Otis Griffin

The Monarchy isn’t Britain’s Soul

Increasingly pessimistic, this article may very well just be me being unwarrantedly critical. However, there is nothing like a smidgen of conflict to get people interested in reading what we have to say; here goes nothing, I’m going to disagree with Daniel Hawker.

Let me be clear: I am not a republican, nor am I indifferent to the monarchy that we have. I also do not dislike either Edmund Burke or the late Sir Roger, having read works from both – and yet, I disagree with Mr Hawker’s recent commentary piece on the role of our monarchy. The King, or the Royal Family, isn’t ‘Britain’s Soul’, nor is it ‘our one national continuity’ (my emphasis, not Mr Hawker’s). Though, perhaps first I should commend what I think he has gotten right, and where we have common ground.

Our late Sovereign Lady was indeed an embodiment of moral courage and civic duty. I would go so far as to say she was a fantastic public figurehead for traditional, protestant Anglican Christianity. Likewise, it is indeed true that the more radical left want to tear down our traditional institutions, while the soft left want to turn them into glorified green-social democrat mouthpieces – we know. One could even go so far as to say that we should be vocally supportive of our King, or at least the institution of monarchy, perhaps solely on the basis that it annoys the right people.

Britain, however, is not the monarchy; Britain is a nation; a nation is a collective of people. What defines those people is what those people do – the customs and common practices, attitudes and values. The ‘soul’ of the British is our popular culture, or even our values (I would prefer the term religion), in how the British think and so how the British act. British people have generally enjoyed popular sovereignty and familiarity in regards to what is visibly around them. This is why the 2016 Brexit campaign focused on “take back control” and mass immigration changing our familiar towns and cities – against distant institutions on the continent. Nigel Farage did not invoke, at least not prominently, the idea that Brussels had taken power from the Queen.

It is not a good thing that we have a ‘personal connection’ to the Royal Family, or that we view the King as some kind of dad that we never had. It is not ‘trad’ to have the monarch be at the forefront of Britons’ minds; this is counterintuitive to a mystical, sacred monarchy. The word ‘mystical’ is, unsurprisingly, from the same root word as ‘mystery’; secret. How is it possible to maintain mysticism and a sacral quality if the King is supposed to seem intimate to us? How is it possible for the monarchy to be sacred if they appear ordinary? It is this attitude that was the root of the subsequent celebrification of the Royal Family, which has been disastrous. The King does not have to be #relevant to the everyday lives of British people.

There is a necessity in balancing civic involvement, mystical and sacred qualities, and representing public morality – if not a higher morality – that the Royal Family has a duty to pursue. Our King has to remain sufficiently far-off to be sacred. He also has to be visibly moral enough to be respected and involved publicly enough to maintain institutional confidence. Balancing what can be at odds with each other is not easy, but an overly-involved and relevant, though not in the progressive sense, monarchy, which I think, perhaps unconsciously, was guiding Mr Hawker’s thought, is not the right way forward.

If you want to discover and influence “Britain’s Soul”, turn away from institutions and towards the people. Institutions are important, vital even, but they are another subject to what Mr Hawker was trying to tackle. Turn towards what moral, dare I say even religious, forces are guiding everyday people, and what ordinary people do communally. The monarchy did not compel me to love my country, nor does it govern my every action; Jesus Christ does, and I pray in every beloved Book of Common Prayer service that we will only be quietly governed by our monarch. At the end of the day, I do not think that it is historically or presently accurate to pin our whole national being on one institution, albeit an important one, while that which is popular is effectively sidelined.

If you want to discover and influence ‘Britain’s Soul’, be practical, straightforward and actually change how people think and act; how people’s souls are actually oriented. Avoid placing too much emphasis on a single institution, especially when they do not govern our everyday lives. Some institutions ought to, like the Church (which has a presence in every community, I am told), and you may find that they are more relevant to the subject of souls. Other institutions currently hold too much sway over the developing souls of Britons, like schools – as opposed to parents. Other institutions try to suppress the outward signs of inward Graces in our souls, like the police. You will not make any progress in a ‘conservative revolution’ by having tunnel vision.

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England needs a Second Reformation

It’s over; pack it up, return to Rome or Constantinople, there is literally nothing you can do now. The Church of England General Synod’s has expressed the desire to move away from true doctrine and embrace worldliness. 

To a large extent this is nothing new; liberalism within the Church has existed since the latter half of the 20th Century. Many orthodox Anglicans reading this likely disagree with the ordination of women to bishops, let alone as priests; we have had the former for years, and the latter for decades. Those of us still here now did not leave over that – though mind you, many did – so what has changed, really?

