Tuesday, September 24, 2013

Damian McBride - you reap what you sow

The ubiquitous and effervescent Mr Harry Cole tweeted last night that Jeremy Paxman was "not really landing a single blow on McBride". Paxo's lugubrious arrogance notwithstanding, it is difficult to "land a blow" on a chastened, humbled and conscience-stricken man, even one who is basically peddling a book. And for all McBride's sins - and they are legion - his persona is penitent, stable and generous; his psychology is essentially that of learned helplessness.

Damian McBride stands accused of dragging British politics into the gutter, and he pleads guilty - unconditionally so. The opening words of Chapter 2 of his book Power Trip are: "I wasn't always a nasty bastard." But even being a bastard, he is aware that his actions aggravated, hurt, caused offence and took their toll on many innocent people.

And he is sorry. He is now trying to rebuild his life. Indeed, following his resignation as Gordon Brown's Special Adviser / Head of Communications, he became Business Liaison Officer at Finchley Catholic High School, and is now head of media at the Roman Catholic charity CAFOD, which works to alleviate poverty and suffering in developing countries.

This is sackcloth and ashes stuff. Right or wrong, good or bad, he is exposing wrongdoing and answering moral questions. The narrative elicited by his book - right in the middle of the Labour Party Conference - is concerned with matters of truth. He lied about so many and so much, but is now exploring an order of moral learning, surrounded by Roman Catholics in a context of charitable endeavour.

Repentance implies not only the acknowledgment of truth, but the admission of falsehood. The two are in conflict, and the moral mind distinguishes between the falsehood of one's own thoughts and actions and those which are endemic in the world. It is called taking responsibility, for we cannot repent of the falsehood of the world: we can only transform the self.

We ought not to judge too harshly that hazy line between self sacrifice and being 'caught out': it is like trying to distinguish between repentance and moral learning, or between justification and sanctification. We cannot know when Damian McBride was converted or even if he has been: but we can witness conversion and new instruction. And who has ever not had to repent while they learnt?

And when did obedience not go hand-in-hand with forgiveness?

Repentance is not the mere realignment of a will that retains a fundamental continuity with its past; it involves a moment of self-annihilation. In politics - as in much of life - you tend to reap what you sow. Those who operate in the darkness will live a life of shadows - whatever party they belong to. Sin has its own vain regrets, but those regrets become the foundation upon which the new life is built. There follows reconciliation - and the authentic Christian will focus on love over judgment, and on mercy over punishment.

Damian McBride was dead, and is alive again; he was lost, and is found.

We should rejoice.

50 Comments:

Blogger LEN said...

We should indeed' rejoice' because true repentance opens the doorway to salvation.
The parable of the 'Prodigal Son' reveals God`s 'Fathers Heart' towards lost sons who wish to return home.

24 September 2013 at 11:00  
Blogger Jay Bee said...

Is your tongue firmly in your cheek this morning YG?

Self-immolation, right in the middle of the Labour Party Conference and co-incident with the publication of his book. Timing is everything.

24 September 2013 at 11:09  
Blogger E.xtra S.ensory Blofeld + Tiddles said...

His Grace

"This is sackcloth and ashes stuff. (It's about pushing the boat out and coining it in from the tory reader, who will be buying his 'written confession' by the cartload') Right or wrong, good or bad, he is exposing wrongdoing and answering moral questions (He is selling his serialised memoir for a fortune). The narrative elicited by his book - right in the middle of the Labour Party Conference - is concerned with matters of truth (Deserved vindictive spite for the party that hung him out to dry??). He lied about so many and so much, but is now exploring an order of moral learning, surrounded by Roman Catholics (Nearly choked on me cheese muffins at the moral learning association bit) in a context of charitable endeavour (being media head of CAFOD is some endeavour)."

Best giggling chortle about a repentant RC Ernst has heard for some time...bated breadth in anticipation of the Blair creature sackcloth and ashes moment!!

Blofeld

24 September 2013 at 11:46  
Blogger Cressida de Nova said...

The psychology of learned helplessness.

