Catholic Church: the lobby and its fear of the public square

It has to be the strangest pairing in the Blogosphere, but my old Telegraph colleague, Damian “the blood-crazed ferret” Thompson has taken rather a shine to old Splintered lately… mostly for his acute observation of the politics of the high end of the English Catholic Church… Almost at random here’s a particularly interesting snippet on their modus operandi as seen by Splintered:

Lobbying ministers is fine, but lobbying ministers at the expense of any other methods, like, oh, making a public argument, is not. When the Sexual Orientation Regulations were going through parliament and the threat to the adoption agencies became clear, the word from Eccleston Square was “we’ve spoken to Mr Tony and he assures us we’ll be all right”. When the recent Children, Schools and Families Bill was going through, the line was “we’ve spoken to Ed Balls and he assures us we’ll be all right”.

And when the assurances turned to dust? Having eschewed making the argument in public in favour of talking to ministers, the bishops came to the argument late and just looked completely unreasonable. Losing an argument is fine, but losing an argument by default through not turning up until the last minute, and doing this repeatedly, is not fine.

Does any of that sound familiar? (Damien, shurely a no brainer for next year’s best political blog? He is Irish, honest…)

Mick is founding editor of Slugger. He has written papers on the impacts of the Internet on politics and the wider media and is a regular guest and speaking events across Ireland, the UK and Europe. Twitter: @MickFealty

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