What the collapse of a Christian teacher's employment tribunal has to do with the rest of us

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The collapse of an employment tribunal because of social media comments by a panel member may look like a win against anti-Christian bias but actually the story is indicative of the grim future for orthodox Christians in the public square.

The comments by non-legal tribunal member Jed Purkis, who describes himself as a lifelong socialist, led to all three members of the panel, including the judge, recusing themselves on Monday in a case brought by a Christian teacher against a primary school and Nottinghamshire County Council.

As Christian Today reported on March 27: "Their recusal came on day six of the tribunal's hearing into the case of the teacher, who claims she was dismissed after raising safeguarding concerns about the school's affirming approach to an 8-year-old female pupil wanting to become a boy.

"She was sacked after she shared information about the child with lawyers as she sought a judicial review into the school and local council's handling of the child's transition.

"The Christian Legal Centre (CLC), which is supporting the teacher, said that the trial is expected to begin afresh later this year with a new panel."

Purkis's social media posts included a response to a comment that only atheists should be in public office: "Damn right, you won't catch us killing in the name of our non-god."

He also responded to the question of "What's a good collective noun for Tories?" by suggesting "a tumour of Tories" and a "cesspit of Tories".

Purkis's outlook is actually mainstream on the contemporary Left which has a zero-tolerance attitude towards conservative views. Alastair Campbell, the strategic genius behind the New Labour project which led to the party's landslide election victory under Tony Blair in 1997, posted this week on X that the Tories' track record on running the NHS was so bad that they "should be annihilated at a general election. Not just beaten. Annihilated".

Campbell, who was Prime Minister Blair's chief press secretary and then director of communications and strategy in Downing Street, wrote in a subsequent post: "In my view no Tory MP deserves to be re-elected because of the enormous damage they have done to our country, our public services, our standards and standing in the world."

So, where will His Majesty's Loyal Opposition come from then, Mr Campbell? From the Scottish Nationalists or the Liberal Democrats, which are thoroughly Leftist parties? Are voters with conservative views, Christian or otherwise, allowed any representation in the House of Commons? He does not say.

But in apparently refusing to countenance conservative views, the Left are treating secular politics as an all-embracing religion. There appears to be no room for disagreement or even uncertainty in their utopian worldview. The Left is so certain of its righteousness that opposition amounts to wickedness.

The view that the Left's hegemony is unchallengeable was actually displayed by Tony Blair himself, the striker in the political football team that Campbell managed with such Alex Ferguson-like rigour. Mail on Sunday columnist, Peter Hitchens, in his speech in 2022 at the annual Roger Scruton Lecture in Oxford, held in honour of the late conservative philosopher, recounted "an extraordinary moment in Wellingborough on the 5th June 2001, when Blair openly sought to prescribe the policy limits of the Tory Party".

Blair said during the 2001 General Election campaign: "At this election we ask the British people to speak out and say the public services are Britain's priority, to say clearly and unequivocally that no party should ever again attempt to lead this country by proposing to cut Britain's schools, Britain's hospitals and Britain's public services. Never again a return to the agenda of the eighties."

Hitchens, an Anglican Christian, commented: "I think this was an unguarded moment. I was there, and recall trying to ask Blair about it afterwards and getting nowhere. But I have always thought that Labour had at last grown strong enough to impose a wish long voiced by such figures as Aneurin Bevan and Harold Laski, to prevent any Conservative government from overturning its major measures."

The Left has now won cultural hegemony in the UK. It has been in power since 1997, though not in office since the 2010 General Election when Blair's successor Gordon Brown failed to woo the voters and left Downing Street after the Conservatives and Liberal Democrats formed a coalition. Labour is poised to win sole political office again in the 2024 General Election and, after the likely realisation of Alastair Campbell's desired fate for the Tories, retain it for a long time.

Orthodox Christians who believe they should stand up for their biblical convictions in the public square need to brace themselves for the reality that the triumphant Left-wing utopians in charge of the country think like Jed Purkis. They see traditional Christians as evil and their views as intolerable.

Julian Mann is a former Church of England vicar, now an evangelical journalist based in Lancashire.