Julian Mann is Vicar of the Parish Church of the Ascension, Oughtibridge, South Yorkshire.
‘The real reason why Hitler lost the Second World War was exactly the same one that caused him to unleash it in the first place: he was a Nazi’ (Andrew Roberts, The Storm of War.)
Dr Roberts’s book brilliantly demonstrates that the worldview behind a politician’s actions is crucially determinative of their practical success or failure. So what are the worldviews that underpin the major political movements dominating the UK Parliament now – namely the Cameronite Conservatives, the Blairite (or at least non-Corbynite) Labour members and the Scottish Nationalists?
Would it not be more accurate to talk of their worldview in the singular? Is it really overstating the case to assert that these three tints on the political river seem to reflect fairly uniformly a shared belief in a combination of state-regulated capitalism in economic policy and a Marxist attitude to equality of outcome in social policy?
The point is debatable. But it is surely almost certainly true that the line between the promotion of equality of opportunity and the imposition of equality of outcome has become somewhat blurred in the minds of our mainstream politicians.
The Brexit vote would seem to indicate that there is now scope for a new political party with a demonstrably different worldview from the socially Marxist one behind the current political consensus. The fact that more than 17 million British people voted to defy the wishes of a political establishment that wanted them to vote Remain surely suggests that possibility. Could 2017 be the year when this begins to happen?
Readers of this site may expect me to argue for a new political party with an orthodox Christian worldview as its spiritual and moral foundation. But actually I would not wish for that in a rigidly enforced way. Though churches need soundly biblical doctrinal bases – mine are the Church of England’s 39 Articles of Religion – a political party with a conservative Christian doctrinal basis could in practice be a dangerous thing, and end up promoting an alternative theocratic version of political Islam using Christian terminology.
But a socially conservative secular political party committed to the heterosexually married family as the foundation of a stable society and to Britain’s Christian heritage in a broad sense and clear on the difference between encouraging equality of opportunity and imposing equality of outcome could well be a blessing for our country.
It would be good if it included plenty of Bible-believing disciples of Jesus Christ committed to loving their neighbours through godly political action. But to do the nation the best Christian service the new party should promote people for their practical commitment to socially conservative policies, intellectual ability, pragmatic wisdom and moral probity rather than for their doctrinal or ideological purity. Dr Robert’s account well demonstrates the political danger of that mistake.