Perhaps I am being too dismissive of the problems Anglicans face. After all, the Liturgical Commission (the people who gave us the watered-down liturgy named Common Worship) have revealed they are launching a new project to explore whether our Father should be referred to as such. The Archbishop of York, who I am under the jurisdiction of while I study at the University of Hull, has stated that he will personally conduct blessings for same-sex couples, while the Archbishop of Canterbury has stated he will not – division amongst the church leadership is never a good sign. Those who adhere to orthodox Anglican doctrine, such as myself, face a tough battle.

Not acknowledging small victories would be foolish. The Telegraph reported:

Traditionalists secured a victory by inserting a clause into the approved blessings motion “not to propose any change to the doctrine of marriage”, and “should not be contrary to or indicative of a departure” from this doctrine, that marriage is between a man and a woman.

This foot in the door is crucial, and lumps on more obstacles to changing core church doctrine that the liberals do not have the time to tackle. Indeed, there is a silver lining, which is the focus of this article; a study reported on by the Anglican Journal in 2017 found that churches that hold to orthodox teaching maintain growth, while liberal churches “dwindle away”. This is not merely a phenomenon confined to North America, where the study originates. A recent study from Christian Concern found that most congregations within the Church of England that have the largest attendance by under-16s have conservative views on sexuality. It seems that the future of the Church of England, despite how dire it seems right now, may very well be more orthodox.

Most Anglicans, laity or clergy, are not these nutty w-word communist atheists that many would have you think they are. From my own experience, granted this is not verifiable data, a solid chunk of Anglicans are moderate and often do not hold strong views – but will listen to charismatic and authoritative leaders. On abortion, despite silence on the overturning of Roe vs Wade, the Church of England maintains a rather impressive record for a church so riddled with liberalism – with good rhetoric as recent as 2020. With all of this in mind, what now?

The simple fact is that the universal church of Christ still exists – a ruling by men will not change what our great God teaches. I imagine that the orthodox Anglicans reading this already attend a traditionally-minded church which will not perform same-sex blessings, so not much will change in regards to those parishes that already heed to the Word of God. Furthermore, it is important to consider this; why are we Anglicans in the first place?

I should hope that people have become Anglican because they agree with traditional Anglican doctrine, and that said doctrine is closest, if not exactly, to what Jesus Christ, the Apostles and the Church Fathers taught. Just because the Church of England edges away from Anglican doctrine does not mean that Roman Catholicism or Eastern Orthodoxy suddenly becomes correct; truth is eternal. We must not make rash decisions – if your local parish church adheres to orthodox doctrine, how would it advance the cause of Anglican orthodoxy to abandon it? Would this not further punish true doctrine when the war is still raging on?

It is easy for those of us with good churches to remain, and it is our duty to remain with them to keep Anglican orthodoxy alive to wait out the deaths of liberal parishes. To wait, though, is not enough; we must be active in activism for true Christian doctrine. Take note of what the church of St Helen’s Bishopsgate and All Souls Church Langham Palace have done as they suspend payments to the liberal Bishop of London. Pursue alternative structures within the Church of England; if your bishop has violated his oath to uphold Christ’s teachings, your church would not be alone if it pursued the system of Alternative Episcopal Oversight to be placed under a bishop who affirms true doctrine, and still remain within the Church of England. Such systems may become very popular soon, with cases of churches rejecting liberal bishops emerging, especially as new traditionalist bishops have been ordained. You as a lay member can help push for this, as I am alongside other laymen (some of whom are converts that I brought into the Church) in my parish church in Hull.

Advocate, push and pursue – on your own if need be, but this should not be so. We are of course called to make disciples of nations, and the best way to spread doctrinal orthodoxy in the Church of England is to convert people yourselves – adding more conservative Anglicans to the flock, solidifying or even changing the doctrine of your parish. Enthusiasm for evangelism is key for growing the Church of Christ on earth, and also preserving that which is true. With all of this, there is still more to do if we are serious as Christians about fixing our beloved Church.

I for one, alongside other Anglicans in Hull, will be pursuing lay ministry to enable us to have the authority to preach and further orthodox Anglican influence within the church. The role itself is not demanding – it is perfectly possible to hold down a job and also be a preacher within the church. Likewise, more important than this is getting elected to the General Synod of the Church of England. After all, it is here where key decisions are made, and it is where we will need to go if we are to win the long-term battle. But who will be our allies?

There are primarily two camps within the Church of England that hold to conservative theology; Anglo-Catholics, most often represented by The Society, and Evangelicals, represented by both the Church Society and the Church of England Evangelical Council (CEEC). Both the Church Society and the CEEC have been consistent in their affirmation of biblical teaching, and their strong opposition to the Bishops’ response to Living in Love and Faith. The Society, on the other hand, seem to be less opposed, with them going so far as to state:

We will study this material carefully when it is published and, in due course, we anticipate issuing pastoral guidance to the clergy who look to us for oversight as to how best these prayers might be used locally.

