In 1962 Maxwell Fyfe wrote of the electorate:


'We were dimly conscious, or some of us were,

of a new craving for a new standard to gather round.

This feeling was extremely difficult to define,

it was vague, unsubstantial, and very real,

and we were absolutely baffled by it.'


New phantoms were rising


That new standard was to become the banner of Elizabethan Britain.


On it was emblazoned the quest for individual identity,

for social liberalism, and social equality,

and a steady return to material inequality.


It marked the end of making things,

the birth of empire of capital.

And it was fuelled by the post-industrial revolution of instant shared knowledge.


Big ideas do not hold up well in the spotlight of Elizabethan cynicism.

The question is always 'What's in it for me?'

Or at best, when conjoined with the bid for social equality 'What's in it for my tribe.'


Ideas for everyone, everywhere, and forever fade.


However, our revolution is ripe for perversion.


The persistent demand for instant acquiescence in anything called progress can do funny things to power.

We are sold license at the expense of liberty.


It may be worth taking a moment to reflect on the conclusions of forgotten ghosts.



(as a speech) Yet I am haunted by some words from a song to which we used to listen in more carefree days:


"On fait des serments

Et simplement

On les oublie"


Having propounded high ideals in defeated Germany I feel the responsibility

for doing my part to see that they are not forgotten by the victors.



Maxwell Fyfe left behind a credo.

Presumably he was asked by a broadcaster, as part of a series to describe what he believed.

This is how he started.



If I must label what I believe, I think I could best describe it as the faith of the romantic.

By romance I don’t mean sentimentality or foolish optimism, but some idealism,

an imaginative perception, a pervading sense of tradition, and a strong sense of the adventure of living.


By tradition I mean a sense of unity, not only with the past, but with those who share the past.

Shared achievements, shared misfortune, and above all shared sacrifice

nourish the virtues that I consider most important; loyalty, tolerance, and understanding.


I know that my faith receives many pitying smiles from the cynic and the intellectual,

yet I know of no other that can help me in what I believe to be my most important task,

namely to try to secure that in the second half of our mad century

the spiritual stature of mankind will approximate to his material and scientific advances.



In this last ambition Maxwell Fyfe failed.

The spiritual stature of mankind has been  eclipsed by fantastic and fabulous material advances.

And it is hard to imagine that he could foresee or even imagine/dream

of the seventy years that would follow this observation.

The changes have been extraordinary, the rate of change gathering speed to gallop,

and then speeding up further.

We have forsaken discernment for a material devotion

and have failed to say no to any of the intriguing and teasing material prospects.


And what of human rights in this transformed world?


Extreme rights that protect life, and seek to stamp out torture and slavery

have made some progress in some corners of the world.

They have been championed by great people who have made a difference.

But our world of instant knowledge makes us painfully aware

that murder, slavery and torture, much of it state sponsored, is still at the heart of a rotten world.


Legal rights have done much to promote equality.

Equality before the law has nurtured a flowering of equality within the processes of the law,

and the institutions of society.

Elsewhere legal function has had a chequered time,

not least in the painfully slow application of new 'human rights' law.


Human freedoms are in a state of flux.

So much has changed that impacts on our privacy of thought and faith,

the way in which we express ourselves and how we meet together,

and how we live together and how we learn.


In short it is very difficult to apply simple checks and balances in a complicated and mutating.

But that doesn't mean that we shouldn't try.

On the contrary many of the changes in the world help that executive to govern more strictly.

Some don't




All shall be well

And all shall be well,

And all manner of thing,

Shall be, shall be well

All manner of thing shall be well


Often I wondered why in God’s great wisdom

The beginning of sin was not hindered

For then all should have been well

If sin had not been, we should all have been clean,

And like to our Lord as he made us

But Jesus said sin is behovely

And all shall be well


All shall be well

And all shall be well,

And all manner of thing,

Shall be, shall be well

All manner of thing shall be well


For our Lord’s passion is comfort to us

And so is His blessed will

And all shall be, all shall be well

And all shall be, all shall be well,

And all manner of thing shall be well.



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