Monday, 31 July 2006

My name is David Lindsay, and...

My name is David Lindsay, and I want to be an MP.

I am a One Nation politician, with an equal emphasis on the One and on the Nation. Therefore, I believe in the universal Welfare State and in the strong statutory (including trade union) protection of workers, consumers, communities and the environment, the former paid for by progressive taxation, the whole underwritten by full employment, and all these good things delivered by the partnership between a strong Parliament and strong local government. This Socialism is the only means of conserving everything that conservatives exist in order to conserve, including national self-government (the only basis for international co-operation, and including the United Kingdom as greater than the sum of its parts), local variation, historical consciousness, religion, family life, agriculture, manufacturing, small business, close-knit communities, law and order, civil liberties, academic standards, all forms of art, mass political participation within a constitutional framework, and respect for the sanctity of each individual human life from the point of fertilisation to the point of natural death.

At 28, I offer the possibility of many years of service in the future. My mixed ethnic background would also add an unusual, but increasingly important, dimension. I wish to be a workers’ MP on a worker’s wage, accepting only the national average salary for full-time work (the real rate for the job), and donating the rest to political and community causes, and thus rising with the British People rather than above the British People. I should campaign for election on what I firmly believe to be this hugely popular basis.

Some people have mocked me for allegedly suggesting that I am a target for the security services. But I have never suggested this: I merely recounted events that I could not explain, and then they, with their clearly superior knowledge of these matters, explained them in those terms. Please note that, unlike me, they believe Diana, Princess of Wales to have been murdered....

Meanwhile, I hope that you will enjoy the posts below, which are on politics, philosophy, theology, history, literature and other things.

My email address is

Left And Right Must Unite And Fight: Part I

Britain’s Labour and Conservative traditions both derive from a series of classically Christian critiques of Whiggery, Jacobinism and Marxism. Britain’s Liberal tradition derives largely from the Whigs’ acceptance of just such a series, although it has always wrestled with a rival tradition dependent on the fallacy of inevitable historical progress. Each of the Labour and Conservative traditions, at least, therefore includes all social classes as a matter of principle, thus sparing this country the bloodshed and other problems experienced elsewhere, and is wholly committed to the constitutional, democratic process, with the same happy effects.

Yet we now find that a vulgarised combination of Whiggish and Marxian notions is simply presupposed. The Transcendent is refused, so that the whole is grounded in nothing, and therefore leads to nihilism. In economic (and thus also in social) matters, the Conservative Party adopted this approach under Margaret Thatcher. After the death John Smith, those who seized control of the Labour Party erased the fact that the combined Labour and SDP votes had been larger than the Conservative vote both in 1983 and in 1987.

Such people still deny outright that the opinion poll rating that was the 1997 result had not varied since Golden Wednesday, 16th September 1992, with swings of 1997 proportions in the European Elections just after John Smith’s death, i.e., under the leadership of Margaret Beckett. Instead, they would have us believe that the 1997 “victory” was all the work of their own archetype of those who did best, ostensibly, out of both the 1960s and the 1980s.

Allegedly, only one such as he could have won, or could win, a General Election, because General Elections are held to be won and lost in the South East, the least conservative part of the country, and therefore the part with the highest level of support for the post-Thatcher Conservative Party. If that were the case, then there would currently be a Conservative Government with a large majority. In fact, in the days when that party used to win Elections, it did so by winning considerable numbers of seats in Scotland, Wales, the North and the Midlands, all much more conservative places than the South East.

By losing first many and then most of those seats, it first nearly and then actually lost power in 1992 and 1997 respectively; and its failure to regain power has consisted precisely in its failure to regain those seats. By contrast, the Labour gains in the South East in 1997 were just a bonus, and the loss of most of them in 2005 has made no real difference to anything. Indeed, only in 2005 did Blair finally influence a General Election result in any way at all, by losing Labour one hundred seats that any other Labour Leader whatever would have saved. Thus he moved from being a mere irrelevance to being a positive liability.

