As noted on the Chelmsford Anglican Mainstream blog, one of the disturbing things to me about the imminent departure of the Bishop of Rochester is that, ironically given his origins, he has been one of the few public figures to speak powerfully for this country.
On Saturday last, I was speaking at our Men’s Breakfast. As we were eating, one of our number remarked on how much he enjoyed visiting Scotland: “There’s something about the atmosphere there,” he said, “the people are proud to be Scottish — not like here, we’re not proud of our country at all.”
And it is true. This must be one of the few countries — no, surely the only country — in the world, where to speak of national pride is to invite moral opprobrium.
At one stage I started sending out circular e-mails with a small logo of the Union Flag on them. I was soon told to stop as it looked ‘right wing’ and might offend people.
What? Are Finns offended by the Finnish flag, or Russians by the Russian flag, or Tobagans (if that’s what they are called) by the Tobagan flag?
The truth is, Great Britain as an entity, and England as a nation, have been systematically and deliberately dismantled and undermined from within. And I hate it!
I am reminded of the words of Leo Amery in the House of Commons on 2 September 1939, when Arthur Greenwood stood up to speak for the Labour Party following Neville Chamberlain, and Amery called across the floor to him, ‘Speak for England, Arthur!’, implying Chamberlain had not. Who, now Rochester is going, will ‘speak for England’?
And by the way, I know that is the Union Flag, not the flag of England (duh!), but it was undoubtedly England that held together the Union, not Scotland, Wales or Ireland. Thus it was taken for granted that if Arthur Greenwood had spoken ‘for England’ he would have spoken for the whole nation. And hence it was essential, in dismantling the British ‘project’ that the English element should be diminished at the same time as the other elements were elevated. A weakened England was necessary, otherwise the whole thing might have continued to hold together.
Revd John Richardson
5 April 2009