UKIP’s support is based on irrational fear of the unknown, leading to unBritish and unChristian behaviour

Channel 4 News Factcheck is a place I often go to when I need a bit of sanity. On immigration, they have an excellent post.

It reports that UKIP voters say immigration is their biggest worry. 83% of UKIP supporters say that immigration is their greatest concern, compared to 53% across the whole population.

It goes on to say:

The party’s short list of 12 parliamentary seats they think they can win in next year’s general election was reported by Sky News earlier this year.

The target seats are: North Thanet, Forest of Dean, Sittingbourne and Sheppey, Aylesbury, East Worthing and Shoreham, Great Yarmouth, Thurrock, South Thanet, Eastleigh, Portsmouth South, Boston and Skegness, Great Grimsby.

According the latest official figures, the average proportion of people living in those 12 constituencies who were born in another country (EU, non-EU and Ireland) was 9.8 per cent.

The comparable figure for England and Wales as a whole was 13.4 per cent. So Ukip’s target seats have lower-than-average immigrant populations.

But we shouldn’t be surprised…

…that people living in low-immigration areas are still worried about migrants.

According to the latest British Social Attitudes survey, “those most likely to be directly exposed to migration in their daily lives have much more positive views”.

“Londoners, those with migrant heritage, and those with migrant friends (all of whom are more likely to have regular direct contact with migrants) have more positive than negative views about immigration’s effects.

“The most intensely negative views are found among the oldest voters, and those with no migrant friends.”

In last year’s local council elections, it is estimated that UKIP picked up 20% support outside of London, but only 7% in London. Think about that. London. Without question, London is a remarkable example of multi-enthnicity. There’s every language and every race on earth there jostling around, rubbing shoulders with each other. It is a fantastic example of successful multi-culturalism. And yet UKIP can hardly get a councillor elected there. But in places where you hardly see a non-white face or hear a Polish accent, people are flocking to UKIP and outraged that “these people are coming over here…..”.

It’s an age-old phenomenon. Reds under the bed. The bogeyman. Fear of the unknown. Except, the facts show, by enlarge, that immigration works in this country.

While I’m on the subject, what I find offensive is UKIP wrapping themselves in the Union Jack. This country is built on tolerance and co-operating with all races and creeds. This irrational fear of, and opposition to, immigrants is unBritish, when it biased and not evidence-based.

Nigel Farage says (and I paraphrase him, but you can read the actual quotes here) it is not unChristian to criticise the treatment of “foreigners” for HIV (see full fisk of his original claim here).

How long have you got? Here are fourteen Bible quotations which talk about welcoming strangers. But you simply have to take the parable of the Good Samaritan as related by Jesus in Luke 10. A man came to the aid of a stranger who had been robbed and left for dead on the side of the road, despite several others having passed by without doing anything. He took him to a local inn and paid for him to stay there. After relating this tale, Jesus said “Go and do likewise”.

And Nigel Farage says we should turn away people who have HIV and has the audacity to say that this is not unChristian.

I find that beneath contempt.

* Paul Walter is a Liberal Democrat activist. He is one of the Liberal Democrat Voice team. He blogs at Liberal Burblings.

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111 Comments

  • “And Nigel Farage says we should turn away people who have HIV and has the audacity to say that this is not unChristian. I find that beneath contempt.”

    I wouldn’t disagree with that, but what exactly is the moral difference between turning away HIV patients and turning away old people who need healthcare? The Lib Dems’ immigration policy paper says that old people should not be allowed in unless they can pay a health levy, and that this levy should amount to “a large sum, likely to deter those without substantial means”.

    Did the Good Samaritan ask for cash up front before he offered assistance?

  • Paul in Wokingham 15th Apr '15 - 10:57am

    Farage knew (because he explicitly stated it) that his comments on HIV therapy would be repellent to many people. This was not reaching out to the TV audience: it was a cold, calculated attempt to staunch the haemorrhage of support for UKIP that is being seen in the polls by pandering to the basest prejudices of his core demographic.

  • FactCheck:
    “[UKIP’s] list of 12 parliamentary seats they think they can win in next year’s general election was reported by Sky News earlier this year… According the latest official figures, the average proportion of people living in those 12 constituencies who were born in another country (EU, non-EU and Ireland) was 9.8 per cent. The comparable figure for England and Wales as a whole was 13.4 per cent. So Ukip’s target seats have lower-than-average immigrant populations.”

    That’s a very questionable conclusion to draw from a sample which is both very small, and highly biased.

    You only need look at your own area of Newbury (foreign-born population: 9.1%) to see that there must be a lot more to it than that, since I understand UKIP have little support there.

  • Riding a moral high horse, is all fine and dandy but the cognitive dissonance of Liberal Democrat thinking still astounds me. The glaring disconnect in LD thinking is, that there is not enough money to fund the NHS adequately as it stands *now*, meaning NICE have to direct what drugs and treatments are too expensive to use on *existing British nationals*?
    And yet, Lib Dems see no problem, or conflict, in inviting *the whole world* for expensive treatment for such as HIV, TB and the like. ???
    Seriously Paul, climb down from your moral tower for a moment, and answer how,..if we can’t afford drugs and treatment for existing UK occupants, where do you get this un-costed, *kumbya*, notion that it’s our moral duty to invite in the whole world and heal them ?
    In short, your LD morality is fine and admirable,.. but show me the cash to cover your morality?

  • @John Dunn – most immigrants (particularly the ones from the rest of the EU), are young, healthy and well – educated. Exactly what a country with an ageing population and a cultural blind spot about education (i.e. the UK) needs.

    The people who should be really hacked off are the governments of Poland/Hungary et al, who have invested in these people and now UK gets the return. Talk about a bargain for us.

    And if you’re really worried about overcrowding (we’re not by the way – we’re 51st in terms of population density), we could apply “points based qualification” for residency of the UK to *everyone* (regardless of where they were born).

  • JUF
    An Australian style points system of immigration covers all your points.
    You say :
    “….we could apply “points based qualification” for residency of the UK to *everyone* (regardless of where they were born).”
    Got to be honest with you. I don’t understand this last bit?

  • @John Dunn – well from your “show me the cash” standpoint surely it doesn’t matter whether an unprofitable person was born in Warsaw or Wolverhampton?

  • @Paul Walter
    “It’s an age-old phenomenon. Reds under the bed. The bogeyman. Fear of the unknown. ”

    But all political parties operate on this level. Your Party is doing it with the unknowns of an exit from the EU and the possibility of a coalition involving either the SNP or UKIP (and probably a lot more as well).

  • “John, we already have an Australian style points system.”
    Paul,..That is patently not true, but your response is emblematic of the kind of political (spin), that has reduced politics to abject ridicule, and in particular, it’s an example of why the voting public simply groan with contempt for the established political class.
    But I note your hand waving reluctance to answering my very relevant question. In that,… If we are struggling to fund the NHS for UK residents in poor health at this very moment,… where is your magic funding going to come from, to heal the world?
    Face facts Paul,… Your morality requires a budget that we simply don’t have.

  • Helen Tedcastle 15th Apr '15 - 2:40pm

    I agree with Paul Walter. UKIP’s claim to represent Judaeo-Christian values is ridiculous. Any party which whips up prejudice against the stranger, the migrant and the refugee cannot claim to be acting in accordance with those values.