Left And Right Must Unite And Fight: Part II

Do you wish to conserve or restore such good things such good things as national self-government (the only basis for international co-operation, and including the United Kingdom as greater than the sum of its parts), local variation, historical consciousness, religion, family life, agriculture, manufacturing, small business, close-knit communities, law and order, civil liberties, academic standards, all forms of art, mass political participation within a constitutional framework? In short, are you a conservative, and respect for the sanctity of each individual human life from the point of fertilisation to the point of natural death? In short, are you a conservative?

If so, then you cannot be in favour of “free” market capitalism, which corrodes to nought all these things and more, both directly and by driving despairing millions into the arms of Jacobinism, Marxism, anarchism or Fascism.

Rather, we need the universal Welfare State (including farm subsidies), and the strong statutory and other (including trade union) protection of workers, consumers, communities and the environment, the former paid for by progressive taxation, the whole underwritten by full employment, and all these good things delivered by the partnership between a strong Parliament and strong local government. In a word, Socialism.

For, if you rightly oppose the unregulated movement of labour, then you must also oppose the unregulated movement of goods, services and capital; and vice versa. This is in no sense the same as saying that there should be none.

If you rightly oppose the decadent social libertinism deriving from the 1960s, then you must also oppose its logically inevitable, and not unwitting, development into the decadent economic libertinism deriving from the 1980s; and vice versa.

And if you rightly oppose the erosion of our self-government and culture (and other countries’, of course) by the European Union, then you must also oppose that erosion by American hegemony and global capital, closely connected as all these three are; and vice versa. Anyone disputing this should consider the new “independence” of Montenegro, defined in terms of intended accession to the European Union, the North Atlantic Treaty Organisation, the World Trade Organisation, the International Monetary Fund and the World Bank, all correctly identified as forming an indivisible whole. Some “independence”! Meanwhile, the two Labour MPs associated with the fiercely pro-market and pro-Bush Henry Jackson Society are both noted Eurofanatics, while that Society’s Statement of Principles, to which many prominent Conservatives have subscribed, also presupposes the connections referred to here.

Just as there is no other means of defending the conservative values against capitalism (for what other means are there?), so those values provide the only grounds for needing or wanting those Socialist means (for what other grounds are there?). If you have conservative values, then you can only want Socialism, even if you will not yet own the S-word; likewise, if you want Socialism, then you can only have conservative values, even if you will not yet own the c-word. It is high time for One Nation politics, with an equal emphasis on the One and on the Nation, on the S and on the c, on the c and on the S.

Disraeli’s term “One Nation” points to the fact that British politics is still split between Gladstonians and Disraelians. Each of the three parties struggles constantly to hold together these competing tendencies. Gladstonians favour unregulated markets, and therefore the use of armed force to secure this global state of affairs, which they see as necessary for the emergence and defence of democratic institutions.

By contrast, we Disraelians see such economic arrangements as subversive both of those institutions and of the values that, among other good things, sustain them; accordingly, we are immensely cautious about adventures abroad. The rising Chinese superpower confirms our belief that the “free” market not only subverts democratic institutions and their necessary underlying values, but prevents those institutions from developing where they do not already exist.

It is simply not possible or desirable to be Disraelian at home and Gladstonian abroad, any more than vice versa.

The Conservative Party has long been hoovering up disaffected Gladstonians: Liberal Unionists, Liberal Imperialists, National Liberals, and so on. Alderman Alfred Roberts, Margaret Thatcher’s father and the pre-eminent influence on such political philosophy as she ever had, was a text-book Gladstonian: a shopkeeper and Methodist preacher who sat as an Independent Councillor while his party collapsed around him, who never joined the Tories to his dying day, and who never seemed to see how the “free” market was ultimately ruinous both of his small businessman’s interests and of his preacher’s beliefs.

The late Arthur Seldon, of the proto-“Thatcherite” Institute for Economic Affairs, always regarded himself as a Gladstonian Liberal, for so he was; while his co-founder of that Institute, Lord (Ralph) Harris of High Cross, although he eventually stood as a Conservative candidate in 1955, originally put up, even as late as 1951, as a Liberal Unionist, and has always sat as a Crossbencher since being ennobled in 1979.

