Friday, October 09, 2009

Bishop of Croydon attacks Conservative economic policy

The Bishop of Croydon, the Rt Revd Nick Baines, has objected (rather strongly and scornfully) to the Conservative Party’s strategy for dealing with the national debt. He has also criticised the party for linking with ‘racists’ and ‘pseudo-facists’ in its new EU group. The Bishop hath a blog – “Nick Baines’s blog - musings of a restless bishop”, and restless (indeed, intolerant) he certainly is. In response to George Osborne’s speech, he wrote: "Call me old-fashioned, but was George Osborne having a laugh yesterday?"

A laugh?

The Bishop appears to be another theologian-economist with a penchant for Marx and an aversion to capitalism. It is noteworthy that he does not appear to have commented upon Labour’s conference anywhere upon his ‘restless’ blog.

Labour, of course, are in government.

Perhaps the Bishop is not sufficiently restless to consider that they might be in any way responsible for the economic morass into which we are all sinking. Perhaps he has not noticed that 12 years of Labour have made the poorest poorer, youth unemployment higher and inequality greater than at any time under Margaret Thatcher or John Major.

Since the Shadow Chancellor has hitherto only announced how he intends to raise £7 billion, Cranmer can hardly wait to hear the Bishop’s reaction to how Mr Osborne might deal with the remaining £163 billion. The Bishop writes dismissively: "Freezing public pay rates was hardly demanding of the grey matter and miserable prioritising of the rich over the poor didn't come as a great surprise."

Cranmer must have missed the ‘miserable prioritising of the rich over the poor’. Did the Shadow Chancellor not specifically say that the lowest paid public sector workers would be exempt from a pay freeze? And did he not also announce an end to tax credits for families earning more than £50,000 a year? And the limiting of baby bonds worth £250 to the disabled and the poorest families?

How does this constitute ‘prioritising of the rich’?

One wonders why some bishops appear to be pathologically incapable of a rational consideration of anything that emanates from the forces of Conservatism: it is, after all, the political philosophy which has sustained the Established Church for centuries.

But the Bishop’s attack on Mr Osborne did not stop there. He singled out the Shadow Chancellor's mantra ‘We're all in it together’ for particular scorn, saying: "Why did no one laugh?... Osborne and Cameron aren't ‘in it’ in the same way thousands of people I serve in south London are ‘in it’. They are rich kids with inheritances to spare them worrying about their future - whatever happens to the economy in the future."

He continued: "I know the Old Etonians (who, along with their chum Boris will soon run the country) are doing their best but ... why did no one laugh?"

And here we get to the nub of the Bishop’s gripe (if gripes can have a nub).

Consider ‘rich kids’, ‘Old Etonians’, ‘chum Boris’, and the Bishop begins to reveal a rather nasty motivation for his outburst. And when he lauds ‘Polly Toynbee’s sums’ as his economic gospel, one’s suspicions are confirmed.

In his further comments, the Bishop says he ‘long(s) for a party that will raise taxes and “let justice roll”.’

If the Bishop believes for one minute that a high-tax society will ‘let justice roll’, he might just consider that it is the world’s low-tax economies which consistently yield higher standards of living for their populations and do most to alleviate poverty at home and abroad.

The Bishop discloses: “But I did grow up in the north at a time when the Tories shattered my city (with help from Derek Hatton and co) and left wounds in my family that still weep. These guys have not the first idea about life outside the privileged circles in which they moved and I don’t trust them or their worldview.”

There can be nothing to redeem these evil Tories. Rachel is still weeping for her children in Liverpool, and the Bishop is incapable of forgiveness.

The truth is that Bishop Nick has already written off David Cameron, George Osborne and Boris Johnson because of their privileged upbringing and education. He ignores completely the immense amount of work done by Iain Duncan Smith’s ‘Centre for Social Justice’, an agenda which David Cameron has announced will be at the heart of his administration.

For Bishop Nick, ‘Compassionate Conservatism’ will always be an oxymoron because ‘their worldview’ is incapable of compassion because they ‘have not the first idea about life outside the privileged circles’.

Perhaps the Bishop might reflect upon whether one really has to lose a five-year-old disabled son in order to understand something of the pain and trauma of doing so. What can a bishop possibly know about that? And when he has considered that one might indeed sincerely and sympathetically weep with those who weep, he might grasp that even Old Etonian rich kids and their chums live with bread like him, feel want, taste grief and need friends.


Blogger Gnostic said...

Er...wasn't Derek Hatton heading up the Scouse faction of the loony left? Surely Nicky-boy isn't badmouthing a guardian of socilast justice?

Heaven forefend.

9 October 2009 at 09:59  
Blogger Beware of Geeks bearing GIFs said...

Forgive him Your Grace, he is like most people who rigidly cling to their beliefs with much fervour and with a blind refusal to accept any other way: dogmatic.

9 October 2009 at 10:04  
Anonymous martin sewell said...

You Grace will know that I am, more often than not, in tune with your views on matters theological and political, and I do not disagree with the overall premise that too many clerics have ceased to self question their old political beliefs.

Being of an age when my liberal inner child had to regard the consequences of its opinions in "broken Britain", I know how the first early steps away from such idealism can be tricky. I began by not sharing the liberal loathing of George Bush as I watched his receiving the news of 9/11 in that school room and thinking," I may not have supported you but you need all our prayers now".

I am an occasional commentator on Nick Baines' blog, and have been sympathetically pointing out that the options in the "mainstream" Centre Right grouping in the European Parliament are hardly less open to criticism - least of all with Sylvio's antics and Sarkozy defending Frederic Mitterand.