  • Helen
    From the King James Bible :
    “But if any prouide not for his owne, & specially for those of his owne house, hee hath denied the faith, and is worse then an infidel.”
    In short ~ Charity begins at home?

  • John, we already have an Australian style points system

    The point is that it doesn’t apply to EU citizens, which makes it rather less useful as a selection tool.

  • @Dav

    Freedom of movement is fundamental to the single market. And as Paul implies there is a Eurosceptic tendency to see it as a one way street. Instead of complaining about it, why not embrace it? Try doing a project or two in Italy or Estonia or even Norway, which is not an EU member but has accepted free movement?

    After that try the exercise in tedium and red tape that is getting a work permit for the US/Canada/India/Russia (shouldn’t imagine that it’s too much different for anywhere else).

    BTW top tip for projects in Norway is to plan it for the winter and don’t forget to pack your board.

  • John Roffey 15th Apr '15 - 6:01pm

    Paul Walter 15th Apr ’15 – 4:51pm
    “That’s from 1 Timothy. It’s not an “either” “or” thing. When accompanied by the words of Jesus, we’re being asked to do both. “Charity begins at home” is not from the bible.”

    I am not a Christian – but I understood that what Timothy wrote was via instructions from Paul – while Paul was in prison.

    ‘Charity begins at home’ isn’t from the bible but it is so near to being so that it is reasonable to describe it as biblical. The notion that a man’s family should be his foremost concern is expressed in 1 Timothy 5:8, King James Bible, 1611:

    But if any prouide not for his owne, & specially for those of his owne house, hee hath denied the faith, and is worse then an infidel.

    http://www.phrases.org.uk/meanings/charity-begins-at-home.html

    What accompanying ‘words of Jesus’ had you in mind?

  • John Roffey 15th Apr '15 - 6:39pm

    Paul Walter 15th Apr ’15 – 6:07pm

    The ones referred to in my article. There is nothing about priority of home vs stranger in 1 Timothy so “Charity begins at home” is a misleading paraphrase. In any case that phrase, I repeat, is not in the bible. I know, I’ve read it twice.

    Thanks for that. If you check the link I gave you will see that it is ‘reasonable to describe it as biblical’.

    I have read through the quotes you have given – and I don’t see that any of these contradicts ‘charity begins at home’. Even the ‘parable of the Good Samaritan’ that you highlight.

    If for instance the Good Samaritan who ‘when a stranger who had been robbed and left for dead on the side of the road, despite several others having passed by without doing anything. He took him to a local inn and paid for him to stay there’ saw that his wife had also been robbed and left for dead a little further up the road – would your interpretation of Jesus’s words mean that the Good Samaritan might attend to the ‘stranger’ before his wife without blame?

  • Helen Tedcastle 15th Apr '15 - 6:48pm

    John Roffey

    Paul Walter is right that I Timothy 5:8 does not stipulate that priority should be given to charity at home over wider acts of charity. It is describing how it is important to look after relations and not neglect them. Looking after relations is not incompatible with concern for wider society anyway. It’s not either-or but both-and.

  • Paul in Wokingham 15th Apr '15 - 7:02pm

    @John Dunn – apologies for the delay in replying but I have been busy all day. As you probably know there is another article on LDV right now that quotes the Chief Medical Officer stating unequivocally that early diagnosis of HIV reduces infection rates dramatically, making it extremely cost-effective to provide treatment. But Farage will have known this even as he made his comments. He chose to use HIV treatment as a dog whistle combining shorthand references to disease, homosexuality, drug use, Africa. The choice was deliberate and intended to confirm the deeply prejudiced opinions of the UKIP core demographic. One wonders what Douglas Carswell made of it.

  • I don’t see any revelations of Timothy mentioning UKIP in the King James Bible. So,..maybe,… .. It’s getting a bit off topic,.. if you don’t mind me saying so Paul?

  • @Paul Walter
    “1 Timothy does not say that you should attend to home in preference to a stranger.”

    What about the “specially for those of his own house” bit?

    @Helen Tedcastle
    “It is describing how it is important to look after relations and not neglect them.”

    Though widows get a raw deal earlier on in 1 Timothy.

    There’s also the problem that, in the words of A N Wilson in his biography of Jesus: “[Jesus’] recorded utterances about the family as an institution are all hostile to it… He praised those who left their mothers, fathers, brothers, sisters, and wives in order to be his followers.”

    There isn’t really a Biblical answer to any of this because the Bible contradicts itself so much.

  • John Roffey 15th Apr '15 - 8:03pm

    Paul Walter 15th Apr ’15 – 6:51pm &
    Helen Tedcastle 15th Apr ’15 – 6:48pm

    Thanks for your comments – but I would appreciate a clear and definite answer to the question I posed:

    “If for instance the Good Samaritan who ‘when a stranger who had been robbed and left for dead on the side of the road, despite several others having passed by without doing anything. He took him to a local inn and paid for him to stay there’ saw that his wife had also been robbed and left for dead a little further up the road – would your interpretation of Jesus’s words mean that the Good Samaritan might attend to the ‘stranger’ before his wife without blame?”

  • For moral instruction I’d suggest any of the following…
    – The Book of the SubGenius
    – The Gospel of the Flying Spaghetti Monster
    – Why’s Poignant Guide to Ruby

  • Helen Tedcastle 15th Apr '15 - 9:00pm

    John Roffey

    As the Good Samaritan parable does not say that the Samaritan was travelling with their wife, this is a distraction from the moral point being made by Jesus. It is clear that the parable is about a. helping the stranger and putting the legalists (priest and levite with their ritual purity laws) in their place b. finding good in the ‘other’ ie: the samaritan, a person who was discriminated against by the dominant Hebrew culture.

    In other words, helping the stranger and outcast is pretty central to Jesus’ teaching. This is incompatible with UKIP’s tone and their message of ‘ Britain is full,’ in my view.

    Stuart

    ‘ “[Jesus’] .. praised those who left their mothers, fathers, brothers, sisters, and wives in order to be his followers.”

    There isn’t really a Biblical answer to any of this because the Bible contradicts itself so much.’

    The utterances about the family from Jesus entirely relate to his call to discipleship of his hearers and call for commitment from followers, not that he is anti-family. You can’t really make that leap from his comments.

    It helps to know the context and background and remember the fact that the Bible is a kind of library of books not one single text.

  • The most unchristian attacks on the poor, sick and disabled have happened under the coalition.

  • @ John Dunn
    1 Tim 5:8 RSV
    “If any one does not provide for his relatives, and especially for his own family, he has disowned the faith and is worse than an unbeliever.”

    Biblical scholars consider 1 Timothy not to have been written by Paul and as having been written after the death of the disciples and apostles. The earliest it is likely to have been in general circulation is 170 CE. However this verse is not stating don’t help non family members, it is saying that you should help family members and in context elderly widows.

    @ Stuart

    A N Wilson is correct. The message of the early church was developed from the message of Jesus especially by Paul. Jesus believed that the end of time was coming and the most important thing to do, more important that family ties was to get as many people to turn away from their present life and to have faith in God. You can still see the idea that the end of time will happened in the life time of believers in 1 Thessalonians 4:17 “then we who are alive, who are left, shall be caught up together with them in the clouds to meet the Lord in the air; and so we shall always be with the Lord.”