Those who founded the Labour Party were firmly in the Disraelian mould, and much of the new party’s base of support had previously been attached to the working-class Toryism invented by the combination of Disraeli’s social reforms and his doubling of the electorate through the extension of the franchise.

It was mostly a section of Labour’s Disraelians who set off for the SDP. This accounts for the difference in approach between the warmongering Gladstonian Paddy Ashdown (late of the Liberal Party) and the anti-war Disraelian Charles Kennnedy (late of the SDP), who reportedly had to overrule his very Liberal then Foreign Affairs Spokesman, Sir Menzies Campbell, in order to oppose the war in Iraq, the latest war ultimately arising from the French Revolution.

Liberty, equality and fraternity were neither invented at, nor promoted by, the French Revolution. Rather, they depend on and lead to nationhood, family and property. The reverse also holds. These six principles may be placed in a circle, and one may begin at any point. Liberty (the freedom to be virtuous, and to do everything not specifically proscribed) depends on equality (which must never be confused with mechanical uniformity, to which it is antithetical), which depends on active expressions of fraternity (trade unions, co-operatives, and so on).

Fraternity leads naturally to nationhood (a space in which to unselfish), which leads naturally to the family as the domestic nation-in-miniature, and thence to the urgent need for every family to enjoy real property as its security both against over-mighty commercial interests and against an over-mighty State, legitimate, and indeed necessary, though both commerce and the State are in themselves. And what is thus secured? Precisely liberty, as above defined.

Engels understood this, rightly regarding the family, property and the State as having a common origin. After all, why bother having the State, if not to defend the family and property? Why bother having property, if not to defend the family and the State? And why bother having the family, if not to defend property and the State?

Those who now advocate the withering away of the State undoubtedly know that it is a Marxist term for a Marxist aspiration, and that, both in those terms and as a matter of fact, it would also be the withering away of the family and of property. That is why they want it: Tony Blair and George Bush are both surrounded by utterly unrepentant old Communists and (especially) Trotskyists, with enormous power wielded by those who venerate the memory of the American Trotskyist godfather Max Shachtman.

Their neoconservativism is in fact a Marxism which has merely changed its ending so that victory belongs to a bourgeoisie stripped of all its best characteristics (and thus to an America, that most bourgeois of countries, likewise so stripped). It retains intact its Marxist dialectical materialism, its Leninist vanguard élitism, its Trotskyist entryism and belief in the permanent revolution, and yet also its Stalinist belief that the dictatorship of the victorious class should be built in a superstate and exported (including by force of arms) throughout the world while vanguard élites owe allegiance to that superstate rather than to their own countries.

Such treasonable vanguard élites include the New Labour Project, the Tory Notting Hill set, the Liberal Democrat ‘Orange Book’ tendency, Likud, Forza Italia, the Partido Popolar, the Irish Progressive Democrats, the new governing faction in Canada, the renaissance of the Australian Liberal Party under John Howard, and the courts of Nicolas Sarkozy and Angela Merkel, to name but a few. The present President of the European Commission is an old Maoist who became a rabidly “free”-marketeering and pro-Bush Prime Minister of Portugal before being eased into his present position. Watch that space.

But these have not come any closer to any conservative tradition, properly so called, in the US or elsewhere. On the contrary, the Whig, Jacobin and Marxist fallacy of human perfectibility by its own efforts and in this life alone (explicitly denied by, in and as the foundation of at least the two largest political traditions in Britain) reaches in neoconservatism the nightmare point at which people believe that that perfection has actually come to pass, with the bell-curve of American wealth distribution (and of wealth distribution in other countries in so far as it conforms to that in the US) corresponding exactly to intelligence, talent, “merit”, human worth.

So, no aristocratic social conscience and no organised labour. Yet with both of these thoroughly good things, respectively embodied by the hereditary peerage and by the Labour Party’s trade union links, Britain has probably been more blessed than any other country on earth. They have given political expression in both cases to Catholicism and to Scottish Presbyterianism, in the aristocratic case to the largely lay tradition of an Anglicanism committed to doctrinal and moral orthodoxy while unconstrained by the Anglo-Catholic or Evangelical ghetto, and in the proletarian case to the comparable tendency within Nonconformity.

