Tuesday, June 30, 2009

British Government imposes Christian constitution on the Cayman Islands

The Cayman Islands are a British overseas territory and have been since they were ceded to England in 1670 under the Treaty of Madrid. They are one of the last non-self governing territories: the island’s government is headed by the Governor who is appointed by the British Government to represent the Her Majesty the Queen. The Governor is able to exercise complete executive authority through the prerogative powers reserved to him in the constitution: in fact, the Governor bestows Royal Assent to all legislation on behalf of the Queen.

The islands have a population of around 52,000 representing in excess of 100 nationalities, 60 per cent of which are mixed race: only 20 per cent are of European descent.

In this context, it is interesting to read that the British Government has imposed a constitution upon the islands by statutory instrument with the following preamble:

THE CONSTITUTION OF THE CAYMAN ISLANDS

The people of the Cayman Islands, recalling the events that have shaped their history and made them what they are, and acknowledging their distinct history, culture and Christian heritage and its enduring influence and contribution in shaping the spiritual, moral and social values that have guided their development and brought peace, prosperity and stability to those islands, through the vision, forbearance, and leadership of their people, who are loyal to Her Majesty the Queen;

Affirm their intention to be -

A God-fearing country based on traditional Christian values, tolerant of other religions and beliefs.
• A country with open, responsible and accountable government, that includes a working partnership with the private sector and continuing beneficial ties with the United Kingdom.
A country in which religion finds its expression in moral living and social justice.
• A caring community based on mutual respect for all individuals and their basic human rights.
• A country committed to the democratic values of human dignity, equality and freedom.
• A community that practises honest and open dialogue to ensure mutual understanding and social harmony.
• A safe, secure and law-abiding community.
• A country that is free from crime and drug abuse.
• A country with an education system that identifies and develops on a continuing basis the abilities of each person, allowing them to reach their full potential and productivity.
• A community that encourages and prepares young people to assume leadership roles.
• A country that provides a comprehensive healthcare system.
A community protective of traditional Caymanian heritage and the family unit.
• A country that honours the sacrifice of its seafaring men who left the shores of the Islands to enhance the quality of life of their people, and in doing so established themselves amongst the finest within the global maritime community of that time and through their remittances, endeavours and experiences built the foundations of the Cayman Islands’ modern economy.
• A country that honours and acknowledges the important contribution of Caymanian women who during the absence of the seafaring men of the Islands managed the affairs of their homes, businesses and communities and passed on the values and traditions of the Islands’ people.
• A country with a vibrant diversified economy, which provides full employment.
• A country that makes optimal use of modern technology.
• A country that manages growth and maintains prosperity, while protecting its social and natural environment.
• A country that respects, protects and defends its environment and natural resources as the basis of its existence.
• A country that fosters the highest standards of integrity in the dealings of the private and public sectors.
• A country with an immigration system that protects Caymanians, gives security to long-term residents and welcomes legitimate visitors and workers.
• A country that plays its full part in the region and in the international community.
Now, therefore, the following provisions shall have effect as the Constitution of the Cayman Islands...

It is noteworthy that Paragraph 14, ‘in the interests of public morality’, defines marriage as a union between a man and a woman, with the specific stipulation that a man and a woman should be free ‘to marry a person of the opposite sex and found a family’.

And Paragraph 10 enshrines in law freedom of conscience and religion, including the right ‘either alone or in community with others, both in public and in private, to manifest and propagate his or her religion or belief in worship, teaching, practice, observance and day of worship’.

Is it not ironic, at a time when the Government of the Motherland is renouncing and undermining the very faith which ‘shaped our history and made us what we are’, and which has had an ‘enduring influence’ and made an irrefutable contribution ‘in shaping the spiritual, moral and social values that have guided our development and brought peace, prosperity and stability to those islands’, that this very same Government sees fit to bequeath to one of the last British colonies a God-fearing preamble to its constitution?

And they do so whilst recognising the ‘the vision, forbearance, and leadership of their people, who are loyal to Her Majesty the Queen’.

Loyal, in fact, to her Coronation Oath to ‘maintain the Laws of God and the true profession of the Gospel’.

One is left wondering why such an overtly Christian constitution is deemed beneficial to Her Majesty’s Overseas Territories, while that which is being imposed upon the United Kingdom by this profoundly anti-Christian Labour government is rabidly ‘secular’ and increasingly intolerant of any expression of Christianity in the public realm. If it is not quite a house divided, it is certainly religio-political schizophrenia.

Monday, June 29, 2009

MPs’ second jobs are a categorical imperative

If a man will not work, he shall not eat.

A logical corollary of which is that if he works part-time, he shall eat only snacks. Or at list go without dinner.

Unless, of course, dinner be on expenses.

There is little that has been more corrosive for politics than the rise of the ‘professional’ politician: those who went to university to read politics, became a political ‘adviser’ or ‘researcher’, made the right contacts to be awarded a ‘safe seat’, and then became a politician. Such people have never held a real job and have never attained a status in the world by which the mettle of their life might be tested. These are not rounded people: they are party apparatchiks – automatons programmed for nothing but being ‘on message’. They are political poodles.

For all David Cameron’s talk of wanting to cut the number of MPs in Westminster, Cranmer would prefer a focus on quality rather than quantity.

Being an MP is manifestly part-time: if it were not, they would have no time to be ministers of state. Yet Labour is ordaining that we now need full-time MPs: moonlighting is to be frowned upon. And so they are rushing through a law which will do for quality MPs what the Dangerous Dogs Act did for innocent bull terriers: place them under suspicion, subject them to investigation and dedicate them for termination.

Only the poodles, or anything that looks like a poodle, will survive.

But why do we need full-time MPs for a part-time Parliament?

The House rises more than leavened dough, and its kneading troughs have been given over to the pigs. An entire quarter of the working year is dedicated to the summer recess: from July to October there is no debate, no legislative scrutiny and the Executive cannot be held to account. Add in Christmas, Easter, February half-term and Whitsun, and it transpires that MPs get 17 weeks holiday a year. Add to this the fact that Mondays do not start until mid-afternoon, Thursdays are dedicated to Business when most MPs are on their way to their constituencies, the average MP works a three-day week.

That is a three-day week for 35 weeks a year.

Since they do not work weekends, this amounts to a salary of £64,766 for 105 days’ work a year, or £617 per diem (before ‘expenses’).

Of course, there are letters and emails to write, schools and hospitals to visit, children to kiss, speeches to make, dinners to eat and association officers to tolerate and placate. But the reality is that being an MP can involve as little as 29 per cent of a year.

What efficient, cost-effective and streamlined business would demand so little of its employees?

And the devil makes work for idle hands.

Unless MPs seek to meddle in the affairs of local councillors or supplant the delicate functioning of social services, it stands to reason that MPs must be permitted to work at a second job. And a third and a fourth if they so desire. Since they may be out of a job at any time, it is only fair that they should be permitted to keep fingers in pies, toes in the water and have other strings to their bow. And if their commitment to their constituents or their parliamentary duties suffer as a result, it is for the electorate – their ultimate employer – to dismiss them.

An MP without a second job is one step closer to irrelevance. Anything that seeks to diminish the life experience of the legislature diminishes Parliament, and a diminished Parliament diminishes the people.

Sunday, June 28, 2009

Michael Jackson’s funeral – which religion will prevail?


Was Michael Jackson a Muslim?

Allah knows.

And we are about to find out.

In his will, Michael Jackson expressed a wish for his body to be cremated and sprinkled over the surface of the moon. But cremation is forbidden in Islam, and the parlous state of the singer’s finances now rather precludes the possibility of lunar sprinkling. Star trekking across the universe is the domain of those for whom it is difficult to enter the Kingdom of Heaven.

The arrangements for what will undoubtedly be the biggest funeral spectacular since the death of Diana Princess of Wales are actually a political decision of not inconsiderable global importance. While millions of Muslims try to claim Michael Jackson for the greater glory of Allah, the witnesses of Jehovah are having none of it. And music is haraam in any case. The demons which plagued Michael Jackson during his life are as nothing to those which are doing battle over his soul, and this present turmoil in the heavenlies is mirrored on earth in the conflict over the singer’s estate and the custody battle over his children.

The speculation over the religion of the former King of Pop (to whom does that title now pass?) is natural, and competing sides are attempting to claim him as their own. For Michael Jackson, of course, the question is now of absolutely no consequence: he is either with God in heaven, in purgatory, in hell, or his atman has surrendered to the karmic samsara and he lives on as a cockroach.

