Tuesday 28 June 2022

Fifth anniversary

 The prayers I led at my Institution and Induction on 28 June 2017:

In the Gospels we read

the angel Gabriel greeted Mary and said

 ‘Do not be afraid for God has been gracious to you’.

So we pray for the life and people of St Gabriel’s, Stanbury

and for the community of which it is part.

And we pray the announcement of the grace of God around us

will always cast out our fears.

Be gracious with your people, O Lord.


In the Gospels we read

James and John sought prominence for themselves and destruction for others

Jesus rebuked them and promised the way of the Cross instead.

So we pray for the life and people of St James’, Cross Roads

and for the community of which it is part.

And we pray the finding of God’s ways around us

will fashion our service of others.

Be rigorous with your people, O Lord.


In the final book of the Bible we read

war broke out in heaven

Michael’s and his angels cast Satan down.

So we pray for the life and people of St Michael’s, Haworth

and for the community of which it is part.

And we pray the trampling down of evil around us

will bring abuse, conflict and terrorism to an end.

Be generous with your people, O Lord.


Gracious, rigorous, generous God,

as we are held in your grace,

as we seek to live your way,

as we hold the cries of the world in our prayers,

we once more say:

Our Father...

Sunday 26 June 2022

Red Wall


Not quite sure, at a stage at which I’ve found carving out time to write Blog posts much harder, that it is by-elections on which I want to comment, but there it is, and here are the things I see least commented upon in the mainly partisan analysis I’ve seen.

1.  ‘The breaking of the Red Wall’ appears to be a successful piece of propaganda from Conservative publicists and Conservative supporting media.  Although a number of previously Labour held northern seats did indeed return a Conservative MP in the last ‘get Brexit done’ General Election, I’ve pointed out before that a Parliament consisting only of those elected in the three northern Regions (North East, North West and Yorkshire & Humber) would still have a good sized Labour majority.

2.  These by-elections are a startlingly poor indicator of any national trend towards the next General Election.  The picture is totally distorted by low turnout, back bench revolt against the suitability of the Prime Minister, and the need to replace two Conservative MPs displaced following sexual assault and public viewing of pornography.  And, as always, there is no jeopardy (danger of a change of Government) at any by-election which there will be at the next General Election.

3.  The Labour or non-Conservative vote has not recovered.  In Wakefield, at the previous General Election, the Labour + Liberal Democrat vote was 34% of registered voters (resulting in a Labour win).  At the last General Election, this fell to 28% (resulting in a Conservative win).  At this by-election, this (including support for a Green candidate as well for the first time) fell much further to 21% (resulting, strangely, in a Labour win – see the next point).

4.  Much of the Conservative vote may simply have been suspended.  Remember the issues of the Prime Minister, the previous MP’s conviction and the lack of jeopardy.  Labour won despite the fall in the non-Conservative vote simply because 13 000 fewer people voted Conservative – most of whom didn't transfer to Labour but instead contributed to the drop in total turn out from 64% at the General Election to 39% at this by-election.

5.  Meanwhile at non-Red Wall Tiverton, the Labour + Liberal Democrat + Green vote did increase (from 27% of registered voters to 31% of registered voters), enough to defeat the Conservatives again simply because of a low turnout (down from 72% to 52%) which will have included a significant number of possibly temporary Conservative abstentions.  

The picture of flowers along St Michael’s south wall has attracted unusually high attention and some reaction on the church’s Facebook page.