Political Cultism – Is it akin to religious cultism?

Jeremy Corbyn is often referred to as having a cult following and the same is said of Nigel Farage of course. Brexit itself seems to be cultish too but our view of cults is often more likely to be connected with religious extremism rather than politics. So the question is do political cults have a commonality with religious cults?

According to Wikipedia in sociological terminology, sects are products of religious schism and therefore maintain a continuity with traditional beliefs and practices, while cults arise spontaneously around novel beliefs and practices.

Well Brexit certainly fits the ‘novel beliefs and practices’ definition as it is based very much on belief rather than facts/reality and it’s proponents (Brexiteers) can be fanatical in their following of it despite strong evidence challenging their often seemingly emotional based stance.

But what of Corbynism? Is it akin to say Thatcherism or Reganism in that its followers see themselves as the true believers whilst they look upon the scepticism of others who do not subscribe to their beliefs as being, in religious terms, heathens? Certainly, in my experience Labour Party members and supporters who see themselves as Corbynistas will often refer to anyone else, even fellow Labour members who are not in the Corbyn sect, as ‘Tories’, the political alternative terminology to the religious heathen I guess. Subscribers to the political sect known as Blairism are particularly hated by Corbynistas yet both Blairism and Corbynism have both been the majority view within the Labour Party in the past 20 years. I’ve heard it said that some Corbynistas hate Blarites more than their traditional ‘enemy’ Thatcherites!

Interestingly though, Johnson, whilst probably being more of a Brexiteer than any members of the Brexit Party, does not seem to have a cultish following. Indeed, he seems to be widely unpopular other than with extreme right wingers. Is that because he switched from being an EU supporter and because he is seen to be a politician who follows the crowd. In other words not a true believer in Brexit?

What makes some of us look upon Jeremy Corbyn’s supporters as being akin to cultists is that they will back their leader no matter what. No criticism of him is acceptable in any form from any quarter and they ‘know’ that anyone who does question Jez is a ‘Tory’.

As a Liberal who likes to hold a healthy scepticism of all political leaders, often particularly Liberal ones, this defence of ‘The leader’ come what may is hard for me to get my head around. I think I smelled something worryingly like cultism with the people who surrounded Nick Clegg during the Coalition Government days. They, like Jez Corbyn’s backers, were not for hearing the noise outside of their seemingly closed group and the consequences were dire for liberalism as it is now starting to prove for Labour too.

To conclude I think it is perfectly possible for political cultism to exist as an extreme form of the political sects which clearly exist within some political parties. The other interesting point to consider here is that those who look to be backing what seems to others as being a cult will probably deny that they’re cultists. Is that because they don’t see themselves as cultists? Is it only those outside of a cult who can see cultism for what it is?

And finally when does a sect, political religious or otherwise, become a cult?

Chris Rea – Josephine – Politics and music collide or NOT

I like much of Chris Rea’s music and have seen him live a few times over the years, the last time at Liverpool’s Philharmonic Hall.

One of his tunes has stuck in my head forever – Josephine. There are quite a few different arrangements of it which Rea has used over the years, particularly live versions and you can find pretty much all of them on YouTube.

This is my favourite:-

www.youtube.com/watch?v=IZpEz3-kj44

And here’s the Wikipedia page all about Rea:-

en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Chris_Rea

If you scroll down the page you get to the collision between music and politics i.e. the fake news about him donating money to the Conservative Party when in fact it was donated by someone else with the same name. I must admit to being taken in by the fake news that it was the musical Cris Rea when I should have said to myself don’t believe all you read in the UK press!

Sefton Church – A Dickensian Christmas Fayre and a blast from my past.

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Sheila and I went along to the Dickensian Fayre held in the church last Saturday and despite the cold (the church heating had broken down so it was only warm in the Vestry) we had a good time.

Sefton Church's Dickensian Fayre. You can see the candelabra I lit as a young chap for church services.

Sefton Church’s Dickensian Fayre. You can see the candelabra I lit as a young chap for church services.

This 800+ year old church is fascinating and I have to confess that I was a choir boy there from around 1969 to 1972. Electricity was only installed in the main church building during my time there. Prior to that I went early to services with old Bert Sutcliffe of Rossyln Avenue Maghull to light the candelabra and oil lamps.

Here I am sat in the choir stalls:-

I recall sitting in this very seat - if memory serves all of course!

I recall sitting in this very seat – if memory serves well of course!

I met a lady there called Beryl from Lunt (sorry Beryl I did not catch your second name) who was attending the church at the same time I was and we reminisced about folk we had known back then – Gerry Brown the organist who sadly died quite young, Nan and Bert Sutcliffe, Mrs Payne, Owen Yandall the Rector etc.

Here’s what Wikipedia has to say about the church:-

en.wikipedia.org/wiki/St_Helen’s_Church,_Sefton

We had a lovely cup of hot soup and a bread roll in the warm Vestry and then went outside to have a look at the church from there (I am sure it was warmer outside!). Have a look at this photo, you can clearly see where the wall and window have been rebuilt as a part of the original stone window frame has been left behind.

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A bit of ‘All Our Yesterdays’ for me and a chance to meet so many lovely people from the local area. I was even invited to rejoin the choir by this fine looking Dickensian chap:-

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I don’t think I could repeat that Once in Royal David’s City solo again in the church no matter how hard I tried! And anyway I’m an atheist these days.

The first photo is also amongst my Flickr shots at:-

www.flickr.com/photos/86659476@N07/

Ditton Junction – In Maghull?

Seen from the tow path of the Leeds Liverpool Canal through Maghull at the end of a garden:-

Ditton Junction in Maghull r

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Click on the photo and/or map to enlarge them

Ditton Junction Station was on the main Liverpool to Runcorn line just to the west of Widnes. The scan of the Ordnance Survey map of Liverpool from 1958 shows the station location. It was the first to be closed by Railtrack following the privatisation of British Rail in 1994. Ditton Railway Station is one of two stations where Paul Simon reputedly composed the song “Homeward Bound”, the other being Widnes railway station.

This Wikipedia page is worth a read:-

en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Ditton_railway_station

The photo is also on my Flickr page at:-

www.flickr.com/photos/86659476@N07/