The importance of praying for Gordon
His Grace would like it to be known that he is an avid supporter of Gordon Brown. This support is sincere and wholehearted. He thanks God for him, and prays for him day and night as he is exhorted to do (1Tim 2:1-4). He wishes him good health and a hugely successful conference. May all those plotting his downfall be confounded. May his enemies be scattered, and those who wish him ill fall under their own curse. May he be preserved by his shield and protected by armour, and may those who seek to politically undermine or publicly humiliate him be silenced and bound.
It seems vogue to suffix all manner of verbiage with ‘con’ these days. Daniel Hannan MEP and Douglas Carswell MP profess to be an Obamacons – Conservatives for Obama – and they seem able to sleep at night.
Well, Cranmer is a Gordocon. If the term has not yet been coined, let it be so now. For His Grace’s support is sincere. And there is no philosophical contradiction or oxymoronic tension.
Gordon Brown is the Conservative Party’s guarantee of victory at the next General Election. If he remains, the shift in public opinion towards David Cameron will be just as seismic as it was for Tony Blair in 1997. Any replacement leader will pose a threat to the Conservative Party, though the magnitudes will differ.
Jack Straw will have popular appeal – he is safe and secure. David Miliband has the brains for PMQs, but all the charisma of a dung beetle. John Cruddas is eloquent and forceful. James Purnell is young and charming. Ed Balls - Cranmer won't waste his time. Harriet Harman is cold and calculating, but the thought of Labour’s first woman prime minister will capture the popular imagination. Alan Johnson will be profoundly dangerous, for it is difficult not to like the man. He is Labour’s Ken Clarke, with an affable blokish familiarity, a warmth and a genuine concern. John Reid would also be a challenge for the Conservatives. His experience is formidable, having held most of the great offices of state. He is a thug in private, and persuasive in public. And Hazel Blears might just get Cranmer’s vote, purely for the entertainment factor.
None of these, of course, may present the Conservative Party with any long-term threat. But with rumours of a leadership contest, the emergence of a shiny new leader would yield a honeymoon period during which a general election would swiftly be called. Disenchanted Liberal Democrats might flock to Labour, and those erstwhile Labour voters who deserted their party over Iraq or any of the recent policy fiascos might be persuaded to give a new leader the benefit of the doubt.
So Cranmer is praying for Gordon Brown.
He is similarly praying for Cardinal Cormac Murphy-O’Connor.
He has given up praying for Archbishop Rowan Williams.
But he reserves his most fervent intercessions for the Bishop of Rochester, and he hopes to see the day that David Cameron permits the name of Michael Nazir-Ali to be put to Her Majesty in consideration for the See of Canterbury.