Or, of course, he has simply ceased to be.

It is a matter of historical record that Michael Jackson was born to parents who were devout Jehovah’s Witnesses, and he was raised strictly in accordance with the tenets of that faith: always canvassing and never Christmas. But this was too puritanical for his showbiz spirit, and he quite obviously outgrew its confines, both theological and sociological.

It is rumoured that he converted to Islam last year and changed his name to Mikaeel – the name of one of Allah’s angels.

This being the case, he should have been buried intact within two sunsets as Muslims believe that demons ravage and torture the body if this is not adhered to. But the necessary post mortem examination took precedence, and toxicology tests had to be conclusive in order to dispel (or confirm) rumours of foul play. After all, we are talking about the King of Pop, and something as mundane as vicodin can no more claim his life than a simple car crash could end that of the Princess of Wales. Even now, the Jackson family has ordered a second autopsy, thereby fanning the flames of conspiracy.

Since Michael Jackson had a sudden heart attack, he did not have time to say ‘La Ilaha Illa Allah’, and so has not gone straight to paradise. Unluckily for him, according to the Hadith of Abu Hurairah, ‘a believer's soul will remain in suspense until all his debts are paid off’.

Since these are estimated to be $500,000,000, that is an awfully long time in limbo.

Perhaps the Jackson ummah (for at least Jermaine is a professing Muslim) will auction the TV rights to the funeral, or sell them to anyone and everyone in order to maximise the prophet profit. Demand for a mass public service is going to be high, and hordes of fans will make pilgrimage from the four corners of the earth to kiss his shrine. It is even possible that the funeral could eclipse that of Diana as billions tune in to cyber-mourn.

There is something of a tension between the sparse simplicity of a Jehovah’s Witness funeral and that of a prominent Muslim. While both eschew weeping and wailing (and alcoholic toasts), they are both fond of gnashing teeth: their funerals are a time to focus on God, his greatness and the proclamation of salvation.

If Michael Jackson died a Muslim, expect to hear of the proclamation of the Salat al-Janazah and news that he will be buried with his head pointing towards Mecca. These are imperatives for all Muslims and the only guard against Shaytaan.

Cranmer has only one thought on Michael Jackson’s spirituality: he was consistent. He simply exchanged one religion which offers absolutely no assurance of salvation for another. Both Jehovah’s Witnesses and Muslims have to earn their places in paradise: salvation is by works; the spirit is redeemed by the obedience of the flesh and the burden of submission to law.

Cranmer thanks God that he justified by faith through grace, and that God provided the ransom for us - the most precious body and blood of his own most dear and best beloved Son Jesus Christ. Justification is free to us, but not to God. Faith, of course, does not stand in isolation: It ‘doth not exclude repentance, hope, love, dread, and the fear of God’. After all, faith which does not produce good works ‘is not a right, pure and lively faith, but a dead, devilish counterfeit, and feigned faith'. The justified are bound to serve God in doing good deeds, but these works are imperfect and not able to deserve our justification, which comes freely by the mercy of God. Authentic faith is ‘a pure trust and confidence in God’s merciful promises’.

And this is the only source of peace, not as the world gives.

Saturday, June 27, 2009

President Obama 'does God' liberally

Cranmer is a little pressed for time today, and so he will leave his readers and communicants with this interesting snippet about President Obama.

It appears that the President 'does God' rather more than George W Bush ever did, but, being a Democrat, he is not subject to the scorn and derision of the media for doing so:

He’s done it while talking about abortion and the Middle East, even the economy. The references serve at once as an affirmation of his faith and a rebuke against a rumor that persists for some to this day.

As president, Barack Obama has mentioned Jesus Christ in a number of high-profile public speeches — something his predecessor George W. Bush rarely did in such settings, even though Bush’s Christian faith was at the core of his political identity.

In his speech Thursday in Cairo, Obama told the crowd that he is a Christian and mentioned the Islamic story of Isra, in which Moses, Jesus and Mohammed joined in prayer.

At the University of Notre Dame on May 17, Obama talked about the good works he’d seen done by Christian community groups in Chicago. “I found myself drawn — not just to work with the church but to be in the church,” Obama said. “It was through this service that I was brought to Christ.”

And a month before that, Obama mentioned Jesus’ Sermon on the Mount at Georgetown University to make the case for his economic policies. Obama retold the story of two men, one who built his house on a pile of sand and the other who built his on a rock: “We cannot rebuild this economy on the same pile of sand,” Obama said. “We must build our house upon a rock.”

More than four months into the Obama presidency, a picture is emerging of a chief executive who is comfortable with public displays of his religion — although he has also paid tribute to other faiths and those he called “nonbelievers” during his inaugural address.

Obama’s invocation of the Christian Messiah is more overt than Americans heard in the public rhetoric of Bush in his time in the White House — even though Bush’s victories were powered in part by evangelical voters.

“I don’t recall a single example of Bush as president ever saying, ‘Jesus’ or ‘Christ,’” said Tony Perkins, president of the conservative Christian group Family Research Council. “This is different.”

To Perkins, Obama’s overtly Christian rhetoric is a welcome development from an administration that he largely disagrees with on the issues, though Perkins sees a political motive behind it, as well.


Why is it that when politicians of the Right 'do God', they are 'religious nutters', hypocritical or 'extreme', but when those of the Left talk about their faith, they are considered enlightened, sincere and devout?

Friday, June 26, 2009

Michael Jackson is dead


Oh what a circus! Oh what a show!

It was TS Eliot who said that the Lord who created must wish us to create, and employ our creation again in his service which is already his service in creating. The passing of an artist, any artist, leaves a void in creation. And the passing of one so globally significant becomes both political and religious at once. Like the deaths of Elvis Presley, John Lennon and Diana Princess of Wales, it is not so much their passing as the manner of it. To die is natural. To die at just 50, to pre-decease one’s parents, feels so profoundly unnatural that it becomes an offence against God.

In the political realm, this is indeed a day ‘to bury bad news’. In the religious realm, one observes again the cult of celebrity: another christ has been crucified, and the shrines to this god of the age will spring up everywhere spontaneously. Like all true greats – those whose creation is genius and grace – he will live on: the ‘King of Pop’ will live on in his music and video footage – a million daily resurrections to satisfy the spiritual longings of his disciples and those who came from the four corners of the earth to worship him. And they are legion.

It is believed he suffered a heart attack. If one tries to live like Peter Pan, there will come a time when the reality supplants the fantasy. He preferred the company of children; his best friend was a chimp; he reportedly slept in an oxygen chamber and endured numerous plastic surgeries. Since the accusations of child molestation, he has been a virtual recluse.

It is axiomatic that genius and madness are a hair’s breadth apart.

Notwithstanding his ever-lightening skin, Michael Jackson was the embodiment of the dream of Martin Luther King. His talent was such that he forced America to accept the inalterable equality of black people, and so paved the way for Oprah Winfrey, Tiger Woods and Barack Obama. Michael Jackson did for music and movement what they have done for television, sport and politics. In that sense, his achievement is historic and he is iconic. The word ‘legend’, rather like ‘great’, is much debased in this superficial world, but Michael Jackson was a legend in his lifetime who never really belonged in this world. His search for a face was a quest to discover his identity.

But now he sees face to face, and knows even as he is fully known.

Requiem aeternam.
Absolve, Domine,
animas omnium fidelium defunctorum
ab omni vinculo delictorum
et gratia tua illis
succurente mereantur
evadere iudicium ultionis,
et lucis æterne beatitudine perfrui.

Thursday, June 25, 2009

Ann and Alan Keen and the state confiscation of private property

According to the BBC, married Labour MPs Ann and Alan Keen ‘have been given a month to stop their local council repossessing their home’.

Hounslow Council said that the Keens' house in Brentford, West London, appeared to have been empty since last November, and so the Keens have been given notice of the council’s intention to issue an ‘Empty Dwelling Management Order’, allowing it to ‘repossess’ a property if it remains unoccupied and dilapidated for a period of six months. The council is permitted to carry out works on the property house and use it to accommodate other people without the permission of the owner.

Cranmer is disturbed to hear of this, and not because of the further abuse of expenses which this highlights.

Hounslow Council cannot repossess that which they have not previously possessed. This is not a council house, and neither has the council provided the Keens with a mortgage on the property. This is not, therefore, a ‘repossession’.

What it is, however, is something both sinister and grave in a liberal democracy.

