Britain Ethics Politics Sex and sexuality

A Major Affair

Watching John Major going to court to prevent the UK government ‘proroguing’ parliament, when he himself had prorogued parliament, reminded me of another time when he demonstrated breathtaking hypocrisy.   This is an article I wrote on the old Free Church website in 2002  – I was interested to see how it shows how the more things change, the more things stay the same!

A Major Affair….

There is so much to write about this week that it is hard to know where to begin. I had thought of commenting on Europe’s magnificent victory over the US in the Ryder Cup – but then the Daily Record stole my headline – “There’s only one uncle Sam”. Congratulations to all the golfers involved for a magnificent sporting occasion – especially the losing US Captain, Curtis Strange, who behaved with dignity and decorum throughout.

Screenshot 2019-10-15 17.29.26Then I considered commenting on other headlines such as the decline in Scotland’s population, or the case for war against Iraq. However the story in the ‘Steamie’ has undoubtedly been the revelations by the former Tory minister, Edwina Currie, of her affair with the former Prime Minister, John Major. To some this has been a great joke – the idea of the dull, ‘grey’ man of British politics having an affair with the ‘colourful’ Mrs. Currie being a source of much merriment in the British media. However the cheap and sensationalist view of sex is not one that we share.

Back to Basics

What is particularly shocking about this revelation is not that it happened but rather to whom it happened. Mr. Major is the British Prime Minister who brought us the policy of ‘Back to Basics’. This was meant to be a return to family values and basic traditional values. To many Christians it sounded good. Here was a conservative Prime Minister standing up for ‘morality’. None of this homosexuality, ‘free love’ or other aberrations of the God-given plan for human sexuality. Sadly it was a sham.   He made this ‘back to basics’ speech knowing full well his own infidelity and betrayal of his wife and marriage vows. Not only do we know about Major but there were also others within the government including David Mellor (Heritage secretary who had an affair with his secretary), Steven Norrie (married Transport Minister who had had five mistresses), Tim Yeo (Agriculture Minister who had an illegitimate daughter with a Tory councilor), and Richard Spring (Parliamentary Private Secretary – now Tory spokesman on Foreign Affairs). Add to this, fellow government MP’s David Ashby, Robert Hughes, Jerry Hayes and Piers Merchant. And these are only the ones we know about. It is little wonder that the public have treated the Tories with the cynicism they deserve.

Revenge is sweet

Is Mrs. Currie right to tell the public the truth? Has she done us all a service? She has been all over the British media – interviews on radio and TV, her book serialised in The Times and of course her own radio show. Why has she told all? There can be little doubt that she is a self-publicist, obcessed with her own importance, and delighting in that most delicious of dishes – revenge. Of course, her revelations about her affair with Major will ensure that her book is a best seller. Money, revenge and self-importance. It is hard not to feel a certain sense of disgust.

Political Sexual Immorality

Mrs. Currie tells us that we are all grown up now and that these things happen. At least Mr. Major has the sense to declare that it was the most shameful event of his life and then to keep silent. But does it matter what politicians do in their private lives? Mrs. Currie tells us that the British public are concerned about their taxes and the economy – not the sexual dalliances of politicians. She seems to have a point. Surely if Bill Clinton, John Major or Edwina Currie choose to engage in sexual immorality then that is there business and has nothing to do with their ability to run the country?

A Question of Trust

She is certainly right in pointing out that many people in this country and the US are far more concerned about the economy than they are about her goings on. Yet there is a connection. Our economy, our welfare system and indeed our justice system do, to a large extent depend upon honesty and trust. Witness the collapse of the stock markets because of the lack of trust caused by the dishonesty of Enron and others.   To some degree we have to trust our politicians, judges, teachers, economists and doctors. If we cannot do so then we will end up with at best a cynicism which will only justify selfishness and at worst a society where the rule of law has become an arbitrary joke. So it does matter if our Prime Minister announces a policy of Back to Basics and Family Values – having himself been an unrepentant liar and breaker of his marriage vows. This is not to say that we have the right to demand sinless politicians – but we can at least ask for honest ones who are willing to repent and admit when they are wrong.

