Coffee House The Spectator Podcast

Podcast: Is religion the new politics, and Osborne on the up, Miliband on the down

26 June 2014

9:30 AM

26 June 2014

9:30 AM

Are we seeing a global revival of religion, which is having a radical impact on politics? On this week’s View from 22 podcast, Damian Thompson debates Cristina Odone on this week’s Spectator cover feature. Is the UK and Europe unable to understand many of the current conflicts because of ardent secularism? Has our current government been too secularist; obsessed with Brangelina instead of Boko Haram? And would politics be simpler if there were no religious element at all?

Isabel Hardman and Fraser Nelson discuss two political figures whose fortunes are shifting in different directions — George Osborne and Ed Miliband. Are we beginning to see the real George Osborne, who has more substantial ideological views than his detractors believed? Is he one of the most cutthroat operators in Westminster? And why has so much been made of Ed Miliband’s geekiness? Shouldn’t Team Miliband accept who the real Ed is, and make the most of it?

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Plus, Mats Persson discusses Britain’s relationship with the EU, which has become even more troubled thanks to comments by Jean-Claude Juncker and Radek Sikorski. Have David Cameron’s hopes of reforming Europe in Britain’s favour been dashed?

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Show comments
  • DaveTheRave

    There’s clearly too much belief and not enough humanity.
    I don’t agree with much JFK said, but having gone through the Cuban Missile Crisis he saw, or began to appreciate life’s fundamentals, children’s futures, and that, ultimately, we have to accommodate those we don’t agree with in a diverse world.
    The problem with today’s world is that diversity has been thrust upon us in our homelands at an alarming rate by an apparent compulsory immigration the world over.
    Why does no one want to be where they are anymore?
    The truth, surely, is that politicians want it to happen. We know that here from 1997. The elites are the worst kind of idealists.

  • The Blue Baron

    Chrstine Odone calling on the need to fight our ignorance.

    I remember the good old days when people were called ignorant for not knowing things rather than subscribing to the “wrong” political views.

    • Smithersjones2013

      I thought Christine Odone was the definition of ignorance

  • Smithersjones2013

    Have David Cameron’s hopes of reforming Europe in Britain’s favour been dashed?

    There is about as much chance of rehabilitating the EU as there was of rehabilitating Ronnie Biggs. Its just a pity that the EU doesn’t run away to South America!

  • The Blue Baron

    “Militant secularists” famous along with “militant atheists” for being the only type of militants not to carry guns. Whilst religious militants are butchering each other around the world, atheist “militants” are writing books and arguing on Twitter.

    In comparison I think “militant atheists” like myself come out rather well.

    • the viceroy’s gin

      The militant atheists have slaughtered far, far more numbers than any religious faith, if you look close. They’d do so again, much like their islamofascist brothers, if they could.

      • The Blue Baron

        By militant atheists do you mean communists?

        The overwhelming majority of people described as militant atheists certainly are not communists.

        • the viceroy’s gin

          By militant atheists I mean militant atheists.

          • The Blue Baron

            A regrettably tautological definition.

            Do you consider Richard Dawkins a militant atheist?

            • the viceroy’s gin

              Not sure what’s “regrettable” or “tautological” about blocking your illegitimate attempts to alter what I stated, lad.

              And I’m not really interested in playing 20 questions with those who practice that sort of illegitimacy.

              • The Blue Baron

                You used a stupid and ambiguous phrase and I was trying to nail down what you meant by it. Your refusal to answer a basic questions suggests I am wasting my time.

                • the viceroy’s gin

                  Yes, you are wasting your time attempting to alter what I clearly stated, lad.

                  And your distraactive 20 questions game is equally a time waster for you, I agree.

                  Just be glad that you now know that your foolish statement that:

                  ‘”militant atheists” come out rather well'”

                  …is one of the absolute dumbest declarations the innerwebs will see this week, and that’s really saying something.

                • The Blue Baron

                  Well you haven’t actually presented an argument here. All you’ve done is used an idiotic phrase, then been unable to explain what you meant by it, accused me of asking “twenty questions” when I asked you one very straightforward one and then called me “lad”.

                  Congratulations.

                • the viceroy’s gin

                  No, your fantasy world appears to be quite active, lad. You don’t even understand what’s happened 3 posts earlier.

                  You can’t even follow through on your declaration that this is all “a waste of time”, and you’re back trolling for more. You seem shaken.

                  Just accept it, lad. You blathered out a really, really dumb statement, and got corrected.

                • the viceroy’s gin

                  …and then you instantaneously start responding again… too funny.

                • the viceroy’s gin

                  …waiting… waiting… you’re still typing… waiting.

                • the viceroy’s gin

                  …still feverishly typing, you are…. waiting… waiting… this must really be a devastating bit of trollery.

