I have for many years opposed amending the Act of Settlement 1701, in particular those historic clauses which refer to the Protestant Settlement between the people, the Monarchy and the Established Church. I understand, to some, that this puts me in the ‘extremist bigot’ category, somewhere above Enoch Powell but still a little way beneath the Rev’d Dr Ian Paisley. That was the view taken by the Catholic Herald back in 2005, when they demanded that Michael Howard dismiss me as a Conservative parliamentary candidate over articles I had written on the matter for The Spectator two years earlier (which had been evaluated by the Chief Whip, no less). But there was no reasoning with the ‘something-of-the-night’ autocrat. Thankfully, more mature minds (like Charles Moore, William Rees-Mogg, Ann Widdecombe and Boris Johnson) fully understood my concerns, which were based on theological knowledge and constitutional history rather than any irrational prejudice or ‘bigotry’. Continue reading →
It’s always good to clear out the garage or purge the attic of junk, detritus, bad memories and dead wood. There’s something therapeutically cathartic about rationalising a crowded space and establishing a new order. The only potential hazard is the sort of over-zealous purgation which hastily discards a lifetime of faded boxes you never thought you’d need, only to realise, years later, they actually contained treasures and photographs, yellow with years but utterly unique and irreplaceable. Today’s surplus and dispensable can be tomorrow’s necessary, valued and very much desired.