The lack of a clear rejection of the so-called blessings is stunning, and may upset many orthodox Anglo-Catholics reading this. The simple fact is that it is the conservative evangelicals who are our allies. This may be easier for me to say this, as I am a conservative, reformed evangelical, but we have no time to mourn.

It is time for the Second Reformation to begin, and it will begin with organising opposition to church liberalism. This Reformation, as with the first, must be grounded in the teachings of Jesus Christ, the Apostles and the Church Fathers – and this time with the added help of the Reformers of the 16th Century. Faithful Anglicans, and those who wish to support the Church of England, must rely upon the rock – the true rock upon which the Church is built – that is our faith in Jesus Christ, and the core doctrine of Anglicanism, the Formularies; the Thirty-Nine Articles of Religion, the 1662 Book of Common Prayer, the Two Books of Homilies and the 1662 Ordinal. We must become more knowledgeable in orthodox Anglican apologetics, and I would strongly recommend the apologetics channel New Kingdom Media for our learning in Anglican doctrine. Stand firm, hold to true Christian doctrine as summarised by the Anglican Formularies, pray and work.

Much like the Reformers of the 16th Century, we face a tough battle. Let us take comfort in the fact that the English Reformers won, despite setbacks from a still quite catholic King Henry VIII and years of oppression under Queen Mary. We have behind us what those who do not follow our great God Jesus Christ do not have; the Grace of God, with which we may work wonders and revitalise Christ’s Church, militant here in England – that once again true Christian doctrine – protestant, reformed and liturgical – may flourish and revive England.

There is work to be done. 

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What are these ‘Christian values’? |

In the same way my last article ended, this first paragraph is being written on a Saturday, a day on which I often go to my Anglican parish church for the 9:30am Eucharist. After a week of exams, even a modern Common Worship service can warm my traditional soul. After the service, I turned to our good Rector and talked about a few things, namely about Calvin Robinson’s lack of ordination – our Rector thankfully sees the value conservatives bring to the Church of England – and asked “Just what are these Christian values people talk about, Reverend?”. Being a strong believer in the personal relationship between believer and the Almighty, he said to follow the guidelines of faith, hope and charity, and see where God guides us from there. While that may be enough to satisfy many Christians in a church environment, how do political conservatives, many of whom are not Christian, translate that into ideas and policies when we often cite our appreciation for ‘Christian values’?

Needless to say, one does not have to believe in God or the divinity of Jesus Christ to realise He had a lot of good things to say on morality that are relevant to the reader as a person, and to British politics. Christianity and interpretations of the Bible are responsible for much of how Britain functions politically, and even progressive politics – and it goes without saying that Christianity influences conservative social values. The historians Robert Tombs and Nigel Scotland made good cases to say that the British Labour Party has deeper roots in Methodist Christianity than Marxism, especially historically speaking. Methodist Christianity is probably the best example of the political Gospel having profound influence that lasts to this day. Christianity in England generally contributed greatly to the establishment of the welfare state and educating the masses; likewise, the abolition of slavery in the British Empire was driven through by Evangelical Christian William Wilberforce. Even the renowned political scientist Francis Fukuyama attributed much of the West’s development into liberal democracies as down to the influence of the Christian religion on politics and society in his books The Origins of Political Order and Political Order and Political Decay, as well as Christianity being responsible for the Western notion of universal equality. Christianity has much symbolic influence on the development of nation-states as well: the name “England” was given to us by the Roman Catholic Church, believing the land that is England to have been primarily made up of Angles and not Saxons, and of course the British flag is an amalgamation of three crosses that represent Christian saints. 

And even if you don’t believe in it, you probably like a lot of what Christianity gave you. Given all it has accomplished, it may even be worth looking to an interpretation of Christianity for a moral system.

With this, one returns to the subject at hand. Writing for UK-based Premier Christianity, Peter Lynas argues that Putin’s recent invasion of Ukraine is “an attack on Christian values”. His general argument is that equality and human rights are products of Christianity, thus making Russia’s invasion and subsequent alleged human rights violations an attack on Christian values. On the other side, American congresswoman Marjorie Taylor Greene called for a restoration of ‘Christian values’, stating that they built America. British conservatives, from David Cameron to Nigel Farage, spoke highly of Christian values. Cameron in particular accredited the Bible to being a great moral influence, while Farage had much more to say on specific policies, such as restricting abortion. Even recently, a conservative Member of Parliament – a 2019-intake one – praised Christian values. There is indeed a place for these ‘Christian values’ in British politics. The trouble is, there doesn’t seem to be a consistent argument as to what these values are from the conservative right. Few people are actually adequately describing, in sufficient detail for meaningful political goals, these Christian values.

