I’m scared to admit to being a Tory in today’s C of E

Believe me, it’s not easy to be a Tory in today’s C of E

1 March 2014

9:00 AM

1 March 2014

9:00 AM

I am training for ordained ministry at a Church of England theological college. I am a trainee vicar, if you will. I am also a Conservative, which puts me in an extremely small minority and quite a tricky position. At my college, there are approximately 60 ordinands in full-time residential training. Of those 60, there are no more than three or four who would describe themselves as Conservative and the overwhelming majority would call themselves (proudly) socialist. There is also a sizable minority of Marxists.

In recent weeks, our national press has seemed surprised that senior clergy in the C of E, and the Archbishop of Canterbury himself, have expressed left-wing views — criticising welfare cuts and so forth. But what no one outside the church realises is that within, holding even gentle, centre-right views is strongly disapproved of.

Any overtly Tory priest-in-training would quickly learn the error of his ways. I have not, in two years here, heard anything other than left-wing bias in preaching, either from the staff or from visiting speakers. We are fed a constant diet of propaganda which assumes that all Tories are evil and that they exist solely for the benefit of the rich.

We have had lectures in which the speaker insists that all tax avoidance is evil, while overlooking the use of Gift Aid and other tax-avoidance measures in their own churches. Other lecturers have described fund managers as being useless and immoral — never a mention of the fact that the Church of England’s considerable assets are managed by just such people.

In terms of welfare reform, the established position is to the left of Archbishop Welby’s. It is generally considered that any change to the system would be immoral; that the only Christian solution is to keep increasing spending. I have never heard a priest discuss the fact that people might become dependent on welfare.

An example of the casual left-wing bias in the church can be found in a post doing the rounds on Twitter and Facebook which shows a picture of Jesus and the five thousand. Jesus is saying, ‘I can’t feed these people, it would destroy their incentive to better themselves’ under the caption of ‘The Tory version of the New Testament’. It is funny in a catty sort of way, but it also sums up the woolly thinking that is endemic within the church. It makes for a nice, easy dig at a political party that many clergy despise and suggests that the simplest solution is the best, when in fact the problem of poverty is extremely complex. There are underlying issues that we might usefully and prayerfully consider, rather than just saying: spend more money. The church of all places should be able to take a long and thoughtful view on these issues — after all, we have no elections to consider.

And Jesus wasn’t a lefty. Think again about the example of the feeding of the five thousand. It’s commonplace for Anglican clergy to use this parable to paint Our Lord as the great defender of unlimited handouts, but Jesus only fed these people once, and afterwards left them to their own devices. He could have ensured they were fed for all time if he’d chosen — anyone emailing round that cartoon might ask themselves: why not?

I am not saying that the way in which many of my fellow ordinands-in-training act is un-Christian. Far from it. We exist as a Christian community, living and praying together, and many of us here are very involved with projects to help the poor and the vulnerable. I am positive that all of my colleagues here will make excellent priests and will serve their parishes prayerfully and with great diligence. I have no problem with left-wing Christianity: what bothers me is that increasingly there seems to be no other option. Because socialism is the dominant political viewpoint in the church, the implicit message is that no one other than a socialist can be a real Christian. The appalling corollary of this is that if you do happen to find yourself politically in opposition to socialism, then the assumption is that you must be opposed to Christianity.

It is bad enough to be a Conservative — if you were to support Ukip or hold libertarian views, you would be putting yourself well beyond the pale; indeed, if word were to reach your bishop you might find yourself struggling to find a post after ordination. It is by such methods that the political orthodoxy of the church is maintained.

I don’t at all think we should become, once more, the Conservative party at prayer. We, the church, ought to be outside party politics, remaining as a ‘faithful irritant’ to the political classes and providing a voice for the poor and the weak. By becoming identified with just one political party — the Conservatives in the early 20th century or Labour more recently — the church has antagonised those who hold a contrary position. But we should not align ourselves with any party: we should be free to work with any party or none as the need arises.