  • I think a lot of UKIPs anti-migrant shtick is more nasty than it is irrational. Their main point” the perils of the EU” on the other hand is not just irrational it represents a danger to the economy. If you look at where UKIP score big it’s places like Essex which is where a lot of Londoners ended up as London became more multi-cultural and more focused on property value , in other words some of that support comes from people who felt they were forced to leave and are against further expansion of the Capital. The mistake is to believe that fears immigration are driven by economic concerns rather than a tribal ones. There was and is a huge element of white flight involved in transforming London and it was very rapid. You only have to go back the 80s to see the huge demographic changes. Gentrification is having much the same effect on make up of places like Notting Hill. It’s very similar to what has happened in New York over the same period.

  • Helen Tedcastle 16th Apr '15 - 12:09am

    Michael BG
    ‘ Biblical scholars consider 1 Timothy not to have been written by Paul and as having been written after the death of the disciples and apostles. The earliest it is likely to have been in general circulation is 170 CE.’

    I Timothy’s chronology is disputed not settled by scholars. It is not a settled debate. However, it is certainly not in Paul’s style in my view.

    ‘ The message of the early church was developed from the message of Jesus especially by Paul.’

    I know A. N. Wilson and other popular commentators have claimed this but it’s disputable in the sense that Paul entered a Christian community already existing outside Palestine upon conversion. Also other communities such as the Johannine community of Ephesus were in existence in addition to the Pauline communities and the Jewish Christians in Jerusalem. So in my view the reality is more nuanced. In which case, Christianity is more correct as a broad title than others.

  • It is utterly irrelevant whether UKIP’s political stances are “Christian” or not. The question should be whether or not they are good for the country and for the people they affect.

  • @ Helen Tedcastle

    If you know where 1 Timothy was quoted before 170 CE please can you let me know?

    I don’t know of any New Testament Scholars who don’t believe that the early church developed Christianity after the death of Jesus. I understand you might consider Luke’s Acts as unreliable as I know some biblical scholars do, but in Acts 19 Paul arrives in Ephesus and doesn’t find any Christians just followers of John the Baptist. Therefore by the end of the first century the Christians in Ephesus would have known some if not all of Paul’s letters and the author of the epistle to the Ephesians has to have been familiar with some of Paul’s writings. A minority of biblical scholars would not agree that the Johannine community was at Ephesus.

    When looking at the early church it is recognised that Paul developed Christianity away from being a Jewish sect and made it more acceptable to the Hellenistic world, not withstanding the cover up job Luke tried to do. I have never heard anyone say that there was a non Jewish group of Christians in Damascus and there are doubts that Paul spent three years with any Christians while in Arabia and he often says that no humans taught him his faith.

  • Jane Ann Liston 16th Apr '15 - 1:59am

    Good to see sensible discussion about The Good Samaritan, and I agree with Paul. I recall, though, that one Margaret Hilda Thatcher completely misunderstood the point about the story, as she said it was all about the Samaritan having money. This was nonsense, of course; the priest and the Levite wouldn’t have been short of a bob or two, but the point was that the Samaritan stopped and helped, while the others passed by on the other side. I can imagine Jesus emphasising the Samaritan’s wealth, not so much as a way of helping the man who fell among thieves, but as winding up the unco guid in his audience who despised Samaritans as a matter of course.

    Theological discussion on LDV; whatever next?

  • @Jane Ann Liston: I’d like to think that Jesus was not so petty as to go out of his way to “wind up” his audience, but I’m afraid you might be right.

  • John Dunn,
    “And yet, Lib Dems see no problem, or conflict, in inviting *the whole world* for expensive treatment for such as HIV, TB and the like. ???”
    Those that come to Britain to work and study from outside the EU are required to be in good health. A friend of mine who came from Malaysia to study in the UK years ago was given an X-ray when he arrived at Heathrow. I noticed the medical facilities at the airport are still there.

  • Philip Thomas 16th Apr '15 - 8:23am

    Under UKIP the good Samaritan wouldn’t have been allowed into Judaea in the first place…

  • Oh dear, oh dear please don’t bring religion into this! It really does not work when one is arguing about irrationality.

  • Nigel Jones 16th Apr '15 - 9:51am

    Robert, this is about religion in the sense that Ukip’s comment about not being unchristian is what Paul Walter is reacting to. I agree with Paul’s basic points and it is clear to me that the teaching of Jesus emphasises that we should care for everyone we happened to come across and see the good that may be in people that are discriminated against. or even normally considered as enemies. We have to be practical about what can actually be done and hence control the situation, but the point Paul makes does contradict the attitude towards foreigners that Ukip is whipping up and in particular that this attitude is not in tune with the story of the Good Samaritan. To speculate on what might have been in that story misses the message of Jesus. Like much else in the Bible, one passage is not the whole message, but the Good Samaritan story is highly relevant to the Ukip message that Paul is addressing, as well as being absolutely central to Christianity.

  • But if you want to retire to Spain or France or want to work in Ireland or Germany, do you want to be subjected to a points system by those countries?

    I have no interest in retiring somewhere they don’t speak English, or working in Ireland or Germany; but the basic point is, shouldn’t whether I am subjected to a points system by a country be up to that country itself?

    Designing an immigration system is about doing what’s best for the UK, not what makes life easiest for people who want to retire to Spain or work in Germany.

  • I agree with Paul in Wokingham that Farage’s HIV comments were a pretty blatant display of dog whistling. I dislike using the term normally because sometimes people use it as an unjustified slur; but in this case, Wokingham Paul is right.

    Some questions for Paul Walter though…

    If Farage turning away people with HIV is unChristian, is it also unChristian for the Lib Dems to want to turn away old people, specifically to avoid paying for their healthcare? If not, why not?

    More generally, if turning people away is unChristian, isn’t the logical consequence of that that we should have a true open-door policy and an NHS offering free treatment to anybody in the world who wants it? Or does Christian charity operate some kind of quota system – it’s imperative to help some people, but OK to ignore others?

  • Helen Tedcastle 15th Apr ’15 – 9:00pm &
    Paul Walter 15th Apr ’15 – 9:25pm

    “John Roffey – he should do both”

    You have both ducked the issue – as you are obliged to – if you are to defend the Party’s position on immigration.

    You know that the vast majority of voters would think you are crackers if you tried to defend a father or mother saving a stranger, before their child, partner or other family member – if only one could be saved. Once this has been established as nonsense and charity does begin at home – it leads on to the responsibility of a national government, whether it should attend to the needs of its own citizens before those of immigrants – which of course it should and I am sure the vast majority of voters would agree.

    As in the case of the Good Samaritan – if he were able to save the stranger, after ensuring the safety of his family member – this would be commendable and [I think] that the majority would agree – so this judgement would also apply to the care. by governments, of immigrants once the security of its own citizens have been met.

    There is a problem, however, in that the Osborne position [which has been supported by the Party in coalition] – that the nation is broke and cannot afford even to take care of its own citizens in terms of Health, Education, Housing and Welfare – logically it follows that there is nothing left to help immigrants.

    I did not bring the Bible into the discussion – however, since ‘greed is good’ does still seem to prevail in many quarters [as does the belief that politicians should be dishonest, deceptive and untrustworthy to secure election success] – perhaps it is worth referring back to such books of ancient wisdom, from time to time, to remind ourselves what was once the accepted values of a healthy civilisation.

