Christian Democrats (Northumbria)
|Ideology|| • Christian democracy |
• Social conservatism
• Durham irredentism
• Christian liberalism
|Seats in the Parliament|
|Seats in the Witan|
|Seats in county councils|
The Christian Democrats are a political party in the Kingdom of Northumbria. Formed shortly after the democratisation reforms of January 2021, they are the second oldest party in Northumbria, and currently send a total of five MPs to the Northumbrian Parliament, most of whom come from rural constituencies in Northumberland, Hexhamshire and Durham. They currently sit in coalition government with the larger National Democratic Party.
The party is socially conservative and economically moderate. The broad tradition of christian democracy is used in different ways within the party, with some adopting an egalitarian distributist reading, while others support a more centre-right conservative approach. Another core pillar of the party's ideology is agrarianism. The party seeks to protect rural landowners' interests and hunting rights while also endorsing environmentalist energy policies and land preservation measures.
The Christian Democrats also strongly support the powers of the nobility, including and especially those of the Prince Bishop of Durham, who is eligible to appoint Lords Spiritual to the Witan. They also seek to retain Anglicanism as Northumbria's official religion. The Christian Democrats endorse Teessdale remaining part of Durham, as this grants the Prince Bishop the ability to send a greater number of representatives to the Witan.
Party formation (November 2020 - March 2021)
The Christian Democrats situate themselves within the long-standing tradition of monarchism in Northumbria and its predecessors, the Sorrenian Federation and the Kingdom of Sorrenia. Harry Jones was himself previously King of Amon Lasgalen - a regional monarchy within the Sorrenian Federation - and an influential member of the Sorrenian Commonwealth Party which served to protect the regional monarchies. Richard Brooker led the Christian Alliance in the Kingdom of Sorrenia, introducing Christian democracy into the Sorrenian monarchist tradition.
The contemporary Christian Democrats continue to emphasise both their monarchist heritage and the importance of Northumbria's Christian identity. Jones was first elected as an MP in the Northumbrian Parliament in the November 2020 general election as an independent. Once the governing National Democratic Party allowed other parties to form, Jones officially established the Christian Democrats.
In the March 2021 general election the Christian Democrats won five seats in Parliament, making them the third largest party.
In government (March 2021 - present)
Lacking a majority, the NDP formed a coalition government with the Christian Democrats. Together, they embarked on a program of 'constitution-building', including further clarification as to the powers of the Witan and the Parliament, the holding of elections for Northumbria's various county councils, the establishment of an armed forces and the creation of foreign relations with Akebar and Acre. As a socially conservative party, the Christian Democrats supported the NDP in the creation of the Witan (which serves as a restriction on Parliament's ability to alter the constitution) and the establishment of guaranteed powers for the Northumbrian aristocracy and clergy.
The Christian Democrats subscribe to three core ideologies - Christian democracy, agrarianism and Durham irredentism. Though social conservatism is also mentioned in the party's constitution, a significant minority of the party often dissent from right-wing social positions. Christian democracy is often interpreted in very different ways among the party membership. Some identify most with the centre-right Christian democratic tradition embodied in parties such as the German CDU and the Austrian People's Party, which traditionally conjoined conservative social policy with liberal economic policy. More liberal members may consider themselves part of the 'Christian left', influenced by distributism and certain forms of liberation theology.
Two more uniform ideological commitments are those of agrarianism and environmentalism, and Durham irredentism. Most of the party's support base is located in the rural constituencies of West Durham, Hexhamshire and Northumberland, and so the party caters to their particular interests, supporting farming subsidies, investment in rural communities and preservation of hunting and gun rights. The party also draws heavily on environmentalist sentiments, strongly supporting a transfer to green energy and the extension of green belts.
Since its inception, the Christian Democrats have been an integral supporter of Durham irredentism, the belief in a maximalist interpretation of County Durham's territorial boundaries. This may contribute to their popularity within Durham itself, as well as in Hexhamshire, where constituents may worry that if the county of Northumberland was to retake land from Durham, they might also push to reintegrate Hexhamshire. Concurrently, the Christian Democrats are perhaps the most vociferous supporters of the Prince-Bishop of Durham and the Abbott of Hexham, who enjoy considerable powers as heads of state of their respective counties, including the right to appoint Lords spiritual to the Witan, the upper chamber of Northumbria's legislature.
The Christian Democrats rely almost entirely on rural constituencies in Durham, Northumberland and Hexhamshire, located in the country's west. Though their presence elsewhere in the country is minimal, in the Pennines region they consistently dominate election results, securing them a steady base of support. This electoral base re-enforces the agrarian sensibilities of the party. The Christian Democrats are also competitive in Barnard Castle and Consett.
Three of the four independent MPs elected in the November 2020 general election ultimately went on to found the Christian Democrats.
|Election year||Leader||%||+/-||seats won||+/-||Government|
|November 2020||Harry Jones||7||N/A||N/A||in opposition|
|March 2021||Harry Jones||12||▲ 5%||▲ 2||in coalition government|
|July 2021||Harry Jones||▼ 2||in opposition|
The conservatives are the largest tendency within the party, mixing social conservatism with centre-right economic policy. Though the most economically liberal of the three factions, the conservatives still support state involvement in key sectors like healthcare, and also passionately defend subsidies for farmers. They are more influenced by Burkean paternalistic conservatism than by Thatcherite neo-conservatism.
• Richard Brooker
The Christian liberal faction tends to reject more socially conservative social positions. Drawing on the tradition of liberal interpretations of scripture and the Social Gospel movement, they argue that certain conservative orthodoxies fail to sufficiently live up to the Christian virtues of love, forgiveness and inclusivity. With the distributists, they tend to support greater welfare provisions and restraints on the free market, but mostly disagree when it comes to social issues like gay marriage. The Christian liberals are part of the broad Christian left, and resemble certain politicians and factions within the American Democratic Party, the British Liberal Democrats and the German CDU.
The distributist faction believes that the Christian social ethic demands an alternative economic model to both capitalism and socialism. Drawing upon ideas expressed in the Papal encyclical Rerum novarum, and the work of figures like G.K. Chesteron, the faction argues for a new economic model which would favour cooperatives, mutuals, guilds and small businesses. Restrictions on capital accumulation would coincide with a right to property, distinguishing the model from both laissez-faire capitalism and state-centric forms of socialism.
Alongside their economic proposals, most distributists adopt what they call a consistent life ethic, which involves an opposition to abortion, the death penalty, euthanasia and at least certain forms of war. This consistent life ethic coincides with, and motivates, the distributist's economic model.
• Harry Jones