Archbishop of Canterbury: Labour’s fiscal stimulus is ‘like like the addict returning to the drug’.
The intervention of Archbishop Rowan Williams into party politics is most welcome. He admitted that he does not consider the reaction of politicians before speaking out, and it brings back fond memories of Margaret Thatcher’s torment by certain meddlesome priests. Of course, she tended to be right while they found their daily bread in The Guardian. In this case, any rational person, regenerate or dead in their sins, can discern that Gordon Brown's £20 billion borrowing binge of debt-funded tax-cuts is short-sighted and immoral. And the Government are compounding the problem by considering a national lending scheme under which they (ie the taxpayer) would guarantee loans to business and increase the supply of home loans by guaranteeing mortgage-backed securities issued by banks. In a damning comment on the VAT reduction, Dr Williams said people should not ‘spend to save the economy’, but instead spend for ‘human reasons’ such as providing for their own needs.
The Archbishop of Canterbury is anxious for the soul of the nation, saying: "I worry a bit about that, it seems a little like the addict returning to the drug. I think there are deeper questions to be asked. I want to ask where these moral questions are in the economic discourse."
The Archbishop said the credit crunch was a ‘reality check’, a reminder that ‘fairy gold is just that’.
Indeed. Gordon Brown sold the nation’s real gold when he was Chancellor of the Exchequer and replaced it with euros – ‘fairy gold’.
The Shadow Chancellor George Osborne has described the Archbishop’s criticism of Labour’s fiscal stimulus package as ‘a very powerful moral warning’ against the planned borrowing binge. He praised the Archbishop for raising the important moral question of whether it can be right for Gordon Brown to saddle future generations with huge debts. And he stressed, “The chorus of disapproval at what the Labour Government is doing to our society and our economy grows every day.”
Dr Williams preaches to the Prime Minister: “When the Bible uses the word 'repentance', it doesn't just mean beating your breast, it means getting a new perspective, and that is perhaps what we are shrinking away from. What I'm worried about is anything that pushes us straight back into the kind of spiral we were in before. It is about what is sustainable in the long term and if this is going to drive us back into the same spin, I do not think that is going to help us."
The ‘same spin’?
And he takes David Cameron’s theme when he says people were waiting for financial bosses to apologise for the crisis. He said: “A lot of people are waiting to hear some acknowledgment of responsibility for irresponsible behaviour."
And how does the Prime Minister, the ‘son of a manse’, respond?
He said he supported the Archbishop’s views on a strong civic society and the need to act against irresponsible behaviour when it appears in the banking and financial system. He witheringly continued: “But I think the Archbishop would also agree with me that every time someone becomes unemployed or loses a home, or a small business fails, it is our duty to act and we should not walk by on the other side when people are facing problems.”
Walk on the other side?
Is the Prime Minister claiming the moral high ground and comparing the Archbishop of Canterbury to the religious hypocrite in the parable of the Good Samaritan?
Well, Prime Minister, there is nothing in that parable to indicate that the Samaritan asked for an ID card to establish whether or not the victim lived in a Labour or marginal constituency before helping him. And neither did he run a credit check to discern his level or debt, or enquire of the Inland Revenue to discover if he was eligible for tax credits or state benefits. Nor did the Good Samaritan redistribute the robbed merchant's remaining money to the long-term unemployed who stay in bed until midday and only venture out to binge drink or vote Labour.
The Archbishop of Canterbury has stated unequivocally that the country is ‘going in the wrong direction’.
He must be praying for a general election and interceding for a change of government.