The aristocratic social conscience or organised labour, the hereditary peerage or the Labour Party’s trade union links: the argument against either is the argument against the other. And we now seen have how exactly the same bourgeois-triumphalist Marxism has caused both that peerage and those links to be replaced (though not yet entirely) with something immeasurably worse.

Left And Right Must Unite And Fight: Part III

Such false improvements have happened before. Another has resulted in the restriction by parental income of access to, for example, three separate sciences, certain modern foreign languages, Classics, the broad sweep of British and European history, the great books of English Literature, and perhaps even A-levels themselves in the near future. This, in turn, has lowered standards overall: most secondary school pupils are no longer taught by those whose daily business is the teaching of academically rigorous subjects right up to Advanced Level. We Real Labourites are at one with Real Tories in wanting this real education. As, in fact, we are at one on rather a lot.

Those who really believe, with deadly seriousness, in Michael Young’s satirical “meritocracy” (that those with wealth and paper qualifications may alone determine merit, on the basis of wealth and paper qualifications) are anti-monarchist. Those who really aspire to “classlessness” want to close down the gentlemen’s clubs along with the workingmen’s clubs, and to disband the chambers of commerce along with the trade unions.

Those who want a “free” market want there to be no agriculture or small business in this country. Those who refuse to see the economy as the servant of social, cultural and environmental goods, as were coal, steel and shipbuilding, are on the opposite side to those who joined the Countryside March. Those who believe that there is no such thing as society deny the society that is the family, and the society that is the nation. They are simply not conservatives at all, and that is why they are not Socialists.

Since they favour the unrestricted movement of goods, services and capital throughout the world, they (logically) favour no immigration controls whatever. What they will not ordinarily say, in that case, is whether they would renounce common humanity entirely, or whether they are already preparing to pay both social security benefits and overseas aid on a scale previously unimagined. It must be one or the other. Globalisation brings this dark day ever closer, as did Thatcher’s Single European Act.

Sovereignty is seriously eroded, either when hardly anything is made in a country, or when almost nothing of any real importance is owned by its own citizens, resident there for tax purposes, and paying those taxes accordingly. That is why those who welcome this state of affairs do so.

Their slavish adherence to American neoconservative foreign policy is precisely because it is not conservative that a foreign country, simply by virtue of being that particular foreign country, might presume to change the government of any other country in the world. Hence the ninety per cent public opposition to the Iraq War, a figure which must, by definition, have included the majority of Conservative supporters.

The effects of crime are felt disproportionately by the poor, who come banging on the doors of their Labour Councillors, begging to be re-housed. Real Tories do not share any loathing of social housing or local government, or indeed of public transport.

Real Labourites did not struggle so hard and for so long to secure power only to hand it over to people beyond our control. Or rather, what little of it was left after Heath’s Treaty of Rome (opposed by Labour), Thatcher’s Single European Act (opposed by Labour) and Major’s Maastricht Treaty (opposed by far more Labour than Conservative MPs). In Margaret Beckett, we now have the most Eurosceptical Foreign Secretary since Ernest Bevin, whereas the aim of David Cameron’s A-list is to prevent Eurosceptics (as conservatives) from becoming his party’s MPs.

Likewise, we see the United Kingdom as the means of bringing the conservative benefits of Socialism to as many people as possible. The European Union is far too large for this, and it simply would not be an economic option for an independent Scotland, an independent Wales, or a “United Ireland” (with an economy built on the sands of European Union farm subsidies and film-making, the former paid for by the English), each inherently more selfish, either than the United Kingdom as presently constituted, or than any rump (such as an independent England, should that come to pass) left behind by the secession of any part of the Union.

The Commonwealth is the extension of the Union’s inherent generosity of spirit. It has been scandalously under-used for decades, not least because, with the Union from which it is inseparable, the Commonwealth is one of the strongest monarchist arguments.

