the Church of England to the Archbishop of Canterbury, where they arguably belong?

  14. Posted March 27, 2009 at 9:33 am | Permalink

    Quite simple really. Go back to King Edward III and King Richard II, and then begin to “reset” the lines of monarchy in accordance with modern principles. Descent according to first born and equally between genders. Ignore religion, race, and anything else.

    I think the start point might well be Lionel of Antwerp, Duke of Clarence (do NOT confuse him with the later one). Also, persuade France to revoke the decision to deny Isabel the throne by the improper application of the Salic Law in the 1320’s.

    I wonder who we would finish up with?

    Or we could just have another Civil War.

    • Posted March 28, 2009 at 3:26 pm | Permalink

      Why ask the French to ax the Salic Law when they do not have a monarchy ( thanks to Henri V deciding that exile in Austria was better than compromising over La Tricolor being the French Flag rather than the Bourbon Lilies) ?

      I cannot see how the French ending the Salic Law would help since it is just surely a private matter for the Imperial Claimants of the Bonaparte Dynasty and the Royal members of the Royal Houses of Bourbon & Orleans respectively ?

      Whether they stay a republic or opt for either Napoleon VII or Louis XX or Henri VII is a matter for them as our Monarchs stopped calling themselves Kings of France in 1807. It cannot have any implications for our Royal Succession surely ?

      The only scary thing is that equal rights for Princesses could in 1901 have lumbered us with Kaiser Bill as King William V of England . Queen Victoria’s daughter only outlived her mother by a few months and so Germany could have taken over the British Empire and vast swathes of the globe would have been run along Prussian lines from Berlin.

      Surely those who think that we were right to fight Louis XIV’s plans to merge the Spanish & French Crowns with his grandson becoming King of Spain & France must also think that having Kaiser Bill running roughshod over our constitutional liberties would not have been good. In short if waging the Wars of The Spanish Succession was right against Louis XIV then having a quirk in our laws of succession in 1901 to stop the Kaiser becoming King of Great Britain was a stroke of luck.

  15. Posted March 27, 2009 at 9:48 am | Permalink

    This is a New Labour diversion tactic. It’s just something they can start to bang on about, and one they know may exercise a lot of people, so that their eyes are taken away from the Big Issue. Browns Big Bust. (My God that’s an awful image!).

  16. Posted March 27, 2009 at 9:59 am | Permalink

    The situation for Church of Scotland is simple:

    ‘The Church does not have one person who acts as the head of faith, as that role is the Lord God’s. Its supreme rule of faith and life is through the teachings of the Bible.’

    So I don’t think Mr Brown’s proposals will affect that.

  17. Posted March 27, 2009 at 10:01 am | Permalink

    How about going further and making the country a republic? I worry that Charles lacks the characteristics which would be required of a successful king. He tends to make foolish public statements, and he behaved dishonourably while married to Princess Diana.

    This is the problem with any political system based on inheritance. You can be lucky, as I believe we have been lucky with the Queen. You can also be unlucky, as I think we might be with Charles.

    Because of this, I would argue that this is actually a very good time to switch to a republic. We could decide that the Queen would be the last hereditary monarch, and that her death or abdication would be followed by an election.

    As well as selecting a more capable head of state, this election would help establish the principle that government requires the consent of the people. These days, few people believe that the monarch is appointed by God, so a king will always lack legitimacy in some sense. Democracy can give that legitimacy back.

  18. Posted March 27, 2009 at 10:04 am | Permalink

    Does it really matter in the middle of a recession? Why are the opposition so keeen to follow the agenda of Gordon Brown in all matters?

    I don’t understand why the Conservatives are so keen to pursue this kind of moronic agenda when they could be attacking Brown. There are many opportunities to do so on many far more serious issues, but on the face of it, they appear scared to do so.

