All entries for Saturday 22 December 2007

December 22, 2007

St Tony?

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The inevitable has now happened. Tony Blair has swapped High Anglicanism for Catholicism, the religious equivalent of swapping a 1996 Ford Fiesta for a 1994 Ford Fiesta (with a Virgin Mary on the dashboard). No big surprise, it’s been a long time coming, and should have happened years ago.

Now I’m no big fan of Blair’s messianic complex and apparent belief that he would be judged for his actions by God rather than, say, the electorate. As far as I know God doesn’t vote, the lazy deity.* It also scares me slightly when nukes get into the hands of someone who believes in an afterlife. Nice enough if they’re right and when we’re all nuked we can live on, but if they’re wrong then those nukes are rather a problem… but that’s a different debate. Blair should have converted to Catholicism in office. He should have been feeling as guilty as he damn well chose (although his apparent lack of guilt strikes me as odd for a so-called Catholic) or have=ing as many fancy statues in his church as he wanted. But he didn’t. And I wonder why.

Clearly he has always had some Catholic sympathies, but why only convert after leaving office? There’s no limit on Catholics in Downing Street, unlike in Buckingham Palace. It may well be that this was the best time for him to convert, but what if it wasn’t, what if it was a political decision to delay until leaving office. He was attending Catholic communion at the start of this decade (although as has been pointed out, Cherie is Catholic (Scouse, natch) so presumably would be insisting the kids were raised Catholic in line with Roman teaching). Strangely it might have worked to his advantage to be honest sooner. Britons seem to distrust overt religion much of the time** but people in Britain (I exclude NI for obvious reasons) find Catholicism a hell of a lot less scary than the sort of born-again millenarian Protestantism that George W Bush extolled.

Maybe that’s why Blair delayed. Born agains often don’t like Catholics. Maybe his political move was not to avoid the wrath of the British electorate, but to stay onside with Dubya. But he’s still working on Dubya’s mess in the Middle East, and they seem to have stayed best mates, so that theory doesn’t make much sense either.

I wish Blair had done this sooner for the following reasons:
- Suspicion over the timing will persist even if, as is still likely, it was just that now is the right time for him to convert.
- He would have spent more time as a Catholic, thus could have accumulated more of that lovely Catholic guilt (it’s real). Maybe then he’d have lied less or been less manipulative over Iraq.
- It would have annoyed Ian Paisley. Anything which does this must be a good thing.

Does this mean Blair’s a Celtic fan? Wonder what he thought of the Champions’ League draw…

*Plus, considering how much God flip-flops from vengeful deity to sweet and forgiving depending on the people’s views, I suspect he/she/it would vote Lib Dem. * * *
**I guess that’s what happens when the state religion is Anglicanism.
  • * *Yes, even after Clegg said he didn’t believe!

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