This is the lawful expropriation of private property; seizure by the state. The Housing Act 2004 was amended by the Housing (Management Orders and Empty Dwelling Management Orders) Regulations in 2006, and it is a murky piece of New Labour legislation. When an EDMO is in force, the local council assumes most of the rights and responsibilities of the owner and may exercise them as if it were the owner even though it does not become the legal owner. Yet the legal owner is not entitled to receive any rent or other payments from anyone occupying the dwelling and may not exercise any rights to manage the dwelling whilst an EDMO is in force.

Conservative housing spokesman Grant Shapps said it would be ‘deeply ironic’ if the Labour government's powers to allow the state confiscation of private property were used against ‘absentee Labour members of Parliament’.

Actually, the greater irony is that a Conservative controlled council should be applying this Marxist legislation at all.

It is fundamental to Conservative philosophy that the state should guard the rights of individuals in respect of their private property. The rules of property defining rights of owners are both moral and legal. Inherent to capitalism is the owners’ rights to use what they own in any way they choose so long as they respect the moral or natural rights of others. This appropriation, whether by gift, bequest or exchange, permits the owner to profit by it in whatever way they see fit.

The concept of communal property is associated with Marxism and socialism, and assigns rights to the community as a whole rather than to the individual. Decisions concerning the use of property are made collectively and profits realised are distributed to that community.

Grant Shapps should be less concerned with the ‘irony’ of the plight of Mr and Mrs Keen, and thoroughly keen to repeal this odious statutory instrument. It is an unjust redistribution of private property, an infringement of the freedom of owners, and a thoroughly un-Conservative piece of legislation.

Wednesday, June 24, 2009

The Conservative Party must follow the Church of England in confronting the BBC

Cranmer was going to omit the final four words of the title, but the exhortation would then have sounded so absurdly outrageous as to cause people to question His Grace’s sanity (for those who do not already) and even damage his reputation (even if he has none worth speaking of). It is not that David Cameron must emulate Rowan Williams by growing a beard and prancing around on the Summer Solstice at Stonehenge, but Mark Thompson, the BBC's director-general, must be made aware that the corporation’s pathological anti-Christian liberal-leftist bias must end.

It is reported that the Prime Minister is to ‘reconnect with the people’ through an episode of Songs of Praise to be broadcast next month. Cranmer does not recommend that David Cameron follow Gordon Brown down this path, for participation on Songs of Praise is manifest evidence of a disconnect with the people. The Prime Minister will be given a pulpit from which he can do penance and preach to the nation ‘about courage and the people who have inspired him’. Chosen hymns will include Be Still My Soul, Fight the Good Fight and The Lord is My Shepherd.

This is likely to do more harm than good.

People are not stupid, and viewers of Songs of Praise will discern the hypocrisy. Gordon Brown is not so much concerned with his ‘moral compass’ as he is with courting the Christian vote. This appearance has nothing to do with his ‘Presbyterian conscience’, his father’s legacy or his Church of Scotland roots: it is a brazen attempt to win back the three million viewers who tune in every Sunday; to persuade them that he is a courageous, devout and honest politician.

Cranmer hopes they will remember that New Labour has been the most rabidly anti-Christian government in living memory, and the most religiously regressive in centuries.

The time is right for the Conservative Party to follow the Church of England in confronting the BBC about the quality (indeed, almost total absence) of its Conservative broadcasting: it is not impartial and neither is it professional. The BBC’s coverage of the EU’s new Conservative and Reformist group was as non-existent as its reflections on Good Friday.

With Muslim Aaqil Ahmed now heading the corporation’s Religion and Ethics output, the Church of England finds this a ‘worrying’ development. But it can be no more worrying than the plethora of Socialists who provide the corporation's political output. When a Sikh began to produce Songs of Praise, it seemed bizarre. Until one realises (if one has not already done so) that the BBC has a Leftist multi-faith agenda, centred on the global-warming cult of Gaia. Anglican orthodoxy was ditched for ecumenism decades ago. The Church of England accuses the corporation of treating religion like ‘a freak show’ (as it does the politics of the Right) and of marginalising Christian broadcasting even during the major Christian festivals.

Indeed, according to former employee Don Maclean, the BBC is ‘keen on Islam (and) keen on programmes that attack the Christian church’. He astutely observes:

'I know there are things that need to be brought forward, but you don't see any programmes on Anglicanism that don't talk about homosexual clergy and you don't see anything on Roman Catholicism that don't talk about paedophiles. They seem to take the negative angle every time. They don't do that if they're doing programmes on Islam. Programmes on Islam are always supportive.’

The Sikhs and Hindus have already noted this.

The Archbishop of Canterbury met with Mark Thompson in March to challenge him on the issue. The response came by way of two fingers when the corporation appointed Aaqil Ahmed who had something of a reputation for anti-Christian bias while in charge of commissioning at Channel 4. Last summer, Channel 4 screened a week of special programmes on Islam including a feature-length documentary on the Qur’an and a series of interviews with Muslims around the world talking about their beliefs. Their main Christian documentary broadcast for Easter, called The Secrets of the 12 Disciples, only sought to cast doubt on the legitimacy of the Pope's leadership of the Roman Catholic Church.

It is noteworthy that broadcasting around both Christianity and Conservatism tends to be concerned with fringe issues and with bringing them into disrepute. The BBC is constitutionally bound to provide adequate time and fair representation to both the Conservative Party and the Christian faith, if only because Conservative and Christian issues are the concerns of the majority of the nation.

Tuesday, June 23, 2009

Speaker Bercow – the Commons chose the Lord’s chosen


It was a curious congratulatory line from the Leader of the Opposition.

David Cameron remarked on the fact that John Bercow is the first Speaker to have been born into the Jewish faith, and he referred to it as a milestone.

And he made it a point of religion, not of ethnicity, which is curious because John Bercow’s Semitism – his biological DNA – has been the only immutable constant in a political life which has been built on sand. YHWH was placed conveniently on the shelf decades ago along with the menorah. It would have made more sense had Mr Cameron left religion out of it altogether and simply congratulated Mr Bercow for being the first of 157 Speakers to be a Jew. For, although Speaker Bercow may have been born into the Jewish faith, it got lost somewhere in the wilderness, or was purposely discarded along with the rest of his religio-political heritage.

Just as Conservatives are recognisable by the way they vote, those of the Jewish faith are recognisable by their faithful adherence, their honouring of God, their obedience to his commands. But there is very little that makes John Bercow either a convicted Conservative or a practising Jew: his mind does not seek to conserve that which is good and his heart is not circumcised. The only thing he has in common with Conservatives is a sizeable majority in the home counties; the only thing he has in common with the Lord’s chosen people is that he has himself now been chosen.

Democracy is a curious thing – it tends to deliver precisely what the people deserve. And maybe the electorate of the House of Commons deserves John Bercow. He tries so hard to be all things to all people, yet he is everything and nothing. He is convicted of nothing strongly, except perhaps the righteousness of his own conviction, the uprightness of his amorality and the universal salvation which is to be found in his gospel. At one time or another he has held the whole spectrum of political thought in his hands, and yet it has all slipped through.

Speaker Bercow is not for all seasons and certainly not to all tastes. But he is thoroughly postmodern and a child of postmodernity. He is a shifting, complex and confusing object of study, representing both the continuation of modernity and its transcendence. His election is an anti-establishment reaction and yet the fulfilment of the wishes of that establishment. He encompasses the broadest scope because his own journey has been a panoramic sweep. He holds to no particular truth, no coherent philosophy, and no doctrine of God. For him, all knowledge is subjective; foundationalism must be undermined; communitarianism transcends individualism; and political truth must be encountered emotionally and intuitively as well as rationally. Speaker Bercow is the embodiment of postmodernism. He evidences a willingness to combine symbols from disparate codes or frameworks of meaning, even at the cost of disjunctions and eclecticism. He will not wear 18th-century tights or don the Speaker's wig, and yet, curiously, he has the precise affected Restoration foppish manner which would sport them perfectly, for he preens and minces like Mr Sparkish.

He celebrates spontaneity, fragmentation, superficiality, irony and playfulness. He has been variously described as maverick, mercurial, vain, self-promoting, partisan, pompous, divisive, careerist and pretentious. He has been disloyal – sometimes outrageously so – to three successive Conservative leaders, and his voting record is capricious. He supported Ken Clarke to be leader of the Conservative Party and opposes a referendum on the Lisbon Treaty. Suffice to say, he will not be remotely concerned with the sovereignty of Parliament or that of the people.

But it is time to set aside the acrimony, hatred, loathing and resentment. Speaker Bercow now bears the heavy burden of a great office of state and presides of the legislature with the authority which the Lord has bestowed upon him.

