Thursday, October 21, 2010

Who is the man?

According to this report on Thinking Anglicans, conservative catholics (not otherwise leaving the C of E for Rome) and conservative evangelicals in the C of E have assessed the new members of their GS re proposed legislation on women bishops. In a joint press release the statistical assessment is that 35.46% of laity will vote it down (only 34% is needed), and (thus far) 32.10% of clergy will vote it down. I assume a blockage from one house will be sufficient (?), but if the laity reality did not correspond to statistical prediction, then 1.8% further clergy votes are needed. Just one more clergyperson. Except all would agree, surely, that the extra clergyperson will not be female, so JUST one more man required.

Who will this man be?

I am sure Ruth Gledhill is investigatively searching for him even as you read this :).

There could be another thought here. A crisis of conscience could strike the putative lay and/or clergy voters. "Should this legislation fail on the basis that it fell short of a two-thirds majority by a whisker? Let me not be that whisker! I will vote in favour."

Have our press releasers thought of that, I wonder!


Andrew Reid said...

Forecasts about Synod voting patterns are usually wrong, just like their secular counterparts. There are always "undecideds", or people wiling to be persuaded. Also, people don't always vote the party line, especially in secret ballots. With a new General Synod, it would be a brave pundit to predict a precise outcome. Given the anger among those who oppose female bishops about the lack of "flying bishops" in the legislation, I don't think they'll have any qualms voting it down however they can.

Here's an example of the unpredictability of Synod voting from Australian General Synod a couple of weeks ago. A motion to remove the requirement for at least 1 of a couple seeking church marriage to be baptised passed in the laity, passed in the clergy, but then failed by 2 votes in the bishops. It then emerged that the Aboriginal bishop and Torres Strait Island bishop (both of whom speak English as a second language) were confused by our Byzantine procedures, and had voted against when they meant to vote for. The next day the vote was re-committed, passed in the laity and then lost in the clergy! Twelve clergy changed their vote overnight!

So, be very careful predicting anything about Synod voting!

Peter Carrell said...

Hi Andrew
You are right!
It will be fascinating to see what happens ...