When I mentioned this at college, the general opinion was that it is right and proper for clergy to be trying to ‘convert’ laity to a ‘proper’ understanding of politics, by which was meant socialism. I am deeply uncomfortable with the idea that there is a right, Christian way of doing politics and that this view is enshrined in the Labour movement. The church needs to make sure that the key messages of the Gospel do not become polluted by the populist politics of the age.

I am looking forward to being ordained later on this year (on 29 June if you feel you could pray for me…) and I will be serving a rural parish in a safe-ish Conservative seat. This doesn’t mean that I will slavishly follow the Conservative party line — I think that part of the duty of a priest is to be counter-cultural and challenging — but neither will I be a Labour stooge.

It’s not just the church that needs to change. If so many clergy still feel that Conservatives are by definition uncaring, then that is a challenge to the party too. I hope that during the next few years, the centre-right in the UK can re-cast their message in such a way that they change the perception held by many in the church that they stand ‘for the rich, not the poor’. We know that this is not the case, and that many if not all politicians, of all parties, feel that they are acting for the common good and trying to reduce poverty and oppression. Those on the left in the church have to accept that we are all working for God’s Kingdom, it’s just that some of us are looking at things in a different way.

Got something to add? Join the discussion and comment below.

Harry Pinker is a pseudonym.

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Show comments
  • Chris Bond

    Dump the C of E and start again. Socialism and Christianity are incompatible.
    I’m not a priest, and even I know that Christ didn’t say

    “set up a state to take wealth from your fellow man, and give this to another man who you feel sorry for but can’t really be bothered to help yourself, whether the first person agrees or not”

    It’s not that difficult to figure it out.

    • Samuel Kaine Wheeler

      Taxation is your share of the ground rent for civilisation. You don’t like it, we can go back to state of nature, see how long you keep your wealth then.

      • tjamesjones

        taxation isn’t redistribution.

        • Samuel Kaine Wheeler

          Sometimes it is, sometimes it isn’t.

      • Chris Bond

        Now it isn’t. Taxation was introduced to fund wars. Take income tax for a start. It was introduced to fund the Napoleonic wars in the 17th century. Learn some history and don’t come back at me with slogans.

        • Samuel Kaine Wheeler

          No taxation existed before the Napoleonic wars? So when Jesus spoke about tax collectors in the 1st century AD to whom was he referring?

          Taxation’s origins are in the surplus derived from settled agriculture vs hunter gathering. Settlement however requires a force to defend it. Hence that surplus allows the creation of a soldier caste for protection. From that all else follows.

    • mikewaller

      And how many Tories sign on to “To him that smiteth thee on the [one] cheek offer also the other; and from him that taketh away thy cloak withhold not thy coat also.”? The guy who got Christianity best was Chesterton as in “It is not that it has been tried and found wanting; it is that it has been found hard and not tried” Truth is that it provides a gold standard in terms of moral behaviour, but is largely incompatible with the evolved creatures that we are.

  • Dtnorth

    You have no place in a Christian church if you feel that taking from the poor to give to the rich is a value you respect.

    • tjamesjones

      Yes, not a position that is prominent in British politics though, is it? Let’s increase taxes on the poor and redistribute to the rich? Haven’t seen that one. I assume what you mean is taking less from the rich or giving less to the poor, but that’s not quite the same thing, is it?

      • Samuel Kaine Wheeler

        Actually passing a VAT rise to cut the top rate of income tax is indeed taking from the poor to give to the rich.

        • tjamesjones

          Yes, thanks Samuel, I just checked, and net net, the poor still do better out of redistribution than the rich. Whew.

          • Samuel Kaine Wheeler

            No, by definition the rich and successful do better out of the social contract than the poor and disaffected. The current construction of society is clearly to the net benefit of the multi-millionaire relaxing in his study in Chelsea far more than the person surviving on £72 a week in a bedsit in Moss Side.

          • tjamesjones

            It’s not under debate that some are better off than others. Your case, I think, depends on proving that some are better off because others are not doing so well. That’s not proven, and is imo not true, the rich aren’t making money by taking from the poor. And in in fact those less well off do very well living under a system that does in fact provide very well for those who are less successful. Your socialist approach is good at killing the golden goose, less good at recognising that capitalism, without ever being ‘nice’, creates plenty of winners and also does in fact massively distribute to those who don’t succeed by their own merits.