It is sensible to make a distinction between ‘Christian values’ and following the Bible, not least because these values ought to be promotable to those of others faiths or no faith. Following the Bible and being a Christian is appropriate for the Church to promote as priests in the Church of Christ, as opposed to the job of ministers in the service of the state. Theocracy – rule by priests – is not an accountable form of government, and theonomy – rule by scripture – is simply impractical for the modern era; the Bible was made for regulating personal conduct and driving societal change, not to be a substitute for a good legal system. After all, Jesus himself told us to “render therefore unto Caesar the things which are Caesar’s”, meaning that there is some distinction – though not necessarily a separation – between the state and the Church. The Christian values I will attempt to identify will be principles and notions that are derived from the Bible and Christian thinking in broad terms that are specific enough to be applicable while not being vague enough to be detached from Christianity.

Christianity is about love; there is nothing more obvious than this. This type of Christian love brings us to the first value I can identify, and that is paternalism. The Bible portrays God’s love as not just passive and merely tolerant, but active and guiding. Like a father traditionally would, God the Father lays down rules to bring us closer to moral virtue and goodness, and God the Son, Jesus Christ, consistently showed his willingness to care for, support, and feed people. It is clear that moral and material paternalism is a Christian value, and that can be reflected in governance – material paternalism through welfare for the truly needy and moral paternalism through a state that legislates on moral issues. This acts as a good transition to the next identifiable value of a belief in a firm, universal system of morality. It may be stating the obvious to say Jesus Christ preached about morality, and that it is a virtue to follow God’s moral law. Likewise, both conservatives and liberals can see the importance in society of following common, universal morals that are not mere formalities, but a set of rules and customs that people subscribe to in order to become better people. Universal morality is key to a functioning society. Do we not already agree to a set of universal morals, such as the belief that murder is wrong? Does not the widespread belief that violence is wrong help keep individuals and society safe? Point being, take a moral stand on social issues. Having a legal system will always lead to morals being imposed on others, and it only makes sense to impose a good moral system than to be weak-willed and push for dangerous societal atomisation.

One problem within mainstream conservatism and Western society in general is the shift towards moral relativism. In my last article, I referenced Edmund Burke’s claim that social order rests on moral foundations. Putting this simply, society and your day-to-day interactions function and go well because we collectively agree to the ‘ground-rules’, otherwise known as morality. As silly as it may seem to mention, I wouldn’t punch someone in the nose in response to being greeted with “Hello”, because that would be rude. It is the distinction between what thing is ‘right’ to do, and what is ‘wrong’ to do. Scale up this very small rejection of morality to the widespread rejection of law, the rejection of dignity and self-restraint, the rejection of being orderly and rejecting responsibility and the place where you live becomes worse-off. Some of those things just mentioned are quite widespread, perhaps with some such as the rejection of law it isn’t quite as chaotic as widespread murder, but little respect for the law in regards to, say, drug dealing and drug usage – which anyone under 20 knows is common – is just the start of it. Why follow one law if you don’t follow another? Perhaps, moving forward with firm morality, and Christian values, is in your interests. Following Christian morality, according to some studies, indeed reduces criminal behaviour and encourages positive traits. The logical conclusion is that the Christian moral system should be the standard for behaviour in the future, and there is no better place to look to the future than the education of children, especially at home. Some teachers have expressed frustration at the lack of parents teaching their children to behave politely or morally, and the answer to this is the re-emergence of following Christian values being the norm.

A word I used in the previous paragraph was “dignity”, and inalienable human dignity is absolutely a Christian value. As it is Christian to hold up God highly, so too does it make sense to hold up other humans, who are made in the image of God, as having inherent dignity that should not be taken away, especially not because of race. The Golden Rule – do unto others what you would have them do to you – on how to treat others with dignity comes from Jesus’ teachings. In particular, the dignity of children is especially important, and this includes those who are yet to be born. Naturally, the Christian principle of human dignity extending to all humans leads to the controversial position that humans that have not been born yet have equal dignity too, and so ending life before birth is not a matter to take lightly. But human dignity is more than the love of unborn children. Human dignity extends to all people, both progressives and traditional conservatives. Many conservatives likely feel that many pro-censorship progressives could use a lesson in this, and that freedom of belief – an extension of dignity – extends to those who disagree.

Perhaps less popular among the conservative right, this human dignity extends to all people in prison and economic migrants. If we are to subscribe to the Christian principle of paternalism, the government has a duty to truly rehabilitate prisoners. Indeed, many cases of good Christians being made out of some of the most violent criminals exist, as anyone who has attended the Alpha Course can tell you. Likewise, while conservatives such as myself object to mass immigration and illegal migrants coming over the English Channel, policies to address these issues – especially the latter – must recognise their inalienable human dignity. How this is done is of course open to interpretation, and that is a good thing – these values must be broad enough to allow for healthy debate, but conservatives who wish to advocate for these principles must remember that the inalienable and universal qualities matter, especially in our image towards both opponents and potential voters. For the record and to reiterate, this doesn’t mean conservatives should not stop channel crossings or facilitate them; it means to stop it humanely.

