Thursday 15 January 2009

Removing the Skull-crusher

In removing the mace from it's stand at the end of a House of Commons debate today, John McDonnel drew attention to an interesting bit of parliamentary kit.

A mace - and this one dates back to the restoration of the monarchy under Charles II - is an ancient symbol of military might. It is a violent skull-crushing weapon. And it represents British democracy.

It does a good job of representing British democracy: exported violently both now and in Britain's colonial past; defended by force of baton, gavel, and gun. The British parliamentary system whereby a few people get to vote for even few people who allow even fewer people be persuaded by a discrete and wealth minority is only able to persist by force. Why else would we put up with it.

Hence the mace is carried in to the house of commons every day that it is in session.

What though do Christians carry into the Kingdom of God? Not a mace, neither a gave or a gun. Christians take up a cross a symbol of torture and execution of the innocent poor a the hands of those who claim to defend the freedom, peace and security of good honest citizens.

Perhaps, in Britain, the Christian symbol of the cross should be replaced by the splintered skull. Why not, if the MPs insist on reminding us daily of their privileged use of the skull-smasher?