          • Bingo and beautifully said, TJJ!

  • Kitty MLB

    Religion and Politics really should never mix, especially with clueless
    bleeding heart lefties, its a disgrace that you cannot admit to being a Tory
    as a vicar, is the church of England blind to how morally and socially destructive
    Labour have always been and are they not aware of Labours country wrecking rampage- clearly not.
    Are they not aware that Labour always mess it up and Tories clear things up ( well usually)
    Quite honestly, as someone else had stated, the C of E is not fit for purpose,
    hardly anyone goes to church, they have no message, flip flop with
    who or who should not be ordained and allow Christianity to become a minority
    with Islam now dominating. A new church I think, or perhaps a return to the old one.

  • commenteer

    As far as I can remember, the poor are going to have a much easier time getting into the kingdom of heaven. So why are the Church of England priesthood so concerned with earthly poverty?
    They should concern themselves with matters of the spirit. Otherwise they are a pointless irrelevance.

  • Cymrugel

    Well Jesus may not have been a lefty but he certainly wasn’t a tirty.
    He didn’t say “blessed are the rich who seek tax breaks for themselves” nor did he say “blessed are those who are self reliant and expect others to sink or swim as they may” and it wasn’t lefties he whipped out of the temple.
    Some of the more puerile leftist posturing in the COE is tiresome, but I can’t really see much of a meeting of ideologies between the teachings of the New Testament and the sort of social attitude’s typical in this publication.

    • Cymrugel

      Sorry – typo – should read Tory

    • commenteer

      Your’re on a sticky wicket here, Cymrugel. Jesus didn’t throw the moneylenders out of the temple because they were making money, but because it was inappropriate to carry on commercial activities in a sacred place.
      In fact, he wasn’t at all keen on interfering in politics. Remember ‘Render unto Caesar the things that are Caesar’s, and unto God the things that are God’s’?
      If only the Church of England hierarchy would follow Christ’s example and concentrate on spiritual matters. It might even stop their slide into oblivion.

      • Chris Bond

        If they had a pair of balls between them they would put two fingers up to the vile socialists, they might have a similar level of engagement as Islam retains. No one respects the opinion of someone too timid to assert themselves confidently.
        and If you’re right, then stop letting the Socialists hurt the poor by using them to get into power, and then turning them into benefits junkies to retain them in poverty. The same with social attiditudes. Lots of people turn to the guidance offered by the self confidant posturing of the Guardian and the left – and that is tragic, because their moral relativism is about as dark as you can get.

        • Samuel Kaine Wheeler

          The Guardian is self-confident? Oh of course. And when I glance at the Mail or the Express or the Sun I see nothing but doubt and introspection.

      • Anagallis

        Don’t be silly…they weren’t moneylenders they were moneychangers, you couldn’t buy sacrificial animals in the temple with foreign money, so it had to be converted into Tyrean shekels….The Temple wouldn’t have been able to function without them.

        Jebus (may piece be upon him) was objecting to the fact that the form of worship had replaced the purpose of a relationship with God.

        He was very political, the powerful would be brought down and the weak exalted.

        • commenteer

          Definitely money lenders, when I was taught all this stuff. As for bringing down the powerful, might I remind you that Christ emphasised, ‘My kingdom is not of this world’. Any re-ordering of society was destined for the world to come.

          Thank goodness, otherwise we might have ended up with a theocracy, like the Muslims. As it is we have a comfortably non-political church concerned only with Christian morality in the secular sphere. O, hang on a moment . . .

          • NBeale

            No they were indeed Money-changers.

          • commenteer

            Yes, you are right. I had remembered wrongly.

