Friday, February 21, 2014

A classic example of the way in which the establishment aggregates power

Denis MacShane MP muses on Twitter:  "Bishops used to write to Telegraph or Times. Now it's the Daily Mirror. Are our editors and journos out of touch with condition of England?"

If Mr MacShane was in touch with what was happening in the Anglican church he would realise that the clergy have become the Labour party at prayer, and there is a gulf between them and their congregations (the clergy mostly male, middle-class, lefty and the congregations mostly female, elderly, conservative with a small "c" and often with a big "C").

Which in turn raises issues over democracy in the state church.

In the past Prime Minister's chose the bishops, and so in theory the Church of England was under the democratic control of the people.

However in recent decades this process has been watered down (through the manipulation of shortlists so that the Prime Minister was given the choice between one lefty candidate and another lefty candidate) and for the last decade active Prime Minister involvement has been completely abandoned.

Is this not a classic example of the way in which the establishment aggregates power unto itself so that it becomes a self-perpetuating oligarchy?

Is this not what has happened in every other area of society - the professions, the political classes, the civil service etc.

Perhaps we should require bishops to stand for election by the laity on the parochial rolls of each parish in a particular diocese. 

And indeed, require applicants for parishes to stand for election by the congregations they aspire to serve.

Note:  Steve Richards makes the same mistake in thinking the bishops speak for anyone other than themselves:  http://www.theguardian.com/commentisfree/2014/feb/20/david-cameron-alienated-church-thatcherite?CMP=twt_gu

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