Thursday, April 17, 2008

The Bishop and the BNP

Cranmer rather likes the Bishop of Durham, notwithstanding his irrational aversion to Margaret Thatcher. He has written an open letter warning that people are in danger of ‘giving up hope’ on the main political parties, and that Britain faces the ‘unwelcome news’ of the BNP making potential inroads. The letter reads as follows:

Subject: Local elections and BNP from Bishop Tom

Dear Friends,

With local elections coming up, we face again the unwelcome news of the BNP making potential inroads in our region. Splendid work has been done to counter this by several clergy working with local community leaders, for instance in distributing the pamphlet, ‘Hope Not Hate’. I want to urge all of you to get involved in this effort in whatever local sphere you can.
However, we should also be aware that the reason the BNP can even gain a foothold in people’s affections is because many people in our region feel so disaffected after the last thirty years of national politics that they are in danger of giving up hope in our regular main parties. This isn’t anybody’s fault in particular. But when a party like the BNP seems to be gaining ground we should all ask the question: ‘Why is there a vacuum there that the other parties aren’t filling?’. What frustrations are there that the BNP are exploiting, and what are the wise ways of reacting to, or even meeting, those needs?

It is one thing to point out, as many have already done, the neo-Nazi tendencies of the BNP, and to warn with a shudder against our society even taking a small step in any such direction. It is another to say, How can we drain the swamp so that this kind of ideology won’t breed again?
None of us (in other words) can be complacent. Opposing the BNP isn’t simply a matter of saying ‘the status quo is working fine, so please reject these idiots’. It should be a matter of saying, ‘What does a healthy society look like and how can we make it clear to our whole population that we are working in the best ways towards that goal?’ Part of the calling of the churches, following Jesus in his work of bringing God’s kingdom, must be to help communities ask that question and to work with them towards finding robust and positive answers.

Warm greetings and good wishes,

Bishop Tom
The Bishop of Durham, Auckland Castle.

This is precisely the sort of thing that bishops ought to be doing. The Enlightenment division between religion and politics is an artificial construct, and anyone with any real understanding of political science and theology will understand that the two are fused.

And yet while Cranmer is admiring of the Bishop for his foray into politics, he is disappointed that his politics is awry.

For many living in his local area, they have experienced first-hand the impact of immigrant workers on their community, especially the uncontrolled hordes emigrating from Eastern Europe. Young people now find it hard to find work, and the sense of resentment is palpable. And HM Government is powerless to do anything about it, for the free movement of peoples is an inextricable right under the founding principles of the EU.

When these people hear Gordon Brown promise ‘British jobs for British workers’, their ears prick up and they wait in hope. And they wait, and wait, and wait. And then they hear that he cannot deliver on his pledge, and so they turn to a party that promises the same – the BNP. And they then hear that the BNP is no longer really racist, but just mildly nationalist, with pride in English culture and heritage. And they are really promising British jobs for British workers, and explaining how they intend to do it. And because these young people desperately want a job, they are tempted to vote for the BNP, as Bishop Tom observes, but he has no compassion for or understanding of the journey these young people have travelled to get to where they are. It is not that they are pro-BNP: it is simply that they want a job; they want to feel kinship with their neighbours; they want to live in safe communities and bring up their families; and they want the same for their children, and their children’s children.

The BNP may be nothing more than a bunch of racist thugs masquerading under a political banner, preying on the disenchanted, thriving on hatred and resentment. But it is indeed the chronic impotence and perceived irrelevance of the main political parties that is fuelling their rise. And history tells of one or two odious individuals who have been elected to office when the people decide that they have simply had enough of being deceived, manipulated, ignored and lied to.

And this, dear Bishop, is indeed someone’s fault in particular, and there is no sin in apportioning blame. Perhaps you might focus on this in your next epistle.


Anonymous Anonymous said...

Your Grace,
To begin at the beginning, "Bishop Tom"? What sort of person would start with that, it devalues the message before it even begins. His ramble then gets worse, of course sombody is at fault, fatuous creatures like himself. The three main parties have and are still consistently lying whilst selling out the Country so what can you expect people to do.

17 April 2008 at 11:36  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

People are also concerned that the very fabric of their country is being changed and no one apart from the BNP seems willing to do anything about it.

Leicester will shortly become the first city in the uk that has a minority white population. I imagine the good people of the North East do not wish to share this fate. Why should they? Surely not because a bunch of trendies tell them thay should be happy about it.