Inalienable human dignity applies to all individuals, and this brings the reader to the principle of individual responsibility. This may be my Evangelical Protestant/Anglican bias showing, but recognising the uniqueness and individuality of each person is evident in the Bible. Each of us has a certain gift, and so each of us are responsible in different ways. From this, conservatives should draw on the idea of individual responsibility, tempered by some collective duty, which too is Biblical. In one sense, the principle of individual responsibility is tied in a complementary manner to valuing morality, as there is an emphasis on personal accountability as to how well you follow Christian morals. In other words, it’s holding yourself to certain standards. Practising self-restraint with behaviour, to act according to what is right and wrong, is an act of taking individual responsibility. This value in particular is hard to encourage politically because of how it is about influencing people’s mindset. People have to be convinced that the moral system they are holding themselves to account to is worth following, and this will bring about individual responsibility in regards to morality. This may come about naturally as a hypothetical government that has read this article and agreed wholeheartedly tries to implement these values, and people recognise the virtue in them. Individual responsibility is not very controversial among conservatives, so I’ll move on to the more controversial topic; collective responsibility to altruism and charity, and whether this means we ought to be socialists.

My initial plan was to list out every argument, every talking point and each verse for why Jesus would have voted for Jeremy Corbyn or endorsed Steve Baker as leader of the Conservative Party. Having read articles by Huffpost, various smaller magazines and academics, Forbes, the Christian Socialism Institute and a video from Novara Media I will attempt to summarise what each side said, in short, and what the truth likely is. The articles in favour of portraying Jesus as favouring left-leaning economics surprised me by quoting scripture far more often than those arguing the contrary. Their arguments rested on scripture criticising wealth, the pursuit of wealth and greed, praising giving up private property and of course, the comparison of a camel going through a haystack to a rich man entering the Kingdom of God.

From those against the idea Jesus was a socialist or economic progressive, almost every article started by saying socialism did not exist at the time of Jesus Christ, and most mentioned that Jesus was against coercive force. As taxes and government intervention is ultimately supported by coercive force, Jesus would have disapproved. Notably, it was said that helping the poor in a Biblical context has to be voluntary, and an act of charity, not an act of state-sponsored wealth redistribution. Talks of giving up private property were stated to be not an act of collectivisation, but strictly voluntary acts of altruism.

Forbes writer Bill Flax, his biases aside, reflect the view I concluded with very well by saying “I’m a capitalist and you might be socialists. Christians can be both, but Christ was neither. He was the Author and Finisher of faith”. As stated earlier on in this article, I am attempting to take religious texts and apply them to politics in the form of values/principles, so naturally there is friction between trying to translate commands over personal conduct into government policy. What leftists trying to say Jesus was a socialist get wrong is that Jesus did not call for mass wealth redistribution, but rather called for altruism and to reject the idea that wealth was important. He called for prioritising your spiritual self; to say He was calling for socialism would be to forget that Jesus is a religious figure with spiritual concerns. Likewise, what many capitalists get wrong is that Jesus had a strong concern for the poor, and strongly criticised the accumulation of wealth for wealth’s sake, and of course he encouraged giving to the poor. So, what Christian principle can one develop from this?

The final principle that one can infer from Biblical teaching is that the government must foster a community-orientated society that encourages individuals to believe strongly in charity and altruism, and care for their needy neighbours; the Christian principle of community-centred altruism. Government policy must not put GDP first. I am aware this talking point is almost painfully repeated among conservative internet personalities, but it is still an important truth. Economic growth is good when it leads to economic development; when economic growth leads to a higher quality of life. Further still, in balance, the government should respect private property as a means to generate wealth for society to benefit from, and so that private citizens can indeed be altruistic with their own wealth.

I often read calls for separation of church and state from people replying to GBNews tweets about how the Archbishop of Canterbury says this and that, and how religion should stay out of politics. I am reminded of how many Americans complain of inefficient government, and how their state should be reduced and further constrained, with powers further separated and devolved to make government less powerful. Except the reason why America’s political system is so inefficient is largely due to the separation of powers, the overbearing constraints on the executive and the culture that has come out of it. America needs a less restrained executive and civil service in order to produce better government. See Political Order and Political Decay for further details. 

Similarly, conservatives in Britain should not call for the destruction of another ancient state institution, which would likely not return should we tear it off, such as the Church of England from its established role, on the grounds that it is too liberal. That would be exactly what progressive liberals want, as religion is often the best source of conservative, traditional morals and values. Rather, if the Archbishop of Canterbury focused more on the Gospel and Christianity, he would receive far much more praise from conservatives. Conservatives should seek to promote social conservatism within the Church of England, and make use of a fantastic vehicle for morality. It was only recently that the Prime Minister no longer had powers over appointing bishops in the Church of England, and the Prime Minister still has an influential say on who is picked to be Archbishop of Canterbury. If we in Britain are going to get our moral teachings from anywhere, would we want it from an institution that has existed in one form or another for over a thousand of years, or from the musings of self-appointed philosophers? Christianity guided Europe for over a millenia; rocking the foundations of our society, as we are right now, is not working out.