Nor do Real Labourites welcome the torrent of filth in much of the media, still less the even more pernicious “dumbing down”, and the exaltation of rubbish as art. Just as the Labour Movement’s roots are in the sort of academic formation outlined above, so those roots are also in real art.

No such scholarship or art could happen if the poor and the young were stoned out of their skulls. That is why the cannabis lobby wants what it wants, which also extends to the deregulation of alcohol, gambling, prostitution and pornography, and to the eventual legalisation of heroin and cocaine. An unrestricted market cannot exist in goods generally but not in alcohol, drugs or pornography, and cannot exist in services generally but not in gambling or prostitution. Though vindicated, the Fabian and Christian Socialist pioneers must be spinning in their graves.

And so one could go on.

Left And Right Must Unite And Fight: Part IV

But what are we to do?

First, we need to recognise all of the above as the facts of the matter, with everything that then follows, not least the realisation that the differences between Labour and Conservative people are largely regional, with a certain amount of class and its affectation (in various directions) thrown in, leading to terminological differences for what are often basically the same things.

Secondly, although this might have to wait for the third reform below to take effect, the supremacy of British over EU law must be re-established by statute, this re-establishment must first be used to restore Britain’s historic fishing rights, and Britain’s European Commissioner must be elected by the whole electorate from a shortlist consisting of the two highest-scoring candidates in a secret ballot of MPs.

Britain must adopt the show-stopping Empty Chair Policy in the Council of Ministers until that legislative body of elected politicians meets in public and publishes an Official Report akin to Hansard. Any ruling that a statute, or an act pursuant to statute, breached either the European Convention on Human Rights or the Human Rights Act must be made effective only by specific resolution of the House of Commons.

Any foreign military presence must be removed from British territory and territorial waters, thus removing the elephant that has sat (but never slept) in the British political drawing room for the last six decades: the unspoken but unmistakable threat that that presence, already here, would be turned onto our streets and against our people if a British Government stood up for Britain.

Thirdly, we need to change, from the bottom up if necessary, both how parliamentary candidates are selected and how Party Leaders are elected. During each Parliament, as matter of course, each constituency party should submit its internal shortlist of two potential parliamentary candidates to an independent and binding ballot of the every registered voter in the constituency, and each national party should submit its internal shortlist of two potential Leaders (i.e., putative Prime Ministers) to an independent and binding ballot of every registered voter in the United Kingdom. However, until such time as the parties adopt this practice, at least Real Tories in safe Conservative constituencies and Real Labourites in safe Labour constituencies should seek to organise such ballots anyway.

Furthermore, any such potential candidate should promise to be A Workers’ MP On A Worker’s Wage, undertaking to accept only the national average wage for full-time work (The Real Rate For The Job), and to donate the rest of the MP’s salary (plus the whole of any ministerial salary) to political and community causes, so as to rise with the British People rather than above the British People. Not least, this would be with a view to creating a situation in which every constituency organisation, of whichever party, would not shortlist anyone who did not give this undertaking, including any sitting or former MP who had failed to honour it.

Fourthly, there is the matter of how political parties are funded. Each MP who takes his or her seat should be given a tax-free allowance of a fixed sum of money, publicly transferable to the registered political party of that MP’s choice, conditional upon matching funding by resolution of a membership organisation. The name of that organisation would then appear in brackets on the ballot paper after the party designation next to that MP’s name (or the name of his or her successor as that party’s candidate). Party spending should accordingly be limited to twice the number of MPs, multiplied by the amount of this allowance.

The trade unions are the obvious contenders, but the National Farmers’ Union and the Federation of Small Businesses would also be welcome contributors to the electoral process in this way. The Confederation of British Industry or the Institute of Directors might also give it a go, if they thought that anyone would vote for their candidates.

And fifthly, the influence of the BBC needs to be addressed. The BBC’s over-hyping, and generally biased coverage, came within inches of creating a situation in which not only did all three Party Leaders share its prejudices (the opposite of almost everything set out here), but all three went from major public schools to Oxford, two (Blair and Huhne) during exactly the same years, and two (Cameron and Huhne) to read for the same degree. Since Sir Menzies Campbell beat Chris Huhne for the Leadership of the Liberal Democrats, he has been subjected to endless BBC sniping. Meanwhile, the BBC simply ignores any younger politician who did not go to Oxford, as if even Cambridge did not exist.

