Bishop of Derby pays tribute to Lord Strathclyde
Following Lord Strathclyde's announcement of his resignation as Leader of the House of Lords, the Bishop of Derby expressed his profound appreciation for the noble Lord, in particular for his support, wisdom and guidance for the Lords Spiritual during his long period of service. In addition, welcoming his successor Lord Hill, the Bishop paid tribute to his outstanding work as Education Minister in which position he had been a great friend to the Church. The full speech:
The Lord Bishop of Derby: My Lords, I speak briefly to associate those of us on these Benches with the generous, worthy and well earned words for the noble Lord, Lord Strathclyde. On these Benches, we are transient. We come and go because, as noble Lords know, we observe a retirement age. By contrast, the noble Lord, Lord Strathclyde, is just like a part of the furniture. He is an institution and has been here throughout the time that virtually all of us on these Benches have been here, so it will be a big change for us.Is it not heartnening to see a Bishop of the Church praise Tories in such generous and appreciative terms? You won't read about this in the newspapers or hear about it on television: it's not a 'bishop slams politician' story that can be framed as a usual religio-political left-right conflagration. It is worth noting the focus on the humanity - Tom Strathclyde is deeply appreciated for his support, wisdom and guidance; for his calmness and capacity for common sense. And Lord Hill has been a 'great friend' to the Church.
My colleagues have been very keen to say how much we appreciate his support, wisdom and guidance for the Lords Spiritual to enable our contribution to the work of the House. Speaking personally, I marvel sometimes when he has to stand at that Box and deal with some rather difficult things coming across the Chamber. I always admire the fact that he is calm, has a twinkle in his eye and generally responds with buckets of common sense. That seems to be a very good way of leading a House and creating the right kind of atmosphere and frame for us.
We also extend our welcome to the noble Lord, Lord Hill. To be honest, on these Benches we have mixed feelings. He has done a wonderful job as Education Minister and has been a great friend to the Church and the Lords Spiritual. In many ways we are very sad to see him leave that post. He has done outstanding work, and I have always admired the way he can stand at the Dispatch Box and, without really referring to his notes, be able to answer the questions and be very astute and quick-thinking on his feet. That is a remarkable gift and one that we look forward to him exercising in his new role. We welcome the noble Lord, Lord Hill, and say thank you very much indeed to the noble Lord, Lord Strathclyde, for his help, support and guidance.
It occurs to His Grace that if we were all to focus on the common humanity of each instead of dehumanisingly classifying one another as (say) racists, homophobes, Islamophobes or anti-Catholic bigots, not only would the Blogosphere (not to say the world) be a better place, but progress might be made in social interraction, empathy and mutual understanding. This will have the effect of injecting reason and sentiment into our discussions, thereby diminishing verbal violence.
Loving each other as Christ commanded does not end disagreement, robust argument or searing criticism. But it does frame our expressions of truth, our law-making and our understanding of moral considerations in something beyond our two-dimensional political mechanisms and the thinking, feeling and perceiving of the crowd.