And we are commanded to pray for him.

And let us not forget those who now have to work with him and under him.

Monday, June 22, 2009

David Cameron’s new EU group is Catholic and Reformed Conservative and Reformist

David Cameron has just secured his place in the history books, and he is not even yet Prime Minister. But this sort of decisive and bold leadership establishes that he has the precise qualities required to be so. He is not quite a Martin Luther, but the Leader of the Conservative Party has initiated a reformation in Europe which has the potential to change the course of EU history just as seismically as Luther changed the course of Western civilisation. When the obscure monk nailed his 95 Theses to the door of Wittenberg University in 1517, there was universal religio-political condemnation which resulted in excommunication and (they assured) eternal damnation. Instead, they got the Reformation of reformations, and the theology and name of Martin Luther have eclipsed that of a hundred popes.

And so, in 2009, a courageous and untried politician has posted his 10 theses to the cyber-door of the European Parliament, and there is much wailing and gnashing of teeth from those who are the self-appointed guardians of EU orthodoxy. As he is excommunicated by President Sarkozy of France and Chancellor Merkel of Germany, he is besieged by those same cries of ‘schism’ and ‘traitor’ which tend to herald isolation and promise eternal damnation.

David Cameron has fulfilled the solemn promise he made during his 2005 campaign to become Leader of the Conservative Party, and a new protestant movement has begun. He is ditching more than 20 years of Conservative co-operation with the mainstream ‘centre-right’ Christian Democrats in the Parliament, the European People's Party, on the grounds that it is dominated by those whose ultimate aim is a United States of Europe with a single government and a single currency.

But the philosophical reality is that true Conservatives are always reformist: they simply have to discern between that which merits conserving and that which needs reform. And the EU, an institution stubbornly squatting in the same post-war mentality with which it was conceived, is in desperate need of reform. Just as Luther in 1517 dared to challenge the immutable doctrine of papal supremacy which heralded the end of Christendom, so David Cameron has issued a declaration which rides roughshod over the infallible doctrine of ‘ever closer union’, thereby proclaiming the demise of its successor empire. The abuse and corruption of 16th-century religion has found conducive accommodation in 21st-century politics. By issuing his declaration, Mr Cameron manifests the very Protestant instinct for liberty, equality and accountability which yielded the ethics of Western democracy and sowed the seeds of its capitalist economic success.

On this, the Feast Day of Sir Thomas More, the Patron Saint of Politicians, it is apposite to consider the observations of Lord Shore of Stepney on the EU:

"…no one who has been engaged seriously in the business of examining draft EC laws and treaties can have any doubt about their quite extraordinary – and deliberate - complexity. Every new article or treaty clause is, with reference to articles in earlier treaties - generally to be located in a separate treaty volume. Indeed part of the whole mystique of Community Law is its textual incomprehensibility, its physical dispersal, its ambivalence and its dependence upon ultimate clarification by the European Court of Justice: and the Brussels Commission and their long-serving, often expert officials are, in interpreting and manipulating all this, like a priestly caste - similar to what it must have been in pre-Reformation days, when the Bible was in Latin, not English; the Pope, his cardinals and bishops decided the content of canon law and the message came down to the laymen, only when the Latin text was translated into the vernacular by the dutiful parish priest.

It is when one reads such an account that one begins to grasp the importance of David Cameron's initiative in forming a group capable of protestation against that which hitherto has been universal. One must hope that they communicate incisively in the vernacular. For all the EU’s supposed transparency, accessibility and long-promised comprehensibility, the Lisbon Treaty might as well be in Latin: it is Greek even to the Greeks. To counter such purposeful obfuscation, The Prague Declaration (for that is what it is to be termed), sets out the 10 aims and values of the new parliamentary grouping which seek to challenge the EU's otiose settlement:

"CONSCIOUS OF THE URGENT NEED TO REFORM THE EU ON THE BASIS OF EUROREALISM, OPENNESS, ACCOUNTABILITY AND DEMOCRACY, IN A WAY THAT RESPECTS THE SOVEREIGNTY OF OUR NATIONS AND CONCENTRATES ON ECONOMIC RECOVERY, GROWTH AND COMPETITIVENESS, THE EUROPEAN CONSERVATIVES AND REFORMISTS GROUP SHARES THE FOLLOWING PRINCIPLES:

1. Free enterprise, free and fair trade and competition, minimal regulation, lower taxation, and small government as the ultimate catalysts for individual freedom and personal and national prosperity.
2. Freedom of the individual, more personal responsibility and greater democratic accountability.
3. Sustainable, clean energy supply with an emphasis on energy security.
4. The importance of the family as the bedrock of society.
5. The sovereign integrity of the nation state, opposition to EU federalism and a renewed respect for true subsidiarity.
6. The overriding value of the transatlantic security relationship in a revitalised NATO, and support for young democracies across Europe.
7. Effectively controlled immigration and an end to abuse of asylum procedures.
8. Efficient and modern public services and sensitivity to the needs of both rural and urban communities.
9. An end to waste and excessive bureaucracy and a commitment to greater transparency and probity in the EU institutions and use of EU funds.
10. Respect and equitable treatment for all EU countries, new and old, large and small."

The new group consists presently of 55 MEPs:

• 26 British Conservative MEPs
• 15 Polish MEPs from the Law and Justice Party
• 9 Czech MEPs from the Civic Democratic Party
• 1 MEP from Belgium's Lijst Dedecker - Derk Jan Eppink, a Dutchman who is a former senior European Commission official
• 1 MEP from Finland's Centre Party, Keskusta - Hannu Takkula (who has left the Liberal Group where the rest of his party sits)
• 1 MEP from the Hungarian Democratic Forum - Lajos Bokros, a former finance minister
• 1 MEP from the Latvian National Independence Movement - Roberts Zile, a former finance and transport minister
• 1 MEP from the Dutch Christian Union - Peter van Dalen

It is a fragile collaboration, hanging, as it does, by a number of slender threads. Since the group needs a minimum of 25 MEPs from seven countries in order to fulfil EU criteria, the single members may exert disproportionate influence. But that is the case in any coalition in the system of proportional representation. And it may similarly be observed that the Conservative and Reformist Party may also exert disproportionate influence on the EPP with which it will rightly cooperate on legislation which is deemed to be in the Conservative interest.

One now awaits the spitting and scorn of the Left.

The Guardian has already referred to David Cameron’s ‘militant Roman Catholic’ EU partners who believe ‘global warming is a lie, homosexuality is a "pathology" and Europe is becoming a "neo-totalitarian" regime’. The paper talks of the ‘ingrained prejudice’ of ‘fundamentalist Roman Catholicism’ which is intent on ‘peddling a daily diet of bigotry and paranoia’.

And the National Secular Society decries the order from the Roman Catholic Church in Poland to ‘Pack the EU Parliament with obedient Catholics’ who ‘will help the Church impose its teachings on European law’.

It appears that any political group which seeks to conserve Christian ethical principles, protect the unborn, sustain the institution of marriage and uphold the family as the foundational building block of society, is ‘neo-fascist’.

As Daniel Hannan MEP has already observed, Labour MEPs are already ‘sitting with Polish homophobes, Stalinist nostalgics, an old IRA man and a 9/11 conspiracy theorist who travels the Muslim world arguing that the twin towers were brought down by Israel. And the EPP includes ‘a Spanish party whose leader refuses to disown Francoism, a German party that campaigned against immigration under the slogan "Children, not Indians!", the partners of an Austrian party nostalgic for the Third Reich, an Italian neo-fascist movement and several anti-gay and anti-gipsy parties’.

The accusations of phobia and bigotry must be, as they invariably are, simply manifestations of Freudian projection.

Richard Shepherd for Speaker

This man is Cranmer’s choice to be the next Speaker of the House of Commons.

It is unacceptable that there should be a third consecutive Labour Speaker, and objectionable that anyone embroiled in the expenses fiasco or who opposed Freedom of Information legislation should be elevated to the role. It is equally inconceivable that anyone should be proclaimed the First Commoner in the Land with the whipped support mainly of one party. Having forced out Speaker Martin because of his inept partisan behaviour, his own financial scandal and his own attempts to block the disclosure of MPs’ expenses, it would be scandal upon scandal to elevate someone who is guilty of the same sins, vices and crimes. With the reputation and standing of Parliament at an all-time low, today’s choice is constitutionally too important and politically too sensitive to play partisan politics with the process. The next Speaker must not only carry the confidence of the House but restore the trust of the people; he or she must possess integrity, be scrupulously moral and beyond reproach.

