Nick Clegg does God
What a pity.
When Nick Clegg came out as an atheist back in 2007, Cranmer was full of admiration.
His Grace said at the time that he would prefer to engage with an honest, self-confessed atheist than with a duplicitous hypocrite who professes to be Christian.
Mr Clegg appeared to be honest about what he believed.
Or, rather, what he didn’t believe.
But he seems to have an encounter with Jesus on the road to New Malden.
He was not quite blinded with scales over his eyes (except, of course, for the usual blindness which besets all Liberal Democrats). But according to The Daily Telegraph, he has written an article for The Church of England Newspaper in which he claims that Christian values are ‘central’ to his policies.
Unfortunately, the article is behind a pay-wall, so Cranmer is unable to fisk. If any readers or communicants are able to forward it, His Grace would be most appreciative (he is not prepared to waste a penny of his meagre stipend on a subscription to this rag).
Extracts quoted by The Telegraph include:
My objective is to make space in society for every individual to pursue their [sic] own beliefs, and to achieve their potential.Unless, of course, they happen to want a Christian education for their children.
They point out that Mr Clegg’s wife is a Roman Catholic. Mr Clegg has previously said: "I have enormous respect for people who have religious faith, I'm married to a Catholic and am committed to bringing my children up as Catholics. However, I myself am not an active believer, but the last thing I would do when talking or thinking about religion is approach it with a closed heart or a closed mind."
This is such a fair, reasonable and balanced perspective that it is something of a wonder that he did not reiterate this point in the article.
Mr Clegg further writes:
We are proud to support specific campaigns organised by Christian groups. We are in no doubt that these are policies that will make our country fairer.What campaigns are these? The right to life? Defence of the unborn? Protection of the elderly and vulnerable from encroaching state-sponsored suicide?
Despite voting in 2008 for abortions to continue to be allowed up to six months into pregnancy, Mr Clegg makes the quite astonishing claim that the Liberal Democrats could help right-to-life campaigners:
On 'conscience' issues like abortion and stem cell research, where no party has a united view, it will be possible for every elector to have their say about these questions by supporting candidates who share their views.Given that he has Dr
Apparently, Mr Clegg did not find space anywhere in the article to mention that he does not believe in God.
He is simply doing what Liberal Democrats do best: saying whatever you want to hear, U-turning and flip-flopping all over the shop, with no ideology, no conviction, and no core principles.
Take their policy on the euro. Before the global financial meltdown, they were vehemently in favour of UK membership. Now they appear unwilling to say anything on the matter.
On defence, they wish to abolish Trident on the grounds of cost, but refuse to say explain how the abolition of the nuclear deterrent will strengthen the defence of the realm.
On university tuition fees, they have back-tracked on the abolition, preferring now to phase them out ‘over six years’. Setting aside the inconvenient fact that a parliament lasts for five years, he has yet to say where the £7.5 billion cost of this would come from.
On economic matters, Nick Clegg said we need bold and even ‘savage’ cuts in government spending, which will be necessary to bring the public deficit (standing at £168 billion) under control. More recently, he warned of ‘Greek style’ unrest and ‘serious social strife’ if tax increases and cuts in spending were enacted.
Despite the fact we face a £168 billion budget deficit, Mr Clegg has only identified £10 billion in savings. And he says he is being honest with you?
On property tax – the Liberal Democrats wanted to abolish the Council Tax in favour of a ‘local income tax’. In 2009, they made a calculation that meant they now supported tax on property in the form of their ‘mansion tax’. Within a month, they had already fallen into disarray on the policy, and doubled the threshold for property to be affected by the tax. Such indecision is hardly a ringing endorsement for a party to wield significant power in Westminster.
On party donations, Mr Clegg likes to pretend that he is whiter than white. Their 2005 campaign was supported with a £2.4 million donation (at a time they said no party should take donations of more than £50,000) from a man later convicted of fraud.
On MPs’ expenses – in one four month period, Nick Clegg claimed a staggering £1,657.32 on groceries. When he was an MEP, he travelled economy class, but claimed for Business class, claiming the difference for ‘office expenses’. Not to mention the four Lib Dem MPs that were ordered to repay £16,500 for over claiming on expensive rent for Dolphin Square apartments near Parliament.
On immigration – they want to ‘naturalise’ around 600,000 illegal immigrants with British citizenship, and want no limit on inward migration. Instead, they simply want to move them around to different regions. There is no inconsistency or flip-flopping on this matter: Cranmer has included simply as an illustration of Liberal Democrat stupidity.
One would hope that no readers of The Church of England Newspaper are duped by Nick Clegg’s appeal to them as the party of ‘Christian values’.
Even as Anglicans are themselves enduring a time of crisis and uncertainty and without serious leadership, Cranmer wishes to point out that Nick Clegg is no anchor; the Liberal Democrat house is built on nothing but sand.