Pointy bishop hats for everyone! Photo: Getty
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I'm a big Jesus fan! Make me the first lesbian bishop, Church of England

All over the world, socially liberal Christians would be able to say that they’d lived to see a Jewish lesbian don the pointy hat of bishopdom

Yay for the Church of England, I suppose. The slightly liberal parents of the Christian world (the kind who might let you stay up to watch something on the telly that contains adult situations) have just granted women the right to wear big, pointy hats.

From my entirely non-Christian perspective, the issue of female bishops in the C of E has, for aeons, been going a bit like this:

General Synod: “I don’t know… God gets really smitey when we let women do stuff.”

Desmond Tutu (the voice of reason): “Let women be bishops. Also, let people be gay and stuff.”

General Synod: “No.”

As of this week though, a consensus has finally been reached within the Church that bishops can and will have vaginas. Meanwhile, in another longstanding dispute over modernisation, the Archbishop of Canterbury “continues to struggle” with the idea of gay marriage. As it stands, the C of E still officially defines marriage as something between a man and a woman. PR-wise, it occurs to me that the self-identified Church of liberalism, puppies and rainbows should move forward on this issue pretty sharpish. And if they’d like to align themselves with The Gays in one decisive action, I suggest that they make me, Eleanor M Margolis (BA), the first ever lesbian bishop.

Since I’m also Jewish, this move would give the Church double “look how chill we are” points. All over the world, socially liberal Christians would be able to say that they’d lived to see a Jewish lesbian don the pointy hat of bishopdom. Oh, I’m also agnostic.

So what, you may well ask, are my credentials? For starters, I’m a big Jesus fan. I went to primary school before teaching from the Bible became unfashionable in state education. As a strong believer in the separation of church and state, I’m not saying it’s a shame that this practice is dying out. On the other hand, I remember hearing Bible stories about Jesus helping the poor and generally being a sweet, beardy socialist and thinking he seemed cool. This is something that’s stuck with me, and I often find myself quoting Jesus at right wing Christians, while wondering how it’s even possible to be right wing and Christian, when Jesus was such an obvious lefty.

“A new command I give you: Love one another.” – John 34:35. If you take issue with that, you’re a dick.

Aside from being a Jesus freak, I’m excellent at moving diagonally across chequered floors. You should see me – I swoop. And while I struggle to see how religion isn’t messing up the world in countless ways (I’m a non-practising Jew, by the way) a big part of me is desperate for it to be used as a force for good.

So, General Synod (who I’ve probably grossly offended) hear me out. I suspect that the kind of women you have in mind for bishopdom are, you know, massive Christians. But was Jesus Christian? Make this Sapphic Semite a bishop and kill two doves with one stone. Except don’t actually kill them, because that would be a bit violent for the C of E. Wing them, maybe.

Eleanor Margolis is a freelance journalist, whose "Lez Miserable" column appears weekly on the New Statesman website.

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In the race to be France's next president, keep an eye on Arnaud Montebourg

Today's Morning Call. 

Good morning. As far as the Brexit talks are concerned, the least important voters are here in Britain. Whether UK plc gets a decent Brexit deal depends a lot more on who occupies the big jobs across Europe, and how stable they feel in doing so.

The far-right Freedom Party in Austria may have been repudiated at the presidential level but they still retain an interest in the legislative elections (due to be held by 2018). Both Lega Nord and Five Star in Italy will hope to emerge as the governing party at the next Italian election.

Some Conservative MPs are hoping for a clean sweep for the Eurosceptic right, the better to bring the whole EU down, while others believe that the more vulnerable the EU is, the better a deal Britain will get. The reality is that a European Union fearing it is in an advanced state of decay will be less inclined, not more, to give Britain a good deal. The stronger the EU is, the better for Brexit Britain, because the less attractive the exit door looks, the less of an incentive to make an example of the UK among the EU27.

That’s one of the many forces at work in next year’s French presidential election, which yesterday saw the entry of Manuel Valls, the French Prime Minister, into the race to be the Socialist Party’s candidate.

Though his star has fallen somewhat among the general public from the days when his opposition to halal supermarkets as mayor of Evry, and his anti-Roma statements as interior minister made him one of the most popular politicians in France, a Valls candidacy, while unlikely to translate to a finish in the top two for the Socialists could peel votes away from Marine Le Pen, potentially allowing Emanuel Macron to sneak into second place.

But it’s an open question whether he will get that far. The name to remember is Arnaud Montebourg, the former minister who quit Francois Hollande’s government over its right turn in 2014. Although as  Anne-Sylvaine Chassany reports, analysts believe the Socialist party rank-and-file has moved right since Valls finished fifth out of sixth in the last primary, Montebourg’s appeal to the party’s left flank gives him a strong chance.

Does that mean it’s time to pop the champagne on the French right? Monteburg may be able to take some votes from the leftist independent, Jean-Luc Mélenchon, and might do some indirect damage to the French Thatcherite Francois Fillon. His supporters will hope that his leftist economics will peel away supporters of Le Pen, too.

One thing is certain, however: while the chances of a final run-off between Le Pen and Fillon are still high,  Hollande’s resignation means that it is no longer certain that the centre and the left will not make it to that final round.

THE SOUND OF SILENCE

The government began its case at the Supreme Court yesterday, telling justices that the creation of the European Communities Act, which incorporates the European treaties into British law automatically, was designed not to create rights but to expedite the implementation of treaties, created through prerogative power. The government is arguing that Parliament, through silence, has accepted that all areas not defined as within its scope as prerogative powers. David Allen Green gives his verdict over at the FT.

MO’MENTUM, MO’PROBLEMS

The continuing acrimony in Momentum has once again burst out into the open after a fractious meeting to set the organisation’s rules and procedures, Jim Waterson reports over at BuzzFeed.  Jon Lansman, the organisation’s founder, still owns the data and has the ability to shut down the entire group, should he chose to do so, something he is being urged to do by allies. I explain the origins of the crisis here.

STOP ME IF YOU’VE HEARD THIS ONE  BEFORE

Italy’s oldest bank, Monte Paschi, may need a state bailout after its recapitalisation plan was thrown into doubt following Matteo Renzi’s resignation. Italy’s nervous bankers will wait to see if  €1bn of funds from a Qatari investment grouping will be forthcoming now that Renzi has left the scene.

BOOM BOOM

Strong growth in the services sector puts Britain on course to be the highest growing economy in the G7. But Mark Carney has warned that the “lost decade” of wage growth and the unease from the losers from globalisation must be tackled to head off the growing tide of “isolation and detachment”.

THE REPLACEMENTS

David Lidington will stand in for Theresa May, who is abroad, this week at Prime Ministers’ Questions. Emily Thornberry will stand in for Jeremy Corbyn.

QUIT PICKING ON ME!

Boris Johnson has asked Theresa May to get her speechwriters and other ministers to stop making jokes at his expense, Sam Coates reports in the Times. The gags are hurting Britain’s diplomatic standing, the Foreign Secretary argues.

AND NOW FOR SOMETHING COMPLETELY DIFFERENT

It’s beginning to feel a bit like Christmas! And to help you on your way, here’s Anna’s top 10 recommendations for Christmassy soundtracks.

MUST READS

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Why I’m concerned about people’s “very real concerns” on migration

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Stephen Bush is special correspondent at the New Statesman. His daily briefing, Morning Call, provides a quick and essential guide to British politics.