Onward, Christian Soldiers
“The armed forces must be prepared to play a new rôle in enforcing democracy in Britain should the present system of government break down.” Thus, the Very Reverend John Field Lister, the Provost of Wakefield Cathedral, as reported in the Yorkshire Post of 15th July.
This gem of current religious philosophy was delivered on the occasion of the laying-up of the regimental colours of the First Battalion of the Coldstream Guards at Wakefield Cathedral. He went on to say: “More and more nations are finding that government is almost impossible to carry out. This may be because democracy is a Christian concept and that without it, it cannot succeed.
“When governments break down, then we have seen in one country after another that the military have to be brought in. It might well be that in the years which lie before us the armed forces will have a new and different rô1e to play, and how important that role will be.” There followed some all-too-familiar references to the power of the unions, the possibility of a general strike, etc., etc.
It is to be hoped that the guardsmen on the receiving end of this will have learned something about their function in the eyes of supporters of the capitalist class. They are themselves members of that same working class they may be ordered to suppress.