Richard Shepherd is not a favourite; indeed, he is completely beneath most people’s radar. But he is independently-minded, understands the meaning and importance of sovereignty, and loves Parliament. He was selected as 'Backbencher of the Year' in 1985 and was The Spectator’s 'Parliamentarian of the Year' in 1995. In 1989, he was identified by his peers to be one of the ten most effective MPs in Parliament. He is untouched by scandal, has consistently supported openness and accountability, and has not fleeced the taxpayer. His radiates humility, and expresses a genuine warmth and respect for his fellow man.

Today’s choice of Speaker is quite possibly the most significant in the entire history of the office. And it is an opportunity for Parliamentarians to break with the past. The ‘old faces’ are not going to persuade anyone that anything will change; indeed, pace Ann Widecombe, they are most likely to represent the continuance of patronage and the perpetuation of the dominance of the Executive. The next Speaker must not only promise change but must be symbolic of it. This requires the sort of manifestation of transformation which can only be attained by a discontinuous incarnation.

Cranmer is not alone in this choice.

Douglas Carswell MP is also of the opinion that Speaker Shepherd is the right man to clean up Parliament:

Firstly, his own expense claims have been very modest. Secondly, he campaigned for Freedom of Information law years before it became fashionable. Together that gives him the moral authority to force transparency on an unwilling tribe in SW1.

Better than anyone else I’ve met in four years in the Commons, Richard understands that sovereignty of Parliament is shorthand for sovereignty of the people.

Too many in Westminster see the Speaker’s contest through the prism of self-interest. They seem to want to elect a shop steward for politicians, rather than a Speaker able to restore public faith in the political process.

Richard grasps that change must also mean making those we elect effective at holding government to account. Parliament needs back its purpose. He’s ideas on how it is to be done.

Speaker Shepherd would be no apologist for indolent politicians blinded by a sense of entitlement – but he would make them answer properly to you.


Guido Fawkes observes:

It is a shame that Richard Shepherd is not in the running. A thoroughly decent man with a longstanding record of support for freedom of information who is also among the lowest expense claiming MPs. So he won’t win of course…

While Speaker Shepherd is not a likely outcome of today’s vote, it is certainly not one which should be written off. Parliament could, and probably will, do a whole lot worse.

Sunday, June 21, 2009

President Obama on Father's Day

Cranmer now receives at least one communication each week from The White House. He never requested them; he never subscribed to anything, for he was not a supporter: he was not, and never could be, an 'Obamacon'. But President Obama's Media Affairs Office must have trawled the internet and discovered His Grace's resistance in some obscure corner, and the campaign to convert him has been unrelenting.

Most of what he receives is Obama-aggrandising waffle to sustain the cult. But occasionally, this President connects quite remarkably with people he would not naturally find allies. And the connection works, fot it reaches out, it embraces, and it reaches those ashes which other political leaders do not reach. Cranmer was sent the following Proclamation signed by the President regarding Father’s Day.

THE WHITE HOUSE
Office of the Press Secretary
For Immediate Release June 18, 2009
FATHER'S DAY, 2009

- - - - - - -

BY THE PRESIDENT OF THE UNITED STATES OF AMERICA

A PROCLAMATION

The journey of fatherhood provides unique and lasting joys. Cradling a baby in his arms, a father experiences the miracle of life and an unbreakable bond. Fathers imagine a world of possibilities awaiting their children and contemplate the privilege of helping them reach that expanse of opportunity. As kids grow and mature, they look to their dad for a special kind of love and support. Providing these necessities can bring great happiness.

Fatherhood also brings great responsibilities. Fathers have an obligation to help rear the children they bring into the world. Children deserve this care, and families need each father's active participation.

Fathers must help teach right from wrong and instil in their kids the values that sustain them for a lifetime. As they encounter new and challenging experiences, children need guidance and counsel. Fathers need to talk with their kids to help them through difficult times. Parents must also help their children make the right choices by serving as strong role models. Honest and hard-working fathers are an irreplaceable influence upon their children.

Communities must do more to counsel fathers. Family and friends, and faith-based and community organizations, can speak directly with men about the sacrifices and rewards of having a child. These groups can support men as they take on the great challenges of child-rearing. Through honest and open dialogue, more men can choose to become model parents and know the wonders of fatherhood.

On Father's Day, we pay tribute to the loving and caring fathers who are strengthening their families and country. We also honor those surrogate fathers who raise, mentor, or care for someone else's child. Thousands of young children benefit from the influence of great men, and we salute their willingness to give and continue giving. We also express special gratitude to fathers who serve in the United States Armed Forces for the sacrifices they and their families make every day. All of these individuals are making great contributions, and children across the country are better off for their care.

NOW, THEREFORE, I, BARACK OBAMA, President of the United States of America, in accordance with a joint resolution of the Congress approved April 24, 1972, as amended (36 U.S.C. 109), do hereby proclaim June 21, 2009, as Father's Day. I direct the appropriate officials of the Government to display the flag of the United States on all Government buildings on this day. I urge all Americans to express their love, respect, and admiration to their fathers, and I call upon all citizens to observe this day with appropriate programs, ceremonies, and activities.

IN WITNESS WHEREOF, I have hereunto set my hand this eighteenth day of June, in the year of our Lord two thousand nine, and of the Independence of the United States of America the two hundred and thirty-third.

BARACK OBAMA

Saturday, June 20, 2009

Tony Blair: Middle East peace ‘within the year’

But only, he says, if all sides agree to peaceful negotiations.

Gosh.

What brilliance.

Mr Blair’s Yale students must be really academically stretched with such intellectually stimulating observations and revelatory insight.

He said there was a ‘great sense of hope and expectation’ after President Obama's recent ‘speech to the Islamic world’ delivered in Cairo. And he is certain and sure of peace in the Middle East ‘if President Obama gets the right partner, on the Israeli side but also on the Palestinian side’.

Genius.

And just to make sure everyone has understood his prophecy, he spells it out in triplicate, declaring: "So if everyone would commit themselves to a peaceful political negotiation to a two-state solution, you could have this deal within the year. But people have got to be prepared to commit to it."

So, there you have it. There will be peace in the Middle East within a year, but only if both sides commit to it.

With this unparalleled religio-political intuition, we really must have this man as the first President of Europe.

John Bercow’s anti-Catholic past

It has been suggested that there is a conspiracy afoot to smear John Bercow in order to stymie his quest to become the next Speaker of the House of Commons. Cranmer rather doubts this: he is not into conspiracies in any case, and even less is he inclined to propagate stuff and nonsense which might adversely affect Mr Bercow’s chances of becoming Speaker.

Good grief, no.

But Nadine Dorries MP believes John Bercow to be a closet Socialist (well, not so much closet as cupboard), and she discloses that she ‘will be studying the procedure, to call a Speaker re-election following a general election, very carefully; and will have that procedure engrained on my heart ready to go when the Conservative party take power.’

Engrained on her heart?

One wonders what Mr Bercow has done to merit such hatred and loathing.

Guido Fawkes has discovered (or, more likely, been sent by a 'stop Bercow' co-conspirator) this photograph dating from the late 80’s which purports to show John Bercow addressing the Glasgow Rangers Supporters Club. There is apparently the Rangers / red hand Ulster Defence Association poster on the wall behind him. It is reported that he heartily led the signing of some traditional Rangers songs, the lyrics of which Cranmer could not possibly reproduce here, not least because he has no means of corroborating their authenticity.

Cranmer had no idea that Mr Bercow was such a hot Prod in his past. Indeed, His Grace wonders how Mr Bercow has managed to lie so low and avoid the ‘bigotry’ radar of those very clever investigative journalists whose sole purpose in life is to expose anti-Catholic conspiracies and root out bigotry from under every cornflake. There was a time when a little residual anti-Catholicism was what made the English English. Certainly, through the Whig-Tory conflagrations of yesteryear, it forged the identity of the modern Conservative Party. But John Bercow appears to have rather more in his closet than is acceptable to the postmodern party: it would be no small irony if Michael Martin, Parliament’s first Roman Catholic Speaker since the Reformation, were to be replaced by a Sash-singing sectarian.

The Scottish Daily Record is already on to the case.

More 'stop Brecow' smearing?

Cranmer doubts the Daily Record is in cahoots with Mrs Dorries, who is even less likely to be conspiring with Mr Fawkes, who is even less likely to be part of a ‘Tory plot’ to ‘stop Bercow’. As with all such operations, it is not so much collusion and carefully-laid strategy as the coinciding of disparate and independent efforts to thwart the possibility.