    Take a look at Daniel Hannan and see in his reflection how angry the population are. For gods sake stop tinkering and get into matters of real substance or you risk losing the next election

    Reply: Take a look at this site, and see its continuous preoccupation with economic collapse for the last couple of years. Take a look at my last couple of weeks – Sunday Express article on the bank mess, Monday Daily Politics interview on the economic mess, recording a BBC film on borken banks which they did not use, discussion on Week in Westminster on economy etc I did not volunteer any interviews or make a Commons speech on the issue of the monarchy.

  19. Posted March 27, 2009 at 10:38 am | Permalink

    Curious as i heard that the Lisbon Constitution goes to Rome. I was wondering the significance of that.
    Is it one rule for Britain another for Europe. It usually is.

  20. Posted March 27, 2009 at 10:42 am | Permalink

    Rather than merely tolerating a Catholic monarch, perhaps we should displace the Duchess of Saxe-Coburg-Gotha with the King under Jacobite succession.

    The incumbent senior co-heir of James II is Franz Duke of Bavaria, who would become King Francis II of England, Scotland, Ireland and France.

    One might argue that we don’t want a foreigner sitting on the throne, but surely Bavaria is just as good as Hanover (or, worse still, the Orangemen)?

    God Save the King over the Water!

  21. Posted March 27, 2009 at 10:44 am | Permalink

    Having a catholic monarch is obviously inconsistent with them being head of the Church of England & would require disestablishment. This is not an argument against foing it.

    The real argument against is that monarchy makes little theoreticla sense & making it more democratic & egalitarian is like putting wings on a pig. Starkey has made the dair point that giving it to the eldest is age discrimination.

    If anybody really wants to keep monarchy as an important institution the way to do it would be to have all the monarch’s kids IQ tested & give it to the brightest (my guess is Andrew), then require them to marry somebody at least 1 standard deviation (about 15 points) smarter than them. I suspect most of us don’t really.

  22. Posted March 27, 2009 at 10:54 am | Permalink

    However, they were only prepared to give just minutes to debate spending billions on bale outs.

    Typical Brown, “smoke, smoke!” the deeper in the mire he drags us all.

  23. Posted March 27, 2009 at 11:15 am | Permalink

    Does anyone else think it rather strange that, with the Economy collapsing around our ears as we watch, a Depression looming which would dwarf that of the 1929-30’s, unemployment raging out of control all over this land, and Labour Party hacks sharpening their daggers once again, the Blessed Gordon decides to commence tinkering with the Monarchy and with the basic way we are governed?

    Is it another case of smoke and mirrors, and the speed of the hand deceiving the eye; or is it just another case of ZaNULabour B******t?

  24. Posted March 27, 2009 at 12:20 pm | Permalink

    We know that labour is trying to abolish the monarchy, and in it’s place a “republic” that is not based on democracy, due to unelected individuals making the decisions.

    It looks like they are walking in the open now, instead of wispering from within the shadows.
    And for Mr Harris (MP), the current royal line is of the Stuart line through desent, you have part of the scottish line currently on the throne (yes they also have parts that come from German stock, french stock and dutch stock)

    This is more about moving towards the abolishment of the Monarchy (thus gaining full control of the wealth that the Crown state brings in) and in it’s place, people with no loyalty to the people, but to a select group of individuals that answer to no one but themselves (King in all but name)

    The proposal is sedition under our current laws (not legal system, but law) and insisting upon the proposal becoming reality, is high treason.

  25. Posted March 27, 2009 at 12:54 pm | Permalink

    Sorry for the OT comment but go to the BBC website, news main page and you won’t find a report of the biggest collapse in the economy for 30 years

    http://news.bbc.co.uk/2/hi/uk_news/default.stm

    If Mrs Thatcher was still in power they would be trumpeting this from the rooftops, lead story etc. You really have to look for the story here

    http://news.bbc.co.uk/2/hi/business/7967597.stm

    Never mind, they did find space (on the ‘News’ main page) for Robbie Williams speculating about himself re-joining ‘Take That’

    So ~ serious news organisation, no question, let’s keep the licence fee, BBC, best in the world etc, etc (Imagine that in an ironic voice for best effect)

    Did you also notice Mardell didn’t blog on Hannon as he was busy at the time apparently and missed it, so more great journalism of the “dog ate my homework” school of thought

    http://www.bbc.co.uk/blogs/thereporters/markmardell/

  26. Posted March 27, 2009 at 2:02 pm | Permalink

    Of all the times to bring this up – it has to be now.