Clinton’s Conference

Which brings us back to Bill Clinton. He was in town this past week- wowing the Labour party conference.   He was good – very good. So much so that people were suggesting that he ought to take his old job back.   He managed to attack the Tories, support Bush’s policy on Iraq (whilst attacking Bush) and generally give a thumbs up to everything Tony Blair wanted. It was brilliant. And vacuous. When you analyze what he said you realise that it was all touchy-feely, full of excellent rhetoric and sound bites and yet almost totally lacking in substance. (Perhaps like too much sound bite preaching today). It was, in fact, sermonic and delivered like a Southern Baptist preacher. And the Labour party loved it – they cheered him and screamed at him as though he were a pop star. A few saw through it. A few questioned this McDonald’s president taking the opportunity to eat a Big Mac at the conference and recalled that it was McDonalds who had sponsored last years conference. A few saw the incongruity of tut- tutting at the Major/Currie affair whilst warmly welcoming a man who at best broke his marriage vows and at worst used his power to exploit and abuse several women. But most swooned and cheered.

It’s a Mad, Sad World

What a sad world this post-modern world is – a world where the MacDonald sponsored Labour Party no longer sings the Red Flag and Bill Clinton is treated like a hero and cheered to the rafters for a speech devoid of any substance and policy. A world where the Tories have given in to the mealy mouthed inclusivist pluralism (which includes everyone except those who disagree with it) and now want to show how tolerant they are of sexual deviation. A world where a former senior British politician (Mrs. Currie) can write in our most respected newspaper, The Times, that she prefers if the Conservative party would not talk about traditional family values and that she feared that Mr. Duncan Smith’s speech was being written by someone from a ‘fundamentalist Christian group”.

Strengthen What Remains

So there you have it. We can have an Archbishop of Canterbury who dresses like a Druid, Prime Ministers who betray their spouses, Presidents who think they are pop stars and fundamentalist egotists like Mrs. Currie. But the last thing we need is fundamentalist Christians daring to suggest that the Emperor has no clothes! It almost makes you want to turn into one! Thank the Lord that he is the King of kings and that one day all this nonsense will be called to account. Meanwhile we soldier on trying to preserve what we can and seeking to bring the light of Jesus to this absurd and dark society.

Heroes of the People – The Politicisation of the Judiciary

Gordon Wilson – A Man of Integrity and Intelligence

7 comments

  1. What does probity in Public Office, amount to today? Or an office in the church?
    Fake it till you make it, perhaps for some?
    Compartmentalism of life permits multidimensional hypocrisy of elite superiority.
    No one wants humility in office, ” I got it wrong”.
    Or in the church, humility is seen as “not knowing”, not in the sense of ignorance, but in the sense of intellectual scholasticism, concerned more with methodology, and academic clique critiques, than outcome application and consequences.

  2. All of which is old, old news – while Trump, who not only isn’t ashamed of his womanising but actually displays it proudly as part of his alpha-male status, and Johnson, who has moved his current mistress into No.10 as official not-quite-First Lady (that position, of course, properly belongs to the Queen), apparently don’t merit your scorn?
    There is an old quote that says :”Hypocrisy is the homage which vice renders to virtue.” It at least acknowledges wrongdoing in trying to conceal it – while shamelessness, particularly when linked to the exercise of power to suppress comment or complaint, takes to itself the right to trample on the laws of man and God alike.
    Neither Major nor Clinton have been in power for very many years – and neither is soliciting our votes. Whatever could be the other thing they have in common that makes you disapprove of them more than those practising as much and worse now?
    As for our Archbishop: you’re one too late if you want to poke fun at him as “Archdruid” – that contemptuous little epithet was applied to his predecessor, who had the bad taste to be a grey-bearded Welshman prone to poetic and theological utterance rather than tabloid soundbites. And in 2000 years’ time, if we are all spared, your lounge suit or jeans will look just as peculiar as those vestments the traditional Churches have developed from the working man’s dress of the Roman age. In a way, like school uniform, they are an equaliser: under the surplice nobody can see if your trousers are darned or came from Savile Row. Or indeed, in hot weather, whether you are wearing any at all!
    It would be nice to have perfect people running the country – but I have often observed that in English history at least, the most saintly of our Kings have been the most incompetent rulers. And are we so virtuous ourselves that we have the right to demand the Lord send us a saint to rule us? We already had the King of the Universe and look what we did to Him. I think we will have to just try and do our best with what we are given, with the help of God.