For a lot of people a vote for the BNP is a desperate last throw of the dice.

17 April 2008 at 12:04  
Anonymous Vincent McKenzie said...

Just another self righteous pig!
They love the sound of their own voice, they love to condemn everyone else and take the moral high ground as if they have all the answers. These self righteous pigs have ruined the church. There is no place in church for the modern working classes, no real welcome or empathy. The frustrating part for me is that these bastards refuse any responsibility for the present shambles. Try being a Christian in this materialistic culture we have created, its dog eat dog. All I have to say to Bishop Tom is crawl back in your den and shut your stupid gob.

17 April 2008 at 12:14  
Blogger Cranmer said...


His Grace wonders whatever happened to his stipulation for intelligent and erudite comment...

17 April 2008 at 12:17  
Anonymous Vincent McKenzie said...

My humble apologies your grace!
It's a very emotive subject for me, and I sometimes feel that it's necessary sometimes to blow off in order to penetrate the veneer of conceit that surrounds their self opinionated world.
What have these people ever done in order to prevent the appalling state of apostasy within their own church? Christ sacrificed his life, as did many of the Saints, but the modern day apostle is quite a wobbly blancmange by all accounts.

17 April 2008 at 12:30  
Blogger Alfred of Wessex said...

Your Grace,

What choice do the indigenous population of England have when their views are completely ignored by mainstream politicians?

I am wary of many versions of proportional representation due to the political instability in many countries that use it, and heartily despise the 'list' system which denies me any say in who will represent me (see the recently exposed shenanigans in the choice of Conservative candidates for the elections to the European 'parliament').

However, the combination of our 'first past the post' system and a situation where all three "constitutional" parties either actively promote (Labour, Liberal) or silently acquiesce in (Conservative) positive discrimination in favour of certain ethnic and religious minorities and the continued balkanization and creeping Islamization of England mean that indigneous English people will remain completely disenfranchised.

Is it any wonder that in desperation we turn to the only party that dares to articulate our concerns and fears?

If our fears and concerns continue to be ignored, violence against both those perceived as a threat and those perceived as betraying their own people will inevitably follow.

17 April 2008 at 12:49  
Anonymous Voyager said...

I find the interventions of Churchmen into political life welcome. I sometimes wonder about interventions into party politics.

When I hear the Church speak out on issues such as Abortion, Gene Manipulation, Euthanasia, Discrimination against Christians in Muslim countries or even in this country; I feel they are upholding their office and Christian Belief.

I do not however hear them speak out on such issues. Rather I hear them as advocates for a Guardian Weltanschauung and advocates of what can only be described as academic senior Common Room viewpoints divorced from the world of the laity.

I am particularly irritated at the Church affiliating itself with Unite Against Fascism which is little more than a front for The Socialist Workers' Party.

It is the somewhat odd predeliction of clergy in this country (and elsewhere) to echo the old solgan Pas d'Ennemis a Gauche !

17 April 2008 at 13:12  
Anonymous racist thug said...

I don't think there is anything that can be done to stop the rise of the BNP. If you go to the meetings you will see ordinary people, upset, disenfranchised, unrepresented, disillusioned and now very rebellious. To keep chanting racist thugs will only serve to enthuse support: the only real solution would be to actually address some of the concerns of these ordinary people. And this is why I don't think the BNP will have anything to worry about, because there seems to be no intention what so ever to change anything. Church leaders have no clue, they have forgotten what their role is. They think of themselves as academics and guardians of higher intelligence: pursuers of careers, riddled with worldly ambition; shy and embarrassed to extol the Gospel. If Christ is Lord, and there is any truth in the New Testament, then these people should be fighting tooth and nail to restore peace and hope in the name of Christ. But no, what are they doing, name calling the very people who they should be supporting and educating and guiding and everything else that true believers and ambassadors of Christ should be doing. If this is too embarrassing for them, then find a job with a more worldly role, and certainly do not start name calling and preaching the odds when you have been sitting on your laurels for many years living off the fat of the land while the peasantry has been starving.

17 April 2008 at 13:13  
Anonymous Cinnamon said...

Your Grace,

voting for the BNP is the only thing that really annoys and scares politicians, it's the ultimate 'no confidence' vote.

On the bright side, there is the thought that if the BNP does get successful, it's actual character will change -- mainly because English people are easy-going and tolerant.

