Dominic Grieve: ‘The role of Christianity is really rather important’
He talks of the ‘cultural despair’ felt by the indigenous population, and the alienation felt by immigrants as ‘UK values’ are no longer articulated, and so cannot be understood.
As Mr Grieve warned against downplaying Britain's Christian heritage, he said: "We've actually done something terrible to ourselves in Britain. In the name of trying to prepare people for some new multicultural society we've encouraged people, particularly the sort of long-term inhabitants, to say 'well your cultural background isn't really very important'."
And so multiculturalism has ‘created a vacuum’ and ‘encouraged support for extremists on both sides’.
He then specifies the Islamist terror group Hizb ut-Tahrir on the one hand, and the BNP on the other. It is a pity he did not take the opportunity to point out a crucial difference between these two obnoxious polarities. While both may be typified by a distasteful antipathy to some other, only one of these extremist groups despises democracy to the extent that it resorts to violence and murder to achieve its ends. Only one of these pours scorn upon ‘UK values’.
And so Mr Grieve offers an antidote, but this in itself may be perceived as ‘extremist’, for it is probably one which members of the BNP would accord. He says: “...the part played by Christianity in Britain should not be ignored. The role of Christianity is really rather important. It can't just be magicked out of the script. It colours many of the fundamental viewpoints of British people, including many who've never been in a church."
But this Christianity is Protestant - the foundation of the nation's liberties - and at the last General Election it was the Conservative Party’s policy to repeal the Act of Settlement which, it must be observed, many Roman Catholic tolerate because it ensures an expression of Christianity at the heart of government. An established semi-Protestant Church of England is better than no established church, even if it is a reminder of the concerns of a bygone era. But it is not so bygone for some inhabitants of the UK, yet this debate has been confined to Belfast or parts of Scotland.
The demands for repeal of the Act of Settlement (without consideration of the implications for the Act of Union and other great constitutional treaties) do not only come from New Labour and The Guardian; there is a movement within the Conservative Party to unravel the Christian foundations of the nation as well. So when Mr Grieve talks passionately about civil liberties or 'the role of Christianity’, Cranmer would like to know if Mr Grieve intends ignoring the particular brand of Christianity which guaranteed the nation's liberties and was enshrined by statute three centuries ago to ensure that the Supreme Governor of the Church of England would be Christian and Protestant 'for ever’. He would also like to know why Conservative opposition to the repeal of the blasphemy laws was principally left to prominent Roman Catholics and a non-practising Jew. The only member of the Church of England to speak from the Conservative benches was Gerald Howarth. Where was Mr Grieve’s Anglican conviction then? While Ann Widdecombe, Edward Leigh and Bill Cash fought tooth and claw for the retention of laws which relate specifically to the Church of England, Mr Grieve was mute. Does he believe such laws - which underpin the Christian foundations of the nation - to be obsolete and otiose?
While the Shadow Home Secretary may bemoan the gradual diminution or the systematic eradication of the nation's Christian heritage and identity, he offers no solutions, no policies for revival, no religio-political strategies for resurrection. We are beyond soothing and sympathetic words, and yet these usefully conceal his essential support for the EU world order and his advocacy of the ECHR mantra of 'rights' which is antithetical to any notion of Christendom.
We might all agree that ‘multiculturalism’ now belongs to a bygone era. But there is plainly inter and intra-party division on what expression of Christianity must be asserted. And even the word ‘asserted’ is fraught with difficulties, for the age demands ‘neutrality’ and ‘equality’ in the religious realm, and it is perfectly obvious to those who have eyes and ears that the maintenance of the Established Church or the propagation by government of the Christian faith can be neither of these.