      • Cymrugel

        Christ took on the powerful exposed their hypocrisy and shamed them in the eyes of the public and in their own eyes – that’s why they killed him.
        You can wriggle about as much as you wish; he simply is not available for recruitment to a philosophy that elevates selfishness greed and contempt for others as worthy public values. I suggest a read of his reported sayings in the Gospels.
        The COE is sliding into oblivion because It has abandoned belief and is employing clergy who simply do not believe their own theology. People are not going to come to church on Sunday because Jesus was a jolly nice cap who wandered about giving good advice for three years.
        It is neglecting the gospel message in favour of a watered down social agenda based on a vague wish to be nice to people. Nothing wrong with that as such, but its not what the church is for.
        That said, a church that preached happiness in the next world to people who are having their lives made a misery by people who want everything for themselves as the Tories do would be worthless.

        • commenteer

          The church is a spiritual mission. Do leave out the politics.

          I wonder what the ‘philosphy that elevates selfishess, greed and contempt for others as worthy public values’ could be. Secular socialism, perhaps?

          • Samuel Kaine Wheeler

            Faith without works is dead. And works are political acts.

        • Rocksy

          Agree completely with your statement ‘neglecting the gospel message in favour of a watered down social agenda based on a vague wish to be nice to people’
          Too many people (Christians and others) judge the merits of what they do by how good they feel about doing it..
          Love isn’t a feeling it’s a behaviour and often feels painful when done as it is supposed to be.

        • Fergus Pickering

          Jesus says,’Why don’t you go piss up a rope?’

      • Samuel Kaine Wheeler

        The fact that Jesus was of the opinion that usurious practices profaned the temple should tell us what he thought of those practices. Considering this was a man perfectly content to sit down with lepers and prostitutes, and didn’t even get angry when being tortured to death, that the money men made him angry is rather telling.

    • Cranky Notions

      Its an insult to Scripture to reduce it to compatibility with some modern ideological movement, whether socialist or capitalistic.

      • David Hussell

        Spot on !

    • Daidragon

      I say to you, it is easier for a camel to go through the eye of a needle, than for a rich man to enter the kingdom of God.”

      • Rocksy

        Wasn’t referring to the relative goodness of wealthy people compared to poor people. This was a reference to how each go about resolving problems. I’ve know a few undesirable poor people.

  • Angie Paterson

    As a priest and an elected Conservative politician I was saddened to read your article. There are Christians, ordained and lay across the political spectrum. If I knew how I’d make contact!

  • “many if not all politicians, of all parties, feel that they are acting for the common good and trying to reduce poverty and oppression.”


  • John Kata

    How interesting. It can’t be dismissed or ignored that God has called all these people into training for ministry and priesthood. I wonder what on earth He could be up to?

    • Alistair Kerr

      What on earth He could be up to? The Orthodox would tell you that there are many things that we cannot hope to undestand now. This might be one of them. Only in the glorious courts of heaven will we attain total enlightenment!

  • David Hussell

    I feel for this young man, as he us suffering from his fellow students’ excess of youthful enthusiasm, ignorance of history and geopolitics and uncharitable narrowness of vision. Within the laity there is a range of political views, but yes I agree with him that a clear majority of the clergy are left of centre. But they are also, often, politically naive and blind, failing to recognize the complexity of poverty and its contributing causes, as well as blind to the experience of Christianity under Socialism in the former eastern europe. Another blind spot is the anti-Christian bias of the entire philosophy underpinning the EU. As a committed Anglican Christian I make no secret of my active support of UKIP, nor do I push it at anyone. The Church should operate distinctly apart from party politics. No one political philosophy, let alone party, will ever be congruent with Christian truth. Render unto Caesar that which is Caesar’s and unto God that which is God’s, but strive to live life with an integrity.

    • Alistair Kerr

      It is pretty clear that Christ did not have much time for politics at all. Nor did the early church. It stayed clear of them. I have experienced the Labour “default position” of the Church and it is nasty: full of spiritual arrogance and assumptions of moral superiority which, in Labour’s case, are unjustified anyway. The Church is supposed to be there for all of us. Its central tasks are to pray for the living and the dead and to bring the sacraments to the people, irrespective of how they may vote in the privacy of the polling booth. Aligning itself with a political faction is unacceptable and has proved disastrous. No wonder that the only churches that are growing are “charismatic” ones and the Orthodox.