                • the viceroy’s gin

                  Well, I have to go, lad. Your devastating response will have to be endured later.

                • Guest

                  Fortunately enough I have time to waste old boy. You claimed that militant atheists have slaughtered millions of people and then refused to define what you mean by militant atheists. If you don’t have the ability to answer this very basic question then we’re not going to get very far.

                  A couple of pointers though: statements of opinion are not “corrected” they are debated and you have to actually make a coherent argument before declaring yourself the ‘winner’ of any exchange.

                  Now calm down, you’re going to do yourself an injury…

                • the viceroy’s gin

                  You still seem shaken and confused, lad. I claimed nothing. I pointed out historical reality, which put the lie to your dumb blathering.

                  Then you failed to do what was necessary, and withdraw your dumb statement, and decided to start trolling.

                  You’re still trolling.

                • The Blue Baron

                  You haven’t pointed anything out though old boy, you have stated an opinion which you have neither clarified or substantiated, clearly because it’s beyond your rather limited capabilities.

                  Accusing someone of “trolling” for expressing an alternate worldview usually suggests a paucity of imagination and intellect. Anyway, since you don’t have the aptitude to conduct a proper exchange I’m afraid I’m going to have to leave you where I found you; squealing nonsense about “militant atheists” and beating your knuckles and forehead against the keyboard in the hope of formulating a coherent argument.

                  Best of luck with your continued struggle in this world.

                • the viceroy’s gin

                  No, lad, you’re still struggling and confused. I haven’t stated an “opinion”. I’ve pointed out historical reality to you, to counter your foolish blathering. And you then became quite embarrassed at your exposure, and started scrambling and trolling.

                  You’re still trolling.

                • Guest

                  Fortunately enough I have time to waste old boy. You claimed that militant atheists have slaughtered millions of people and then refused to define what you mean by militant atheists. If you don’t have the ability to answer this very basic question then we’re not going to get very far.

                  A couple of pointers though: statements of opinion are not “corrected” they are debated and you have to actually make a coherent argument before declaring yourself the ‘winner’ of any exchange.

                  Now calm down, you’re going to do yourself an injury.

                • the viceroy’s gin

                  You don’t need to troll in duplicate though, lad.

                • Daidragon

                  Give it up lad he’s obviously your intellectual superior.

                • the viceroy’s gin

                  …and perhaps you shouldn’t troll at all, laddie.

  • The Blue Baron

    Christian Odone really needs to explain why so many Muslim majority countries look the way they do. Why, almost without exception, Muslim majority countries are characterised by a highly politicised interpretation of the faith and a litany of religious laws. At a global level, to one degree or another, the vast majority of Muslims are Islamists. There is no escaping this reality.

    Christine Odone is deeply deluded if she thinks that the totalitarian religious fanaticism of groups like ISIS is caused by the fact that the UK is too secular or that Cameron doesn’t spend enough time chatting about all the Christian bake-sales he went to as a boy. Presumably she feels that British Muslims would feel less disenfranchised if it took on many of the characteristics of a Christian theocracy or sought to govern in the name of the majority faith rather than operating as a secular society open to all. What risible piffle.

  • swatnan

    George has reached the summit of his powers, only through connections.
    As for Ed, he’s been on the down escalator ever since he became Leader.
    Even diane Abbott would have done better. Keep Religion out of the Spectator.

  • DavidL

    A religious revival? Not according to the 2011 census, where the percentage of the population saying they had “no religion” showed a rise from 15% in 2001, to 25%

    • MrsDBliss

      He said globally.

      • DavidL

        Touche! Indeed he did. But the same trend applies across Europe and even in the USA. That leaves S America, Africa and Asia. All parts of the world where religious belief is already universal. In S America there is a movement from the Roman Catholic Church to evangelical protestantism. In the muslim world there is a move from more tolerant forms of Islam to Sunni or Shia fundamentalism. You might make a case for the growth of Christianity in China, but it’s hard to quantify. I’d say there is a shift to more enthusiastic (or intolerant) religious beliefs, but I can’t see a growth in religion as such.

  • Hexhamgeezer

    Is religion is or was religion was? Who can tell….

    • Hexhamgeezer

      Aaaaw! you’ve fixed the byline….

  • Kitty MLB

    Religion has had a revival because we live in a uncertain world
    sharing it with those who create so much evil and have no respect
    for humanity.
    George Osborne, he that resembles a French, pre-revolutionary
    aristocrat is going up because he has grown into his job,
    and despite all the caterwaulling lefties trying to knock him
    off track, he stayed firm and has been proved right.
    Ed Miliband, as he ever been up?
    He manages a few pats on the back occasionally, for a short
    while dependant on the popularity of his latest bandwaggon,
    but when that fades into insignificance, so does he.

  • Bonkim

    Religion goes up when certainty goes down and fear of the unknown prevails.

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