Easter Sunday: a Day of Rest, Religious Festivities, Chocolate Eggs, and MPs Pushing their Political Agendas.
Specifically, Theresa May.
In a 3 minute Youtube video released by Downing Street, Theresa May’s Easter message has sparked controversy. She reflects upon her Christian upbringing in a vicarage, absurdly displays a fabricated predicament where she expresses anxiety over Britain’s religious freedom of speech, and, of course, does not fail to wheedle Brexit into the message – which apparently must prevail in every speech to the country, lest we forget.
Spinning the yarn of fantasy further, May presents the Christian festivity as a sign that Britain is ‘coming together and uniting’. This glaringly obvious alternative and whimsical “fact” plucked from the clouds of make-believe where Theresa May must reside, is borderline comical to those alive and well in Britain today since divisions are more prominent than ever.
Yet what is more alarming than the prime minister’s delusional and illusory painting of a unified Britain, is her supposed Christian values which anchor her speech with principal significance. She draws upon ‘values of compassion, community, [and] citizenship’ – all of which are significantly absent in May’s very unchristian hostility to refugees and welfare cuts aimed at the vulnerable. Grieving families now have all the more to grieve: facing financial instability and the potential threat of losing their family homes and livelihoods due to May’s severe cutting of bereavement benefits. The scheme has been axed so that families who were covered with up to 20 years of stability, now only claim a mere 18 months. Child Poverty Action Group also predict that May’s limitation to child tax credits will not only plunge a quarter of a million children into poverty, but also negatively affect up to 600,000 families. “Love thy neighbour”, unless of course thy neighbour is poor, vulnerable, disabled, working class, has more than two children, is grieving the death of a partner or parent, or is Scotland – our actual neighbour that May continues to reject and subvert. Not to mention her recent visit to Saudi Arabia raises red flags as her presence is undoubtedly accountable for supplying and arming weapons, which in turn are responsible for the bloodshed in Yemen. Yes, our Prime Minister, full to the brim of Christian compassion and righteousness. “Love only thyself” seems a more appropriate guide Tory Britain has to offer.
Alastair Campbell, controversial figure and former Press Secretary for Labour, has also criticised May for sprinkling faith into the pot of politics: “She does not exactly say if God had a vote he would have voted Leave, but she gets closer to it than she should.
If she really thinks she is leading a united country full of hope […] I suggest she gets out more.”
Aside from Brexit, May also expresses anxiety over religious constraints. Her allusion that Christians feel restricted to freely practise their religion is hook, line, and sinker of her famous exacerbating techniques that seek to divide Britain as much as possible:
“We should be confident about the role that Christianity has to play in the lives of people in our country.
“And we should treasure the strong tradition that we have in this country of religious tolerance and freedom of speech.
“We must continue to ensure that people feel able to speak about their faith, and that absolutely includes their faith in Christ.”
Albeit she does draw upon other religious faiths “or none”, yet this ‘other’ margin is left diluted as she mentions them with an air of off-handed reluctance. Furthermore, she presents Christianity as the most important and predominant faith and, apparently, the most threatened. In our ever growing multicultural and multi-religious country, Christianity is certainly not the one to fear opposition, and the comment harks back to Islamaphobic alt-Right movements such as Britain First that depict Britain overrun by Islam with a completely unerring delusion that churches will be replaced by mosques, and the bible will be burnt to make way for the Quran.
All in all, May’s speech is outdated and delusional, and this stands out when compared to Jeremy Corbyn’s Easter message. Corbyn dished out comfort and hopes of a better future to those suffering at home either due to homelessness or poverty in the UK, or refugees struggling admits war and conflict internationally. Unlike May, Corbyn asks us not to be defeated by our divisions, but calls for us to urge support “for social justice” and ultimately, “peace”. Echoing along this vein, Pope Francis’ speech at the Vatican condemns violence as he encourages the world to pray for Syria, a war-torn and aching wound in the eyes of peace. His prayer could not come soon enough: a car bombing yesterday resulted in the death of 126 Syrian refugees – 68 of which were children – as they waited aboard a bus convoy near Aleppo, cruelly close to security and a final escape.
In light of this, Theresa May’s speech lacks respect and a sense of awareness to the world and indeed of her own actions; and as our prime minister, this is disconcerting, insensitive, and deceptive to say the least.