23 Jun

A whiff of grapeshot

The Church Militant Tendency was well-represented on the BBC this morning when Rev’d Dr Giles Fraser came on Thought for the Day to tell us that the victory at Waterloo was a bad thing: “We worship the Prince of Peace, not the Duke of Wellington.” By contrast, he insisted, Napoleon was a good thing. If he had won and taken over in England, he would have abolished the nobility and we would have had no more of all that reactionary stuff about the Establishment of church and state. Fraser told us straight: there is nothing about patriotism in the Christian Faith.

It’s worth taking a few moments to summarise the doings of Fraser’s hero Bonaparte. He was no egalitarian, no people’s man. He set himself up as tyrant of France, killed four thousand by cannon in Paris in a single day, established concentration camps in the Caribbean and destroyed hundreds of thousands of his own soldiers out of naked self-interest.

Ordinary Englishmen did not long for the rule of Napoleon: they celebrated in the streets when they heard the good news from Waterloo.

Why does Fraser admire the tyrant Bonaparte? Because the socialism and collectivism espoused by such as Fraser always ends in the establishment of tyrannies. Where these doctrines are practised moderately, they lead merely to the impoverishment of the people. Where they are practised thoroughly, they lead to genocide and the gulag.

Never mind the history of the 19th century, Dr Fraser: just cast your eyes over the 20th century. Consider Napoleon’s heirs and successors: Stalin, Mao and the national socialist Hitler.

Actually, Giles Fraser is quite a phenomenon in his own right and deserves our close attention.

He is the philosopher-priest who appeared last year on Christmas University Challenge  to demonstrate that he doesn’t know his Aristotle from his Spinoza.

Fraser is that former canon of St Paul’s who, when the rabble-rousing oiks from Occupy turned up, invited them into the cathedral and told the police, who were trying their best to protect the place, to go away. By these actions, Fraser not only precipitated his own resignation but also that of a fine dean.

What should have been the fate of the ecclesiastical-political lout Fraser? A posting into some decent obscurity would have been merciful .

Instead, he was immediately championed by the Bishop of London who proclaimed, “Giles’s voice is a voice that must continue to be heard.”

And so heard it is. He was given a new parish, a column on The Guardian – where else? – and regular appearances on Thought for the Day. He also turns up to parade his mastery of the non sequitur on The Moral Maze

Such a man should have been dispatched with a whiff of grapeshot. His hero Napoleon would be the man to do it, of course.