    Ordinary citizens may feel that the government aren’t prioritising, to open the box on this topic at this time with all of the mryad of implications arising from it ……is dumb.

  27. Posted March 27, 2009 at 2:16 pm | Permalink

    The socialists are just trying to distract us.

  28. Posted March 27, 2009 at 2:39 pm | Permalink

    To change the law to specify that the oldest child (male or female) should inherit the crown is to replace sexism by ageism.

    Brown’s aim (as always) is easy political points, not real improvement.

  29. Posted March 27, 2009 at 3:06 pm | Permalink

    This issue is not one that is very high on my own agenda – but just a few points.

    JR describes the monarch as “Head” of the Church of England. This was the original term in Henry VIII’s legislation – but what emerged from the Tudor compromise, under Elizabeth 1, was the monarch as “Supreme Governor under Christ” – and that’s a role a Catholic might assume as long as they were able with a good conscience to take the Coronation oath:

    “Will you to the utmost of your power maintain the Laws of God and the true profession of the Gospel? Will you to the utmost of your power maintain in the United Kingdom the Protestant Reformed Religion established by law? Will you maintain and preserve inviolably the settlement of the Church of England, and the doctrine, worship, discipline, and government thereof, as by law established in England? And will you preserve unto the Bishops and Clergy of England, and to the Churches there committed to their charge, all such rights and privileges, as by law do or shall appertain to them or any of them?
    Queen: All this I promise to do.”

    More seriously, most Anglicans I know don’t seem to be too bothered about established status – which is a pity because I think there’s a surprising number of marginal Christians who still attach value to there being a Vicar and a Parish Church – and quite a few of my friends from immigrant communities and non-Christian religions seem to value the idea of a “national” church.

  30. Posted March 27, 2009 at 3:51 pm | Permalink

    I think that all MPs should read the Bill of Rights and Magna Carta and the commentaries by , I think, Dicey. They may learn something of use about Parliament.

  31. Posted March 27, 2009 at 4:20 pm | Permalink

    The reason that I became a Catholic in 1989 was simply that the C of E is no longer the national Church. Before that date (just) you could, as Rector, visit anyone in the parish by knocking at their door; they were all parishioners, you see. Nonconformists were collectables. There were few if any Catholics.
    Gradually it dawned on me that the days when His Majesty George VI, King Emperor, ruled over the Empire upon which the sun never set as head of the Established Protestant Church had gone for ever.
    Catholicism offers everything – and more – that Anglicanism has ever offered. I go to Mass in Thailand, Australia, Kenya, Morocco, Spain just as I once could in the British Empire. Our Priest is a Sikh. His replacements are mainly Indian. I like that a lot.
    Mr Brown is a Scot. They have never been in the Church of England and his dad was a minister. Quite apart from the fact that he wants a smoke screen for the economy and also the fact that parliament now gets 80% of its laws from Europe, so it has not got a lot to talk about when (and if) it ever meets anyway, he simply does not remember, as I do, those distant days when everyone was CofE.

  32. Posted March 27, 2009 at 4:47 pm | Permalink

    If the sovereign, then all inherited titles should go to the eldest child, irrespective of gender. A good move, but I agree with Colin D that the timing is rotten.

  33. Posted March 27, 2009 at 5:18 pm | Permalink

    The degree to which the BBC have been pushing this story all day seems to me to be an example of how our news is managed. The Hook is a very minor backbench Bill which never had any chance of being passed. Then Gordon called in the media & gave then a soundbite about how important he thought it was, much moreso than any reporting on what a horlicks he is making of the economy. Immediately it becomes a major stpry ehich the media are calling on all & sundry to express views on. The Bill is lost, as everybody knew it would be. Gordon will do nothing. But a bit more dust has been thrown in the eyes of the public.