  • “ perhaps it is worth referring back to such books of ancient wisdom, from time to time, to remind ourselves what was once the accepted values of a healthy civilisation. “

    If the Bible was a DVD it would be an 18 certificate and you would not let children watch it! Selected extracts of the ‘good bits’ won’t do and religious people collectively, who more often that not have a problem with some part of the community, have to take some responsibility for creating the sea of prejudice and ill will in which people like Nigel Farage swim.

  • Stuart
    Plenty of hospitals abroad run by Christians. In Bangkok there is the Mission Hospital (Seventh Day Adventist) St Louis (Roman Catholic) and of course The Bangkok Christian Hospital on Silom Road.
    I should also mention Dr. Cynthia’s clinic, the Mae Tao Clinic, near the Burmese border at Mae Sot. I feel sure you would be more than willing to make a donation to the Clinic as it helps impoverished refugees including those that have HIV. (Don’t worry Ukippers none of these Karens could ever get to the UK)

  • John Roffey
    Emigrants- those people who have moved permanently abroad- are the ones likely to be refused treatment if on a visit to UK even if they still have British citizenship.

  • Robert
    Noah was a very good movie.Did you see it by any chance?

  • “If Farage turning away people with HIV is unChristian, is it also unChristian for the Lib Dems to want to turn away old people, specifically to avoid paying for their healthcare? If not, why not?”
    If someone has diabetes then the NHS doctor would give then insulin for the very simple reason if the doctor didn’t then they would require hospital treatment at greater cost. The same for HIV.
    My mother receives good NHS treatment. She isn’t refused because she is old and neither is anyone else.
    Some tourists who get sick get to see an NHS doctor. The doctor gives ” advice” which is free (source-my sister works at a Health Centre)

  • @Paul Walter

    Good piece.

  • Paul Walter – “And, yes Stuart, that leads to being open to taking all people who haven’t got alternative treatment available if thy can get here. ”

    But saying “if they can get here” to me draws an arbitrary, and somewhat inhumane, line, doesn’t it? What we’re saying is “if you can scrape up the necessary $ to pay an unscrupulous trafficker and survive days/weeks in a container lorry or leaky ship, then get across Europe and through the tunnel, we’ll treat you” – if the principle is that we should be charitable then surely we should be paying to transport the needy here so they can be treated?

  • Tabman
    It’s called Foreign Aid. We sent doctors and medical professionals to west Africa to help with the Ebola outbreak.

  • Malcolm Todd 16th Apr '15 - 1:45pm

    Tabman (and others making more or less the same point)
    If someone crawls to your door, sick or injured, and pleading for help, you’d help them wouldn’t you? Don’t you think you’d be a bit of a monster if you didn’t? That doesn’t mean you’re a monster unless you go out into the world searching for people in pain and trouble to help them. It just means you’re not a saint.
    The world’s complicated and moral absolutes rarely provide realistic answers. That doesn’t mean we should ignore morality, just be realistic about its application to our real lives. Help those you realistically can seems a reasonable principle. The fact that they’re right in front of you is a good starting point for defining the group to help, I think, rather than “an arbitrary, and somewhat inhumane, line”.

  • Malcolm Todd.
    Exactly, Very much agree,

  • Helen Tedcastle 16th Apr '15 - 2:44pm

    Michael BG

    ‘ I don’t know of any New Testament Scholars who don’t believe that the early church developed Christianity after the death of Jesus. I understand you might consider Luke’s Acts as unreliable as I know some biblical scholars do’

    All I suggested in my comment was that there is an ongoing debate on the historicity and authorship of I Timothy.

    Some scholars like Harnack and Lightfoot suggest it is possible that it was written at the end on the first century. However, it is more likely to have been a 2nd century work by a follower of Paul, because of its emphasis on church order and away from belief in the imminent Parousia (this is also found in Paul btw).

    Of course the early church developed Christianity further after the Apostolic Age. It would be really surprising if they hadn’t. This is what comes of reflection and discussion of the kernel of the kerygma and working out what it entails.

    ‘ but in Acts 19 Paul arrives in Ephesus and doesn’t find any Christians just followers of John the Baptist. ‘

    I didn’t mean John the Baptist – John of the Gospel of John or at least his community. They probably arrived in Ephesus after Paul but they had a universal vision of Christian teaching.

    ‘ When looking at the early church it is recognised that Paul developed Christianity away from being a Jewish sect and made it more acceptable to the Hellenistic world… I have never heard anyone say that there was a non Jewish group of Christians in Damascus and there are doubts that Paul spent three years with any Christians while in Arabia and he often says that no humans taught him his faith.’

    I agree that Paul had a specific mission to the gentile world – that’s indisputable – and Pauline Christianity is a key influence. It wasn’t the only one though, as I tried to point out. Paul was probably taken in by hellenized Jewish Christians in Syria after conversion, not gentiles.

    To refer back to the article (!) – the point about the Good Samaritan is that it contains within it a universal message – hence it is easy to see why Jesus’ message could resonate outside of Jewish circles.

  • @ Helen Tedcastle

    When talking about the writing of the gospels the term “early church” refers to the Christian communities following the death of Jesus and that was how I was using the term.

    My original post was “The message of the early church was developed from the message of Jesus especially by Paul” which of course includes those working with Paul – Timothy, Barnabus, Titus, Aquila and Prisca and those not working with him such as Apollos to name only a few. I would also say that James and Peter developed the message of Jesus. I am sorry if I didn’t give that impression. I can agree with you that “Pauline Christianity is a key influence”.

    I know that when you talk of the “Johannine community” you meant the community that gave rise to the Gospel of John and the letters of John (and maybe Revelations) and not John the Baptist. My point was that if the Johannine community was based at Ephesus it developed from the earlier community of John the Baptist followers who Paul converted to “Christians” according to Luke’s Acts.

    Paul didn’t learn his Christianity from either Gentile or Jewish Christians after his vision and conversion, he is very clear in his letters that he didn’t learn his faith from humans (Gal 1:1 “Paul an apostle — not from men nor through man”) but from direct communication with the divine and Paul is clear “I did not confer with flesh and blood, nor did I go up to Jerusalem to those who were apostles before me, but I went away into Arabia; and again I returned to Damascus” (Gal 1:16c-17).

  • John Roffey 17th Apr '15 - 1:14am

    Malcolm Todd 16th Apr ’15 – 1:45pm
    “Tabman (and others making more or less the same point)

    If someone crawls to your door, sick or injured, and pleading for help, you’d help them wouldn’t you? Don’t you think you’d be a bit of a monster if you didn’t? …

    The world’s complicated and moral absolutes rarely provide realistic answers. That doesn’t mean we should ignore morality, just be realistic about its application to our real lives. Help those you realistically can seems a reasonable principle. The fact that they’re right in front of you is a good starting point for defining the group to help, I think, rather than “an arbitrary, and somewhat inhumane, line”.

    Logic could prevail however – if the ‘charity begins at home’ concept is acknowledged.

    Medical facilities could be built and staffed – paid for from the Foreign Aid budget – and sited at Dover[?] to treat sick immigrants who arrive in the country.

