Monday 27 December 2010

In Omnibus Sumentes Scutum Fidei

Gavin Havery writes:

Concerns have been raised in Parliament about the proposed closure of a Roman Catholic college in the North-East. Pat Glass, MP for North-West Durham, has tabled an early day motion in the House of Commons, expressing fears about the uncertain future of Ushaw College, near Durham. They are Parliamentary procedures which allow backbench MPs to publicise the views of individual MPs, draw attention to specific events or campaigns, and demonstrate the extent of support for a particular cause or point of view. Mrs Glass, who lives in Lanchester, said: “Ushaw College is a Roman Catholic college, home to St Cuthbert’s Seminary, which has been forming young men for the priesthood since its foundation and which holds a library that is priceless to the heritage of Catholicism in England and the North-East and consists of grade I and grade II-listed buildings.

“At a time when the Coalition Government’s cuts to the arts are hitting the North-East disproportionately, it is my opinion that we have a duty to protect our historic buildings and heritage here in the region. “Ushaw College is greatly important to my constituents and the local community.” Mrs Glass urged colleagues to note the importance of Ushaw College in the area, the concerns that local people have at the closure announcement and to support calls for the decision to be reconsidered. The motion regarding Ushaw College has been supported by eight other MPs, including fellow regional representatives, Roberta Blackman Woods, Kevan Jones, Mary Glindon and Ian Mearns.

Priests have been trained at Ushaw College since 1808, when St Cuthbert’s Seminary relocated from revolutionary France. In recent years, the college has begun hosting conferences and visits to cover its costs. But, faced with declining numbers of men wanting to enter the priesthood, trustees said that, pending consultation with employees and the Charity Commission, the college could close at the end of the current academic year, next June. Trustees of the 200-year-old Roman Catholic seminary began consultation on its closure earlier this year. There are 26 seminarians studying at the college and the proposals put 62 jobs at risk.

Mrs Glass has also written to Archbishops and Bishops to ask them to reconsider their decision to close the college. A spokesman for the Hexham and Newcastle Diocese said he felt it more appropriate for Ushaw College to comment on the matter. The Northern Echo contacted the college and its communications company for a response to the motion by Mrs Glass but none was provided before the newspaper’s deadline. Mrs Glass said: “The news about the proposed closure of Ushaw College comes on top of the recent threat to Auckland Castle and the Zurbaran paintings.”

Meetings are held around the table in the room where the Zurbaráns are hung, and must therefore begin with an injunction not to lean back, in case you set off the alarms.

Anyway, three cheers for Pat, and may we look forward to seeing her name on our list, to be published in the run-up to the 2015 Election (assuming a Yes vote on electoral reform, the enactment of fixed-term Parliaments, and the appearance of certain publications from within our own circle), of each constituency's best-placed candidate who subscribes to the Welfare State, workers' rights, trade unionism, the co-operative movement and wider mutualism, consumer protection, strong communities, conservation rather than environmentalism, fair taxation, full employment, public ownership, proper local government, a powerful Parliament, the monarchy, the organic Constitution, national sovereignty, civil liberties, the Union, the Commonwealth, the countryside, grammar schools, traditional moral and social values, controlled importation and immigration, a realistic foreign policy, a non-hysterical approach to climate change, and a base of real property for every household to resist both over-mighty commercial interests and an over-mighty State?

AV does have the advantage that standing in such an election is not necessarily standing against the other candidates.


  1. Hope you are very proud of getting Pat her job. Labour party rules ban Catholics from women only short lists and local candidates are exactly what they are designed to prevent, but they were so frightened you would put up and split the vote enough to lose the seat that they let Pat have it.

    Watts Stelling got more votes in 2005 than the fall in Labour's majority and even without you that majority was cut in half this year. With you it would have gone down far enough to give Owen Temple and the Lib Dems this seat.

    The local Labour mafia are your mates so they must have known how ill you were but probably reckoned you would still give it a go without an acceptable candidate from them even if it killed you. Well done, we could have had some London dolly bird. Instead you gave us Pat Glass. Well done.

  2. the appearance of certain publications - there is already quite a buzz, you might not realise 300 miles from London but there is.