The Anglican Cathedral of Liverpool and the Cathedral of Notre Dame Paris

Liverpool Anglican Cathedral

Liverpool Anglican Cathedral is the largest cathedral and religious building in Britain and contains one of the largest enclosed spaces in any public building worldwide. The Cathedral is also one of the world’s tallest non-spired churches.

Liverpool Anglican Cathedral
Liverpool Cathedral Church of Christ

The design was by 23 year old Giles Gilbert Scott and he and the more senior George Bodly shared the architectural responsibilities. The Foundation stone was laid on Tuesday 19th July 1904 by King Edward VII at a great open-air service and a choir of a thousand voices sang the Hallelujah Chorus from Handel’s Messiah.

Six years later the Lady Chapel was completed. The High Altar, the Eastern Transepts and the Chancel were ready by 1924 and King George V and Queen Mary attended the consecration of The Cathedral Church of Christ.

By 1941 the Tower was still incomplete but the vast open space below it was able to hold a service entitled ‘Solemn Entrance in Time of War’. King George VI and Queen Elizabeth the Queen Mother visited the Cathedral during the Blitz and encouraged the masons and the community to keep building.

On a bitterly cold day in February 1942, Sir Giles Scott placed the final stone on the final ‘finial’ at the top of the tower, three hundred and thirty one feet one and a half inches (101 metres) above the Cathedral floor. He died in 1960 long before the Cathedral was finally completed although it was handed over to the Dean and Chapter in 1961. On 25th October 1978, in the presence of Her Majesty Queen Elizabeth II, there was a great service of thanksgiving to mark the completion of the Cathedral, “a triumphant proclamation of hope”.

Seventy four years to build a cathedral. The stonemasons learned their trade and spent their whole working life on the project and passed their skills to their sons and grandsons. Lives dedicated to excellence and God’s work.

Notre Dame de Paris

Notre Dame Cathedral Resplendent
Notre Dame Cathedral Resplendent

The Cathedral of Notre Dame was built between 1160 and 1260. A hundred years to build, standing proud for over 750 years, severely damaged by fire in a single night. A globally recognised architectural gem, a fond memory for millions of visitors to Paris and an iconic image of the endurance of Christianity in a secular age, Notre Dame will never be quite the same again.

It is more than tragic, more than the destruction of a national and global treasure. It is a dagger blow to the heart when we see our cultural and religious monuments so desecrated. Even in secular France it is a psychic blow to the nation and one which some have said is comparable to 9/11 in significance. I do not doubt it.

Notre Dame on fire April 2019
Notre Dame on fire April 2019

Notre Dame will be rebuilt by a different class of artisan altogether from those who so recently, by comparison, built Liverpool Cathedral. The skills gained over so very long a period can be extinguished in a generation. A very few will have the expertise at the start and they will have to build a team of dedicated individuals prepared to devote their life to the monumental task of restoration. Cost is irrelevant in such a grand design. The necessary skills, the scarcity of the requisite materials and the commitment required in human terms, are of incalculable cost. The French people will be more than adequate to the task and they will be supported by people across the globe. Notre Dame de Paris will live again, forever changed but unbowed.

In this Holy Week I pray that the restoration of Notre Dame Cathedral can and will be done, that Christians everywhere will know that faith carries strength and hope will endure. Deus vult.



The Stark Truth About the EU Withdrawal Agreement

The Stark Truth About the EU Withdrawal Agreement

Reprinted by kind permission of Sir John Redwood MP

Letter to the Attorney General about the legal impact of signing the wrongly named Withdrawal Treaty

By JOHNREDWOOD | Published: 

Dear Geoffrey

Let me have another go at getting a reply from you concerning the way the Withdrawal Agreement stops us leaving the EU. Would you kindly confirm

1. If we sign this Treaty we will be locked into the EU and have to obey all its rules and pay all the bills it sends us for a period of at least 21 months, and probably for 45 months if we have not surrendered further to reach an exit agreement at the 21 month stage. This would mean remaining in the EU for at least 5 years from the decision to leave and probably for 7 years. The EU would be able to legislate and spend against UK interests during this period, whilst we would have no vote or voice in the matter. 