    If these facilities were given first call on the Foreign Aid budget – the, already overstretched ‘citizens’ NHS, would not be further depleted by the needs of the sick arriving from ‘overseas’.

    This approach would appear to fit your ‘realistically reasonable’ definition.

  • Perhaps we could re-write the parable as ‘the good romanian’ to help ukip get the point?
    And then keep religion as diffused through the bible out of modern politics?.

  • John Roffy
    Those with a visa who come to study or work in the UK from outside the EU are required to be in good health. There aren’t many sick immigrants coming into the UK. and if the number of overseas students is removed from the figures then there aren’t that many immigrants.
    There are countries where there are millions of illegal migrants.Britain is not one of them because it is an island with border controls at ports and airports.

  • John Roffey 17th Apr '15 - 7:17am

    Manfarang 17th Apr ’15 – 5:26am

    I don’t know that is entirely correct – the truth is that the figure is unknown – but there is a sizable camp at Calais filled with immigrants trying to get here.

    “Over 30,000 migrants have attempted to enter the UK illegally in the past 10 months, a figure which is nearly double the 18,000 recorded in the year 2013/2014.”

    http://rt.com/uk/231295-calais-illegal-immigrants-border/

    My suggestion related to the discussion above which arose because of Farage’s comments on those arriving with HIV and the crack down on health tourists – which has resulted in some extremely harsh outcomes.

    “NHS ‘health tourism’ crackdown making destitute migrant mothers pay thousands for care”

    http://www.independent.co.uk/news/uk/politics/nhs-health-tourism-crackdown-making-destitute-migrant-mothers-pay-thousands-for-care-10140189.html

    However, the fundamental problem is the underfunding of the NHS. If this were not the case – these issues would not arise – the health service would be able to cope with these cases.

  • Philip Thomas 17th Apr '15 - 7:49am

    Tabman, on a similar argument, why do our police forces fight crime here in the UK when the crime rate is so much higher in some foreign countries?.

  • Philip Thomas 17th Apr '15 - 8:03am

    Foreigners come over here, become victims of crime, and then get free assistance from our police service. It is “victim-of-crime-tourism”! If we help them here, why don’t we help victims of crime abroad?

    (Sarcasm, obviously).

  • Malcolm – “If someone crawls to your door, sick or injured, and pleading for help, you’d help them wouldn’t you? Don’t you think you’d be a bit of a monster if you didn’t? That doesn’t mean you’re a monster unless you go out into the world searching for people in pain and trouble to help them. It just means you’re not a saint.
    The world’s complicated and moral absolutes rarely provide realistic answers. That doesn’t mean we should ignore morality, just be realistic about its application to our real lives. Help those you realistically can seems a reasonable principle. The fact that they’re right in front of you is a good starting point for defining the group to help, I think, rather than “an arbitrary, and somewhat inhumane, line”.”

    I think you’ve put that very well.

    However when Farage (and others) make the point that the citizens and legal working migrants of this country are funding health, education and social security systems that are supposed to be for citizens and legal migrants, yet are also supporting illegal migrants, that strikes many people as unfair.

    And furthermore, the charge often made is that those people are being somehow racist for questioning this, whereas, if we look at a spectrum from free-for-all helping no-one, to helping everyone in the world who needs it, they’ve decided that the line should be drawn in a marginally different place in the grand scheme of things.

    There is also the issue, that if you do offer assistance to people “who are here” illegally, that also acts as an incentive to people to come here illegally to access those benefits.

    So the problem that I have is I don’t think that many politicians are framing the debate in the way you have; especially the Labour Party, but also ourselves.

    We should be honest in what we’re advocating and the implications of that, and it should go something like:

    “We’ve decided that we’re prepared to allow access to our health, education and social security systems to anyone who is on our Islands, even though if they are here illegally and haven’t worked or paid into the system, then they won’t have paid for it. We’re relaxed about the prospect that potentially that will attract people to come here illegally to access those benefits, because we believe that the principle of giving assistance to those on your doorstep is more important. And we accept that while we might like to help everyone in the world who might need assistance, practically and financially we can’t. So, as you have to draw the line somewhere, we’ve decided to draw it there. And whilst inevitably that means that citizens and legal migrants will be paying into the system designed primarily to fund citizens and legal migrants yet is also funding illegal migrants, we think that as a nation we can afford to do that.”

    This is not what I hear when Farage talks about health tourism. What I hear is “that’s discusting/racist!”; but no clear addressing and rebuttal of this in the fashion I’ve outlines above.

  • John Roffey 17th Apr ’15 – 7:17am
    “Over 30,000 migrants have attempted to enter the UK illegally in the past 10 months…,.”

    Let us assume that this figure of 30,000 is correct.

    It is therefore the same number as the average crowd that turns out to watch Derby County when they play at home.

    No rational person would suggest that the UK is in danger of being “swamped” by the fans of this football club in the Championship.
    Nobody imagines that their schools are straining to cope with the unprecedented influx of children of the fans from Derby County.
    If Mr Farage announced that his aim was “to take back our country ” from Derby County – we would all think him at best odd and at worst an evil and exploitative rabble rouser.

    I do not know the number of fans in Derby being treated for HIV but I could invent some numbers and costs and thus be just as plausible as the shyster who leads UKIP.

  • Philip Thomas 17th Apr '15 - 8:38am

    But Tabman, it is racist and disgusting (as well as against our own self-interest). My victims of crime analogy shows that. So why shouldn’t we call it that- as well as making the rational arguments?

  • Philip Thomas 17th Apr '15 - 8:48am

    Also, Farage wasn’t talking about illegal immigrants – his figures for foreigners being treated by HIV include those here legally- so pretending he was confuses the argument.

  • @Philip Thomas
    “it is racist and disgusting.. So why shouldn’t we call it that[?]”

    You can call it that if you like, but since what Farage is suggesting is no different in principle to what the Lib Dems propose for elderly immigrants, perhaps in the interest of fairness you might want to call the Lib Dems the same thing? (I’m saying this because you are arguing against the principle of restricting free health care to immigrants; I don’t dispute that Farage’s dog whistling rhetoric is offensive in a way that Lib Dem language is not, at least not in this election so far.)

  • Philip Thomas – “But Tabman, it is racist and disgusting (as well as against our own self-interest). My victims of crime analogy shows that. So why shouldn’t we call it that- as well as making the rational arguments?”

    For several reasons:

    – people don’t come to the UK to become victims of crime, but they do come to access benefits, so your analogy is specious (and yes I’m aware that many don’t come here to get ill but you can’t deny that people with pre-existing illnesses come here to get treatment and others come to get housing and other benefits available to people in the country)
    – being concerned that the taxes you pay into the system designed to treat citizens and legal migrants is being used to treat illegal migrants doesn’t make you a racist, and to claim that it does is illiberal and wrong
    – screaming “racist” when someone is raising a legitimate concern is a sure fire way to lose the argument.

    I hear far too much of this and not enough calm discussion of the facts and, more importantly, I think that the reason why there isn’t calm discussion of the facts is because many politicians (step forward Ed Miliband and Nicola Sturgeon) don’t want to discuss these facts because they fear it will lose them votes.

    Did you not watch the debate last night? Sturgeon said (and I quote) “we believe in strong controls on immigration” but when pressed by Dimbleby would not spell out what that actually meant, yet attacked Farage when he stated his own version of strong controls on immigration ie an Australian style points system.