Been done to death on this blog by several communicants.. But Hannah again wins the prize!


two broken legs
2 dead dogs
mental ill health
family death
sexual dysfunction
attacks by crocodiles on her uncle's farm


The other 'learned helpless' have all been completely unadventurous by only using one of the above calamities as an attention seeking device which is very disappointing.Multiple fantasies are far more entertaining.

Catholicism has enough bastards already. We do not need more.The converts are even worse ones (see this blog)

The Catholic Church is quickly becoming a dumping ground for challenged Anglicans.




24 September 2013 at 12:05  
Blogger Office of Inspector General said...


Bearing false witness is pretty high up on the damnable ratings.

One wonders what percentage of his sales he will allocate to charity....


24 September 2013 at 12:07  
Blogger LEN said...

Ernst... where have you been?.

24 September 2013 at 12:19  
Blogger David Hussell said...

If his repentance is genuine and he is really "dying to himself" and turning to Christ, being "born again" or renewed, then we should rejoice and wish him well on this next stage of his life's journey, this time with God. But if this is a staged publicity stunt, acting the penitent for political or financial reward, them he heaps "live coals" on his head, he mocks God, adding greatly to his rebellion.

I know not which option is true, I hope the first of course, but only God truly knows, so I shall leave it with him.

24 September 2013 at 12:21  
Blogger E.xtra S.ensory Blofeld + Tiddles said...

LEN said...

'Ernst... where have you been?.'

Fighting off ill health..So imagine my surprise to come back and see the place awash with the RC contingent still as unclean and unrepentant as ever. * Huge Chortles*

Keep up the good fight, my lad.

Ernst

24 September 2013 at 12:29  
Blogger LEN said...

Good to see you back Ernst.

Catholics are no problem.. just keep swatting them and they fly off.
(Joke )

24 September 2013 at 12:35  
Blogger Gareth said...

Repentance? More like brand decontamination.

24 September 2013 at 12:38  
Blogger non mouse said...

Damian, Your Grace. A unfortunate name, as your imagery suggests. I wonder if it will sell the book? Perhaps that's what the publishers are counting on ...

-----------

Otherwise: Welcome back, Mr. blofeld! Happy days indeed, as some of us also enjoy a respite (at least) from the flapping quacker.

24 September 2013 at 13:07  
Blogger Corrigan said...

Catholicism has enough bastards already. We do not need more.

Here I must differ with you, Cressida. I do my best, but it's been hard going since Benedict abdicated.

24 September 2013 at 13:26  
Blogger Preacher said...

Good to see you back Ernst. Sorry to hear about your ill health & praying you have had a full recovery & remain on top form for the foreseeable future.

Blessings. Preacher.

24 September 2013 at 13:35  
Blogger E.xtra S.ensory Blofeld + Tiddles said...

non mouse said..

Thanks.

Always enchanted by your posts and their historical references to an early to middle old english of prose of a bygone era than is not studied anymore or less cared about by the modernists.

Blowers

Ps

Preacher...kind regards for your concerns for an old sinner. Keep up the good fight...It may not be much longer until we get our reward of the eternal hope that is in us.

24 September 2013 at 13:39  
Blogger E.xtra S.ensory Blofeld + Tiddles said...

Cressie

Catholicism has enough bastards already. We do not need more.The converts are even worse ones (see this blog)

The Catholic Church is quickly becoming a dumping ground for challenged Anglicans.

Please get your facts straight..McBride is one of your own (Finchley Catholic High School is RC not anglican..The 5-6 forms (houses) at the school each have their own letter, which together make up the initials of the school. This is FRCHSB, standing for Finchley Roman Catholic High School for Boys, and each letter is for a different form.!!!!) and not an anglican convert.
Please keep your own and try not to cast aspersions onto the CofE..There's a nice girl.

Catholicism has enough bastards already. We do not need more.

Corrigan said..

Here I must differ with you, Cressida. I do my best, but it's been hard going since Benedict abdicated.