      • David Hussell

        Those are wise words. Churches should remain very neutral not supporting individual political parties undoubtedly, they must be available for all sections of society; but individual Christians may feel that like the great reformers, Wilberforce or Shaftesbury, they have a Christian duty to enter public life, campaigning for the public good, which is itself a Christian derived idea. If all Christians withdrew from public life allowing all policies to be created and implemented by non-believers then they are merely being passive. Some of us are called to work for the improvement of this world whilst keeping our eyes firmly fixed on the Kingdom. Passive acceptance of evil, making no effort to strive for the good, is not the Christian way. So a role in politics is compatible with Christian belief, but it must be done for the right reasons, not self glorification.

        • Alistair Kerr

          Wilberforce and Shaftesbury were both Tories or Conservatives. Prime Minister Spencer Perceval, another enemy of the slave trade, ditto.

    • Samuel Kaine Wheeler

      I take it from your objection to the binding together of politics and religion that you’re for disestablishment?

      • Alistair Kerr

        I’m undecided about that. Clearly quite a lot of clergy would welcome it.

  • I admit that there are a fair number of lefty clergy. Apostolic Christianity’s profound suspicion of private property and the concept of the individual might be to blame – and the reason I feel uncomfortable with some right wing viewpoints. Yet the greatest Christian Political thinker of our generation may well be Philip Blond – whose thought is certainly influential with a number of recently ordained colleagues. He has found his way into a number of my sermons.

    Clergy like other lower paid professionals may well tend to vote for what they perceive as the party that will invest most in the state services they rely on – health and education. Although independently educated myself, and enjoying private healthcare growing up, the stipend does not stretch that far. However I would be delighted if my children attended a good university and gained the confidence I was given as a child.

    For the record: I happen to be a member of the Labour Party, interested in subsidiarity and the common ground between Red Tory and Blue Labour. I have no problem with Christians being members of the Conservative Party. I have no interest in the culture wars.

  • D Whiggery

    And the march through the institutions continues.

    As for the Marxists, they realize that God and Marxism don’t really mix right?

    • Samuel Kaine Wheeler

      Marx is deeply rooted in the Rabbinical tradition.

  • ohforheavensake

    It’s not just the clergy who think that the Tories are uncaring. I’d maybe think about your own beliefs, rather than those of the church. There’s a lot in government policy which can only be described as unChristian.

    • tjamesjones

      thanks for this, really throws light on the issues.

  • Melissa Montana

    Since the range of skills and talents varies between each of us, the same rules will naturally lead to a wide range of unequal results.

  • tjamesjones

    Harry I think this is an excellent post. Your summary rings true to me, as a church member in this country over many years. I think the fundamental instinct of Anglican clergy is of a low level labour functionary: the world would be fairer if the state did “more” to redistribute wealth (it’s always “more”). I could get into an argument with that position – the state already does an enormous amount of redistribution, incentives matter, welfare dependency is destructive, independence is empowering and leads to creativity and innovation etc etc but I don’t really need to. Who ever changes their mind in a political argument!?
    So although I consider it limited, I think this instinct is coming from a good motive, a desire to be compassionate and as you say I don’t think it needs to get in the way of carrying out an apolitical ministry. However as you also mention I think that social media such as facebook run the risk of exposing some fairly crass partisan thinking and the danger is probably more to the clergy than anything else. Because I’m also fairly sure that the congregations they are working with are not predominantly labour (surveys quoted on this website recently suggest a small minority only of labour voters).
    After all, even Tony Blair realised that he couldn’t just kick business that would be funding his social programmes, and it’s relatively hard for business to leave the country. It’s much easier to change churches, if you feel you’re getting kicked too much.

  • NBeale

    There are some very prominent Conservatives in the higher echelons of the Church. Don’t worry.

  • Rocksy

    Sorry about you. Have you heard about me? I’m a Scottish Catholic and very right of centre. I know exactly how Isaiah felt. All my life, even as a quite young person, I was always aware that I was an exile in my own country.

