15 June 2017
The tug from below
Thinking the unthinkable
In an election that saw presumptions reversed and the good kicked out along with the bad, one political analyst regrets the loss of a number of champions of Catholic social teaching / By Maurice Glasman
In the drumbeat of noise surrounding last week’s general election it has been hard to find the time for quiet reflection. Like many others in politics, my first response to the result was tempered by the sadness that some close friends in Parliament had lost their seats.
The Labour MP Rob Flello was not only gentle and compassionate but lived and championed Catholic social teaching with the vitality and grace of someone who was discovering it anew each day – and finding it more convincing each time. Now there is probably only Jon Cruddas, the Labour MP for Dagenham and Rainham, who I can be sure will know what I’m talking about when I mention Catholic social teaching. And then there was Natascha Engel, a deputy Speaker until she lost her seat. North Derbyshire is an ex-mining rural constituency that was stubbornly Brexit and sceptical of many of the shibboleths of liberal modernity. So was Natascha Engel. She was a German woman, like Gisela Stuart, with a devotion to Parliament and English liberty combined with a deep respect for common law and due process. A Brexit Parliament with Natascha as Speaker was a fantasy of mine: I feel its loss as deeply as an unrequited first love.
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