  34. Posted March 27, 2009 at 6:06 pm | Permalink

    Surely we forget the key reason why a Catholic monarch is prohibited, that they are forced by their very religion into being subordinate to any foreign power (such as the Pope) – the only person that a British monarch is answerable to is the british people (through the thirteen barons)

    We ignore at our peril why the constitutional settlement that brought us to where we are today happened, and why it has remained so strong for so long – we should also remember the tyranny that always occurs when we have ignored the lessons of the past

    • Posted March 28, 2009 at 5:28 pm | Permalink

      Actually, I don’t think the Catholic question is the most important today. How about Prince William marrying a Muslim – lots of extremely well brought up and well educated girls there!

  35. Posted March 27, 2009 at 6:52 pm | Permalink

    When can we recover the real use of the word “discrimination”. We cannot survive without making careful distinction between ideas, courses of action, qualities of the food we eat and every other decision we take.
    Those who rail against discrimination in this case have not understood the basic reason why Roman Catholics are debarred. It is because a Roman Catholic monarch would be subject to a foreign power i.e. the Pope.
    Both the Bill of Rights and the 39 Articles of the Church of England state clearly that the Monarch ought not to be subject to a foreign power. Until treasonous politicians made the Queen subject to the European Union and broke the English Constitution, daft ideas like the current suggestions would have had the short shrift which they deserve.

    • Posted March 28, 2009 at 3:40 pm | Permalink

      But surely the point is that God’s Holy Church should be universal (i.e. Catholic) and superior to secular government ? Looking a Holy Scripture in the Old Testament the King’s of Egypt bowed to the pronouncements of the Court Vizer and the scribes as heirs to the Tradition of Moses were always listened to with respect. When Our Lord came along he took the machinery of Old Testament religions and perfected them according to the mind of God. St Peter had the special ministry to run the Church not the Roman Emperor – to be faithful to that now is to want His Holiness The Pope to govern the Church in succession to St Peter. As Cardinal Newman always maintained the early Church is as like the latter day Catholic Church as – just like seeing a photo of a man in youth and then in later life. It is basically the same just more developed. The Old Testament is imperfect on purpose as it shows that trying to serve God without the revelation of Christ will not workout.

      The Papacy is only a foreign power in the sense that it is not an appendage of the secular British state but it was created by God and the Pope will face the consequences of his actions in the next life like we all will. Bad Popes just prove that we all need God’s Grace – they themselves do not disprove the need for successors of St Peter.

      • Posted March 28, 2009 at 9:15 pm | Permalink

        I could also add to that by saying that Michael Portillo was wrong to suggest on Channel 4 recently that Emperor St Constantine I corrupted Christianity as it sold out to gain privileges from the Roman state. That is not the case at all the Good Lord rewarded the Emperor with sainthood because he ensured that Christianity went from being persecuted to being actively promoted thus getting more believers and thus seeing more people bound for eternal bliss. After the Roman Empire ended there was still a Bishop of Rome so the secular monarchy ended but had left the Church the machinery to run a worldwide religion. In a way the Papal system is the successor to the Roman Emperors as it rules over a large number of people throughout the known world.

        So the Catholic Church seems alien because it is the latter day successor to the ancient Church. The Church of Rome is different to the C of E as Catholicism can claim rightly to date not just from the time of our Lord but from Old Testament times. God used the Roman Empire as part of the divine plan to spread the Gospel – the British State from Henry VIII onwards has used the Anglican Church as a propaganda device.

        The Papacy is not really a foreign power at all – it is Almighty God’s way of ensuring the Church is defended from corrupting secular influence by maintaining the purity of its teaching.

  36. Posted March 27, 2009 at 8:33 pm | Permalink

    We need Tradition, This equality stuff can go too far, Maybe I as a White non boxer should sue the Boxing authorities because I as a skinny weedy White non boxer have very little chance of ever holding the world heavyweight boxing crown and all the Trappings, money, women, fast cars etc that go with it.