The newspaper reveals that Mr Fawkes’ photograph dates back to a meeting of the ‘ultra-right Federation of Conservative Students’. This, of course, is unforgivable. One could overlook an address to the ultra-left Federation of Socialists Students, especially if Mr Bercow had also been singing anti-Protestant songs in a Celtic club. Such a revelation would do his quest to be speaker no harm at all. But knowing the words to ‘The Sash’ and singing about the IRA hunger striker Bobby Sands are beyond the pale.

And so John Bercow has been replaced by Labour's Margaret Beckett as favourite to be elected as Speaker. The fact that he has repented of his Protestant past and turned his back on his ultra-Right heritage do not appear to be helping his campaign.

Perhaps if he were to indicate his intention to follow Mr Blair across the Tiber, and ‘do God’ in the Roman fashion a little more convincingly and infinitely more contritely, he may win back a few votes on Monday. How else may one overcome ‘sectarian shame’?

Friday, June 19, 2009

MPs expenses - the humorous side

Cranmer is highly amused by this from The Daily Mail:


And this from The Times:



And this from The Daily Telegraph:


Any others gratefully received, for they lift His Grace's spirits immeasurably.

MPs expenses – concealed, censored, blacked out and redacted

This must be Gordon Brown’s concept of ‘transparency’ to restore the public’s faith in the democratic system. Rather like his assertion that the inquiry into the Iraq war had to be held in camera, the heavily-censored presentation of MPs expenses seems designed purposely to frustrate the public will and heighten the sense of disgust and distrust.

Polly Toynbee on last night’s Question Time said ‘redacted’ was a new word.

But she writes for The Guardian.

Cranmer has no problem with redaction, for some information ought to be confidential – telephone numbers, bank details and the like.

But the scale of the blacking-out on these expense claims is preposterous, not least because The Daily Telegraph has already shone a light in the darkness and revealed facts which the Parliamentary Fees Office is now concealing. These receipts would not have revealed the most appalling abuses like tax avoidance by ‘flipping’ or ‘double-dipping’. And neither would we have learned about phantom mortgages, moat cleaning or duck houses. One is left with the impression of collusion and cover-up.

But what is the point of colluding to cover up that which has already been disclosed?

Cranmer is bemused by the gross effort which has been expended in order to censor these expenses claims, and he has a little gripe:

It has cost the taxpayer almost £2million to prepare more than a million receipts for publications – sorting, scanning, redacting and posting them onto a website.

So far, MPs have paid back in the region £500,000.

The taxpayer has paid £1.5million for a million useless pieces of paper. This is the wasteful, bureaucratic, inefficient state.

The Daily Telegraph has published the uncensored version of the expenses files, providing a far better and fully ‘transparent’ service to the public at a very reasonable price: in fact, you only pay for it (paltry pence) if you want it. They have made available all the important details and intend publishing on their website the hundreds of pages of claims which were removed altogether before the expense files were published. Further, they intend to publish a special, glossy 68-page magazine supplement detailing the claims made by every sitting MP.

Cranmer thanks God for The Daily Telegraph.

Perhaps the Barclay brothers might consider donating the £1.5million shortfall from their vast reserves and the extra income derived from this scoop in order to mitigate and indeed totally eradicate the costs to the innocent taxpayer. What a generous act of Christian charity that would be.

Thursday, June 18, 2009

Catholic Care adoption agency faces £75,000 legal bill

Cranmer exhorted the excellent adoption agency Catholic Care (Diocese of Leeds) to bring their case to court instead of simply complying with the legislation which sought to undermine millennia of Christian tradition. And so they did, appealing against the Charity Commission's refusal to grant them permission to change their constitution which would have permitted them to continue placing children exclusively with heterosexual couples. Catholic Care had wanted to use an exemption in the Equality Act (Sexual Orientation) Regulations 2007 that allows charities to discriminate if their constitutions permit it.

They lost, and the judgement of the Charity Tribunal is HERE.

And now they face a bill of £75,000, which the National Secular Society calls ‘the cost of bigotry’.

This was never about what might be best for the child, but rather how can the Government impose its politically-correct anti-discrimination agenda upon the Church. As other adoption agencies caved in, rolled over, gave up and voluntarily threw themselves on the smouldering faggots, Cranmer asked where was their backbone? Where was their moral fibre? Where was their conviction, their faith, their capacity to endure until the end?

Only Mark Wiggin, chief executive of Catholic Care, appeared to possess any of the stuff of which martyrs are made. Even their co-plaintiff, Father Hudson's Society, withdrew their appeal after a directions hearing, having already forked out £45,000. Mr Wiggin said: “There aren't many charities with reserves for that kind of expense. We have a base of Catholics who support us, but not every charity has that."

Cranmer would have started a collection to help defray these costs, but it transpires that the charity had an income of £4.2m in 2007/08.

They are presently considering an appeal to the High Court.

Again, Cranmer exhorts them to pursue this not only to the High Court but to the House of Lords and even to Her Majesty the Queen. Do not try to avoid persecution but instead pray for perseverance.

And if funding for such an undertaking be beyond the operating costs of Catholic Care, His Grace shall be delighted to open his Collection Plate and pour out the abundant generosity of his communicants to help defray their legal costs.

Blessed are they which are persecuted for righteousness' sake: for theirs is the kingdom of heaven. Blessed are ye, when men shall revile you, and persecute you, and shall say all manner of evil against you falsely, for my sake. Rejoice, and be exceeding glad: for great is your reward in heaven: for so persecuted they the prophets which were before you. Ye are the salt of the earth: but if the salt have lost his savour, wherewith shall it be salted? it is thenceforth good for nothing, but to be cast out, and to be trodden under foot of men. Ye are the light of the world. A city that is set on an hill cannot be hid. Neither do men light a candle, and put it under a bushel, but on a candlestick; and it giveth light unto all that are in the house. Let your light so shine before men, that they may see your good works, and glorify your Father which is in heaven.

Roman Catholic Church persecutes witches

Hubble bubble, there’s toil and trouble bubbling away in Shrewsbury since a coven of witches was prevented by the Roman Catholic Diocese from holding its annual Witches’ Ball in Our Lady’s Social Club (...Our Lady has a social club?). This is not the first such instance: a Baptist church has previously objected to yogic flyers using its facilities because of their ‘unchristian’ practice which ‘promoted other spiritualities’.

But the statutory obligation to accommodate witchcraft is precisely the sort of ‘clash of rights’ about which Cranmer has been warning for years. It is absurdly comic, but deadly real. Deadly, that is, in a spiritual sense, for what authentic church could possibly consent to facilitate witchcraft? What fellowship hath light with darkness? And it may be deadly in a literal sense too if these witches now see fit to curse the Diocese or stick pins into the Reverend John Joyce whose task it was to respond to these midnight hags.

Sandra Davis - High Priestess at the Crystal Cauldron - had reserved a room in Our Lady's Social Club, though she could not have disclosed the name of her organisation or the precise nature of the event. When she rang to make payment, she was informed that her Witches’ Ball could no longer be accommodated - despite having already printed tickets – and that another venue must be found.

The Reverend John Joyce explained: “Parish centres under our auspices let their premises on the understanding users and their organisations are compatible with the ethos and teachings of the Catholic Church. In this instance, we aren't satisfied such requirements are met.”

To which Witch Sandra responded: "I'm appalled. My congregation is shocked that in this day and age there can be such religious discrimination. We're normal people who follow an earth-based religion and want to enjoy ourselves. We thought we were bridging the gap with other religions but misconceptions still exist, like we sacrifice animals. Does the church check everyone's beliefs before allowing them in the club?”

They are normal people?

One glance at their picture establishes that their sense of normality is as warped as that of any other religious fanatic whose concept of weirdness and arrogated guardianship of orthodoxy presumes a perversely normative egocentricity. There are quite a few about, asserting their theological self righteousness and pontificating their puerile proclamations about what must be believed or performed; about who is good and who is bad. And some of these professing Christians might as well stick pins into the effigies of those they persecute, for they are devoid of love, joy, peace, patience.

But the High Priestess also talks of her ‘earth-based’ religion as though it were the lack of transcendence which renders Paganism anathema. And then she plays the ecumenical card, projecting on to the Roman Catholic Church a narrow-minded bigotry for refusing to ‘bridge the gap’ with Satan worship.