Indeed lad.

It appears that your Pope Frannie has lost the plot or direct line to the Almighty regarding sin and redemption...even Socrates 2500 years ago grasped the seemingly impossible dilemma that has gone completely over Frannies PR head.

Just forgiving without penalty would compromise God's righteousness in dealing with man. Thought that your church continually held the truth of the gospel from establishment??


“It may be that the Deity can forgive sins, but I do not see how,” ~ Socrates to Plato circa 500BC

Blofeld

24 September 2013 at 14:54  
Blogger Cressida de Nova said...

I stand corrected Blowers. You cannot be too sick...packing a few punches in before afternoon tea.Poor nursie must be black and blue...not as much fun as working out with Cressie!

As for our new Pope.As soon as he refused to wear the red shoes I knew we were in trouble.I don't know why all of a sudden you are
taken with Greeks and middle English. Could it be something to do with your condition ?.

I know you wont believe me but I'm almost pleased you are back but I could change my mind if you become too stroppy. I miss those mad songs you used to write and
also your descriptions of your diy attempts at extensions to your commode..

Dodo has been put in the stocks you will be pleased to know and banished for the term of his natural life. You can collect your cabbages from all your favourite communicants (free) to throw at him.

24 September 2013 at 15:22  
Blogger E.xtra S.ensory Blofeld + Tiddles said...

Cressie
"I don't know why all of a sudden you are taken with Greeks and middle English. (Sweet child, it's called a grammar education!) Could it be something to do with your condition ?. (All christians are to know the world they live in, the challenges we face as well as it's condition of being lost to God and redemption) " Even Socrates understood the problem sinners face and gave an honest appraisal of mans dilemma that Pope Frannie has glossed over for PR purposes.
If an head of anglicanism had said these things then Corrigan would have been apoplectic with posts against His Grace.

"You can collect your cabbages from all your favourite communicants (free) to throw at him." Oh dear, what a terrible waste of five a day..*Sniggers*

Ernst

24 September 2013 at 15:53  
Blogger Cressida de Nova said...

Now now Ernst. Would Jesus approve of you throwing five cabbages a day at Dodo? The Catholics on this blog would also join in ,so don't feel too bad about being unchristian! *smirkles*

24 September 2013 at 16:41  
Blogger Sister Tiberia said...

Dodo's been banned again?

24 September 2013 at 17:03  
Blogger LEN said...

`Fraid so Sister Tibs....

Fouled his nest once again....

24 September 2013 at 17:21  
Blogger Cressida de Nova said...

For life this time Tibs.."Our magnificent bird" banished .. completely unjustified.I suspect a number of hideous tittle tats have been moaning to HG pleading for his execution pressuring Pontius I mean HG to crucify him.

And to think Dreary Darter Hideous Hannnah and Leech Len are left free to roam around in the Cranmer Jungle performing nastinesses unhindered.Hope I didn't leave anyone out.

Chars

24 September 2013 at 17:45  
Blogger Archbishop Cranmer said...

If you wish to depart too, Cressida, feel free. No one is tying you to a stake.

You are clearly oblivious of what led to the expulsion. Your judgmental pontifications are ignorant of the facts.

24 September 2013 at 17:50  
Blogger Cressida de Nova said...

.I don't want to depart but if a prerequisite is having to kiss your arse like the others do I will go!

24 September 2013 at 18:00  
Blogger Archbishop Cranmer said...

Nothing to do with 'arse-kissing': it is about courtesy, manners, consideration and respect. You know, traditional Christian qualities.

Clearly you think it's permissible to be rude and offensive in other people's houses. So, yes, your offer is accepted. Goodbye.

24 September 2013 at 18:03  
Blogger Cressida de Nova said...

Yes I do know...and none of them are present here
Adieu!

24 September 2013 at 18:08  
Blogger David Hussell said...

YG and fellow communicants, this is an observation, pure and simple. There are no value judgments, let alone complaints, intended below.