  • Philip Thomas 17th Apr '15 - 8:58am

    Tabman, do you (or rather the hypothetical person you are talking about) think it is unfair that your taxes go to help victims of crime in the UK who are foreign? Do you think it is unfair that, in the event of terrorist attack, your taxes might help our armed forces protect people in the UK who are foreign? Do you think it unfair that foreigners can use British courts?

  • Philip – I fear from the way you write “do you (or rather the hypothetical person you are talking about)”, you have rather prejudged me, and I suspect that you’ve prejudged me harshly. Well, that’s your prerogative, but remember that “prejudge” is the verb behind “prejudice”.

    Now. if we turn to your argument, you continually use the term “foreigners”. That is what is known in the trade as “building a straw man”.

    I am not talking about “foreigners”. Besides, how do you define “foreigners”? I am talking specifically about illegal migrants which is a small subset of “foreigners”.

    So, to turn the question round, are you advocating that we should operate a complete open border policy? Are you saying that anyone should be free to come and go from this country as they please, when they please, and take advantage of the services provided by the taxpayers of this country (be they citizens or legal migrants) without making any sort of contribution?

    That’s a legitimate point of view, and if its the one you’re making, then please make it. But please also explain how you would sell that idea to the voters of this country who (possibly wrongly, but nevertheless do) believe that that is fundamentally unfair.

  • JohnTilley 17th Apr ’15 – 8:23am

    “… as the shyster who leads UKIP”

    JT – I don’t think it helps to view Farage in such a way – he clearly represents a view which is shared by a sizeable portion of voters – in fact his Party is presently between 1.5 and twice as popular as the L/Ds.

    It seems to me that the Party, if it wants a future, should take account of the clear concern that the majority do have about immigration – and include policies that do try to alleviate at least some of these concerns.

    Concern about Immigration…
    ▪ 76% want immigration reduced, 4% wanted it increased. 14% want it unchanged.
    ▪ 50% chose immigration as the most important issue facing them and their family – higher than the economy (46%) and the Health Service (42%). Immigration has led or tied this poll for the past year.

    Keep in mind that Mohammad was the most popular boys name in 2014 – Muslims do tend to have much larger families than indigenous Brits and will become the majority in the not too distant future if present trends continue – and what kind of problems will that bring?

    Since you want to use city sizes to illustrate the problem MigrationWatch claim:

    Net migration nearly quadrupled from 48,000 in 1997 to 185,000 in 2003. Once the East Europeans had been granted free movement in 2004 it peaked at 320,000 in the year ending June 2005. Net foreign migration under Labour was 3.6 million, two thirds coming from outside the EU.

    In 2013 over half a million migrants arrived in Britain, more than the total population of Bradford. In the same year 314,000 migrants left so net migration was 212,000.

    We must build a new home every seven minutes for new migrants for the next 20 years or so.

    England (not the UK) is the second most crowded country in Europe, after the Netherlands, excluding island and city states.

    The UK population is projected to grow by over 9 million (9.4m) in just 25 years’ time, increasing from 64 million in 2013 to 73 million by 2039. Of this increase, about two thirds is projected to be due to future migrants and their children – the equivalent of the current populations of Birmingham, Leeds, Sheffield, Bradford, Manchester, Edinburgh, Liverpool, Bristol, Cardiff, Newcastle, Belfast and Aberdeen.

    To keep the population of the UK below 70 million, net migration must be reduced to around 40,000 a year. It would then peak in mid-century at just under 70 million (about 69.7 million).

    Revised July 2014

    http://www.migrationwatchuk.org/

    Some of these figures may be challenged – but for a Party to pretend that immigration is not a serious issue for a nation that only produces enough food to feed about 50% of its population – it is irresponsible.

  • Helen Tedcastle 17th Apr '15 - 11:09am

    @ johnmc
    ‘ And then keep religion as diffused through the bible out of modern politics?’

    The problem with comments like this that there is just a tinge of intolerance behind it – that is the impression given. I’m sure you didn’t mean that but that’s how it comes across.

    This has been a good discussion on this thread – intelligent and constructive – and biblical teaching, specifically new testament writings, have been discussed in relation to political values. This is relevant to issues such as immigration and our attitude towards it, especially as certain political parties claim to advocate Christian values.This is disputable, hence the excellent article by Paul Walter above.

    So what is the (your) problem?

  • John Roffey 17th Apr ’15 – 10:09am

    John, I could write a great deal on this but will restrict myself.

    First, the urban myth about the popularity of Muhammad as a boy’s name is just that, a myth.
    OLIVER was in fact the most popular name for the year in question. Good news for republicans and readers of Charles Dickens perhaps ?
    See –
    http://www.theguardian.com/news/datablog/2014/dec/01/muhammad-not-most-popular-boys-name-in-britain

    On your more important point, I certainly do not think we should dismiss views on migration (in or it of the country).
    But we must recognise thatmFarage and his ilk are up to no good.

    It was Ed Milband who in the leaders’ debate last night pointed out to Farage that you can address the subject without exploiting it.

    Ironic because I think Miliband and the Labour Party are exploiting it. The Green Party leader last night seemed to be the only person putting forward a Liberal Democrat view on migration.

  • Helen Tedcastle 17th Apr '15 - 11:33am

    @ John Roffey

    I think you have highlighted the problem when discussing the issue of immigration. It tends to focus on certain groups in the case of your comment, Muslims, and their behaviour. This is why UKIP is regarded as pandering to negative attitudes towards ethnic and religious minorities, most of whom are born and bred in Britain. Hence our discussion earlier about the Good Samaritan. Even by the standards of ‘charity begins at home’ – which is unbiblical anyway – how many children people have is down to them.

  • Helen Tedcastle 17th Apr ’15 – 11:33am

    Helen – if the majority living in the UK were Muslim and they wanted live by Sharia Law – would it be reasonable for the minority to object to this becoming the law of the land?

  • I always feel uneasy when politicians talk about religion. As I’ve said before, they pull it on and off like a pair of socks and with as little regard….However, if a churchman dares speak out against a policy, they are quickly told that religion has no place in politics…

  • @ John Roffey
    “Muslims do tend to have much larger families than indigenous Brits and will become the majority in the not too distant future if present trends continue”

    They may have more children currently. It may also be true for Eastern Europeans as well. However the birth rate in some Muslim countries has been decreasing – Iran down to 1.7, Lebanon 1.86. It is a fact that the more prosperous a country becomes the lower the birth rate. Second generation immigrants have fewer children than their parents. The Muslim percentage of the population was 2.71% in 2001 and 4.41% in 2011. The percentage of Asians who are not Muslims assuming (incorrectly) that all Muslims are from Asia has increased from 1.68% to 2.51% of the total population.

    “Keep in mind that Mohammad was the most popular boys name in 2014”

    According to Doug Sanders at Huffington Post this was only 1% in 2010 and is the result of more unusual names being popular reducing the popularity of the more common traditional British popular names.

    http://www.huffingtonpost.com/doug-saunders/10-myths-about-muslims-in_b_1864589.html

  • Helen Tedcastle 17th Apr '15 - 1:05pm

    John Tilley

    ‘ The Green Party leader last night seemed to be the only person putting forward a Liberal Democrat view on migration.’