    1. Karen – Can I suggest you read the articles properly before commenting on them…? I stated at the beginning this was an old article..but still relevant. You should also know that Major is back on the scene – seeking to influence UK politics – again as stated in the article.

      1. I shouldn’t get too alarmed by Major or Clinton speaking now, if I were you: in both cases their intervention has been, to say the least, counterproductive to their cause, if less spectacularly so than Blair’s. It was hardly worth digging up nearly twenty year old sex scandals just to say “’twas ever so” – we might as well hash over the sex life of Lloyd George.

        But my underlying point, which you haven’t addressed but might consider of interest, is that I think it’s actually got worse – and those elephants, unlike John Major, are very much still in the room. The question “which do we think is worse, hypocrisy or shamelessness?” doesn’t even need those personal examples to illustrate.

        Most people’s instinctive response is “hypocrisy of course!” – they see the cover-up as so much worse than the crime, that popular opinion will even condone really awful behaviour on the basis that “at least s/he’s honest and open about it.” But I think I’d take the opposite line.

        Hypocrisy is Adam and Eve trying to cover up and hide because they recognised they had done wrong and deserved punishment. Shamelessness is marching up to God boldly naked, tweaking His nose and taunting “So what’re you going to do about it, big boy?”

        The first, God could and did do business with: the second, absent some change of heart I can only leave to His omnipotence, is surely on its way to hell.

        Today’s world rulers make Major and Clinton look as dated as Lord Carrington – who, you will remember, resigned his post as Foreign Secretary as a matter of honour after the outbreak of the Falklands war. So yes, I think I have to (in deep sadness) challenge “the more things change, the more things stay the same”.

      2. Karen – that is precisely what I was saying. You critiqued a 17 year old article as though it were written today. THe reason for reposting it was simply to show the similarities between then and now – the same old hypocrisies.

      3. David, it’s NOT just “the same old hypocrisies”. That’s my real point – the one you keep swerving to dwell on whether or not you’ve caught me out. I’ve no pride, laugh if you will – but you need to come back to the point. As I’ve already said twice now, we’re now seeing something *much worse* than hypocrisy. And you’re still ignoring it to score “gotcha” points off this insignificant old sheep.

        Even the gender lobbies you so often decry admit the existence of right-and-wrong, even if they disagree with you on what each of them is – even if, as many do and you may think, it’s to the point of “calling good evil and evil good”. Their very “intolerance” that you complain about is evidence that they believe a universal moral standard exists, and applies equally to all. That’s the vestigial remains of Christian thinking – the idea that nobody is so “chosen” as to be exempted.

        The scary new thing is people in the seats of power who either disbelieve in moral standards altogether, or think they are “only for little people” who thus evidence their slave mentality, and can be manipulated through this as through any other weakness.
        Who truly believe they themselves are above challenge or question, with no need for hypocrisy because THEY are the ones with power, unlimited power to satisfy their appetites and inflict death (even mass death) on a whim – although even they can’t make life, only spare it. People for whom God and Christ and country are simply more words they can buy and use to manipulate, along with all the rest.

        Have you no thoughts on this? I have passed on your article, which I thoroughly endorse, about Paula White: so I do think you are seeing *something* of what I’m talking about. And even if it’s not the Last War of All, this sort of thing always does end in *a* war – you can’t have more than one “Supreme Leader” in the world for long before they go all “Highlander” and start declaring “There Can Only Be One”…

        (Of course we know there is, but that’s another and better Story. You remain as ever, whatever our differences of mere foolish opinion, in my prayers.)

  3. Our current Prime Minister – Boris, isn’t even divorced but is living together in sin with his girlfriend at No. 10. So they’re all as bad as one another.

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