Category Archives: Religion

Playing the Immigration Card

Today David Cameron will play the immigration card. He will tell a distinguised European audience that multi culturalism in Britain has failed and that Britain must advance a stronger sense of national identity. A literate national audience will reach for references to the most famous poem ever written on the subject: Daniel Foe’s scathing poem The True Born Englishman, published in 1701,  that halted the notion that there was someone who be called a True Born Englishman and that we were all, if you dug deep enough, foreigners. He wrote: ‘From this Amphibious Ill-born Mob began, That Vain ill-natur’d thing, an Englishman. The Customs, Sirnames, Languages and Manners, Of all these Nations are their own Explainers. Whose Relicks are so lasting and so strong. That ha’lefta Shiboleth upon our tongue, By which with easy search you may distinguish Your Roman-Saxon-Danish- Norman English. Or more briefly as I would write, ‘Scratch an Englishman and you will find a foreigner’. ‘I am one and so are you, your neighbour is a little dark, his children of a lighter hue, And in the market place you hear the laughter of a thousand tongues, Of me, and them and you.’ If multiculturism in Britain has failed it has taken two thousand years to do so.

I find David Cameron beguiling. Whatever Nick Clegg might think or say he is in union with A True Born Tory. What do you get if you scratch a True Born Tory? You get a person absolutely convinced of certain social and political values which he regards as inalienable and true. It is a narrow vision of the world. Being an intelligent sort of chap Our Dave  develops evidence to support theses values and naturally he can gather it in. He has certain powers to communicate these values to us. He does so with clarity, energy and certitude. He is heading for the rocks and his crew will watch and cheer as he heads there. They know too that they stand for something vital to our national well-being and survival. They are willing, and even enthusiastic to accompany him.

The truth is that David Cameron is playing the national identity card. Eventually all Tory leaders do this in one form or another. I remember sitting next to Enoch Powell on a plane to Belfast. I studied him carefully and even dared to speak to him. This is a man who advanced the notion that the streets of some of our cities would soon be awash with blood (metaphorically speaking of course). Where is this blood now other than in David Cameron’s imagination. Relationships between people of differet ethnicity have, in my humble opinion, never been better. I like my neighbours I enjoy a rich selection of foods and recipes, I enjoy playing cricket with people from Barbados, and how about a curry this evening.

I have always believed this sort of creature, A True Born Tory,  to be dangerous. David Cameron has embarked on a difficult and potentially disastrous path. Of course he will sound reasonable. Ideas will be advanced which 30 percent of the population readily agree with. Recruitment to the English Defence League and the BNP will rise. The Tory vote will strenghten in the Tory shires. However, someone should tell our Dave that speaking your own mind is a dangerous activity.


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Filed under BBC, Beyond Belief, BNP, Cabinet, Cameron, Conservative Home, Defoe, Ed Milliband, English Defence League, Enoch Powell, Eton, George Osborne, Guardian, Immigration, John Martin, Labour leadership, Lib Dem blogs, Liberal Vision, Liberal Voice, Multi Culturalism, New Stateman, Nick Clegg, Pakistan, Religion, Thatcher, Turkey

Man is the Measure of all Things

It is a philosophical truism that British Society as we know it today is the outcome of two value traditions, the Greco Roman and the Judaic. These values are deeply embedded in our institutions, the legal system, education and the common ways men adopt when dealing with others. The  quotation from Protagurus in the title to this piece is completed by the words ‘of things that are that they are and things that are not that they are not.’  The Pope urges us to give room in our discourse to Christian values and specifically to Roman Catholic values and social polices. The first of these is part of the Judao tradition while the latter is the outcome of an all-man theocratic autocracy headed by the Pope.

The Greco Roman tradition give us our concepts of universal rights, equality and justice which embraces men and women. So far as I know there are no societies for the propagation of these values as such although there are many committed to the expression and protection of them. These values are in the public cockpit of discussion as are distinctively Christian values and feelings about the world.

What then is the Pope really talking about? His sorrows and fears are threefold. First the number of individuals throughout the Western world who are attending Church services and listening to sermons about how they should behave and God’s purpose for them in this world is declining. Secondly, the vast majority of educated individuals reject Catholic social views and regard them as  repugnant. Thirdly, the public is disgusted by the behaviour of Roman Catholic priests. When we bring these matters together they amount to a rejection of the Pope’s view of the world and its inhabitants.

It is personally repugnant to me to witness the Pope blessing young children by caressing them and his talk of the Church belonging to them. The Church belongs to an aging  all-male theocracy led by an aging man a long way from the social reality of his listeners.

Religion is a private matter. The views of Christians are of interest insofar as they bear on the issues confronting real people. In a social  democracy people trust each other to make sense of competing philosophies and viewpoints. The Pope is asking for privilege. Listen to me, pay heed to me. Of course, if you have anything to say that is relevant. Why not? But let us insist. We, the people, will judge, and we have little time to spare for social reactionaries. Men (and women) are the judges of all things.

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Filed under BBC, Big society, Cameron, Christians, Conservative Home, Nick Clegg, Religion, The Pope