Numerous Members of Parliament have resigned from their seats or other parliamentary positions as of the date this article has been published, from Neil Parish to Christopher Pincher. One could argue that too many politicians no longer really believe in absolute morality, and certainly do not hold themselves responsible to a moral system. If politicians were more like Christ, espousing Christian values, surely this problem would be far less pronounced. We would have far less lies being told (lying is something that Jesus is not fond of) and greater dedication to serving the people; paternalistic love. Politicians holding themselves to account to a system of morality is something worth agitating for. If you are a member of a political party, you may want to only support candidates that discuss and hold themselves accountable to morality. Perhaps you can act as an example for others to follow, as Jesus Christ did, and follow Christian values. Maybe you could stand for elected office, or find work in government departments, and see the spread of Christian values in politics by your own work. The emphasis in all of this is that you should do something, big or small.

If we had the aforementioned Christian values put at the centre of public policy, with community, human dignity and paternalistic love in mind, Britain may well be better off, and the British people far more content with government. Such change will not happen without people being vocal or active about their concerns; A politician will not answer a question that he isn’t asked. People may sneer at you for defending Christian values publicly, but these people, and others, will sneer at you for almost anything. If there is no good answer to ‘Why not?’, then consider giving it a go.

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A sermon for Christmas day

“And the Word was made flesh, and dwelt among us full of grace and truth” – and so history began; the beginning of the perfect expression of the unchanging doctrine of the Church of God.

Turkey, gifts and – at least in my case – cigars are only incidental to the Birth of our Lord, and so I want to move past these things for this sermon. Other Holy Days in the Christian calendar are observed appropriately; Palm Sunday involves the distribution of palm crosses; Easter Sunday is when the Gloria is sung following its omission during Lent to mark the joyous occasion of the Resurrection of Jesus. So it is odd how many Christians mark Christmas with elaborately decorated trees, bright lights and lavish family gatherings, when the first Christmas celebration was meek, drab and in a stable.

We know through Scripture in the second chapter of Luke that the Christ spent his first hours in a stable, likely an unpleasant place to be for Joseph and the Blessed Virgin Mary – especially given how she had just given birth, and probably desired animal-free peace and quiet. Not only this, but on that same night three scruffy, ritually unclean shepherds arrive unannounced, excitedly, and very interested in the newborn Jesus. Contrary to popular belief, the Magi, or the Three Wise Men, did not arrive on the same night, and not at the stable, as the Shepherds. The 19th-century Bishop of Wakefield Walsham How wrote in his commentary on the Four Gospels that it is best to suppose that the visit of the Magi took place “at some period after the Purification and Presentation [of Jesus] in the Temple”, especially given how King Herod ordered the deaths of children aged up to two years when he had heard the Magi had not delivered Jesus to him. The gifts of gold, frankincense and myrrh associated with Christmas through the Magi were then not actually given on Christmas itself, making the day of the Birth of Jesus seem all the less glamorous. In other words, it was simple.

None of the aforementioned scripture is that which is appointed to be read on Christmas Day in the Book of Common Prayer; the Gospel reading is from John 1, beginning at the first verse. Returning to Bishop Walsham How, his commentary on the context behind the Gospel according to John reveals that as one of the Apostles closest to our Lord, John sought to “record the deeper spiritual truths” for more mature Christians. There is no better example of this than the reading for Christmas Day.

John’s Gospel talks of “the Word” in the beginning (the beginning before all time and creation which is eternal), and this is a term that has caused controversy. The roots of the Gnostic heresy were, in part, down to the understanding of who or what the Word of God is. Some believed that Jesus Christ is not the Word, and others believed that the Christ is a lesser being delegated to rule over us by a supreme god. John makes true doctrine clear throughout the passage: the Word was with God; the Word was God; all things were made by Him; the Word became flesh in Jesus Christ.

The several points made by John illustrate the crucial Father and Son relationship in the Trinity. The Word was with God to show that the Word is distinct and a person, not a mere attribute, but the Word is God to show that person is still very much God. This has always been so, as demonstrated in a parallel with Genesis when it is said that all things were made by Him. The Word of God is not some new creation – He has always been – but the Word did come into the world as a man at a certain point. It is by understanding John’s first chapter that we Christians can fully understand the Nativity.

Other prophets, such as Jeremiah, had births of special note to God, but there had been none up until now of this sort of significance. The person who had created everything, formed mankind and was the true, perfect expression of God’s Will became incarnate in an insignificant little stable, in one of many towns that people were moving to in order to register for a census. As mentioned earlier, the birth was simple in many respects, and it may feel odd to decorate Christmas with bright lights. Is this the full picture of Christmas, though?

