Shock result as bishops fail to win the day.

Disclaimer: does not depict actual gameplay

The world of board games was rocked to its foundations earlier this week when a small number of Pawns used the actual rules of chess to win a game.

The Pawns, wearing their distinctive black team kit turned the entire game around in a series of surprise moves at the end of what had been a gruelling and sometimes tedious game, characterised by the same moves being repeated in increasingly short bursts under the watchful eye of the referee, Dr. Saint-Emu.

Despite white having captured over 72% of black’s pieces, the small group of black Pawns prevailed when they captured the white Bishops and forced checkmate within the final moves of the match.

A clearly upset white Knight, Sir Tiny Baldrick (wearing a rather natty Garrick club tie) said, “We thought of appealing to the Queen, but we weren’t convinced the black team would listen to a woman in authority.”

***

Good satire requires no footnotes. However, I make no such claim for this doggerel, therefore…
The voting system of the General Synod requires a two thirds majority in each of its three Houses: the Bishops (mitre-wearers), the Clergy (dog-collar-wearers) and the Laity (pew-dwellers). There was nothing underhand  in the way the vote went under the current system but the result does call into question how the system currently works in practice. The concept of needing a supermajority is not a bad one for a broad denomination and is designed to promote unity and taking minority positions far more seriously than the Houses of Parliament (for instance) does. I personally would like to see voting at General Synod reformed such that each House required a simple majority vote and that the overall vote (combining the members of all three Houses) must be two thirds. This would still mean the views of significant minorities had to be taken seriously, one House could not ‘go it alone’ to bulldoze something through, but the overwhelming view of the Church of England (as in this week’s case) would prevail. Ironically, this system would involve a further eroding of the power of Bishops…
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