  • Postulative

    There are no “gentle” right-wing views.

    Have a look at what right-wing governments are doing all over the world, and explain how they align with concepts like humility, helping the poor and turning the other cheek.

    The right (at least the modern right) is all about me first, last and always.

    • Fergus Pickering

      And what are left wing governments doing eh?

      • Postulative

        At the moment, most “left wing” parties are left in name only.

        That is a large part or modern society’s problems, and why institutions like churches and charities have to step into the void.

    • tjamesjones

      Postulative you should re-read your Adam Smith. At the level of national economics and politics, it is what you would call right wing views which have taken far, far, far, far (etc) more people out of poverty than socialism. Exhibit 1 is South Korea since the 1950s. Or, China over the last 20 years. It’s not from the benevolence of the butcher, the brewer or the baker…

      It’s not gentle, but it’s far more effective. And it’s the results we care about, right?

      • Postulative

        tjamesjones, neither South Korea nor China have adopted the crazy neo-capitalist ideas. All successful countries have supported industry, supported local companies, and ploughed tax dollars into economic improvement.

        You seem to be arguing that there is a choice between capitalism and socialism – the world is a little more complicated than that. I am not arguing that capitalism itself is bad, merely that the modern incarnation is a nightmare.

        Friedrich et al, along with the World Bank and the IMF, have produced nothing but misery, and both sides of politics in Western countries seem happy to sign up.

        • tjamesjones

          I don’t know what you mean by ‘neo-capitalist’. Rich western countries such as ours are capitalist, and capitalism without being “gentle”, generates wealth unlike any other economic system that has ever been tried. This provides jobs, goods and in our country huge transfers as well, all of which is a massive benefit to the population. This is much less of a nightmare than, say, feudalism or socialism, neither of which generated and shared wealth on anything like this scale. To sit and take potshots as if from some higher moral ground is intellectually and morally wrong.

  • country_exile

    An interesting and depressing article. Politics should have no place in the church.

    I regard our local vicar as a close personal friend, his politics however are about as far removed from mine as it is possible to be. I would never want to ruin a relationship I value by squabbling about the sordid world of Westminster.

    In our benefice in Suffolk, most regular church goers are either apolitical or traditional small ‘c’ conservatives. However it is a subject which never comes up.

    Christ said ‘My kingdom is not of this world’. He expressly rejected the political world and refused to take sides – ‘Give Caesar’s what is his’ etc .

    The Church of England both frustrates and enriches me. I despise many aspects of its modernity but celebrate its place at the heart of our national spiritual life.

    If I can give some advice to our young author’s friends. Whether they’re in South Shields or Tunbridge Wells – don’t do politics. Stick to the Gospel – it’s why God called you.

  • bobl

    If you think you have it bad in the CofE, spare a thought for those of us in the Catholic Church. We have Vincent Nichols talking though his biretta on welfare provision, and Pope Francis batting for the marxists. It’s all very sinister.

  • frglee

    Just ‘afraid’ to own up being a Tory in the C of E?

    ‘Ashamed’ might be a better approach for your soul,when you consider the huge increase in child poverty in the UK or read all the cheerful little stories right now of sick and handicapped people killing themselves as a result of Tory benefit reforms.

  • Fraz Glencross

    Right wing conservatism if completely incompatible with being a christian but then i think that believing in God is for brainwashed fools who deny evidence, science, logic, free thought and common sense so what do i know?

    • OldJoeClark

      You seem to be arguing that being a “right wing conservative” is incompatible with being a “brainwashed fool who denies evidence, science, logic, free thought and common sense”. If so, I agree.

      • tastemylogos

        what a moron he is. Well done.

  • Rosa

    Excellent post, Harry,. You will just have to resign yourself to a non political ministry. As a lay, Tory, member of the C of E I can tell you it isn’t actually too difficult. I have kept quiet for years. It is the best thing to be anyway- the overtly socialist types regularly make complete idiots of themselves, get tied up in knots etc. It is quite fun watching them do it ! As for your marxist ordinands, I suggest you have a whip round and send them on a short break to North Korea- I am told it isn’t expensive once you are there….