And before Cranmer is inundated with emails informing him that not all witches worship Satan and that even fewer sacrifice animals, he wishes to make it plain that he believes salvation is found in Christ alone, a logical corollary of which would be that witchcraft – white, black or pink and fluffy – leads to damnation.

In a later report of this story, Witch Sandra is quoted as saying: "It makes you think that there is still a little bit of that attitude from the past of the Catholics wanting to burn witches. I thought we had made progress, that we could accept other people's religious paths."

Well, Sandra, some have made progress and others are pathologically incapable of doing so: one person's progress is another's regress.

The acceptance of diverse religious paths is intrinsic to liberal democracy and tolerance of differing views is wholly necessary in a pluralist society. But the statutory obligation increasingly being placed upon churches to accommodate practices and beliefs which are antithetical to Christian teaching and tradition is the real persecution. It is uniquely the Christians who are being burned at the stake by Labour’s obsession with intolerant anti-discrimination and equality legislation.

Perhaps if the witches had all been lesbians, their case would have been incontrovertible.

Wednesday, June 17, 2009

Advertising abortion and condoms on television

For the first time in almost 50 years of their history, the UK’s Advertising Codes are being reviewed simultaneously. This is also the first time a review of the broadcast Codes has been administered by a body other than an agency of Government. The aim of the Code Review is ‘to ensure that the Codes continue to be relevant and effective, now and into the future, for the benefit of consumers and advertisers’.

And what could be more relevant than the contemporary obsession with sex, sex and sex?

And so it is proposed that adverts for abortion should be allowed on TV and radio, and that pregnancy advice services that do not provide abortion should have to state this explicitly in their adverts.

Cranmer has a problem with this.

A few years back, the pro-abortion lobby and abortion providers like BPAS and Marie Stopes promoted an effort in Parliament to change the law to ‘protect’ pregnant women from pregnancy advice services that do not provide abortion. The pro-abortion groups were worried that they were ‘losing customers’ to pro-life agencies. However, the law was not changed. The pro-abortion lobby now wants the ASA’s Broadcast Committee of Advertising Practice to change the code of practice both to allow abortion providers to advertise on TV and radio and to impose on anti-abortion groups a restriction similar to (but more dictatorial than) the unsuccessful parliamentary amendment.

The objective is to reduce the teenage pregnancy rate, which is the highest in Europe. It is curious that, at a time when all advertising for cigarettes and tobacco is banned in order to avoid promoting and propagating the habit, the move is towards permitting advertisements for abortion. If there is correlation between advertising and increased numbers smoking, how can there not be between advertising and increased numbers seeking abortion?

It is also proposed to permit advertisement for condoms.

Cranmer only has a problem with this if they are purposely screened around programmes aimed at young people and teenagers (and that includes most programmes up until about 10.00pm), which can only serve to promote promiscuity. After such a watershed, he has no problem with advertising condoms, for he is Anglican.

But advertising abortion is to draw favourable attention to murder. It is to describe the tortuous process in pleasant and attractive terms in order to influence women and girls of its benefits and to promote its merits above its demerits. Why otherwise would providers spend money promoting their services if they could not recoup their investment and profit further still?

The Broadcast Committee of the Advertising Standards Authority is conducting a consultation on its proposals until 19th June 2009. It will issue its conclusions in the Autumn. As part of the consultation, the Broadcasting committee is seeking the views of the general public. This means that the views of Cranmer’s readers and communicants will be taken into account.

After Friday, if you have not made your point, it will be assumed that you are either indifferent or that you approve.

Cranmer exhorts all who care about this to email the Code Policy Team at consult@cap.org.uk.

Their website recommends that if you write to them, you should include a response cover sheet. If you wish to email them, the link to this is on their website, but for convenience, you can download it from HERE.

His Grace does not need to patronise his readers and communicants with the usual letter-writing guidance which accompanies these sorts of pleas. He is sure that you are all capable of expressing how offensive and disturbing these proposals are, and how abhorrent and profoundly immoral it would be to shroud the horrors of abortion in lightness and joy and promote it in the same fashion as chocolate and instant coffee.

Tuesday, June 16, 2009

David Cameron offends the politically-correct Reich



Anyone would think he had endorsed the BNP or advocated paederasty. All he did was express a little humour - you remember, that quality of being amusing, the ability to take a joke, the capacity to communicate the comic, ironic or witty.

But the moment he says, 'Ver are yur papers?' in a mock German accent, with clear historic context which his audience appreciated, the humourless politically-correct police are mobilised to curse and condemn.

Appalling gaffe - racist, xenophobic, bigoted, etc., etc.

Zis ees absolutly appalink. Vatever happent to ze Briteesh sense of humur?

God has a sense of humour. After all, He made Gordon Brown in His image.

And the Old Testament is riddled with humour, Hebrew jokes and amusing puns.

Are politicians supposed to be devoid of humour? Has politics become the arid pursuit of the obsessively puritanical and the tediously sober?

Cranmer only wonders what self-censorship there is within David Cameron which would doubtless draw the line at impersonating a Pakistani accent.

Gordon Brown’s ‘inquiry’ into the Iraq war.

Inquiry: official investigation.

Investigation: rigorous examination, careful study, systematic search.

Can’t Gordon Brown do anything right? His announcement of the launch of an inquiry into the Iraq war (and its aftermath) is a ruse. It is political skulduggery masquerading as moral righteousness; duplicity and fraud clothed as veracity and good faith. It is more concerned with the political wars being waged against him at Westminster than it is with investigating the bombs in Basra.

The Iraq war has cost the lives of 179 British service personnel. They fought that we might be free; they gave their lives in order to defend liberal democracy and to permit the very sort of open inquiry which is only possible in a free state. One might think an investigation into the war might be transparent, in-depth, far-reaching, and able to apportion blame. It is the very least the dead are worth: it is what many families of fallen British troops want.

But Gordon Brown’s inquiry is none of the above. It is, as David Cameron suggested, ‘an establishment stitch-up’.

And if it is not, it certainly risks appearing so, and that, in politics, is all that really matters.

The Iraq war has already been subject to two official inquiries – Lord Butler looked into intelligence failures before the war and the Hutton inquiry examined the circumstances leading to the death of government adviser Dr David Kelly. There is little to suggest that Gordon Brown’s inquiry will go any further. It is to be chaired by Sir John Chilcot, a 70-year-old former mandarin considered ‘a safe pair of hands’. He was a member of the Butler review, and, according to Phillipe Sands QC, the international lawyer who closely followed that process, ‘it is not immediately apparent that he will have the backbone to take on former government ministers’.

Excellent.

The inquiry into the most significant foreign policy decision for a generation has a chairman with no backbone. He will not even be able to compel witnesses to attend: he will be constrained by their goodwill. And if they do attend, they will be at liberty to refuse to answer any question with which they are uncomfortable. And, as with all non-judicial inquiries, they will not be required to give evidence on oath, which somewhat diminishes the status of their testimony and the standing of the inquisition.

An investigation that is held in secret is immediately suspicious. And one that will not report until after the General Election is a blatant sop to those erstwhile Labour supporters who have since switched their allegiance to the Liberal Democrats (or to the BNP). The inquiry will have no political representation, no openness, no public session, no ‘systematic search’ for errors and no remit to apportion blame. One gets the feeling the outcome is foreordained: the terms of the inquiry are narrow and restrictive: they are hardly designed to inspire public confidence.

And it will all take a year.

How very convenient.

One can only hope that Prime Minister Cameron might swiftly amend the terms of reference and, at the very least, permit the investigators to apportion blame. What otherwise is the purpose of the inquiry? We are dealing with the facts of history: what on earth could there be to hide?

Unless the issue is the evidence which may be given by Tony Blair, who has long been suspected of having lied to the public and deceived Parliament on the run-up to the invasion. It is inconceivable that he would not attend, and one can but wonder at what he thinks of his successor’s decision to embroil him in such a murky and sullied saga just as he is persuading the world that he is a veritable angel of light, and right in the middle of his campaign to be the first President of Europe.

This inquiry will reveal nothing new, for it is not remotely concerned with uncovering truth. It is a monumental waste of taxpayers’ money designed to deflect attention from a dying government and a living-dead prime minister. Sadly, its principal effect will be to exacerbate the contempt in which politicians and the political process are already held.

Monday, June 15, 2009

Ken Clarke: If the Lisbon Treaty is ratified, we would indeed let matters rest there

It is considered an act of political immaturity or a childish obsession in some Conservative circles to ‘bang on about Europe’ when polls show that this issue is of little importance to the electorate and even alienates them. But when a member of the Party’s front bench ‘clarifies’ what David Cameron and William Hague have hitherto refused to make explicit, the issue is certainly worth a little rattle.

