Praise the Lord
I have for some time regarded David Miliband as a principal master of the dark arts behind New Labour's domestic policies – in particular, the trick of purporting to involve “communities” by encouraging and developing the power of “Community Groups”. I have been reminded of this by the appointment of his little brother Ed Miliband (no previous Government office, first elected to Parliament 2005) as Minister for the Third Sector in the Cabinet Office. So Ed is working for Hilary Armstrong (Chancellor for the Duchy of Lancaster and the Cabinet Minister for Social Exclusion).
Just to sum up, in this field, we now have:
Ruth Kelly, Department for Communities and Local Government (and Cabinet Mjnister for Women) who, remember, has a remit of community cohesion and equality, as well as responsibility for housing, urban regeneration and renewal, planning and local government with further responsibility policy for race, faith, gender and sexual orientation.
Hilary Armstrong, Chancellor for the Duchy of Lancaster and the Cabinet Minister for Social Exclusion She has the brief to tackle social exclusion (essential liaison with the HOme Office). Hilary Armstrong (from Sunderland, MP for North West Durham) will take responsibility for the “third sector” and has clearly got a brief to co-ordinate different parts of Whitehall in that field - whether that has authority over, or relieves responsibilities from, other Ministries is less than clear.
Ed Miliband (no previous government office, first elected 2005, MP for Doncaster North) is Minister for the Third Sector in the Cabinet Office. When elected he resigned from his job at the Treasury where he was chairman of the Treasury's Council of Economic Adviser.. He is working for Hilary Armstrong (Chancellor for the Duchy of Lancaster and the Cabinet Minister for Social Exclusion). He is David Milband's younger brother. Let us not forget that David Miliband has been Minister of State for Communities and Local Government before his shift in the reshuffle to Secretary of State for Environment, Food and Rural Affairs. MP for. South Shields
John Reid, a safe pair of hands now at the Home Office (or is that Department now?). Peeved that he didn't get the Foreign Office.
Alan Johnson MP for (Kingston upon Hull West & Hessle) at Education (I would see that very much as the role of compliant caretaker).
Reid (definitely) and Johnson (reportedly) are both one-time members of the Communist Party.
We have the core team for the transformation of the political culture of the U.K. Kelly, Armstrong, both Milibands (Rural affairs are also involved with the third sector), and Timms. The Blair cohorts outvote the Brown cohorts but there is common ground between the Prime Minister and the Chancellor of the Exchequer. All these closely associated with the Cabinet Office, all closely associated with the Prime Minister, and all of relatively strong religious views.
Through understanding more of the mindset of these people – which has nothing to do with any form of Conference policy – we might gain for more insight into the nature of the thinking behind the internal future of this country.
In the realms of Religion:
David and Ed Miliband are Jewish - the offspring of an originally Belgian father and a mother from a Polish background. Able people.
Ruth Kelly is Catholic and known as a member of Opus Dei.
John Reid is lapsed Catholic of mixed-denomination parentage. Probably not influenced by the power of religious institutional thought.
Hilary Armstrong is a former vice-president of Christian Socialist Movement
Stephen Timms, First Secretary to the Treasury, is an active Christian Socialist.
Sensitive stuff. This is not so much concern that people practice their faith. Where .matters of state and of the people are concerned, the ethical boundaries for decision need to be quite clear.
In the realms of Geography: Anthony Blair (Sedgefield), David Miliband (South Shields), and Hilary Armstrong (North West Durham) represent constituencies close to being contiguous with each other. Johnson (Kingston-upon-Hull) and Ed Miliband (Doncaster North) when not burdened with Ministerial duties, will have travelled on the same train (excluding Blair) between London, leaving or getting on at Doncaster where others will have continued on to Durham or Newcastle.
The main movers and shakers are increasingly of a religious orthodoxy (but don't forget the Blair's ego-massaging New-age tendencies). The presence of two known activists from the Christian Socialist movement (mainly evangelicals), one further almost-certain Evangelical (Blears), quite apart from Blair's own peculiar brand of hybrid Catholicism, should not be under-rated in a secular society. Outcomes are unlikely to be liberal (but will be Good For You).
Did you know Condoleeza Rice is also (whether or not practising) RC? And Margaret Becket?
The domestic agenda will develop the absolutist tendency.
Foreign Policy will support warfare.
The hypocrisy of the so-called Christians in the Cabinet when it comes to annihilating people in distant antions is unconscionable. Might some of these sympathise with the primitivist view that we are all living in the end-days (and if they go on like this....)? Perhaps some believe in the inevitability and necessity of a Greater Israel before the good Lord COMES AGAIN to redeem us and send all of those sinners (i.e. people who don't agree with or behave like us) to perdition. And that they are his agents in that. The death of millions or tens of millions is, then, merely Biblical.
No. That can't have any substance. Paranoid.
+ PRAISE THE LORD +
+ FOR WE DO HIS WORK +
"Insh'allah" - Osama