The BBC Governors should be elected by and from among the license-payers of Scotland, Wales, Northern Ireland and each of the nine English regions (for want of anything better). Each license-payer would vote for one candidate (of sufficient political independence to qualify, in principle, as a member of a local authority’s Remuneration Committee), with the top two per area declared elected at the end, giving eighteen in all. A Chairman would be appointed by the Secretary of State, subject to the approval of the relevant Select Committee of the House of Commons. Like the other Governors, the Chairman would have a fixed four-year term of office.

This would set the pattern for the reform of many other bodies, though involving the whole electorate rather than just those who pay the television license fee. Ofcom, the Press Complaints Commission, the Human Fertilisation and Embryology Authority, and (while there is need of such a thing) the House of Lords Appointments Commission are only the obvious places to start, and certainly not anywhere to stop.

The securing, first of these reforms and then of the consequent election of the right candidates, would provide numerous future opportunities for co-operation on the basis of all the foregoing.

Lebanon and Israel

Merely describing somewhere as "The Land Without A People" does not actually make it so. This realisation has compelled Israel to withdraw (until recent events) from the Gaza Strip, it will compel Israel to withdraw from most or all of the West Bank, and it would compel Israel to expel her allegedly equal non-Jewish Arab citizens (as distinct from the large number of Jewish Arabs in Israel) if the rest of the world's (undefined) Jews decided to avail themselves of the Law of Return. Where are they to go, the few Israelis withdrawn from Gaza, the far more Israelis to be withdrawn from the West Bank, or the other half of the world's Jews if they "Returned"?

Well, the Biblical Kingdom of Israel and the modern State of Israel have both had variable borders; the former did not even include Jerusalem for much of its history. Anyone reading the Bible or any contemporaneous account can see that the peoples of the ancient Levant were indistinct, so that neither David nor Solomon would now be considered Jewish by the Orthodox (recognition of this fact destroys the entire Zionist case, but then that case was invented by people who scorned the Bible and subscribed to nineteenth-century German racial theory instead). Hiram, King of Tyre was a close friend and ally of Solomon's, while Jezebel was a princess of Sidon. The Psalmist extols the cedar of Lebanon.

But Lebanon is no more an empty land than Palestine was, so the Israelis are just going to have to empty it in preparation. That is exactly what they are doing, since they refuse to repeal the Law of Return and enter the family of democratic nations with equal citizenship for all, a family which already included the Lebanon that they are trying to destroy.

For the future of the State of Israel hangs in the balance. Israel can no longer sustain her inherent ambivalence. Is she a Zionist state, a homeland for "the Jews"? Or is she the Middle Eastern outpost of liberal democracy, in which the large Arab minority enjoys equal citizenship? She cannot be both, and has tried for far too long to do this impossible thing.

Half the world's Jews already live in Israel, but the other half could move there any time it liked, and could only be accommodated by displacing the Israeli Arabs (including members of the Knesset, a Supreme Court judge, and even several members of the national football team). While the Law of Return remains in place, the Arabs can never be equal citizens (which is to say, true citizens at all), and so Israel remains, to that extent, not a democracy, but an ethnocracy.

The Law of Return is based on the Nuremburg Laws, but the Zionist project was several decades old by the time of the Second World War, and its pioneers, by fighting the British, effectively fought for Hitler, in the process inventing much of modern terrorism. It is high time to draw a line under Zionism, and, by repealing the Law of Return, to bolster Israeli resistance to the impractical, but until that point unanswerable, Palestinian demand for a comparable right even in relation to Israel's pre-1967 borders.

An Israel which thus really did grant genuinely equal citizenship to all her people really would be democracy's standard-bearer in the region. But an Israel in which the ethnic majority (for now - it might not even be that for much longer) carries on reserving the right to displace some of its fellow-citizens, on grounds of ethnicity, in favour of its own ethnic group cannot be any such thing.

