Norfolk politician driven by ethics and faith
South Norfolk Conservative MP Richard Bacon is the subject in John Myhill’s latest Stewardship series interview. Richard explains how his Christian faith is the driving force behind his political career.
Richard Bacon MP comes from a Norfolk family on his father’s side and a Warwickshire farming family on his mother’s side. He is the fourth generation at least to enjoy taking his children to Southwold for the sea.
He savours the quietness of Pulham, where his wife, Victoria and their two children live. He misses them greatly while at Westminster but remains dedicated to his life in politics: he has zest and enthusiasm for both roles.
His decision to become a Conservative Member of Parliament came from an inner conviction that this was his vocation, which developed between the ages of ten and fourteen, when he was at the King’s School, Worcester. This was cemented in his years at the London School of Economics, where he edited the student newspaper. Richard’s is a politics of service very closely connected to his abiding interest in God, and his delight in the traditional services and choral heritage of the Church of England.
Despite this early certainty, he was led to experience two other great forces in the world: banking and journalism. He worked for local newspapers as a reporter and also as a sub-editor on The Guardian and The Times. As a graduate he joined a bank and discovered the complexities of equity, foreign exchange and property banking, before returning to university to take a Masters degree. He worked mainly in London, but also did two years in Berlin.
His work in a big public relations agency led him to set up his own business: the English Word Factory, a design and copywriting consultancy. In retrospect he understands that every part of his life was to help in his work as an MP.
Ethics are very important to him. He quotes Micah 6:8: “What does the Lord require of you but to do justice, and to love kindness, and to walk humbly with your God?” He believes these things come naturally to most of us: “We have an ingrained sense of fair play”.
Ethics is thus far more important to him than money. He is a strong supporter of the Buy Local Campaign, and finds great support in this from primary school children in Norfolk, who know that it is good for the Environment (saving on air miles). After the crash he saw how quickly market towns like Harleston were able to bounce back in comparison with businesses linked to huge companies.
His Self-Build and Custom House-building Bill is an attempt to liberate the small individual from the crushing effect of the big bureaucracies. He has a firm belief in the enterprise of the British people. Spending his teenage years in Canada only added to his conviction that Britain would always be his home and he remains confident in Britain’s future.
Richard is distressed to see how easily people can become separated from the essentials of food production and the natural world, and tries to live as simply as his work allows. He worked for VSO in Tanzania on an agricultural project.
Much of his Stewardship is seen in supporting the individual concerns of his constituents, and he has been widely recognised as an outstanding backbencher. His work on the Public Accounts Committee has led to big changes in Government through revealing where government is failing. Based on his committee work he wrote a book: “Conundrum: Why Every Government Gets Things Wrong – and What We Can Do About it”.
He has stood out against bombing Syria: “How absurd to threaten to bomb one side one year, and then to threaten to bomb the other side the next year.” He firmly believes that problems in the Middle East can be resolved through improved relations with Russia and Iran (He is co-chair with Jack Straw of the All Party Parliamentary Group on Iran, has visited the country and seen the fairness and kindness of the people.) “Blessed are the Peacemakers.”
Click below to read the previous articles in this series