2. In order to “leave” in your terms at the 5 to 7 year stage the UK will need to stay in the customs union and accept all single market rules and laws, unless the EU relented over the alleged Irish border issue. 3 years on and the EU has given no ground on the made up border issue, so why would they over the next two years? Isn’t the most likely outcome we would remain in the single market and customs union contrary to the government promise leaving meant leaving them in its referendum literature ?

3. After the 45 month period fully in the EU, the UK still would face financial obligations under the Withdrawal Treaty. The bills will be decided by the EU and we will have to pay them. Any attempt to query them would be adjudicated by the EU’s own court! The longer we stay in the more the future bills are likely to be. The £39 bn figure is likely to be a considerable underestimate.

4 The Treaty creates a category of super citizen in the UK. EU nationals living in the UK when we “leave” the EU will have their access to benefits guaranteed in a way the rest of us do not for their entire lifetimes. So we will not be taking back control of our benefit system.

I am also concerned about a number of Articles in the draft Treaty that expressly extend EU powers and jurisdiction for a further 4 to 8 years beyond our departure date after the 21 to 45 month delay.

Article 5 reintroduces the powers of the European Court and enforces “sincere co-operation ” on us as they do not want us impeding their plans for economic, monetary and political union.

Article 31 imposes social security co-ordination on us.

Article 39 gives special protection to EU citizens currently living in the UK from changes to social security for the whole of their lives, protection which the rest of us do not enjoy.

Article 51 applies parts of the VAT regime for an additional 5 years after the long transition envisaged in the Treaty

Articles 92-3 imposes the EU state aids regime on the UK for 4 years beyond transition

Article 95 imposes binding decisions by EU quangos and bodies for 4 years beyond transition

Article 99 requires us to pay for access to records to handle issues over indirect tax where the EU keeps powers for 4 years beyond transition

Article 127 applies the whole panoply of EU law throughout transition, including the right to legislate any way they wish against our interests and enforce it on us via the ECJ

Article 130 prevents us taking back control of our fish any time soon. Doubtless more of our fishing rights would be given away trying to get an exit deal.

Article 135 allows them to send extra bills up to the end of 2028

Article 140 imposes on us financial liabilities up to December 2020 and carry over into 2021

Articles 144 and 150 prevent us getting back accumulated reserves and profits from our European Investment Fund and EIB shareholdings

Article 143 imposes adverse conditions on us over pension and loan liabilities of the Union

Article 155 requires to make continuing payments to Turkey under an EU programme after we have left

Article 158 gives the European Court continuing power for 8 years after transition

Article 164 makes a Joint Committee an effective legislator and government over us

Article 174 requires any arbitration to be governed by ECJ judgements on the application of law in disputes

The Protocol on Northern Ireland will require us to stay in the Customs Union with regulatory and legal alignment with the single market, or split off a separate place called UK (NI) which will be governed differently to the rest of the UK on an island of Ireland basis.

There is much more I could object to. This is no Treaty to take back control, no Treaty for a newly independent nation. It does not quantify the financial liabilities, which are open ended and could be much larger than the low field £39bn Treasury estimate. We have little power to abate the bills and no power to abort the bills. It would probably result even in failure to take back control of our fishing grounds.
Mrs May needs to go back to the EU and explain why the UK people and Parliament have opposed this Treaty, and ask them to think again if they want an agreement before we leave. She needs to make it clear we now intend to leave without signing the Withdrawal Agreement prior to the European Parliamentary elections.


John Redwood

When We Have Finally Left the EU There Must Be A Post Mortem

When We Have Finally Left the EU There Must Be A Post Mortem

When all of this is done and dusted and we have finally left the EU properly, that must not be the end of it. There must be a post mortem on how it was that we had a Department of State set up with a fair sized number of staff and with a Secretary of State in charge of the negotiations – and then all of a sudden we had a ready made withdrawal agreement document drawn up in secret, the dreadful travesty of Brexit (… which has been the only horse in town for the past eighteen months.

Where did it come from? Who worked on it? How many people knew? Why was it kept secret from the only person with responsibility for the process? Why has every possible tactic and lie been employed to get it through?

