Coffee House

Flight MH17: the unctuous Bishop James Jones shows off on ‘Thought for the Day’

21 July 2014

6:00 PM

21 July 2014

6:00 PM

Perhaps it’s my imagination, but every time the Rt Rev James Jones, former Bishop of Liverpool, pops up on Thought for the Day I hear an undertone of disappointed ambition. The same goes for Lord Harries, ex-Bishop of Oxford and, like Jones, once spoken of as a future Archbishop of Canterbury. It’s as if they’re saying: look how much poetry and gravitas I can pack into three minutes! I’d have been jolly good at Lambeth…

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Bishop Jones’s prose this morning, when he reflected on the murder of 298 people by allies of Vladimir Putin, was as purple as his episcopal robes: ‘black bodybags lining the fields of sunflowers, the refrigerated train of five grey carriages’. It would be wrong to suggest that Jones’s sympathy for the relatives of the victims of air crashes was confected. But, as usual, he placed himself at the centre of the narrative, talking about his own dealings with the bereaved.

This is forgiveable. Less so was his failure to condemn the rebels who blew MH17 out of the sky, or the ex-KGB agent who reportedly gave them their BUK missile launcher. It is thanks to Russia that those bodies were rotting in the fields yesterday as Putin ostentatiously took himself off to church, where he was greeted by fawning Orthodox prelates.

Jones would say only this: ‘the relatives long to pay their respects, frustrated by the posturing of national and international politics’. Those words made me want to throw up. The bereaved are not frustrated by the justified fury of politicians who identify Putin as the man responsible for this atrocity. These leaders are not ‘posturing’. And nor is Putin, who appears to be telling wicked lies.

Why did James Jones not make this point? Not enough time? Nonsense: he found space for an exquisitely polished show-off quotation from Shakespeare. For as long as I can remember, Thought for the Day has required its clergy to combine sanctimonious parables with moral equivocation. Those who go off-message are dropped. This morning the former Bishop of Liverpool followed his brief to the letter.

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    ARE YOU LOOKING FOR A FIRST CLASS GRADE

