The widespread disconnect between the people and our political masters is a given. This is seen in the shrinkage of popular membership of political parties and the consequent requests that electoral activities be forcibly funded by the state because so few will voluntarily support them. It was noted that at the recent party conferences party activists were heavily outnumbered by paid lobbyists.
The European situation has thrown this into relief. At home prior to the last election both main parties, plus the LibDems made manifesto commitments to a European referendum. The election safely over when we petitioned for a referendum there was wall to wall Parliamentary three line whips against a referendum.
In effect the political elites told us that we had already performed our democratic function, electing them, now we should be quiet and let them get on with the job. After all they are the people who know best and have done such a sterling job of running things already.
The suggestion that the Greek people should actually have a say in their future was greeted with horror in Brussels. They might get the wrong answer and who knows what could have happened happen before the resits. Because whenever there is a referendum which goes the ‘wrong’ way the Eurocrats give us a chance to resit until we get it right.
Politicians hunger for power and resist giving it up, although serious that’s to be expected. Where the leadership problem becomes dangerous is when church leaders abdicate. Where the church cannot articulate clearly the Word of God society has no safety.
The reaction of the CofE to the Occupy London protest has been embarrassing. The Chapter of St Paul’s showed ineffectual dithering, disagreement and capitulation. The leader of the Anglican communion Dr Rowan Williams has, until recently, led by silence. In a typically obfuscatory article in the Financial Times his contribution to the problem was to propose an alteration in the corporate tax regime, “a comparatively small rate of tax (0.05 per cent) being levied on share, bond and currency transactions and their derivatives, with the resulting funds being designated for investment in the ‘real’ economy.” So much for the spiritual leadership of the CofE.
Neither the archbishop nor the Chapter has made mention of the violence, moral laxity and illegality evidenced in the camp. The CofE has been as quiet as the BBC.
Campaigners have left the camp in disgust over what has been described as an arena for bawdy hedonism, drink and drugs. The Times reported one demonstrator left after a series of incidents including a friend being threatened at knifepoint and another anti-capitalist urinating in his tent. Zackandrew Roberts said that what began as a serious campaign highlighting economic inequality had degenerated into a bunch of “drunks and drug takers… here for a laugh.”
The sanctimonious protesters, who would have had Paul arrested for ‘hate speech,’ fly banners asking “What would Jesus do?” It is entirely possible that He would say, “Go, and sin no more.”
In Scotland it is different. In the CofS leadership doesn’t even exist.
The SNP government have proposed legalising homosexual marriage. The Catholic church made its position clear immediately. The Muslim position has been made clear. The reaction of the CofS? “A committee will report in due course.”
Do any seriously imagine that when the committee eventually reports it will do anything other than fudge? “On the one hand… and on the other. We desire sensitivity to the sincerely held views of all, and further dialogue…” We will have a repeat of the St Paul’s situation with fudge and well meaning obfuscation leading to an eventual capitulation to those destructive forces which call themselves ‘progressive.’
Perhaps if church leaders spoke about the hyper-sexualisation of society and the misery and distorted lives it brings in its wake, especially amongst children, we might have more respect for them. Perhaps they could speak out about the men who leave women in the lurch to bring up children on their own.
They could actually take up some unfashionable cause. Everyone says bankers are greedy, but how many church leaders spoke out against the selfish greed of rioters and looters? All we heard from them was breast beating about poverty and deprivation, much to the anger of the vast majority of people living in poverty who try to live decent lives and bring up their children not to steal and burn down shops.
Our church leaders tend to play it safe and avoid ruffling any feathers, except those it is fashionable to excoriate. Perhaps they could try leading.