Tony Blair and Michael Levy

What sort of politician associates with the likes of Michael Levy anyway? He might as well have DODGY tattooed on his forehead. This big-haired, stacked-shod, shiny-suited old pop impresario ought to be an occasional character on Footballers' Wives rather than a real person. Yet now we see, in Blair's failure to call for a ceasefire in Israel and Lebanon, the influence over policy wielded by this arrested and bailed figure and by his crew.

Nuclear Power

We all know that nuclear power was used as an excuse for the ostensibly economic, but in fact purely political, destruction of the coal industry and of the civilised communities, working-class in the true sense, thus sustained. But nuclear power does in fact offer the possibility of recreating working-class communities based on high-wage, high-skill, high-status jobs. This cannot be said of, for example, wind farms.

Furthermore, nuclear power offers independence from the ghastly dynasty that bankrolls both the Bushes and bin Laden, as well as from the affairs of the Middle East tout court, not to mention from Russian gas. Energy will be the real diplomatic weapon of the coming decades: those without it will send their Ministers "naked into the conference chamber", and those wishing to send them in that state are indulging in "an emotional spasm".

Far more nuclear power, together with the application of modern technology to revitalise the coal industry, could easily be afforded by declining to replace Trident and by refraining from further participation in pointless wars.

The Crisis in the Anglican Communion

The crisis in the Episcopal Church in the United States of America (ECUSA), and soon in the Church of England, is because of the split, not so much (as is often claimed) between would-be Catholics and hardline Protestants, but between the Anglican tradition and the C of E tradition.

The Anglican tradition is that of those who looked at the circumstances of the Church of England's breach with Rome and decided to make the best of that bad situation, allowing themselves to be shaped in many and various ways by the (Continental-influenced) Reformers, the Caroline Divines, the Evangelical Revival, and the Oxford Movement, in the sixteenth, seventeenth, eighteenth and nineteenth centuries respectively.

The tradition thus shaped is Anglicanism, which sent out missionaries across the British Empire and beyond, is wholly committed to the doctrinal and moral essentials common to Catholics and classical Protestants, and was able to participate in the twentieth century's Liturgical Movement, Charismatic Renewal, and even Ecumenical Movement (at its best) in that phenomenon's long-ago heyday.

By contrast, the C of E tradition derives uncritically from Henry VIII's divorce in order to "marry" his pregnant mistress, and is no more than dimly aware of the existence of Anglicans outside aristocratic or upper-middle-class England and pockets of socially comparable Anglophilia elsewhere in rich Anglophonia. It either denies outright the doctrinal and moral essentials, or else regards them as optional, an option of which those essentials themselves do not admit.

It wildly misrepresents the Reformers and the Caroline Divines (especially Richard Hooker) in its own interests, and has been shaped by outright rejection of the Evangelical Revival and the Oxford Movement, utterly in the former case, and in all but the most superficial ways in the latter case. There is also no real depth to its involvement in the Liturgical and Ecumenical Movements (each of which it has effectively destroyed, a remarkable achievement for so small a faction); and it is fanatically anti-Charismatic, undoubtedly because of a profound disbelief in any supernatural reality. It sometimes affects an interest in Eastern Orthodoxy, but the Orthodox themselves would have, and increasingly do have, some very choice things indeed to say about that.

Its main rationale is the via media theory, according to which Catholicism and classical Protestantism are defined as opposite extremes (they are in fact neither opposite nor extreme), so that anything characteristic of either of them must be rejected in the name of "the sane middle ground". Of course, what is therefore rejected includes the entirety of classical, historic, mainstream Christianity, and the whole Augustinian patrimony of the West. This "ground" is often extolled for its "breadth", but a very "broad" body of people cannot stand on it: Catholics, Orthodox, Confessional Lutherans, Conservative Evangelicals, Anabaptists, Pietists and those in the Holiness tradition, Pentecostals and Charismatics: whom does that leave?