    DO YOU WANT TO COME OUT FIRST IN YOUR EXAMS

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    DO YOU WANT TO BE RICH

    DO YOU WANT YOUR BUSINESS TO KEEP MOVING

    DO YOU HAVE A COMPANY OF ANY KIND AND YOU WANT IT TO EXPAND

    DO YOU WANT YOUR HUSBAND OR WIFE TO KEEP TO YOUR WORLD

    ARE YOU FACING ANY MARITAL PROBLEMS

    ARE YOU FINDING IT DIFFICULT TO GET PREGNANT FOR YOUR HUSBAND

    ARE YOU EXPERIENCING MISCARRIAGES ANY TIME YOU TAKE IN

    DO YOU WANT TO COMPETE IN ANY LOTTERY GAME

    ARE YOU FACING HARDSHIP

    HAVE YOU BEEN THREATENED BY SOMEONE

    DO YOU WANT TO BE SUCCESSFUL IN ANY THING YOU LAY YOUR HANDS ON

    IS YOUR SON OR DAUGHTER BEHAVING STRANGELY

    ARE YOU FACING WITCH CRAFT MANIPULATIONS

    DO YOU WANT TO CAST A STRONG LOVE SPELL ON YOUR GIRL OR BOY FRIEND

    DO YOU NEED MAGIC POWERS TO DO ANY THING YOU WANT

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    Hello to every one out here, am here to share the unexpected miracle that happened to me three days ago, My name is Jeffrey Dowling,i live in TEXAS,USA.and I`m happily married to a lovely and caring wife,with two kids A very big problem occurred in my family seven months ago,between me and my wife so terrible that she took the case to court for a divorce she said that she never wanted to stay with me again,and that she did not love me anymore So she packed out of my house and made me and my children passed through severe pain. I tried all my possible means to get her back,after much begging,but all to no avail and she confirmed it that she has made her decision,and she never wanted to see me again. So on one evening,as i was coming back from work,i met an old friend of mine who asked of my wife So i explained every thing to her,so she told me that the only way i can get my wife back,is to visit a spell caster,because it has really worked for her too So i never believed in spell,but i had no other choice,than to follow her advice. Then she gave me the email address of the spell caster whom she visited.(bravespellcaster@gmail.com}, So the next morning,i sent a mail to the address she gave to me,and the spell caster assured me that i will get my wife back the next day what an amazing statement!! I never believed,so he spoke with me,and told me everything that i need to do. Then the next morning, So surprisingly, my wife who did not call me for the past seven {7}months,gave me a call to inform me that she was coming back So Amazing!! So that was how she came back that same day,with lots of love and joy,and she apologized for her mistake,and for the pain she caused me and my children. Then from that day,our relationship was now stronger than how it were before,by the help of a spell caster . So, was now stronger than how it were before,by the help of a spell caster . So, i will advice you out there to kindly visit the same website http://bravespellcaster.yolasite.com,if you are in any condition like this,or you have any problem related to “bringing your ex back. So thanks to Dr Brave for bringing back my wife,and brought great joy to my family once again.{bravespellcaster@gmail.com} , Thanks.

    Are you passing through any of these problems,

    DO YOU NEED YOUR EX BACK VERY FAST

    DON YOU WANT YOUR LOVER TO LOVE YOU AS NEVER LIKE BEFORE

    ARE YOU SUFFERING FROM A LONG TIME SICKNESS

    ARE YOU FACING FINANCIAL PROBLEMS

    ARE YOU SEEKING FOR A GOOD JOB

    DO YOU WANT TO BECOME A HOUSE OWNER

    ARE YOU LOOKING FOR A FIRST CLASS GRADE

    DO YOU WANT TO COME OUT FIRST IN YOUR EXAMS

    ARE YOU A STAR AND YOU WANT TO BE SO POPULAR TO THE WHOLE WORLD

    DO YOU WANT TO BE RICH

    DO YOU WANT YOUR BUSINESS TO KEEP MOVING

    DO YOU HAVE A COMPANY OF ANY KIND AND YOU WANT IT TO EXPAND

    DO YOU WANT YOUR HUSBAND OR WIFE TO KEEP TO YOUR WORLD

    ARE YOU FACING ANY MARITAL PROBLEMS

    ARE YOU FINDING IT DIFFICULT TO GET PREGNANT FOR YOUR HUSBAND

    ARE YOU EXPERIENCING MISCARRIAGES ANY TIME YOU TAKE IN

    DO YOU WANT TO COMPETE IN ANY LOTTERY GAME

    ARE YOU FACING HARDSHIP

    HAVE YOU BEEN THREATENED BY SOMEONE

    DO YOU WANT TO BE SUCCESSFUL IN ANY THING YOU LAY YOUR HANDS ON

    IS YOUR SON OR DAUGHTER BEHAVING STRANGELY

    ARE YOU FACING WITCH CRAFT MANIPULATIONS

    DO YOU WANT TO CAST A STRONG LOVE SPELL ON YOUR GIRL OR BOY FRIEND

    DO YOU NEED MAGIC POWERS TO DO ANY THING YOU WANT

    ARE YOU FINDING IT DIFFICULT TO CHOOSE A LIFE PARTNER

    DO YOU WANT YOUR PARENTS TO BE PROUD OF YOU

    ARE YOU EXPERIENCING FAILURE AND DISAPPOINTMENT IN ANY THING YOU DO.(ETC)

    IF you are in any condition like this,or you have any problem related to “bringing your ex back. So thanks to Dr Brave for bringing back my wife,and brought great joy to my family once again.{bravespellcaster@gmail.com} , Thanks…

  • MartinWW

    For myself, I do have considerable respect for Bishop Jones, even when he is obliged by the BBC to be rather anodyne on ‘Thought for the Day’. What disturbed me most, however, was the Hillsborough report (produced by the Committee of which he was chairman) in which the shocking behaviour of the Liverpool ‘fans’ was whitewashed away. Indeed, there is no mention of it Their actions were key to what subsequently followed, yet Bishop Jones Committee opted for cowardice rather than the truth.

