Four months can be described as an enormous time in politics and there are many other examples where it is a long period, on the other hand there are many cases where four months is a very short time. Clearly when Ephraim Mirvis made this statement regarding a man he considers a friend and champion of his community there was three years lying ahead of time for Johnson to resolve Brexit and help heal our nation and perhaps even bring some prosperity into the nation, although most economists would question if that would be possible if we do depart from the EU. However we are now four months later and the nature of the track record by someone who within weeks of that statement had torn up Parliament is very different. When I was writing a piece yesterday I referred to a speech by Jacob Rees-Mogg back on the 3rd September 2013 which included the following words:
“With all the tax and fundraising advantages that charities have, they should not be involved in the election process. That is the standard of the Charity Commission as it is today; it should remain so. The controls that are in place are not being changed. What is being changed is the position on third parties—those organisations that lack the courage to stand for election, but wish to intervene in the election process….If we are to have a cap on total spending for political parties that openly stand for election, a lower cap should be applied to third parties that do not have the courage to put their names forward to stand…..That is a good way of ensuring that the democratic process is fair and is not skewed by money.”
In the light of the recent comments by Ephraim in reference to Jeremy Corbyn, one wonders if he and indeed Jacob need to correspond so that the charitable status of the Jewish community is not put at risk through some of the elements of what he has introduced over the last few days and last few months. An alternative perspective comes from Jonathan Romain who is a less influential Rabbi writing in the Times newspaper nearly a month ago when he begins with the sentence “There has long been a golden rule that religion and politics do not mix, and that clergy in particular should not be engaged in politics”.