Russiagate Without The Russians

This could end up being our very own version of Russiagate without the Russians. Someone must be held responsible for what has been done to our democratic institutions and the trashing of Parliament. The usual suspects will say it would be better to let sleeping dogs lie and put it behind us but I would say we do these things to lance a boil and let the nation heal with full knowledge of what was done and who did it. My sense of fair play and justice demands those answers at the very least because in my eyes there’s more than a whiff of treason about the whole business.

Theresa May in Talks With Corbyn’s Labour Party

Theresa May in Talks With Corbyn’s Labour Party

Theresa May is in talks with Corbyn’s Labour Party. The talks hinge upon them agreeing to vote for Theresa May’s negotiated Withdrawal Agreement and thereby ensure sufficient votes in the House of Commons for it to pass. This has been brought about, of course, because the Withdrawal Agreementis a dreadful ‘deal’ and Parliament has rejected it by huge margins three times.

Theresa May & Jeremy Corbyn
Theresa May & Jeremy Corbyn

The talks between Theresa May and Jeremy Corbyn are designed to agree the way forward after the Withdrawal Agreement has passed in the House.

Without the Withdrawal Agreement passing, there is no point musing about what the future trading relationship will be – the Political Declaration – and even less point in tying the Government to whatever is discussed with Corbyn.

Two things have therefore to happen:

  1. Speaker Bercow has to agree for the Withdrawal Agreement to be brought before the House of Commons again (unchanged)

  1. Labour MPs have to vote in sufficient numbers to ensure it passes.

Neither of those things are certain or even likely.

Theresa May has entered into negotiations with Jeremy Corbyn for no guarantee of success and has nuked her own Party in the process. The Conservatives are in meltdown and there is open fury at what she has done.

The Labour Party is not doing particularly well in all this, either. Supporters don’t want them shoring up a failing Tory Government and Labour Brexiteers blame them for delaying our leaving the EU.

Activists from both Parties out canvassing for the local elections in May are encountering a degree of hostility and anger from members of the public the likes of which none of them have ever known. This is not going to end well for either Party.



Theresa May Now Unfit to Be PM

Theresa May Now Unfit to Be PM

Lots of people now saying that TM is now mentally unfit to be PM. The evidence? The Leader of the Conservative Party is told that her Party members are in meltdown and it will face a wipeout at the council elections. Her Cabinet Ministers are rebelling and going their own way without sanction, many are threatening to resign, MPs have defected and others defy the whip while all are going against their manifesto pledges upon which they were elected. She is forming an alliance with the Opposition to thwart her own Government, is willing to risk a Marxist led Government of anti-semitic hue in order to avoid what? A bit of short term disruption by just leaving, knowing we have made enough agreements to tide us over until things can be regularised and institutions and business become familiar with the new terrain? This surely cannot be the true reason for her incredibly bad decisions to bind us in perpetuity to a super-state which we have explicitly told her we want to leave and which guarantee years and years of indecision and confusion ahead.

What’s really going on with her?

What’s really going on with her? There are lots of theories but none of them make rational sense. She is defying the wish of the people, she is subverting their clear intent, she is destroying her own Party, boosting the stature of the Opposition Party and playing fast and loose with Parliament and Constitution.

If these are rational decisions, made at whatever the cost to the nation, then there is something deeply worrying going on. I draw the comparison with the US, where it is now being revealed that there have been deep operatives at work to further their own agenda through subverting the institutions of the Executive and the law to their own nefarious purposes, aided by the security apparatus. That explanation may not be palatable but it is at least understandable. If I dismiss all of that as happening here, if there is no deliberate act to sabotage Brexit whatever the consequences, then the only other explanation is that she has indeed lost the plot, is suffering a breakdown and is making irrational decisions which have long term implications for us all.

In either case, there is a very strong desire and necessity for her to be removed from office along with all those who have been aiding and abetting her. This is what a crisis looks like and the fallout from it will colour our politics for years to come. Our unwritten constitution seems to be lacking a means to remove summarily someone who is taking the country to hell in a handcart. Is there no doctor in the house willing to certify her as having health problems which necessitate removal and immediate treatment? We seemed to do it quite quickly, I recall, in Harold Wilson’s time. Time to go with dignity and with public sympathy while all of us have some chance of recovery and survival.