St Luke tells us that angels appeared to the shepherds praising God and singing, and that they glorified the Lord. This day was almost certainly a day of celebration for them; the Angel of the Lord himself said that the news will bring “great joy”, though this was not the case for all. The Birth of Jesus caused a great stir in Jerusalem, and there was no-one more worried than King Herod about what he saw as a challenge to his earthly power. By both metrics of joy and fear, the Birth of the Christ was in no way insignificant for the world. The coming of the light of the world should be a time for great, significant joy and events – gathering families and enjoying the warmth of the Lord. Jesus’ Nativity was a simple affair, and yet it appears that we should mark this simple event elaborately.

The point was not to demonstrate to us to have an unpleasant birthday, or some more ludicrous interpretation, but that from such a humble nativity a Saviour was given to us. From a stable in Bethlehem, the years are dated and Christ’s Kingdom spread across the world – how greater will the greater Second Coming, in glory descending from the clouds, be? The anticipation for the Second Coming mirrors the anticipation one holds during Advent; perhaps we can use this time to reflect upon our own enthusiasm for this annual church festivity, and apply it to the wider wait for the coming judgement, when the faithful will be brought to Heaven.

As we, especially us in the more traditionalist churches, celebrate in the same way every year that God came to save us at first as a poor, helpless babe, let us reflect in the words of the Epistle for Christmas day reflecting on the temporal world; “they shall perish, but thou remainest; and they all shall wax old as doth a garment; and as a vesture shalt thou fold them up, and they shall be changed; but thou art the same, and thy years shall not fail”. Go forth, be merry, and remember that the Christ, your Saviour Jesus, came to this world to save sinners. Amen.

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Win Big, Win Small; Win Everywhere

“We’re going to win so much; we’re going to win at every level…You may even get tired of winning.”

 Donald Trump is not an orator in the traditional sense of an eloquent speaker, but his ability to generate soundbytes that inspired confidence in the conservative movement is great. The above quote highlights a particularly American and entrepreneurial attitude towards any given task, and with the conservative pushback against modern liberalism in the Southern United States one wonders whether the confident rhetoric helps motivate people to produce results. This is especially the case when comparing the energetic American conservative political scene with the dull, soggy and wheezing conservative movement here in Britain.

The conservative right movement in Britain is tired for a number of reasons. With very few significant wins on a national level, there is little to be happy about. Contrast this with the leftist-captured Conservative Party enacting progressive left’s policies for them, such as the recent passing of a section of the Public Order Bill (already an affront to liberty) in which the majority of Conservative MPs supported a clause to establish buffer zones around abortion clinics to ban protests; even the progressive organisation Liberty expressed concerns over how heavy-handed the bill is. In addition, we recently saw Liz Truss’ attempt to have open borders with India, though her resignation may lead to this being shelved – hopefully. Hope is something we are in short supply of, and so I propose a change in strategy.

Here is some context to what I will be proposing: the Mallard’s own Chris Winter graciously drove me to our recent drinks reception in Birmingham earlier in October, joined by Xander West and the notorious Sam Martin. I am sure many of our readers will know that with such a combination of personalities the drive was a great deal of fun. Towards the end of our journey there was a shift in the conversation towards more serious topics – the relevant one being discussing how to refer to our own conservative movement. I proposed a more neutral term – dare I say a more inclusive term to reflect the conservative right’s diversity – on the grounds that especially on the topic of nationhood, many on the conservative right are taking the route of focusing on local politics. This is on the grounds that national politics could very well be too enveloped by the progressive blob to be overthrown, and that there is much that can be done from the parish, borough or even county level to preserve local communities from imposed progressive dogmas and laws, housing illegal immigrants and asylum claimants and better regulating local police forces. This view was not well received; national politics is where it’s at. I propose that we will be in a far better position if we contested for power on both the local and national level.

I may be slightly misrepresenting the views of Mr West, Mr Martin and Mr Winter – the conversation was quite brief in the end as we tried to locate where to drop ourselves off – insofar as they may actually be open to contesting local politics. Consider the above more of a device used to advance the plot; to set the stage, if you will, because the conversation needs to be had over right-wing strategy.

To begin with, we as the conservative right need a goal to work towards. This much is easy; we want to resist and overthrow the progressive blob that dominates the political discourse and once-great institutions. I, alongside some other political innovators, are already putting together a policy paper aimed at tackling the national issue. Most other Mallard writers and Mallard-adjacent activists are dead-set on identifying and finding ways to counter national issues. However, there are clear examples of effective resistance to the progressive blob from the local government.