17 April 2008 at 13:22  
Anonymous posh john said...

The reason why they keep chanting "racist thugs" is to play on the conceited fears of the middle classes. They are aware of the fact that the BNP mostly represents the working classes at the moment and they know that once the middle classes and higher begin to flood in (which is inevitable given the present bearings) their days will be numbered. But if this is the only strategy being implemented, then the flood gates are already creaking their final screams.

17 April 2008 at 13:27  
Blogger ENGLISHMAN said...

Your Grace,you use the phrase "racist thug"can you give us any examples of the BNP engaging in this practice,can you substantiate your accusations?indeed all the violence of the past decade has been directed at the BNP,by urinate against freedom and searchlies,both organisations explicitly encourage violence on thier websites,and thier list of affiliates reads like a whos who in parliament,livingstone is thier chairman,the boy recently joined,and the entire marxist party that sold this country out are active members,it sounds to me like a definite case of transference(psychology).
There was a time in this country when people were mature enough to dis-agree and recognise the other persons right to hold whatever views he wished ,with out recourse to violence,indeed even you wish to restore the values that we grew up with which successive administrations have willfully destroyed,we have seen how wonderfully these three parties have conducted the affairs of our country,and we have witnessed thier deliberate destruction of all that we hold dear,now it is time to give the other fellow his chance to put things right,or at least try,but it is certain that we can not allow things to go on as they are, with our entire nation at the mercy of these traitors whos only concern is to fill thier pockets as fast as possible and damn the rest of us.

17 April 2008 at 13:42  
Blogger Homophobic Horse said...

On the BNP: I believe Nick Griffin once recommend that people deal with immigration with "well aimed boots and fists".

Also, the BNP remain at heart a National Socialist party. Islam is just a demagogic token to be exploited for all it's worth.

17 April 2008 at 14:56  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

Your Grace,

In response to 'homophobic horse' I would just say this:

You may well be right in your analysis but as BNP votes are in effect the nuclear option for those who feel completely disinfranchised your arguements will not have much effect. Those that vote for them will be aware of their history but may now feel they have no other options.

It now looks like a BNP breakthrough of sorts may be the only way to get the main parties to finally pay these people and their concerns some attention. If they do this then further BNP growth can be curtailed. It is simple really.

17 April 2008 at 15:15  
Blogger Dark_Heretic said...

Your Grace,

The three main political parties are sowing the seeds of their own destruction by ignoring the very people who they're meant to represent.

Unfortunatly I cannot give it the correct name as I cannot remember it but I think we're fast approaching our very own 'weirmacht moment'. The moment defined in history when Austria and Germany lurched to the right and started the march to war.

As we 'allegedly' live in a free country we are entitled to vote for who we think would act on our hopes and dreams, not as is currently 'de rigeur' playing on our fears. If people did vote BNP maybe the main parties would sit up and take note. Maybe they'd even do something rather than just talk about it.

BUT and this is the cruncher if BNP did wipe the floor and become one of the main parties in the UK would the EU allow it? Under EU law all political parties have to be approved by them. I cannot see the EU allowing the BNP to hold office. What happens then?

17 April 2008 at 16:19  
Blogger dizzyfatplonka said...

I believe the vacuum thats been created in our politics is due to EU Common Purpose.
Our choice has become one between Communism or Nationalism when it comes to the political arena.

17 April 2008 at 16:52  
Anonymous billy said...

If the Bishop were campaigning for Muslims to become Christians because none can be saved except through Christ I'd think his intervention useful. As it is, whatever happens he will be safe in his 'palace'. There will be a guard available for hs door. His words are empty and offer no help for the English Protestant.

17 April 2008 at 17:09  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

Swamp or swamps? The Tooting Popular Front unfortunately still happily hero worships dictators as they destroy the very fabric of our nation. All sides of the coin should be looked at equally when taking a stand against extremes, but it seems that some poisonous slug bait has had it rather easy. Funny as it may seem, some people do not like the way Britain is being radically changed with lies and treasonous deception by self-serving pigs. So yes let us drain the ideological swamps of scumbags – slimy toad Ken Livingstone should be high on the list of those given their marching orders.

17 April 2008 at 17:43  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

The Bishop of Durham is typical of the majority of his type in the CoE.

They are completely out of touch with normal people who have to live with the day to day realities of the invading hordes from eastern Europe and the like.

17 April 2008 at 18:16  
Blogger Bert Rustle said...

cranmer wrote ... The BNP may be nothing more than a bunch of racist thugs masquerading under a political banner, preying on the disenchanted, thriving on hatred and resentment. ...

cranmer wrote ... His Grace wonders whatever happened to his stipulation for intelligent and erudite comment... ...