When Andrew Lansley ‘clarified’ Conservative spending plans on the NHS and mooted a 10 per cent cut, he was reprimanded and allegedly threatened with dismissal. Conservatives who favour cuts in services are muted: one cannot have senior front benchers making explicit that which the ‘inner council’ has decreed shall be implicit, latent and concealed. Yet when the issue is European Union, it appears that Ken Clarke is free to speak because ‘everyone knows what his thoughts are on the matter’. And for him to equivocate would be an unacceptable act of gross hypocrisy. So he makes it clear that if, come the next general election, the Lisbon Treaty has been ratified by all member states, the Conservative Party would not seek to re-open the issue.

Hitherto, David Cameron and William Hague have promised that if they come to office to find the treaty in force, they would ‘not let matters rest there’. They have spoken of competences being repatriated and the invocation of the subsidiarity principle, but have never explained what or how. Without any unraveling of the Lisbon web, their objective would be unattainable. And here we have, for the first time, the express view that ‘we would not let matters rest there’ does not mean they would hold a post-ratification referendum. There would be no ‘solemn Treaty renegotiation’ – the Constitution for Europe, although unacceptable to the Party prior to ratification, would become acceptable unequivocally, simply by virtue of it having been ratified by all EU member states.

This is a very great pity.

Not to say a big disappointment.

What badness is it which is made good simply by virtue of unanimous ratification? How can something not be in the British national interest and then become so simply because 26 foreign states believe it to be in theirs?

But Cranmer is puzzled by something further. Mr Clarke said that he decided to re-join the Conservative front bench because the Party is ‘less Eurosceptic than it was’.

When? Under which leader?

It is the Conservative Party under David Cameron which is removing itself from the ‘ever-closer-union’ obsessions of the EPP. It is the Conservative Party under David Cameron which is, for the first time, forging a mainstream ‘opposition’ group in the European Parliament. It is the Conservative Party under David Cameron which has pledged ‘a massive, sweeping, radical redistribution of power’. This, he said, had to be ‘from the state to citizens; from the government to parliament; from Whitehall to communities. From Brussels to Britain; from judges to the people; from bureaucracy to democracy. Through decentralisation, transparency and accountability we must take power away from the political elite and hand it to the man and woman in the street.’

The Leader has said there will be a ‘massive, sweeping, radical redistribution of power...from the EU to Britain’.

Unless, of course, Ken Clarke knows something we don’t.

Sunday, June 14, 2009

Iran votes for the ‘divine assessment’

Mahmoud Ahmadinejad is a conviction politician – the sort apparently most admired for their principled stand against the prevailing orthodoxy, whatever it happens to be. He is convicted that he is a politician, and convicted of his convictions. And in a free and fair election involving some 40 million people with an 85 per cent turn-out, he is convicted of his convincing victory, which was so convincing that the freedom and fairness of this election must have been preternaturally magnified and ineffably enhanced in order that Iran might be seen to be the ‘role model and saviour’ of the world.

The Principle-ist won an impressive 63 per cent of the vote, having stood on a platform of maintaining the institutional status quo, sustaining anti-Western attitudes and progressing a nuclear programme. He is the one who has been chosen to lead Iran out of recession and to tackle falling oil prices, government overspending, high inflation and chronic unemployment.

And to pursue his global vision – the death of capitalism, the eradication of Israel, and the founding of a new caliphate.

President Ahmadinejad is devoted to the Hidden Imam, the Messiah-like figure of Shi’a Islam, and he will now be emboldened in his belief that his government must prepare the country for the return of the Mahdi – the divine saviour who will appear at the End of Days in the company of Isa (Jesus). President Ahmadinejad’s manifesto and entire political strategy – domestic and foreign – is predicated upon this eschatological religio-political event. His military involvement in Syria, Lebanon, Egypt and Iraq is purposely designed to agitate against Israel to hasten the Last Day.

This election was not remotely democratic. Iran is ruled under a system known as Velayat-e Faqih, or ‘Rule by the Supreme Jurist’, who is presently Ayatollah Ali Khamenei. He wields ultimate power, by the will of Allah. He has urged all Iranians, including the losers, to support the re-elected president, describing the result as a cause of ‘real celebration’. He declared: "Enemies may want to spoil the sweetness of this event... with some kind of ill-intentioned provocations." The result, he asserted, was a ‘divine assessment’.

Iran’s clerics are the guardians of Shi’a theology and it is their task to ensure that all legislation complies with Islamic law. Although they are riddled with division, they are united by one aspect of foreign policy – the destruction of Israel. For they hold to the divine promise made in the Al-Israa Sura (Sura 17) that they will liberate the Al-Aqsa Mosque – the first 'Kaba' to the Muslims – and will enter it as they have entered it the first time (Sura 17, ayat 7). And the prophetic foundation is the message of Mohammad that Islam will enter every house and will spread over the entire world.

President Ahmadinejad has pledged his life to the ‘liberation of Palestine’, and he now has four more years to fulfil the divine will.

This is Iran’s final solution.

And the world’s Obamageddon.

Saturday, June 13, 2009

Is Nick Griffin MEP worse than Gerry Adams MP?


Look here, upon this picture, and on this,
The counterfeit presentment of two brothers.

While Harriet Harman blackmails the Conservative Party into supporting her odious Equality Bill on the grounds that it will render the constitution of the BNP illegal, Cranmer is disturbed to read the wording of two EDMs quite obviously aimed solely and specifically at newly-elected MEPs Nick Griffin and Andrew Brons.

Whatever one may think of them personally or their political views, both are members of a (presently) legally-constituted political party and their election to office was free and fair. It has been convention for decades that those who are elected to the European Parliament are entitled to high security passes to the Houses of Parliament.

But Labour’s John Mann MP, who chairs the All-Party Parliamentary Group against Antisemitism, has decided that this is no longer acceptable, and so produced an EDM to withdraw such passes. He has been joined by his honourable friends Andrew Dismore, Andrew Gwynne, Desmond Turner, Jon Cruddas, John Grogan, Kelvin Hopkins, Lynne Jones and Mike Hancock.

Curiously, there is a second EDM making essentially the same demand, initiated by John McDonnell and signed by Kelvin Hopkins, David Taylor, Alan Simpson, Neil Gerrard, Mike Wood, Jeremy Corbyn, David Drew, Katy Clark and Linda Riordan, Lynne Jones, Andrew Dismore, Mike Hancock and Stephen Williams.

John Mann has obviously decided not to endorse the competition. You would think, after 12 years in government, that they might have learned to coordinate their efforts.

But Cranmer is disturbed by this crass attempt to limit democratically-elected members of the BNP from the Palace of Westminster. Have they planted bombs? Have they murdered members of the police or the armed forces? Have they attempted to assassinate the Prime Minister, members of the Government or members of the Royal Family? Have they stabbed people in the heart, gouged out their eyes or shot them in the kneecaps? Have they smuggled guns and mortars, or formed and maintained an illegal army, involved themselves in acts of terrorism or threatened the very foundations of the British State?

Quite why the signatories to these EDMs are more concerned by the presence of Nick Griffin in Parliament than they are by the unrepentant terrorist Gerry Adams is utterly bemusing. Of course, Mssrs Adams and McGuinness were elected to the House of Commons, but they have barred themselves from it by refusing to swear allegiance to the Crown. Indeed, they sustain an unashamed antipathy towards British institutions and to the Constitution. This ought to be sufficient to bar them from Parliament, yet not only have they been granted security passes, they are able to claim millions of pounds from the taxpayer to run their offices. This arrangement has always been opposed by the Conservatives and Unionists.

As repugnant as the majority may find the views espoused by the BNP, Mssrs Griffin and Brons were elected to public office with the assent of almost a million people and ought therefore to be free to enjoy the access to Parliament granted by convention to other MEPs. They hold views which they are entitled to hold, and seek to propagate policies which run counter to the prevailing political orthodoxy. They are not the first to do so, and they will certainly not be the last. But if one conspires to silence them in order to limit their exposure and hinder their message, one begins to persecute and martyr them in exactly the same fashion as Margaret Thatcher attempted to mute members of Sinn Féin/IRA in order to deprive them of ‘the oxygen of publicity’.

It may have taken 20 years, but they ended up in government. They presently have five MPs, two MEPs and 27 MLAs - all able to come and go exactly as they please.
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