Certainty can be comforting and so I take pleasure that every Easter I know there will be the annual arrival of small animal-shaped chocolates, painted eggs and daffodils. The other dead certainty is a tweet from Jacob Rees-Mogg declaring that ‘He is risen’. At this point I must hastily mention that he is referring to Christ. The tweet is then followed by a barrage of genuinely funny insults in the comments, which go down rather well with a bite of a hot cross bun.
But this year, Rees-Mogg’s meagre and somewhat repetitive offering was completely overshadowed by what seemed like the whole of the government backbench who were acting like they’d been told by CCHQ that they were canvassing Alabama.
There were, quite frankly, too many to mention. But amongst the evidently evangelical crop of Conservative MPs who declared their joy at the resurrection, there seems to be division as to whether He has risen, or He is risen.
According to purists, the preferred wording is He is risen, as it refers to the ongoing nature of the resurrection rather than ‘has risen’, which is a completed act.
There is obvious dissent among the faithful. Here are just a few examples.
Conservative MP for Wellingborough, Peter Bone, tweeted his Easter words with no photograph, he went for just a simple “Christ has risen”. Maybe he was lying low, after all Jesus might have a ‘namesake’ to pick with him concerning his enthusiasm for the death penalty and conscription. He even camped outside parliament once to encourage debate around these matters.
Bone is a law-abiding citizen. He didn’t break the law when he and his wife took advantage of the government scheme to help first-time buyers onto the property ladder by claiming it for themselves to build a shiny new home in his constituency. Also as a man of principle, he put his money where his mouth is by not just opposing the minimum wage, but by actually paying a trainee 87p/hour.
Mind you, he did manage to get sacked by Liz Truss during her hours as PM last year, so maybe there is hope for redemption yet.
He of the short-lived chancellorship went full Golgotha. Nadhim Zahawi tweeted the three crosses on the hill as seen from the Edicule shrine encasing the ancient cave where Jesus is said to have risen. Zahawi doesn’t usually make references to any faith, so he has obviously decided to come out after years of hiding under a bushel to openly declare his love of Christ. Maybe he was just hiding from the tax man, who knows?
I’m sure Jesus would highly approve of his love of animals and how he ensures their warmth in cold times having claimed just shy of £6,000 from the taxpayer to heat his indoor stables. A man of God, he was recently sacked for breaches of the ministerial code following an ethics inquiry.
Conservative chairman Gregory William Hands went for a less-dramatic image: a simple watercolour showing a wreath of spring foliage with what I first took to be hot cross buns attached but which were, upon closer inspection, revealed to be speckled eggs. Inside is the cross and above it the words – which he had taken the time to type himself – “The Lord is risen; he is risen indeed, alleluia!”
Hands was born in the USA and moved to the UK as a child. He led a privileged life between New York and London before being elected as MP for the challenging constituency of Chelsea and Fulham.
Jesus would surely recognise his desperation to help his fellow man in times of plague and pestilence when he secured a contract worth £28.5mn for a company, suitably named ‘Luxe Lifestyle’ to supply PPE even though they had no history in the production of medical protective equipment, £20mn worth of which was never used.
The ex-MEP David Campbell Bannerman, having skipped from Tory to UKIP then back to Tory again, is bluer than blue. That might explain the photo he chose of a cross in front of sun bursting through clouds to shine upon the crucifix. Not a shade of red, yellow, white. Just blue.
Like his new mentor, Jesus, Bannerman was born as an immigrant in the East, though in Mumbai, not Bethlehem. He was duly repatriated to the safe country of his forefathers where he went on to develop political ambitions.
Being one of the few politicians to lose to Nigel Farage (if only he’d bought that dolphin outfit on sale at Marine Land) he returned to the Tories from UKIP and is chair of the Freedom Association (anti-Trade Unions, anti-EU and anti-BBC). Maybe he hopes his photo offering to Christ will help him because despite his links to this association, he last year declared to the National Conservatism conference that “our freedoms are threatened”.
Maybe Jesus could help him be a little more successful but he must surely first learn to love his fellow man – he wants people who like the EU too much to be tried for treason and face life imprisonment.
Cigar-chomping environment secretary Thérèse Coffey outdid herself. Cunningly avoiding pronouns and participles altogether she went for a double whammy. On Good Friday we were treated to a suffering Jesus on the cross with Coffey declaring he made “The Ultimate Sacrifice”.
Then yesterday she backed it up with a second photo of a cross wearing a sort of evening scarf with her words “Resurrexit sicut dixit. Alleluia. Happy Easter 🐣🐇”.
She seems to have scoured the Oxford Latin dictionary for words that rhyme with Brexit and then added emojis of animals that existed before they were killed off by the raw effluent floating in their natural habitats.
Jesus would surely applaud her fighting for the health of her people. As health secretary she constantly voted against restrictions on smoking and against the health messaging on tobacco products in the name of freedom, and certainly not in the name of the Gallagher Tobacco Group from whom she has accepted £1,100 in hospitality and gifts. She took Jesus literally when he said “suffer the little children” and voted against banning smoking in cars with infants in them.
Beware of false prophets
These are just a sample of the overtly Christian declarations on Twitter of the type seldom before seen from British politicians. This is not to deny people the right to hold their views but the pungent scent of a cynical and calculated CCHQ operation might just be detected in this instance. Maybe it would be wise to buckle-up for a more transatlantic feel to our politics, especially on the right of the political spectrum.
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