Linton-on-Ouse became part of the vocabulary of the Twitter right-winger due to the Home Office’s attempts to pack the small town of just 1,200 with asylum claimants. There were fears that asylum claimants would outnumber the local residents, drastically changing the shape of the town’s identity permanently. Thank God that a whopping 300 jobs would have been created – totally worth it. We were rightly up in arms about the whole affair, but I have not seen equivalently intense celebrations over the fact that the local council and community’s efforts to resist the mighty state’s will actually worked. The leader of Hambleton District Council, which covers the town, stated that had the council not resisted the policy that “there would already be asylum seekers on site”.

Guys, why aren’t we motivated by this to replicate this success elsewhere when possible? Why aren’t we trying to win at every level, including the local one? 

The central government does a great deal to destroy traditional communities and families, but so does local government. This is why we should devote some resources, and I deliberately do not say “divert” because too many of us aren’t utilising any of our resources frankly, towards gaining power in local councils. For example, the awful, silly, loony w-word Green council of Brighton and Hove mandated that schools should tell white students that they are inherently not “racially innocent”. On a more disturbing note, it was specifically local councils that held a great deal of the blame for not appropriately protecting children from predominantly Muslim grooming gangs, which is especially important because this abuse is still taking place. Some of these councils gave groomers positions of power, which is all the more reason to make sure that these councillors do not have power. There is a fantastic short documentary on YouTube that goes into great detail about how the hard-left utilised local councils in London to push their agenda. Gentleman, take notes- they won by doing this!

It isn’t just local councils that make a difference. Local Education Authorities, while they are under the Department of Education, hire local people like one would hire for any other job. It’s true, the best long-run solution will be to either disband these institutions or reform them from the top, but until we are in a position to do that it is arguably important to frustrate the blob in their efforts to spread progressive liberalism to our children. Going back to the United States, take inspiration from there; local school boards in North Carolina and other states have banned “Critical Race Theory”. The conservative movement in America is motivated and is doing things with tangible results. 

Donald Trump’s mantra of winning at every level is alive in American conservative politics, and the extent to which their victories are due to simply being motivated to actually do something is greater than I think others realise. The only major conservative figures in the United Kingdom with a near-equivalent level of reach and charisma include Nigel Farage, Reverend Calvin Robinson and Neil O’Brien MP. Nigel, as Samuel Martin and William Yarwood correctly pointed out in a recent Twitter space, is reluctant and exhausted – evident in his recent call for others to join him in leading the next movement against the Conservative Party. Reverend Robinson, a great Anglican Christian which the Church of England bloody-well needs, seems to be making some progress in making progress in political activism, though I would like to see more specific initiatives beyond electoral pacts. Neil O’Brien, a self-professed proponent of national conservatism (mega-based!) is likely constrained by a combination of his workload, the Tory Whip, and party politics in general to coordinate local efforts – though I may be wrong; if you live in his constituency, by all means get in contact with him to get something done.

What I am getting at by bringing these people up is that there aren’t enough energetic leaders in our political movement. There are commentators, politicians and so on, but leaders give out orders and organise people under their command. They have deputies and lieutenants who manage smaller units to coordinate activism in an effective manner. The conservative right in Britain needs leaders, which is a fact not lost on many in the Mallardsphere. Daniel Evans, another writer of ours, is especially a proponent of the idea that we need to be ready to do something when a leader, a commander, appears. In the meantime, I propose that we get to work, and that means you the reader if you’re currently idle, on any of the following projects:

  1. Stand as a council candidate and try to win. If there’s anything the aforementioned short documentary teaches us, it’s that families from all backgrounds tend to disapprove of their children being taught perverse nonsense. Use that to your advantage, and become a moral campaigner that your community can organise around. Lead efforts to oppose the central government’s housing of illegal immigrants. My biases aside as a party member, I really would recommend standing under the Conservative ticket purely because of the resources that would be available to you.
  1. If you do not wish to become an elected politician (I wouldn’t blame you), apply for a job at your Local Education Authority. Infiltration has to start somewhere, and you will be remembered fondly if you are the one brave enough to actually do it. Work competently and be virtuous; oppose progressivism when possible and strategically – there are some battles that can only be won after a great deal of scheming.
  1. Maybe the first two options just aren’t your cup of tea. You have a job already that is too demanding, or you aren’t qualified enough. That’s no problem, go for something less demanding; plain-old, traditional activism. You could apply to be a school governor and wield influence through there; get a group of your local like-minded friends to do so and wield even more influence. Start a community newsletter for parents to inform them of what their children are actually being taught to generate awareness of leftist indoctrination, and start informal parents’ groups as a forum to discuss concerns about what their children are being taught. Become a figure for your community to organise around and go to for opposing indoctrination.

If you are already working on influencing national politics and have a clear role in doing so, by all means continue – that is more or less what I am pursuing, to make it clear. But for those who are idle, or feel that the big state is too mighty to take on, why not take on something smaller, closer to you; the borough council? Our movement can win so much, on every level if we put the work in; win big, win small, win everywhere.

Photo Credit.

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