Why are all the communicants here drawn from such a limited range of Christian denominations and religions? It interests me so I ask that question, out of pure curiosity.
We have the Catholic Church, forming a majority perhaps, then those from the Church of England plus one or two Jews and the occasional "guest" atheist or other ne'er do well. Distinctly Protestant types seem not to declare their denominational allegiance (no rude jokes to them please) , or have I missed something? Where are The Baptists, Methodists, Congregationalists, Church of Scotland types and all the other ones ? Or is it only the groups I've identified who are interested in articles sitting on the interface between faith and politics ?

Maybe the question is no interest to the rest of you, in which case I'll live with that.

Bye for now,

24 September 2013 at 18:08  
Blogger Archbishop Cranmer said...

Well, Cressida, hope for their revival is greatly enhanced by your departure. Adieu.

24 September 2013 at 18:10  
Blogger Corrigan said...

David,

Atheists may, from time to time, drop by this board, perhaps out of curiousity, but if you are wondering where the mixture of Protestant denominations are, they are few and far between because - as I have said before, and repeat now not as a wind-up but as an observation - Protestantism leads to agnosticism and eventually atheism. There are few Protestants on the board because, well, there are few Protestants left. If, as you say, Catholics seem to form a majority on this Anglican blog, perhaps it's the unexpected consequence of blurring doctrine for the sake of "inclusivity".

24 September 2013 at 18:51  
Blogger DanJ0 said...

Also, welcome back from me too Mr Blofeld. Good to see you're got on top of your ill health.

24 September 2013 at 19:14  
Blogger LEN said...

David Hussel said;
'Distinctly Protestant types seem not to declare their denominational allegiance.'

I cannot speak for others but 'denominational allegiance' is not an issue for me and perhaps others have come out of 'the church' but not out of 'the Body of Christ'.

'The Church' is failing in many ways(Catholic and Protestant)in the UK and beyond but 'the Body of Christ' is growing Worldwide despite persecution.
Perhaps it is time for Christians to come out of their denominational 'comfort zones' and to unite behind Christ and get on with the important issues mainly 'the Great Commission'?.

24 September 2013 at 19:34  
Blogger Office of Inspector General said...


Corrigan, There are few Protestants on the board because, well, there are few Protestants left.

Protestantism in the UK has evolved to be of the world, and not about worship, one feels. It now has an appetite for indulging itself. Much of what Len says about churches holds water. Ironically, he only berates the RCC which, in this man’s opinion is not heading down the populist route, and never mentions the state of his side of the fence. But then, he is a seasoned sectarian who feeds on and posts sectarian literature put on the web by those good ol’ Southern Baptist boys...

24 September 2013 at 20:00  
Blogger Office of Inspector General said...


Well, rarely mentions his side of the fence. He’s only gone and done that at 19:34. Annoying blighter...

24 September 2013 at 20:03  
Blogger Hannah Kavanagh said...

This comment has been removed by the author.

24 September 2013 at 20:08  
Blogger Hannah Kavanagh said...

This comment has been removed by the author.

24 September 2013 at 20:16  
Blogger David Hussell said...

Corrigan,

Thank you for your thoughts. You have a point, that fundamental doctrines should be defended I agree, but I'm not sure it's that simple, since all Churches are losing believers in the west.

LEN,

You are like me as I feel that, whilst operating within a particular institutional framework, a denomination, if a person is reborn through faith in the redemptive power of Christ, which can occur in different ways, if they are a follower of Christ, then I accept them as a fellow Christian, even if I disagree with them on some doctrinal differences. Let God then judge who is "in" The Church, of which Christ, only, is ultimately its true head.

Yes, the Church in the west is failing, because of its weakness and the rebelliousness of the well fed, materially wealthy portion of humanity. But in the global south it is burgeoning. So yes I have no time for petty inter-denominational sniping as we have Christ's Great Commission to pursue. Here there are now few labourers to gather in the harvest. But I take joy in the growth in the global south.

