How do you get people to vote for something they don’t want?
In the Church of England, it’s easy. You employ the domino effect.
Take the Anglican Covenant, for instance. It is clear that many people in the Church of England are deeply suspicious of it. In the debate in General Synod last November many voices raised deep misgivings about it, even among the House of Bishops. In fact, enough people were sufficiently concerned to mean that if the vote was taken purely on what people thought, it would probably have been chucked out there and then.
But a clever ploy was used. People who were inclined to vote against it were told that it would be wrong to do that because, after all they were only voting to pass it on to Dioceses for consideration. If they voted against it, therefore, they would actually be voting against the democratic process of the Church of England, by denying Diocesan Synods the opportunity to have their say. What was the result? The vote was overwhelmingly in favour, despite the misgivings of the many. The first domino was set.
The second domino is being set up now, because as the Covenant is taken round the Dioceses, they are being told a different story. They are being told that the Covenant must be a good thing because, after all, General Synod voted for it by such a large majority! Hence, obedient Diocesan Synods do not need to question the Covenant too closely before voting in favour.
If this strategy succeeds, then the third and final domino will take the Covenant all the way to ratification. Because when it returns to General Synod for a final vote, it will be pointed out to members that Diocesan Synods have voted in favour, so how could they possibly vote against?
All because of the domino effect… Set them up and knock the first one over - the rest will simply follow.
So the next time you need someone to vote for something they don’t want and don’t agree with, take some advice from the Church of England, because where there’s a will, there’s always a way. The real beauty is that it doesn’t require a single lie – just masterful misdirection.