    Agreed. I found myself in agreement with Bennett on a number of issues last night. The sight of Danny Alexander in the spin room afterwards churning out spin lines about the ‘chaos’ that would ensue if centrists like the Lib Dems were n’t in government, had me reaching for the off button on my remote.

    It was a complete joke that the party wasn’t even represented. Our absence made us look like Cameron’s poodles.

  • Helen Tedcastle – “It was a complete joke that the party wasn’t even represented. Our absence made us look like Cameron’s poodles.”

    And here’s why: http://stephentall.org/2015/04/17/for-the-benefit-of-michael-crick-why-clegg-wasnt-at-the-bbcs-challengers-debate/?wt=2

  • Helen Tedcastle 17th Apr ’15
    “……It was a complete joke that the party wasn’t even represented. Our absence made us look like Cameron’s poodles.”

    Yes, Helen, you and the vast majority of viewers thought the same.

    To be fair, my impression was that Danny Alexander in the spin room was supposed to be representing us, but he has been Mr Osbourne’s right-hand man for so long now it is impossible to believe he was not there to give the nation some bad news from the Treasury.
    He is up against the SNP in his constituency, you would think that there might be better places for him to be than in a back room at the Central Hall Westminster.

  • Cameron made his participation in first debate conditional on our not being part if this one. Broadcasters caved. #ChallengersDebate — Ryan Coetzee (@RyanCoetzee) April 16, 2015

    The BBC is a public service broadcaster funded every year by £4 billion of public money, raised through a compulsory licence fee (a tax by any other name).

    So BBC bosses decide that a 77 year old Dimbleby who is a former member of The Bullingdon Club should play a pivotal role in last night’s important election programme but not the man who has been DPM for the last 5 years ?

    That sounds about as democratic as if the BBC decided that their TV coverage of every election since the 1950s should be covered by a man called Dimbleby.

    Of course if that really happened in the UK then people from Zimbabwe would be raising a stink about the lack of democracy in London and sending over Grace Mugabe to sort things out for us.

  • I watched last night’s ‘Question Time’….. When Jo Swinson, in trying to defend Nick Clegg’s absence from the earlier political debate, stated, “David Cameron stopped Nick from appearing”. Yvette Cooper’s riposte of, “So, when Dave Cameron told Nick he couldn’t come, he didn’t”….

    A cheap shot but it got the biggest cheer of the evening. It doesn’t matter what the REAL truth is; that is the perceived impression and a major reason why the party is doing so badly…

  • David Allen 17th Apr '15 - 2:01pm

    Tabman,

    Let’s ignore the party spin, shall we, and look for the truth? The BBC account comes closest to the truth. Essentially they explained that the broadcasters sorted out a compromise everybody decided they could live with – but only after a lot of arm-twisting from Cameron, who was desperate to run away from Miliband.

    Clegg settled for the deal on offer. It did include a Question Time closer to the election on which he would be one of three leader represented, so in a sense, it could have been viewed as a reasonable deal. But the downside is what Helen Tedcastle points out – What happened last night portrayed Clegg as Cameron’s poodle.

    Clegg doesn’t care about that. He is happy to be Cameron’s poodle. Deputy Conservative Prime Minister is Clegg’s ambition in life. He has achieved it once. The voters must stop him achieving it again.

  • David Allen – “Clegg doesn’t care about that. He is happy to be Cameron’s poodle. Deputy Conservative Prime Minister is Clegg’s ambition in life. He has achieved it once. The voters must stop him achieving it again.”

    So much hate and bile. Here’s a picture for you – I suggest you print it out, stick it to a dartboard and throw darts at it until the bad feelings stop.

    http://politicalscrapbook.net/2013/02/tories-eastleigh-candidate-called-coalition-a-pact-with-the-devil-maria-hutchings/

  • John Roffey
    More than 1,000 migrants are estimated to be living rough around Calais .
    Along the Thai-Burma border, 120,000 refugees remain in nine camps, including at Mae Sot, the largest settlement, established 30 years ago.

  • Helen Tedcastle 17th Apr '15 - 3:40pm

    John Tilley

    ‘ Danny Alexander in the spin room was supposed to be representing us, but he has been Mr Osborne’s right-hand man for so long now it is impossible to believe he was not there to give the nation some bad news from the Treasury.’

    🙂 Quite!

    ‘Cameron made his participation in first debate conditional on our not being part if this one. Broadcasters caved. #ChallengersDebate — Ryan Coetzee (@RyanCoetzee) April 16, 2015

    The BBC is a public service broadcaster funded every year by £4 billion of public money, raised through a compulsory licence fee (a tax by any other name).’

    This is pivotal. What we have learned is the BBC demanded that Clegg back down on appearing in the debate last night because otherwise Cameron wouldn’t do any debates.

    In other words, we were threatened by our national broadcaster to conform to the wishes of the Tory Party! It’s ridiculous and surely against fair representation. Having a QT on the BBC where the leaders are quizzed separately is not a fair trade off. These formats occur all the time – national debates don’t.

    Once again, as David Allen also concurs, we are made to look like the lap dogs of the Tories. Why I wonder was there not a public questioning of this by Clegg well before the debate -to call out the BBC and the Tories?

    To return to the topic of the thread – Farage once again was able to trot out his anti-immigrant message and there was no Lib Dem challenge. The Greens had to do it for us.

  • David Allen 17th Apr '15 - 4:08pm

    Tabman,

    I don’t hate Nick Clegg. I can think of many politicians who are personally more obnoxious. What motivates me is that the party I have belonged to and worked for over the past thirty years has now become a crucial supporter of the rich kleptocracy which is plundering this country. I am heartened by the number of erstwhile Liberal Democrat supporters who have seen reality and recognised that the party is no longer worth supporting. I am dismayed that a minority of stubborn adherents maintain denialist attitudes and cling on to their old allegiance. Fortunately their numbers continue to diminish. After the forthcoming debacle at the polls, it may be possible to rebuild a viable new party.

  • Nick Collins 17th Apr '15 - 4:17pm

    @ David Allen. Here , here.

  • David Allen:

    “I don’t hate Nick Clegg.”

    So why do you take every opportunity to belittle the democratically elected leader of the party with phrases such as “poodle”, “deputy Conservative Prime Minister” and the like?

    “What motivates me is that the party I have belonged to and worked for over the past thirty years has now become a crucial supporter of the rich kleptocracy which is plundering this country.”

    This is simply rubbish.

    ” I am heartened by the number of erstwhile Liberal Democrat supporters who have seen reality and recognised that the party is no longer worth supporting.”

    So you actively support the weakening of the party.

    “I am dismayed that a minority of stubborn adherents maintain denialist attitudes and cling on to their old allegiance. ”

    So you didn’t support the democratically-elected leader but prefer to take away your bat and ball rather than go along with the majority view, and you actively encourage others to do the same.

    “Fortunately their numbers continue to diminish.”

    Membership is rising.

    “After the forthcoming debacle at the polls, it may be possible to rebuild a viable new party.”

    If you disagree with the party so vehemently, I suggest you resign and stand against it.

  • Helen Tedcastle 17th Apr '15 - 4:49pm

    Tabman

    ‘ If you disagree with the party so vehemently, I suggest you resign and stand against it.’