  • Roddyc

    Read CS Lewis’s warning in Screwtape Letters about the dangers of combining Christianity with any political mission. He called it ‘Christianity And…’ and described the progression which is likely to follow where one ends up approving of Christianity principally because of the excellent arguments it lends to your particular political mission.

    Christianity And Socialism will inevitably lead to Socialism. Christianity And Conservatism will inevitably lead to Conservatism, in each case the politics diluting the faith

    Christ’s teachings alone should be what Christians follow. And beware of trying to shoehorn them into any specific political creed.

    • tjamesjones

      @Roddyc I think you’re right: whenever I see a political priest I see a wannabe labour MP, and I ain’t voting for labour MPs let alone wannabe ones. It drowns out the good stuff that they actually do have to say about spiritual life and normal life.

  • Samuel Kaine Wheeler

    Sorry, you can’t shy away from politics. You follow a religion founded upon a martyred revolutionary that carries a message of universal brotherhood and equality. If you’d like something more supine and deferential to temporal authority pick another god. Perhaps Horus or Baal.

  • Picquet

    It is hardly worth mentioning that the C of E – and most of the other Churches – are fast sinking in the UK; the basis of this piece is one of the chief reasons for this. Socialism, or rather; the Labour and Liberal parties are more enthusiastic about the celebration of religions and customs from afar than they are about traditional English (Welsh, Scots, Northern Irish) ways. The dichotomy can have only one result: failure, in both camps.

  • Barry_Edwards

    “We need to do more than pull people out of the river before they drown; someone needs to go upstream to see who or what is throwing them in. Asking why so many people are poor, why the affluent are so unhappy, or why the political process seems to be broken can get you into trouble, but also might lead to some real solutions.”
    Jim Wallis

  • Ad Skip

    and this is my problem with the term ‘left wing’. It’s not ‘left-wing’, it’s called being a decent human being as the above Christians would, no doubt naively, agree.

    The reason so many people (huge majority) hold such views is because they share human compassion and the idea of caring for the many.

    Unlike the ‘right wing’ Conservative minority.

  • Organix

    The liberty to follow our moral conscience and choose our own way frees each of us to develop our unique abilities, maximize our contribution to civilization, and thus help unleash civilization’s full potential.

  • Max Green

    I too am a minister in training for the C of E and appreciate and sympathise with every word above. The Conservative part or other right of centre groups have somehow allowed the narrative to become fixed on Tory: competent (ish) but uncaring party of rich: Labour (in) competent but caring party of poor.

    Socialism has created the evil of an underclass by feeding poor people in difficulties with just enough money to get by, hooking vulnerable people on benefits like a a drug. Thousands as a result are now truly helpless. The scandal and tragedy of the post 60’s system, creating a client estate for Labour, is an urgent humanitarian need. Long-term dependency on welfare is dehumanising and ­destructive. It’s also immoral that the working poor have to support those who choose not to work or pretend to be sick.

    We should be actively changing a policy that has allowed governments to just dump people on ­benefits and let them stay there, unchallenged, for years. Welfare should be about helping people who can’t help themselves and no one in genuine need should suffer. But it was never intended as a lifestyle choice or a tool of political control. It is not a substitute for compassion, self responsibility and community – all Christian and Conservative virtues.

    Just as any good sermon needs an anecdote, here is a true story. I was walking with a Labour voting and campaigning workmate who was more than comfortably affluent (Top 0.1 % earner). When accosted by a homeless women, he refused to give her money saying “I pay 40% tax so I don’t have to deal with people like you.” That’s left wing compassion for you.

  • It is blatantly obvious that the majority of both Labour and Tory supporters (whether inside or outside the church) have attached themselves to a grotesque theological impossibility many years ago – female clergy. And, when marriage has been redefined (following in the footsteps of the Church of Scotland) to accommodate openly practising homosexuals – and the melting glacier of the Anglican Church has well and truly slid into the sea (in the unchanging eyes of objective moral truth and God) – take it from there and quibble about comparative irrelevances later.