Easter confectionery and the Poor Man of Nazareth

By Jill Segger
April 6, 2017

The 'dead cat' strategy, so widely used by politicians, delivers diminishing returns. An increasingly sceptical electorate has become more inclined to ask “what is it they don't want me too look at here?” when presented with something shocking, or frankly silly. But despite a response  accelerated by the outrageous and unconstitutional behaviour of Donald Trump, the ruse is still considered to have utility by many politicians.

Theresa May's excursion into theological indignation over the matter of chocolate eggs is a sorry example of this misjudgement. At a time when government ministers flounder and back-track as they  encounter the real-world difficulties of activating Article 50 and beginning Brexit negotiations after so much misrepresentation (aka lying); at a time when the Prime Minister as a guest of Saudi Arabia appears to have nothing to say on  war crimes in Yemen, or about the part played by UK armaments in those abominations; at a time when her government takes money away from people with disabilities and chronic sickness, she chooses to characterise the Christian faith in terms of seasonal confectionery. Not to be outdone in misconception and absurdity, the Archbishop of York felt entitled to instruct Quakers about what we believe. I seem to hear John Cadbury sighing gently over the presumption of 'prayer-book men'.

But what is most disturbing about this farcical display is the Prime Minister's underlying expectation that an evocation of Christendom privilege will play well with her public. This is the territory colonised by Britain First and UKIP's 'Christian Soldiers'. It can have no part with the anti-imperial, radical love exemplified by the Poor Man of Nazareth. It should have no part in the thinking or utterance of the leader of a democratic government who invokes her status as a vicar's daughter.

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© Jill Segger is an Associate Director of Ekklesia with particular involvement in editorial issues. She is a freelance writer who contributes to the Church Times, Catholic Herald, Tribune, Reform and The Friend, among other publications. Jill is an active Quaker. See: http://www.journalistdirectory.com/journalist/TQig/Jill-Segger You can follow Jill on Twitter at: http://www.twitter.co/quakerpen

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