Wednesday, February 26, 2003

Blair, the Church and Realignment- There's been some interesting conversation on Tony Blair becoming Catholic when he leaves office; his wife's Catholic and his kids are being raised Catholic. Given the state of the Anglican Church in England, [update 2-27 11:45AM as well as that of the Methodist church that he belongs to] that might be an improvement in his spiritual walk. Modern Britain is secular enough to have a non-Protestant at the helm, so I don't see a need for him to wait until he leaves office. At first, there doesn't seem to be much political fallout for him personally; I'm not sure if you'd have too many hard-core Anglicans who would vote Tory or Social Democrat in protest and you'd see some more conservative voters applauding him for taking his faith seriously. On the other hand, it might be seen as a dis of the Anglican Church at the time where it is on the verge of schism. Archbishop of Canterbury Rowan Williams is a political ally on economics issue, even if he’s obnoxiously anti-Iraq war. One of the dynamics of modern British politics is the realignment of Labour and the Social Democrats; historically, the Social Democrats (and their Liberal forbearers) were the centrist party with Labour to the left; now, Labour has become the centrist party and the Social Democrats are becoming the party of the left. Dissing Williams and turning him into a SD might be the tipping point of this realignment. Many old school Marxists in Labour are looking for something more leftist than Blair. The Social Democrats are reluctant to move from their secular bourgeois past to become the party of the left. Things aren’t far from making that transition and ticking off the liberal Anglican bishops by turning Catholic might just set if off.

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