Sunday, 27 April 2014

Ed Miliband cannot be England's first Jewish or atheist Prime Minister

Mr. Cameron turns out to be a Christian, though, as he self-deprecatingly once said, his faith fades and reappears
“like Magic FM in the Chilterns."
Mr. Clegg also told us this week that he is not an atheist, but an agnostic.  His wife and mother are both devout Catholics, his grandmother a devout Russian Orthodox, so he says that perhaps he will come to believe in God.

An article in the Spectator this week says that Ed Miliband won't be our first Jewish Prime Minister but can be our first atheist Prime Minister. This is inaccurate. Ramsay Macdonald was an atheist and Attlee believed in the Christian 'ethic but not the mumbo jumbo' and therefore was also an atheist. 

Chamberlain was a Unitarian and so not a Christian, but not, I assume, an atheist. (Many Unitarians in our day are atheists, though not in Transylvania, where they are numerous.) 

Most modern Prime Ministers were Christian. Wilson, Callaghan ( a lay preacher), Home, Macmillan, Mrs Thatcher and Mr. Blair were all very religious. Is Gordon Brown? I suspect so, son of the manse that he is. Edward Heath's first job was on the Church Times but I know no more of his religious ideas than this. Churchill was not, though he talked about 'the man upstairs' - he was too much the Edwardian progressive. Bonar Law I think was a freethinker, but my memory might be at fault. Lloyd George liked singing hymns. Salisbury and Balfour were deeply religious Christians. 

Disraeli was a Jew as regards his race but converted to Low Church Anglicanism. Michael Howard, had he become Prime Minister, would have been our first adherent to the Jewish religion to be Prime Minister, as he occasionally enters a liberal synagogue.

I have forgotten whatever I might have known about Asquith and Eden's religious views. Can anyone assist me? 

Wednesday, 23 April 2014

Lenin spoke English with an Irish accent

Lenin spoke English with an Irish accent, say Russians.

Is there any footage of Lenin speaking? 

Here is Trotsky speaking English, courtesy of Pathe, which has put its films on the net.

And here is the Kaiser speaking English

Monday, 14 April 2014

George Orwell on gun control

How much more free England was in the 1930s is illustrated by this quotation from George Orwell, who turns out to be no friend to gun control.

“That rifle on the wall of the labourer's cottage or working class flat is the symbol of democracy. It is our job to see that it stays there.”

Thursday, 10 April 2014

Today is the 70th anniversary of the liberation of Odessa

Today is the 70th anniversary of the liberation of Odessa - not from the Nazis but from the Romanians. The Romanians are remembered by elderly Odessans for their corruption but were kinder rulers than the Germans or the Communists and, when the Russians started to defeat the Germans, the Romanian government stopped deporting the remaining Jewish population to extermination camps. Mr Putin seems to think that the Soviet troops liberated the city from the Nazis. 

Tuesday, 1 April 2014

Bulgaria is a foreign country, they do things differently there.

At dinner last night a Romanian friend told me that Bulgarians, visiting their monasteries, behave like holidaymakers, unlike Romanians who behave like pilgrims when they visit theirs. Two Bulgarian academics told me recently that the Church is not liked and respected south of the Danube the way it is here. I wonder why. Are the centuries of Turkish rule the reason? I should have thought Turkish rule would have made the people like the Church more, not less.