    • http://wrinkledweasel-resurgam.blogspot.co.uk/ wrinkledweasel

      It has become impossible, even in passing, to suggest that the crowd was in any way responsible. Any talking head that does this would be instantly vilified. It is unlikely that the truth will ever come out because nobody is prepared to even ask the question.

      • MartinWW

        Sadly, you are correct. Even in the new Inquiry, which is supposed to be a comprehensive revisiting, I doubt if any blame will be put on to the Liverpool ‘fans’, the politicians fear of the ‘mob’ will be too great.

  • Peckham11

    It’s high time we got rid of the daily three minutes of pious wittering

  • Retired Nurse

    Hes the one who chaired the government’s new poor man’s replacement for Public Inquiries – the ‘impartial review panel’ into HIllsborough. These have stealthily replaced the ability of the judiciary to hold government to account, and its all under the guise of ‘being less stressful for the bereaved’.
    Unlike a Public Inquiry, the chair has no power in law to compel witnesses or evidence…no no! And all ministerial correspondence can be excluded under the new rules too .(http://hillsborough.independent.gov.uk/disclosure-process/index.html) , for verily, Government Ministers can be trusted to tell the truth at all times can’t they. Far cheaper than a full Public Inquiry too.,as all parties asked to provide evidence can simply tell the panel to go f### themselves, and there’s no criminal penalty whatsoever for ‘losing ‘ any damning government files at all. In fact, the rules allow the chair to read through ministerial correspondence and provide the panel with the ‘gist’ of what it contains. Regardless of who ‘the bereaved’ are, they really cannot be trusted with the full documents. This role calls for a truly ‘impartial ‘ person , doesn’t it?

    Odd to see he began his sermon this morning with a statement attributing the crash to the Government’s preferred enemy (Putin) – despite investigators not even having inspected the scene yet!

    Reckon he’s after a seat in the Lords?

  • Liz

    Christians aren’t allowed to judge, let alone condemn.

    • amicus

      Oh?

    • LaurenceBoyce

      That’s true, but then they can get around this by invoking God’s judgement on anyone they don’t particularly like – essentially passing the harshest possible judgement, while simultaneously claiming not to have done so. It’s great!

  • Radford_NG

    As we go though the days leading to the 100th anniversary of the start of the Great War we see it happening again.The British and French democracies were lead into war by three unrepresentative autocracies.Now we have the unrepresentative oligarchs of the EU promoting aggression against Russia,because they have had no oversight.If William Hague had been promoting the policies of Baroness Ashton (to bribe Ukranians with our tax money) he would have been challenged by public,press and parliament.

    • amicus

      were led into war.

  • Baron

    No, it’s not thanks to Russia that the bodies were rotting in the fields yesterday, it’s thanks to the EU meddling that brought down Yanukovych in February.

    He may have been as corrupt as the other presidents before, and the one ruling over Kiev now, but Ukraine would still have Crimea, the unwashed would have been preparing for an election that would have deposed the corrupt Yanukovych, the Donbass region would have been peaceful, and the passengers of the MH17 would have been safely at their destination, or beyond.

    Next time, check your facts, Mr. Thompson.

    • Curnonsky

      And Putin would have ascended to heaven borne on a chariot by puppies and unicorns, sprinkling flowers on all the good children below.

      • Baron

        Not everything dictators do is bad, not everything democracies do is good, Carmonsky, take it from Baron, he knows, he’s looked it up. The only difference between the two is democracies have mechanisms to correct past mistakes. It’s the barbarian’s hope that at some point in the future we’ll be told the truth, or at least close to it.

        • Curnonsky

          Perhaps, but there is a point at which contrarian becomes obtuse.

          • Jambo25

            And there is a point at which Baron ends up munching carpets and that was a long time ago in anything concerning the EU or EUSSR as he terms it.

            • Jambo25

              Sorry Baron. My apologies. I’m getting you mixed up with ‘the viceroy’s gin’. You aren’t quite as mad as him when it comes to the EU(EUSSR).

          • Baron

            You too sophisticated for the poorly educated Slav, Curmonsky, but good it sounds, he must admit with a tinge of envy.

    • amicus

      EU meddling? Rubbish.