I wonder as well.

Homophobic Horse Linked to a Lawrence Auster article, which linked to a one hour video of Nick Griffin giving a presentation without a teleprompter and not simply reading verbatim from notes. I have never seen such a presentation before by a politician and I do not recollect having watched such a lengthy political presentation before and the video does not state “Islam is just a demagogic token to be exploited for all it's worth.”, rather that it is an obvious manifestation of the failure of Multiculturalism with which many people will be aware of.

In my opinion, the presentation by Nick Griffin is outstanding, especially when compared to the output of the representatives of the various wings of the Establishment Party.

Furthermore, unlike the representatives of the various wings of the Establishment Party, those of the BNP pay a heavy personal price without enjoying substantial personal enrichment.

17 April 2008 at 20:55  
Anonymous Terry said...

Today's politicians ought simply to ask would-be BNP supporters why they intend to vote that way, and just shut up to hear their answers. They could then if they chose address those issues, but they ought not to condemn such voters without hearing from them first.

17 April 2008 at 22:22  
Anonymous wrinkled weasel said...

The failure of these ruling classes is a moral one. That is what this blog is about; the interface between morality and governance, or more precisely, Christianity and governance. People sense something is wrong; perhaps the lack of moral absolutes or perhaps a lack of vision.

The issue of the BNP is a kind of talisman of liberty. It represents the groan of a disenfranchised moral majority who have seen their hegemony, such as it was, eroded. To see ordinary people considering a vote for a putative fascist party is to see reasoned rational souls going to the Mad Hatter's Tea Party because it is the only show in town.

When the ruling classes lack a sense of empathy with those they rule the result is discontent and mutiny. Society is a construct. It is tenuous at the best of times but right now it is downright friable.

What is keeping it together is a series of specious "terror" threats and a war predicated on lies, where even the combatants are demoralised and treated as lepers. There is also the issue of scapegoating and the way in which New Labour has encouraged a new type of martyrdom which allows the numerically weak to tyrannise the majority. I mean the way in which, for example, homosexuals can manage to dominate the adoption agenda or how Islamic criminals appear to get priviledges not accorded to non-Muslims. This is anti-democracy in action, sanctioned by a nihilist ruler; an ochtocracy decreed by moral bankruptcy.

Then there is the appalling loss of local power. Rousseau was not happy with the idea that towns should cede their powers to the state - God knows what he would think of the European Union.

All in all, a vote for the BNP is a cry for help. Perhaps even a sophisticated way of saying "none of the above". How dare people suggest it is abhorrent. Where do they get their authority? Where?

Modern governance ditched moral absolutes when they adopted existentialist thinking as God. They now have no right to criticise when people chose an alternative.

17 April 2008 at 23:13  
Anonymous Voyager said...

Most of the liberties in this country originated from "hard cases" and from men considered disreputable to "polite society"

John Wilkes for example. It is not the comfortable and the affluent who preserve liberty but the grains of sand in the oyster. This society has become group-obsessive and lost sight of Liberty in favour of Legal Posivitism.

If Elections are to be free and fair and the basis of the polity than DEbate must be permitted on terms other than those dictated by those in control. Democracy is for The Opposition not the Government.

18 April 2008 at 06:47  
Anonymous Homophobic Horse said...

This has been one of the best and most erudite threads I've read for a long time. The BNP are truly a touch stone issue for our time.

That said, on those who propose voting for the BNP on a strategic level, I say be careful what you wish (vote) for. If there is a serious BNP victory and they haven't changed there will be an aggressive backlash and politics will lurch to the left. Perhaps permanently given that this country probably has only 10 years left without 'heroic measures'.

18 April 2008 at 21:43  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

To the many who have commented above I recognise the deep sense of blind anger that infuses the soul.

I commend you to The English Democrats Party wherein you may find a home that will bind up your wounds.

18 April 2008 at 22:23  
Anonymous British Patriot said...

The English Democrats are another EU Trojan Horse, What use Devolution when 90% of BRITISH Laws come from Brussels.

The only thing that People Know about the BNP is what our Media tells them.

Why not visit the Site, you can do so here :-

The ruling elite of All Parties all have Cuhy Jobs lined up In Brussels once the Deed is done and Britain and the British are No More.

24 April 2008 at 15:45  

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