Saturday 28 November 2009

The divine mission of Lord Pearson

Congratulations to Lord Pearson, newly elected leader of UKIP. He has already hit the headlines this morning by revealing that the party offered to disband, or stand down for this General Election at least, if David Cameron had pledged a retrospective referendum on Lisbon, which is quite an interesting day one secret plot revelation for a leader just elected by his members.

Though little known on the left, Pearson is admired and liked by several Tory Eurosceptics, as Iain Dale and Tim Montgomerie testify.

The most interesting profile of Pearson that I have seen was an admiring profile God's Eurosceptic, published in the Sunday Telegraph back in 1997 when he was first promoting a private members' Bill to get Britain out of Europe. There is a link to a PDF of the full Telegraph article as part of the laudatory welcome to Pearson's election from the Archbishop Cranmer blog, which is pleased to see matters temporal and spiritual combined in a new sense of Ukip mission.

Lord Pearson certainly does "do God" - and claims a personal connection with the Almighty which is more direct than any political leader, certainly since Gladstone, after a religious experience in which he believes a messenger from God appeared to him while he was being operated on to have varicose veins removed in 1977.

He spoke in more detail about this encounter with the Almighty in a 2005 article. (Perhaps the Sunday Telegraph could republish that article in full online).

Pearson says that the experience has led him to dedicate his life to the fight against evil - represented by the European Union, bureaucracy, socialism and Islamism.

The 1997 profile also contained what even the Sunday Telegraph found a rather "hair curling" warning to Germany:

If the Germans turn nasty to get their way in Europe, we'll do it again, we'll beat them. I don't see any difficulty about it as long as we retain our nuclear deterrent

(I have not heard anybody else make that case for Trident renewal recently; though the late Nicholas Ridley resigned after saying something similar about the Germans to the Spectator in the final summer of the Thatcher government).

Pearson believes that Ukip should highlight Islamic fundamentalism as just as important a threat to the British way of life as the European Union. (Did the forthcoming UKIP result on Friday influence David Cameron's unexpected decision to raise Islamism and Hizb-ut-Tahir's alleged involvement in schools at PMQs on Wednesday?)

Pearson has already sought to give a high profile to the issue, bringing Geert Wilders to Parliament. But Pearson has seemed somewhat confused in insisting he makes a distinction between Muslims and Islamists, which was certainly not easy to discern in his recent comments about comparative birthrates which are very much of the 'Enoch was right' school, evoking very directly Powell's fear of an alien element having 'the whip hand' in Britain:

Lord Pearson’s own outspoken views about Islam were recorded in Washington DC last month. Asked how much time Britain had before losing control of its cultural identity he said: “What is going to decide the answer to that is the birthrate. The fact that Muslims are breeding ten times faster than us. I do not know at what point they reach such a number that we are no longer able to resist the rest of their demands . . . but if we do not do something now within the next year or two we have in effect lost.”

He later insisted that his remark was directed at Islamists. “One is talking about the violent end of the spectrum,” he said.

Friends and foes might agree that we may be hearing a lot more from Lord Pearson.

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