    It’s just not fair, us weedy White non boxers deserve equality, it is discrimination, can you Bring this discrimination up in the HofP Mr Redwood.

    See where equality gets you if you take it to extreme, maybe at the end of every poker competition, the winnings have to be shared out too.

    There have to be some limits to how far equality goes, How many women is this going to affect, at the very worst 1 every 90 yrs.

    This country, in deed all countries need tradition, some of this tradition may be considered discriminatory.

    Next they will be suggesting that yes we should retain a Monarchy but she will have to live in a council house on the Edgeware road.

    You can take practicality too far, the idea that National Borders and Identity should be abolished is another One world Idea, this is like decreeing that all flowers should be cross pollinated so that ultimately they all end up the same.

    Tradition is part of what makes life interesting.

    This act by the Socialists is not aimed at equality but at eradicating their competition.

  37. Posted March 27, 2009 at 10:41 pm | Permalink

    MP’s could all just vote to chop off your own heads. What the majority represent has become self evident.

  38. Posted March 28, 2009 at 3:28 am | Permalink

    this is priority nine billion 500 million after the economy, the nhs, the wars, visa being handed out like toffee applies, etc etc etc

    really if politicians have any time for stuff like this we are in big trouble

    dont let labour divert you from where the people want you to spend ur time

  39. Posted March 28, 2009 at 6:02 am | Permalink

    I have no problem with adjusting the primogeniture arrangement in the interests of “gender equality”. It won’t affect anything for at least 50 years or so, and in any case, who *really* gives a toss? But if that’s where the government are coming from, there is a far more urgent gender-discriminatory situation that needs attention. If your father or his father is British, you may get a British passport. But if your mother or either of her parents is British you cannot. So while hundreds of thousands of Europeans can swan in and out of the UK willy-nilly, a person with a British mother cannot. If Labour want us to take them seriously on primogeniture on the grounds of sex, they should sort out this anomaly too, which affects thousands of people, not just one yet-to-be first-born possible daughter of Prince William who may come to the throne when most of us are dead.

  40. Posted March 28, 2009 at 8:28 am | Permalink

    A rare false note John. While the economy is melting down, thousands thrown out of work, savings losing their value, and income from savings destroyed, you give attention to a hypothetical which would have no effect for two generations ? The only reason the governing party has raised this notion is that it is sufficiently contentious to make a distraction from much more important issues. There is no need for the rest of us to allow ourselves to be led by the nose in this way. [/rant]

    Reply: It was the Lib dems who raised it. I agree with you it is a distraction from the real issues. I thought my readers might like something other than monetary policy and banks occasionally!

  41. Posted March 28, 2009 at 11:15 am | Permalink

    •It’s a distraction ploy from our economic tsunami.
    •It’s to curry favour from a Catholic EU as in Brown’s “I’m such a good European” speech in Strasbourg on Tuesday.
    •It’s part of the plan to reduce the influence of the monarchy and severe the historic links between the C of E and the state. Removing “discrimination” is just a smokescreen for this agenda.

    Gordon Brown always has an ulterior motive.

  42. Posted March 28, 2009 at 6:20 pm | Permalink

    Dear Matthew Reynolds,
    You would seem to have confused Catholic with Roman Catholic.
    Despite the views of Pharaohs and cardinal Newman, as English people we need to remember that there was a Christian Church in this country long before the Pope sent Augustine, that the Reformation was a correction to Roman Catholic abuses, that English monarchs of both sexes have taken oaths to uphold English law and customs and that all who hold office in this country, whether in Parliament, Courts or the Queens Forces have promised allegiance to the Queen.

    Those who prate about discrimination in an ignorant fashion might encourage their fellow office-holders to consider the meaning of the word “oath” in relation to their oath of allegiance to the Queen.

