My attention has been drawn to a post on the culturally Marxist neocon website Harry’s Place, snarling that if the unions are to retain a say in the Labour Party, then why not give one back to the Methodist Church? Well, if that were other than it generally now is in this country, then why ever not?
Labour was once the party of those Methodist and other MPs, including John Smith, who fought tooth and nail against deregulated drinking and gambling. Of those Catholic and other MPs, including John Smith, who fought tooth and nail against abortion and easier divorce, not least including both Thatcher’s introduction of abortion up to birth and Major’s introduction of divorce legally easier than release from a car hire contract. Of those, including John Smith, who successfully organised, especially through USDAW, against Thatcher’s and Major’s attempts to destroy the special character of Sunday and of Christmas Day, delivering the only Commons defeat of Thatcher’s Premiership. Of the Labour MPs who defended Catholic schools, and thus all church-based state schools, over several successive decades. Of the cross-party Lords defeat of Thatcher’s attempt to end Christian collective worship and religious instruction in state schools. Of the early Labour activists who resisted schemes to abort, contracept and sterilise the working class out of existence. Of the Parliamentary Labour Party’s unanimous vote against the Finance Bill that abolished the recognition of marriage, as such, in the taxation system. Of the trade unions’ numerous battles to secure paternal authority in families and communities by securing its economic base in high-waged, high-skilled, high-status male employment. And of the trade union banners depicting Biblical scenes and characters.
At the same time, Labour was the party of the Attlee Government’s refusal to join the European Coal and Steel Community on the grounds that it was “the blueprint for a federal state” which “the Durham miners would never wear”. Of Gaitskell’s rejection of European federalism as “the end of a thousand years of history” and liable to destroy the Commonwealth. Of the votes of most Labour MPs against Heath’s Treaty of Rome. Of the Parliamentary Labour Party’s unanimous opposition to Thatcher’s Single European Act. Of the 66 Labour MPs who voted against Maastricht, including, in Bryan Gould, the only resignation from either front bench in order to do so, and outnumbering Conservative opponents by three to one. Of the votes of every Labour MP, without exception, against the Common Agricultural and Fisheries Policies annually between 1979 and 1997. And of the 1997 General Election result’s keeping of the United Kingdom out of the euro, by making Gordon Brown Chancellor the Exchequer in place of Kenneth Clarke.
These two aspects of a single heritage are inseparable, as witnessed by the EU’s year planner for children, which includes the festivals of every major religion except one. Guess which one? 25th Decenber merits nothing more than the words “A true friend is someone who shares your worries and your joy”. Stuart Reid has told me something that he has also repeatedly said in print, and which Auberon Waugh also used to write, that at least the atheism of the EU was Catholic atheism. But it is not.
So much for co-operation with the civil authorities. What if the civil authority is the EU? What if there is practically no functioning civil authority, as in some countries where the Catholic Church is active? What if it would be better that there were not than that there were what there is, as in very many such countries? What if it is the Dutch civil authority, which has lowered the age of consent to 12, that, and not anything either Catholic or Reformed, being the vision of the Netherlands defended by the likes of Geert Wilders and the late Pim Fortuyn? (The legal situation in the Vatican City State, mercifully meaningless in practice, is an inherited imposition by Mussolini, lest anyone ever suggest either that he favoured the Church or that She favoured him.) What if the civil authority is a court presided over by Oz Robertson QC?
There can be no better day to consider these questions than today, the Feast of Saint Thomas of Canterbury. Ora pro nobis.