After a decade at the helm it’s time for me to step down as leader of the Christian Peoples Alliance (CPA).
The party is currently reviewing its way forward for the next few years and in my view my resignation is necessary so that new blood can come forward and a new vision develop, unimpeded by the past.
Furthermore since ceasing to be a Newham councillor in May 2010 many fascinating and hopefully useful new doors have opened, ranging from working in Baroness Caroline Cox’s parliamentary office to supporting the church against militant Islam in northern Nigeria and challenging the aggressive and culturally destructive gay political agenda here at home.
The role of national leader of our small party has proved fulfilling, but especially enjoyable were my eight years as CPA local councillor and leader of the Opposition on Newham Council and also the campaign as candidate for London mayor in May 2008.
Promoting CPA’s Christian democratic vision at national and local level is a tough call in our selfish materialistic society where money, power and now celebrity are the public measures of personal value and the elderly, the unemployed, the vulnerable, the inarticulate and the ugly are consigned to the margins. A sleek self-centred liberal individualism dominates all public life and, despite exciting bits of progress especially in the technical/scientific/medical arenas, our once-vibrant national culture is decaying, our social capital is dissipating, and our previously prosperous civilisation seems in terminal decline.
What’s more the current fashion- and arts-driven ‘Cool Britannia Mark 2’ and the capital’s Jubilee/Olympics feel-good froth have encouraged the complacent liberal media to salivate over the wonders of the UK’s politically correct multi-culturalism (necessarily only the polished version made visible on our screens by Team GB of course) and the undoubted creativity of the London 2012 Cultural Olympiad. But these enjoyable diversions are simply metropolitan mood music played by the orchestra on the deck of the stricken Titanic.
The nation’s underlying and intractable greed-fuelled debt-driven financial crisis continues to push us towards the economic precipice. This is but a deep symptom of an even deeper malaise caused by the loss of our civilisation’s foundations: integrity, self-restraint, public service, objectivity, responsibility, patience and commitment to family and community have all but disappeared as public values, with no adequate replacement.
As on the Titanic (here), the funereal ‘Nearer My God To Thee’ seems the appropriate national swansong as Britain and Europe steadily sink under a cynical secular public discourse, an indigenous birth-rate below replacement, widespread welfare-bred apathy, and the loss of hope, descendants and a future. The decline and fall of Roman civilisation took more than quarter of a millennium; ours looks to be much quicker. How urgently we need the rich revitalising truth-based love-your-neighbour teachings of Jesus Christ.
Despite (Sally reckons because of) the odds and Labour Party hostility, I hugely enjoyed pioneering Christian democracy at the local level in east London. There’s no doubt our CPA team usefully impacted the Newham agenda on a wide range of issues, including challenging the brutal Canning Town housing regeneration project, disputing the closure of local Post Offices, supporting a local UNISON trade union leader against Council persecution, exposing the separatist and sexist fundamentalism behind the proposed West Ham mega-mosque, defending the excellent Queens Street market at Upton Park from senseless redevelopment and opposing the massive biennial arms fair at ExCel exhibition centre.
In particular I enjoyed helping local people with their individual problems. Unlike the then-West Ham Labour MP Tony Banks, I received real satisfaction from serving constituents. It’s a mystery why Banks was idolised locally when he so publicly despised the lives of the people he represented (here). But his dismissive attitude was typical of Newham Labour Party and explains why I battled against them so much.
So I step down with great personal memories, no regrets and many thanks to my party colleagues and to the voters in Newham.
CPA now needs to move forward with optimism and expectation. I find myself doing just that in new pastures and at full speed by God’s grace.
The resignation takes place formally at the party’s AGM on 13th October, dv.