That ground is so infirm that to stand on it is to be moved by pretty much anything. Those who so stand have bought into every part, and even invented several parts, of Biblical criticism, with its frankly atheistic and secularising presuppositions and aspirations. They have accepted that if women can be doctors then they can be priests, and (in principle in Britain, but both in principle and in practice in America and elsewhere) that if women can be Prime Ministers then they can be bishops. The less said about homosexuality, the better.

The Anglican tradition and the C of E tradition co-exist within the apparently Anglo-Catholic, Evangelical and Central schools of churchmanship. If people in the Anglican tradition knew what the Catholic Church really stood for (and perhaps especially what have been the great themes of the present Pope’s academic an episcopal ministry), then many (perhaps most) of them beyond the Evangelical wing, and even some on it, would be over like a shot. However, they have been brainwashed by the via media nonsense, and we have not helped ourselves by the "Spirit of Vatican II" carryings on that are now mercifully coming to an end.

In England and America, there have also been naked social-climbing attempts to conform the Catholic Church to the C of E tradition in order to gain for bishops and others admission to the public school, Oxbridge, Clubland world of the Church of England's Court Party, or to the blue-chip, Ivy League, Country Club world of ECUSA's. Indeed, this seems to be the whole point of the otherwise stupefyingly pointless ARCIC "process". People who wish to continue with this travel agency should now be made to pay for it themselves.

For all that is passing away. There will still be public schools, and Oxbridge, and Clubland; and there will still be blue-chip stock, and the Ivy League, and the Country Clubs; but none of them will be of the slightest ecclesial importance anymore, insofar as they ever really were. They were, and are, the C of E tradition, soon to be no more. What clearly matters now is what really always mattered: the Anglican tradition.

Dr Rowan Williams is on record as believing that that tradition has something distinctive to say to Catholicism, to classical Protestantism, to Fundamentalism, and so on. Indeed it has. We do not have to agree with it to listen to it: as with other forms of Christianity separated from Petrine Unity, we can and must point out how its best aspirations are met by aspects of the Tradition in every sense defined by that Unity, and how that Unity itself precludes or remedies that separated form's faults and deficiencies. Such a process would be as good for us as for anyone else.

But in order to begin it in relation to the Anglican tradition, we must be absolutely clear about what that is, and about how and why it differs from the C of E tradition, so that both we and the former are made able, once and for all, to disregard and to forget about the latter.

Of "Mother Jesus" and Women Bishops

Probably unlike even Julian of Norwich (whose own twentieth-century transformation into a mainstream figure nevertheless deserves far more criticism than it has received), contemporary proponents of Mother-God language, such as the new Presiding Bishop of what remains of the Episcopal Church in the United States of America, do not wish to preserve any sense of the "Otherness" of God.

On the contrary, they wish to draw little distinction even at the most academic level, and none whatever anywhere else, between God and the Universe, between the Creator and Creation, despite the Universe's being fallen, which they therefore seek to deny, thus subverting any concept of objective moral evil. It is held that, since the human person is part of the Divine Universe that is the Mother-Goddess, so the human person cannot sin.

Related to this, they also hold that what they are pleased to call "gender" is fluid, culturally constructed, relatively unimportant, and even self-defined by the individual; if anything is innate, unalterable, and fundamental to identity, then it is the homosexual, heterosexual or bisexual "orientation". Therefore, the debate around such matters is a debate, not only about doctrine, but about the ontology dependent on doctrine and on which doctrine depends.

When a woman exercising episcopal functions is addressed as "Mother in God", then she is proclaimed as the icon of a Mother-Goddess at least including, if not actually identical with, the material universe, within which sin is impossible, and the two sexes are interchangeable, but the fundamental ideological concepts of homosexualist politics are abolsute and non-negotiable. And when some among the twenty-six per cent of the Church of England's women clergy who were shockingly found not to believe "in God the Father Who created the world" quip that they believe in "God the Mother", then, as they themsleves might put it, that is what they are affirming. The rest of that twenty-six per cent are presumably atheists or agnostics.

Stem-cell "research"

In all the carry on about stem-cell "research" and its alleged benefits in relation to Parkinson's Disease, it should be pointed out that by far that disease's most prominent sufferer ever was by far the most consistent and articulate opponent of such "research".