    It appears that the poor quality of education provided by the State for our children reflects the poverty of thought and understanding amongst those who, at present, claim to govern us. I might suggest “honesty”, “faithfulness” and “loyalty” should feature in studies for would-be representatives of the people. Like “discrimination”, too few in power seem to know what the words mean

    • Posted March 29, 2009 at 11:30 am | Permalink

      But surely people even the Monarch ought to put loyalty to Christ first as the Papacy is not a foreign power. There were abuses & bad Popes but the Reformation was an overreaction. My point is that during a recession it is not a wise time to be banging on about this and I may say that as an Englishman I am not stupid because I went to a state school and that there was Roman Christianity in England prior to St Gregory & St Augustine’s time as it was run from Rome from the time of St Constantine onwards when England was under Roman rule.

      The Romans brought it here and then Saint’s Gregory & Augustine codified and clarified matters. I admire the ‘honesty’ ,’ faithfulness’ and’ loyalty’ of the Catholic martyrs who suffered under the anti-Catholic regimes of Henry VIII , Joseph Stalin , Adolf Hitler and the Socialists in 1930’s Spain. I believe that God is for everyone not just the English. As a Christian one should tell the truth about history and should put fidelity to Christ ahead of secularism & nationalism. Judas was a warning about bad people in the Church – not a reason to ignore true Christianity. So it is the case with bad Pope’s.

      • Posted March 30, 2009 at 4:41 pm | Permalink

        Dear Matthew,
        It is difficult to reconcile your statement that the Pope is not a foreign power with your statement in an earlier comment that he rules over a large number of people as a successor to the Roman Emperors.
        If you can convince me that the Pope is not foreign and that he has no power, your argument would have more weight.
        As for the honesty and faithfulness of the Roman Catholic martyrs you mention, I don’t doubt thair faithfulness to the Pope, but I find it strange that you mention HenryVIII, the Roman bugaboo, but fail to mention Elizabeth I, who was the subject of a number of plots involving Roman Catholics, not to mention an invasion attempt by His Catholic Majesty, Philip of Spain, nor the failed attempt to destroy the King in Parliament on 5 Nov. 1605.
        As for early Christianity here, Celtic Christianity owed nothing to the Roman variety.
        My comments on John’s Diary entry are not aimed at bashing the Romans, but at the folly of those who use words loosely to support ridiculous arguments.
        I applaud your call to follow Christ, rather than any human leader, a call which Martin Luther endorsed.

  43. Posted March 30, 2009 at 6:01 pm | Permalink

    You are just defending your point of view and I applaud your candor and honesty. I accept that you where attacking PC nonsense rather than the Roman Catholic Church and of course what pleases me is that relations between the C of E and the Church of Rome are friendlier than has hitherto been the case. It is good that we can exchange these views freely – that at least suggests that things are better than in the past.

  44. Posted April 3, 2009 at 11:49 am | Permalink

    Dear Matthew Reynolds,
    Apart from just defending my point of view, as you condescendingly put it (incidentally, what are you doing?), I note that you do not explain in your reply how the Pope can be a foreign power and successor of Roman Emperors and also not a foreign power, all at the same time.
    It is good that you approve of better relations between the C of E and the R C church. The same might be said of the relations with the Orthodox church, but these thoughts are hardly relevant to questions about the propriety of a Roman Catholic on the English throne.
    Whether you like it or not, the English monarchy is committed to uphold and defend the Protestant faith. That is historical fact, written into our Constitution.
    How might a Roman Catholic monarch do that in good conscience?
    I think that another word which our leaders in State and Churches should ponder is the word “fudge”.

  • About John Redwood


    John Redwood won a free place at Kent College, Canterbury, and graduated from Magdalen College Oxford. He is a Distinguished fellow of All Souls, Oxford. A businessman by background, he has set up an investment management business, was both executive and non executive chairman of a quoted industrial PLC, and chaired a manufacturing company with factories in Birmingham, Chicago, India and China. He is the MP for Wokingham, first elected in 1987.

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