    Disagreeing with the leader and the direction of travel of the party at a particular time or particular decisions, is not a grounds for resigning from the party. I remember endless complaints being made about previous Liberal leader David Steel. It went on for years. It’s par for the course of being a democratic party.

  • Helen – there’s a difference between staying in the party and arguing your case, and actively encouraging people not to support it (and being happy when they don’t)?

  • Philip Thomas 17th Apr '15 - 6:56pm

    Tabman. I apologise if I have misjudged you, or if my rhetoric was overblown.

    But *Farage* (whom this thread is about) *was* talking about *foreigners*- not just illegal immigrants. Do you agree that is what Farage was tallking about?

  • @ John Roffey
    “if the majority living in the UK were Muslim and they wanted live by Sharia Law – would it be reasonable for the minority to object to this becoming the law of the land?”

    Some people believe that democracy is about the dictatorship of the majority, but I would hope that no liberal supported that view and part of being democratic is protecting the minority.

    I am not an expert on Sharia Law however I believe that the European Court of Human Rights has determined that Sharia Law is incompatible with the fundamental principles of democracy and that it does away with the State’s role as the guarantor of individual rights and freedoms.

    With regard to religion in politics I defend Paul in attacking Nigel Farage because he stated that his view was inline with a religion. If a political party say in Turkey had a policy and they stated it was inline with Islam but it wasn’t then it would be right for a Muslim to point this out.

  • David Allen 17th Apr '15 - 8:24pm

    Tabman,

    For me, politics is first and foremost about principles and outcomes, not about personalities. So by and large, I don’t hate politicians as individual people, I vigorously oppose politicians who I think are bad for the country. I can hate a Grant Shapps, whose every word drips with insincerity and self-promotion. I don’t hate Clegg, whose worst personal faults seem to me to be an unthinking careerism, a lack of self-awareness and an instinctive class-based conservatism, but who otherwise seems a decent enough guy and a good family man. I want Clegg out because of the harm that he is doing. Perhaps it’s you, not me, who does politics on the basis of personal hatreds?

    You ask why I don’t resign and oppose the Lib Dems. That’s a better question. One answer is that I can’t wholeheartedly support anyone else either. The Greens, who ought to be showing us how climate change can be conquered without losing control of our finances, are going about that task in an appallingly perverse way. I will vote Labour, who will at least stop demonising the poor and the weak, and stop dismantling public services. All the same, they are a rather mediocre bunch and they haven’t made good use of their five years in opposition to think through a new approach in the aftermath of the financial crash. Once, the Lib Dems did a lot of Labour’s thinking for them. No longer.

    But that’s only half my answer. The other half of the answer is that – as indeed Clegg is loudly pointing out – the Lib Dems are still the potential kingmakers, the swing party who decide which way the nation will go. And Clegg chose to deny the Lib Dem centre-left tradition and to put the Right into power. He will make the same choice again if he can. The Right have widened inequality, set education and health on a course toward excellence for those with money and squalor for those without, encouraged oligarchs and tax dodgers, and largely given up on climate change. If we get Clegg out, we can get the Right out. That’s why the Lib Dems, despite their degeneration into a miserable I’ll-jump-at-your-command party, still matter.

  • Helen Tedcastle 17th Apr '15 - 9:01pm

    John Roffey
    ‘ If the majority living in the UK were Muslim and they wanted live by Sharia Law – would it be reasonable for the minority to object to this becoming the law of the land?’

    Depends on the interpretation of Sharia in this hypothetical circumstance. As Michael BG comments, as populations settle and become more prosperous, as second generation gives way to the third, the birth rate will begin to reflect that of the majority population. The % of Muslims in the UK is relatively small but highly concentrated in certain areas of the country.

  • @Jedibeeftrix – The answer that question is probably Yes!
    For the indigenous population to become a minority, they will have been subjected to some form of genocide, in direct contravention of article 7 of the UN Declaration on the Rights of Indigenous Peoples. Although, there will be an argument over whether whether the people did to themselves or had it done to them, because it isn’t as clear cut as the forced movement of foreign nationals that happened under Stalin (movement of Russian people into occupied countries such as Ukraine) and is happening with the Chinese occupation of Tibet (something the West has largely forgotten about or has decided to turn a blind eye to).

    Perhaps what UKIP and the re-imaged BNP should be doing, isn’t demanding that ‘”foreigners go home” but be putting the case for the English people in England to be given national minority status within the UK…

  • @ Roland
    “putting the case for the English people in England to be given national minority status within the UK”

    It is easy to define what is a British citizen but it isn’t so easy to define what makes some English. I could define English to ensure that I was excluded – all of a persons 64 great-great-great-great-grand parents have to have been born in England but none of them can have a surname that might mean they came from another country (in my case Scotland, Ireland and Norway or Denmark). This definition should ensure that those who are defined as English will be a minority.

  • Philip Thomas 18th Apr '15 - 4:42pm

    For me, an English person is someone born in England (I had quite a vigorous argument about this with my father with reference to Sajid Javid).

    If you want to talk race (and I really advise against it), the word you are looking for is “Anglo-Saxon”.

  • Anglo Saxon? Bloody Danish/Germans!

  • Philip Thomas 18th Apr '15 - 4:56pm

    Oh, and Michael BG, as someone who specialises in (among other things) working out who is and who isn’t a British Citizen, let me assure you that the current system is both opaque and complex in a significant minority of cases. The pre 1983 “born in UK=British” system was much simpler (although it had flaws with regards to inequality between British fathers and British mothers outside the UK).

  • Philip Thomas 18th Apr ’15 – 4:42pm
    “For me, an English person is someone born in England ..”

    Not unreasonable, Philip. But the man who has been Conservative MP for my constituency for the last five years who was born and has lived all his life in England is apparently “French”.
    He has inherited non-dom status along with £ millions from his father James Goldsmith.

    Is Zac Goldsmith French or English?
    I really don’t know, but I guess the person who looks after his account at the Swiss Branch of HSBC could explain.

  • @ Philip Thomas

    I am not sure I was talking about what the government defines as a British Citizen but one we could all agree with. All people born in the Britain are British citizens, all people who apply for citizenship and met the requirements are British citizens. All people who have one parent who is a British citizen are British citizens.

    My extreme definition of being English was about being Anglo-Saxon and so my ancestors who were most likely Norwegians who arrived in the ninth century was one reason for my exclusion.

  • Philip Thomas 19th Apr '15 - 6:01am

    While the non-dom tax loophole exists it is only natural for people to exploit it, although I’m surprised an MP could get away with it as most non-doms I know have to avoid being in the UK for more than 90 days.

    On the Anglo-Saxon thing, I am partially Welsh in the racial sense- in the direct male line, although my ancestors have been marrying Englishwomen for at least the past three generations. Don’t really have records before 1900 though.

  • According to reports Zac gave up non-dom status early in 2009.

    What is interesting is “To be eligible for non-dom tax status you must be foreign-born or born to a father who was foreign-domiciled – which does not have to mean resident – at the time of your birth.” then Labour’s plans to get rid of non-dom status could be a good thing because it effectively closes this door to all recent migrants; which as we keep being told are super efficient wealth creators and hence this rule change would just help to recycle more of that wealth within the UK. I mean if you are earning north of £100,000 paying £30,000 or £50,000 instead of UK taxes could be very attractive…

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