One last bite at this particular cherry for now. Many of you appear shocked at the thought that a Christian and a Conservative could propose that Islam become our state religion. If I thought there were any prospect of Christianity continuing in/returning to its role as our state religion, then I would leap at it. But most of my critics on this point seem to me to assume far too complacently that this is an option. As my original posting pointed out, in this country even for a Christian politician to employ a moral category is to be ruled outwith polite society. Fraser Nelson made the mistake a few months ago of quoting Deuteronomy in an argument about the 50p tax band, to widespread ridicule and the cheap rejection of his elegant point.
Offer me a way to restore Christianity and I’ll bite your hand off. The only route I see lies via helping our Establishment to believe in itself once more. That can’t be done directly. For most of my life I’ve thought it could. I thought the Conservative Party, for all its many faults, was a vehicle of Conservative philosophy, the defender of the Conservative constitution and the Protestant liberal heritage. I thought that Conservatives could be persuaded to reform and restore our constitution, that their 1980s obsession with economic questions, understandable and, in its way, justified as it was, would pass and attention could be turned back to what really counts: the constitution.
But the Conservative Party does not believe in that. It does not believe in constitutional monarchy, in an unelected second chamber as a break on the encroachment of democracy on liberty, in the doctrine of negative liberties instead of “human rights”, in applying one’s laws only within one’s own borders, in a mix between positive and natural law, in the monarch as God’s anointed as the font of law, in the Anglican church as its partner and mirror in the religious realm. It does not believe that the constitution that created Britain and that Britain created and exported around the world was a gift from Providence and Reason, which we owed a duty to humanity to nurture and convince others of its merits. It does not see the British constitution as particular and valuable. It does not aspire to be directed by the officers of true religion. It does not seek to export a vision of Christian toleration, harmony, freedom, justice, peace and curiosity out to the less fortunate nations of the world.
Instead, the Conservative Party, despite its name, has abandoned all aspiration to be constitutionally Conservative. Of course it remains the least bad of a bad bunch – I’m not proposing going anywhere else. But once even the Conservative Party abandons constitutional Conservatism, I can’t see what hope there is of going backwards. We can only go forwards, now, as constitutional Progressives. The Conservatives are currently on the path of Liberal Democracy in constitutional terms. And we don’t see that as a disaster. We think it’s much more important to deal with questions of the economy or welfare reform or schools reform, and these really important matters mustn’t be distracted from by petty constitutional questions – as if anyone sensible cared about those!
So the Human Rights Act (not monarch or Church) will be the font of our liberties. We shall make no attempt whatever to restore any of the constitutional violations we have suffered via the European Union or in the New Labour era. Indeed, the last vestiges of resistance to constitutional overthrow will be removed with the Second Chamber becoming fully elected.
We shall run down our armed forces, for what is the point of having armed forces large enough to project our values around the world when we have nothing to offer the world...
Enough! Enough of this! What good is it my complaining about these things when no-one cares? You all consider it quaint and amusing that anyone would think these things important. So you listen with interest, you enjoy my prose and feel clever if you follow my logic, but you do not act. We cannot go back. We can only go forwards.
What route forwards is there? Our constitution cannot be restored, so it must be remade. We cannot be conservatives, so we must be radicals. But the constitution must not be remade along “secular”, atheist materialist lines. We could totally embrace Europe. At least we would have some constitutional protections there. Or we could try to re-invigorate our own Establishment here, to make it believe in something, to have some motive purpose.
Here is a dream: if our Establishment discovered some purpose, some project, some meaning beyond self-pity and the adoration of licentiousness, it might come to its senses, remembering what it had lost.
Islam is very far from perfect. But, then again, whilst Islam has not always treated women well, secularism has produced us a society in which we have state-sponsored industrial-scale slaughter of infants (and that’s only the worst of its many faults) – you pays your money and you takes your choice. The Folk dull their pain with drink, empty sex, and reality TV, whilst trying to fill the void they cannot deny with superstition. And we, the powerful, leave them to it, for we see no reason not to. Meantime, in the rest of the world, other Folks live under tyranny and incompetence, denied what we take for granted. And we, the powerful leave them to it, for we see no reason not to.
Having Islam as our state religion isn’t a very good idea. But then in many realms in life what we end up with isn’t very good – it’s merely less bad that the feasible alternatives. Don’t tell me how bad Islam is or how stupid an idea I have offered - I know that! Tell me what you think we should do instead that would be better. And if (as I dream and intend, but dare not hope) your answer is: "What would be better would be to have Christianity as our state religion - I see that now, even if I am myself not a Christian, I see that it matters, and I shall argue that case with others", then my work in these three essays is done.