, faith has long played a central part in politics – not surprising for a country where 60 per cent of people say that God plays an important part in their lives. But it's wrong to think that it plays no role in British politics ... US
That the Bible gave “the Labour movement the intellectual legitimacy to challenge the old orders”
He will say: “As David said in Psalm 9, ‘the Lord is a stronghold for the oppressed, a stronghold in times of trouble’.”
Murphy will quote – shock horror – Keir Hardie to the effect that…
“I have said both in writing and on the platform many times that the impetus which drove me first into the Labour movement, and the inspiration which has carried me on it, has been derived more from the teachings of Jesus of Nazareth than from all other sources combined.”
In a maximally banal discourse on the nature of family in contemporary Britain, Jim muses that...
“Family is the most important thing in our country… We love our family more than anything else. I am convinced that, like faith, family is another force for good. I celebrate marriage and family life, and while it's wrong for government to financially incentivise one family type over another, I am convinced family is the glue which hold our communities and society together.”
Because we all know nothing is more rousing or rhetorically affecting than the word ‘incentivise’ properly deployed… Finally, argue the Hootsmon, in an “apparent broadside against the Nationalists, Mr Murphy will link patriotism and support for the
“I am also convinced that people, and values voters in particular, are sick of others talking down our country … Yes, they know we have problems, but we love our country.”
On this last point, context is all and context we don’t have. Blind-baked, the remark seems to relate and refute David Cameron’s ‘broken society’ refrain. This interpretation would chime with Murphy’s declared intention to neglect the SNP during the General Election and focus on the Tories. Then again, perhaps I’m overestimating the conscientious pangs which Labour hypocrites might feel in accusing the SNP of ‘talking down
The Scotsman interpretation does raise – or at least suggest – one interesting point about Christians, Scottish Nationalism and the duty to submit to civil authorities. I’m not soaked in the nuanced, underwriting theology. The complexities escape me. I suspect, that we can probably distinguish (as a conscientious, theological Christian) between obeying the civil authorities as constituted while agitating for a change in the composition of those authorities. It seems a stretch of the Biblical imagination to suggest that Murphy is implying that the creed for a new, divine Unionism is inspired by Matthew’s transcription of the Christly admonition to “Render to Caesar the things that are Caesar’s” (Matthew ) . Then again, there are other echoes elsewhere in the scriptures. “Submit yourselves for the Lord’s sake to every human institution”, commands 1 Peter . Or my favourite Damascene fruitcake, Paul, in his Epistle to the Romans wrote “Let every person be in subjection to the governing authorities. For there is no authority except from God, and those which exist are established by God. Therefore he who resists authority has opposed the ordinance of God; and they who have opposed will receive condemnation upon themselves.” (Romans 13:1-2) Perhaps this is a little abstruse and abstracted from the earthy politics of the thing to give pious Christians pause about Scottish Nationalism or wed them in perpetuity to British structures of civil authority. It would be an interesting dynamic to explore.