Thinking Anglicans

How Anglicans tipped the Brexit vote

Greg Smith and Linda Woodhead have published research on “Religion and Brexit: populism and the Church of England”. The article, in the journal Religion, State and Society, is here. They have also published a summary on the LSE Brexit blogHow Anglicans tipped the Brexit vote. It starts:

Two-thirds of Anglicans voted for Brexit, a much higher proportion than in the country as a whole. Greg Smith (William Temple Foundation) and Linda Woodhead (Lancaster University) look at the reasons for the disparity and note that the divergence between the beliefs of UK evangelicals – including the Archbishop of Canterbury – and ‘normal’ Anglicans.

The Archbishop of Canterbury, Justin Welby, has been busy again attacking the markets and calling for more welfare. His views are at variance with those of ordinary Anglicans, two-thirds of whom think that welfare spending is too high.

Research we have just published reveals an equally significant ‘values gap’ when it comes to the EU. ‘In the run up to the referendum of 2016 Welby was against Brexit but in the vote Anglicans strongly supported it…

The Economist has also published a related article: The Church of England’s views rankle with the laity.
“The clergy is more left-wing than its flock on politics–but more conservative on social matters”

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Roderick GillisNic TallDavid RuncornDavid EmmottT Pott Recent comment authors
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Roderick Gillis
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Roderick Gillis

“…the divergence between the beliefs of UK evangelicals – including the Archbishop of Canterbury – and ‘normal’ Anglicans.”

What an hilarious statement!

FrDavidH
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FrDavidH

It might be funny……but it’s true!

Doug Chaplin
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Doug Chaplin

I’m unable to access the full article. However, my suspicion is that more rigorous research would explore the difference between those who can be described as “practising” and those who can’t. I can easily imagine that a number of people, including older people anxious about (especially) Asian and Muslim integration, would want to claim culturally to be Church of England, as part of a traditionally conceived English identity. Essentially there is a correlation, but it may not be the one Woodhead and Smith are suggesting. Instead, I suggest that there is a significant group of “left-behind white” who are retrenching… Read more »

T Pott
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T Pott

The doctrine of the Church of England, in Article 37, is that in England the Queen ought not to be subject to any foreign jurisdiction. Most of the bishops seem able to square this with remaining in the EU, though they don’t explain how, and in the absence of any such explanation many laity may oppose the EU on doctrinal grounds. Also, leaving European domination at the Reformation is a key part of Anglican identity. It is unsurprising that Anglicans, particularly on the Orange wing, should be pro-Brexit. Added to this is the alienation felt by so many, an alienation… Read more »

Jo B
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Jo B

If you think the average Anglican cares two hoots about what article 37 says I have a bridge I would like to sell you. Likewise I doubt very much that many Anglicans draw a line between the excesses of the 16th century papacy and the supranational interactions of democratic governments in the 21st.

T Pott
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T Pott

Granted, perhaps very few Anglicans pondered Article 37 en route to the polling booth, I suspect you underestimate the significance of the concept to which it bears witness. Two American academics, Nelsen and Guth have found very significant differences between Protestants and Roman Catholics in their attitudes to the EU. This applies to countries, parties, politicians and individuals, all over Europe, from the 1950s until now. (Orthodox are in between.) https://www.e-ir.info/2015/12/23/religion-in-the-european-union-the-neglected-variable/ Even before the EU (EEC) was created it was predominantly supported by Catholic countries, and Catholics in mixed countries; and viewed with suspicion by Protestant ones. Britain, Denmark, Finland… Read more »

Stanley Monkhouse
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I heartily agree with T Pott’s comments on baptism liturgy and policy. Seems to me that CW baptism is exclusive and decidedly unAnglican. The RC liturgy is better, surprisingly, and less pompously verbose, so no surprise that my baptisms are probably noncanonical. I told my Ordinary that I will baptise anything human that moves, no questions, no conditions, and I’m still in post. I get lots of baptisms from the Reform parish over the river, in a different diocese, so thank God for Reform. It’s heartening to hear the comments from the young families. Some even come back. Some ask… Read more »

Andy Gr
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Andy Gr

I’ve long felt that practising evangelicals – those that would be members of groups like the evangelical alliance – tend to vote centre-left, with relatively little differentiation between leaders and led, whereas “middle of the road” and “higher” Anglicans tend to vote right, but have priests who vote left. (Of course, there are many exceptions).

David Emmott
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David Emmott

I am encouraged by the fact (if it is such) that evangelicals these days tend to the left. It didn’t use to be so: they were either public school establishment Tories or ‘apolitical’. I can see that the average (or stereotypical) middle of the road Anglican in the pew continues to represent the Tory party at prayer and support Brexit. I am also very aware of High-Tory High-Camp Anglo-catholics, but surely they are outnumbered by the ordinary working class Christians in the biretta belts of South Yorkshire and the West Midlands, and elsewhere. Of course, many of them would have… Read more »

David Runcorn
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David Runcorn

‘Practising evangelicals’ = ‘those who would be members of groups …’ It is very hard to respond to such generalised attempts at defining ‘others’. There has been a well charted trajectory in the evangelical alliance towards prioritising social and political concerns for some years now. I am affirming genuine engagement here not political allegiance.

Nic Tall
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Nic Tall

When early results for this study came out I asked whether the “Anglicans” they were surveying were those who self-identified as Anglican but may not go to church, or just those who were regular church attenders. I was told that it was self-identifiers, the majority of whom would not go to church very often if at all. While we know that one of the most significant factors for voting Brexit was age (64% of over 65s voted Leave), and that Anglican identity is stronger among the older generation, this study has at least statistically controlled for that complicating factor. However,… Read more »

Roderick Gillis
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Roderick Gillis

Interesting thread to read as an outsider. I’ve attached two links. One is +Rowan Williams from the Trinity Wall Street blog. The other is an article by Williams in Anglican Theological Review (pdf). Those interested in theology and the economy with a focus on globalism v. ethno-nationalism may find these of interest, if not already seen.

https://www.trinitywallstreet.org/blogs/news/common-good-how-theology-and-economics-can-work-together

http://anglicantheologicalreview.org/static/pdf/articles/williams.pdf