      • Baron

        Interfere, intrude, tamper ,,,, take your pick, amicus, then google Nuland, $5bn,Yatsenyuk, State Dept Psaki, leaked tapes …, better still, do in reverse order.

        • amicus

          Russia interfered by sabotaging the agreement with the EU.

      • Cyril Sneer

        When you override the existing democratic system by financing and supporting a violent coup and replace the existing government by creating a new one which much of Eastern Ukraine does not recognise which in turn fuels a conflict then yes the EU is very much part of this instability. The US and EU were heavily involved with the maidan rioters and the replacement of the new Ukrainian government.

        • amicus

          Supposition.

  • Holly

    Off topic.
    There are some brilliant photos of Ed at the White House during his 25 minute meeting with Obama, over on LabourList.
    One of him going in, and one of him coming out.
    I DARE you not to laugh!

  • McClane

    Prayer for the Day is good, although sometimes hijacked by people whose prayer is of the kumbaya genre.

    Thought for the Day is a dumping ground for failed liberals who have – ahem – no other pulpit.

    • Dr_TJ_Eckleberg

      I used to think that too. But no longer. These days it’s just as irritatingly right-on as Thought for the Day.

  • callingallcomets

    Noooooooooooooo….Damian T is obviously a permanent fixture at the Speccie….mark my words it’ll be Cristina Odone next….

  • MichaelVHayes

    I really must disagree with you Damian. If we, in the US, and anything like this on the radio, would have hope for the moral health of the US. Yes, it may be a tad purple, and flowery, but still, a concerned and Christian message.

  • supanova

    …his failure to condemn the rebels who blew MH17 out of the sky, or the
    ex-KGB agent who reportedly gave them their BUK missile launcher.

    Perhaps the Bishop has the commonsense to await full factual disclosure, rather than comment on speculation. Wise counsel, I would suggest.

    • HookesLaw

      He may want to wait – but he did not wait to spout on about ‘posturing’. I do not like the tone of this article but the writer has a point.

      • supanova

        With respect, I disagree. The Bishop seemed to approach this from a spiritual angle and, to me at any rate, suggested that the ‘posturing’ (pointed fingers and apparently hindered collection and repatriation of bodies) was making the suffering of relatives that much worse. Personally, I appreciate those of the cloth leaving the politics to the politicians and doing what they can to alleviate the personal suffering of the bereaved. Anger and condemnation can only cause further anguish to the souls of those already suffering loss in unimaginable circumstances.

        I think the writer was lost for inspiration for today’s copy and took a cheap and tacky shot.

  • In2minds

    Fancy listening to ‘Thought for the Day!’

    • HookesLaw

      How else can you be critical of it. I suppose that was Farage’s reason for not reading his manifesto.

  • http://wrinkledweasel-resurgam.blogspot.co.uk/ wrinkledweasel

    I know him of old, in various incarnations. You are not wrong. More oleaginous than a can of Duckhams 20/50.

    • In2minds

      Duckhams 20/50, can you still get it?

      • Bernard from Bucks

        I doubt it. It’s all Multi-culti-grade now.

      • Jackthesmilingblack

        Used Duckhams in all my rally cars. Well, they did give it away and it reduced oil consumption by 50% compared to that Castrol $hit.

  • The Masked Marvel

    He’s not only the Rt. Hon. Rev, he’s the Right-on Rev, which is the primary criterion Today use to select guests. Name one who isn’t.

    • In2minds

      Right-on Rev, did he mention Palestine too?

      • The Masked Marvel

        Heh, they’ll probably have a beknighted soul on shortly to cover that sacred cow, if they haven’t done already. Today producers are probably had a good laugh amongst themselves about asking Rabbi Sacks to do it. If the Right-on Rev. Giles Fraser or that woman from the Tablet don’t come through, they can always count on the good old Iona Community to come in on message.

  • MaxSceptic

    He would make an excellent Bishop of Mosul.

  • MajorFrustration

    Politicians and our clergy – all talk and no cattle. As for the Today programme – and now Newsnight – BBC shambles or what.

  • Bert3000

    This piece is a wonderful display of christian charity

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