24 September 2013 at 20:17  
Blogger Hannah Kavanagh said...

Hi Cressida,

Well, good-bye,you won't have to fret about me going round here being nasty or whatever. I am really trying to cut down on time spent blogging, so you'll be seeing much less of me here on this blog anyway.

I can't say it's been a pleasure as it hasn't, but regardless I wish you all the best.

24 September 2013 at 20:43  
Blogger Corrigan said...

Yeah, well, I STILL say Cressida was Avi's sock puppet.

24 September 2013 at 22:07  
Blogger bluedog said...

Welcome back, Mr Blofeld. Good to see you on such corruscating form. Long may it be so.

24 September 2013 at 22:13  
Blogger Uncle Brian said...

David Hussell

‘You seem like a reasonable man, why not just stop preaching?’

These words were addressed by a Scottish policeman who arrested a pastor (sic, denomination not specified) for preaching in the streets of Perth. So the answer to your question, ”Where are The Baptists, Methodists, Congregationalists, Church of Scotland types and all the other ones ?” may turn out to be: They’re keeping their heads down because the fuzz are after them. And not just the Thought Police this time, but the real McCoy, Her Majesty’s boys in blue.

http://blogs.spectator.co.uk/rod-liddle/2013/09/josh-williamson-is-arrested-for-preaching-the-christian-gospel-in-public/

24 September 2013 at 22:45  
Blogger Office of Inspector General said...

Sock Puppet !

No, there went a real woman. A passionate thing that would scratch deeply a fellows back to stop him...

{AHEM} Said too much...


24 September 2013 at 22:48  
Blogger Uncle Brian said...

How do you do, Mr Blofeld. I don’t think we’ve met before, though I remember a Blofeld who once said on BBC2, “Brian Toss won the close.” I don’t suppose you did any cricket commentating back in the mid-twentieth century? Well, it must have been a different Blofeld, and it was certainly a different Brian.

25 September 2013 at 00:33  
Blogger IanCad said...

Let's see now; Explorer, Dodo and now Cressida, all gone.
Glad you're back Ernst - PTL! and Uncle Brian's a newcomer.
Net loss -- one.

25 September 2013 at 07:46  
Blogger bluedog said...

Mr IanCad @ 07.46, this communicant actually regarded Cressida as a great comedy routine.

Rattle her cage and she'd come out like a real little spitfire, sometimes to the extent of self-parody. Guffaws, tears of laughter. Of course, Carl never understood.

Perhaps His Grace would consider repeal of that particular Bull.

25 September 2013 at 08:04  
Blogger Archbishop Cranmer said...

No.

25 September 2013 at 08:05  
Blogger David Hussell said...

Uncle Brian,

Thank you for drawing attention to that injustice - silencing the old style street preachers. Now that was Protestantism in truly Pauline style, and yes if we are not careful it will be suppressed, not just by cultural mores but by misguided police thinking in their culturally confused heads that they are enforcing the law.

Although full on preaching is not my taste I miss its passing as it gave an energetic benchmark to all preaching, even of the more measured Anglican kind.

25 September 2013 at 08:09  
Blogger Hannah Kavanagh said...

This comment has been removed by the author.

25 September 2013 at 08:29  
Blogger bluedog said...

Hannah @ 08.29. His Grace has made his position very clear, not much point in further comment.

25 September 2013 at 11:10  
Blogger Hannah Kavanagh said...

Hi Bluedog,

Quite. 'nough said.

25 September 2013 at 14:38  
Blogger DanJ0 said...

David H: "Now that was Protestantism in truly Pauline style, and yes if we are not careful it will be suppressed, not just by cultural mores but by misguided police thinking in their culturally confused heads that they are enforcing the law."

Yes. The police are wrong to do that now, and society would be wrong to give them such powers.

25 September 2013 at 17:20  
Blogger Yvonne said...

IMHO McBride will be quite at home at CAFOD which swings to the left: one only has to look at its partnerships and campaigns.
"He that walks with wise men shall be wise: but a companion of fools shall be destroyed."

26 September 2013 at 14:37  

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