That said, I have to report that Nick Baines was the main speaker at last year's Association of the Rochester Diocese Readers, and his Christian witness, good humour, theological insight and encouragement was brilliant - which is why I began reading his blog.

Your Grace is famously ascerbic but we do need to exercise care in how we begin to bring such clerics towards understanding our reasoning.

The Bishop is very bright. He is fluent in 4 languages and formerly worked at GCHQ. He is perhaps culturally skewed to distrust the Conservatives as he is from Liverpool. We have to bring that into account! Nevertheless, we are more likely to secure his accommodation towards the values of compassionate Conservatism by respectful debate than being too confrontational.

9 October 2009 at 10:29  
Blogger McKenzie said...

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9 October 2009 at 11:01  
Blogger McKenzie said...

This comment has been removed by the author.

9 October 2009 at 11:20  
Blogger Gnostic said...

Mack, it's interesting that you mention class when it comes to politics. You insinuate that Conservatism (now sadly dead) is associated with the class divide. Yet the Labour party is also riddled with people who enjoyed a priviledged upbringing and education. Not only that, they are extremely hypocritical about it and they are going to make sure that their club remains exclusive.

Bullingdons and bullshitters

9 October 2009 at 11:25  
Anonymous Kafka said...

It ill becomes bishops, who, in their corporeal state, inhabit very gilded cages, to criticise messrs Cameron, Osborne & Johnson.

Your Grace is excused in this respect.

9 October 2009 at 11:55  
Blogger D. Singh said...

Your Grace,

As far as I know this year the Bishop of Croydon has not made the blind to see; the deaf to hear; the lame to walk or indeed the dead to rise.

Apart from sitting on the House of Bishops European Panel ‘rejoicing’ at what is contained in the fascist Lisbon Treaty – could he at least tell us just what it is that he has been doing?

9 October 2009 at 12:05  
Blogger D. Singh said...

Your Grace,

If there is another report like that today; my blood pressure is going to reach alarming levels.

9 October 2009 at 12:23  
Blogger McKenzie said...

This comment has been removed by the author.

9 October 2009 at 12:32  
Blogger Gnostic said...

Mack, I am delighted to hear it. :D

9 October 2009 at 12:36  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

Religion and politics do mix. In fact, to 'do' either in a proper manner, it cannot be any other way.

However, C of E bishops should not engage in party politics.

He has diminished himself by these recent blog posts of his.

So, how should a churchman distinguish between welcome political musings, and unwelcome party political musings ? One assumes that bishops are drawn into the episcopate due to their superior qualities - to stray over the fine line by a priest may be inevitable, but for a bishop to do so repeatedly is foolhardy.

It looks like he lacks the qualities to ascent to be a diocesian bishop any time soon.

9 October 2009 at 12:50  
Anonymous Paul B said...

Spot on Archbishop.
When the Bishop says "‘long(s) for a party that will raise taxes and “let justice roll”.’
what does he think we have had for the past twelve years.

Also remind me, wasn`t it Derek Hattons militant Old Labour mob, who bankrupted Liverpool and delivered redundancy notices by taxi cab, whilst "Our Derek" ordered his new shiney Armani suit, whilst sipping champagne after his latest, how can one put this polietly, legover.

There is none so blind

9 October 2009 at 13:04  
Blogger McKenzie said...

This comment has been removed by the author.

9 October 2009 at 13:19  
Blogger Manfarang said...

The Thai Old Etonian Prime Minister doesn't have much of a following in the poorer N.E. of Thailand.

9 October 2009 at 14:36  
Blogger D. Singh said...

Your Grace,

C.S. Lewis attacks 'Leftist' economic policy?

‘I believe a man is happier, and happy in a richer way, if he has 'the freeborn mind'. But I doubt whether he can have this without economic independence, which the new society is abolishing. For economic independence allows an education not controlled by Government; and in adult life it is the man who needs, and asks, nothing of Government who can criticise its acts and snap his fingers at its ideology. Read Montaigne; that's the voice of a man with his legs under his own table, eating the mutton and turnips raised on his own land. Who will talk like that when the State is everyone's schoolmaster and employer? Admittedly, when man was untamed, such liberty belonged only to the few. I know. Hence the horrible suspicion that our only choice is between societies with few freemen and societies with none.’

C.S. Lewis, Willing Slaves of the Welfare State

9 October 2009 at 14:46  
Blogger john in cheshire said...

There are too many Christians of influence who either do not believe in Christ, or who think that Jesus was a socialist. My understanding is that Jesus was definitely not a socialist. He was more than that. And I think, therefore, that many influential Christians are actually socialists. They don't really believe that Jesus was the son of God, but that he had some interesting views on how to live. Well, I reckon they, Bainse included are not worth listening to. No wonder no one wants to give money to the Church of England any more. The sooner you start to read the Bible again, the sooner the Christian religion will be revived in this country.

9 October 2009 at 15:08  
Blogger Theo said...

Perhaps the Bishop should address himself to matters of the kingdom of heaven rather than the kingdom of this earth.

In any event does not Your Grace have the power to admonish and perhaps defrock such a wayward bishop?

9 October 2009 at 15:28  
Blogger Manfarang said...

And how often do you read the Bible? You will not find the word trinity in it.

9 October 2009 at 15:34  
Blogger D. Singh said...

john in Cheshire

People for some reason also seem to assume that Judaeo-Christianity is a religion of ‘peace’. I’ve had more difficulties as a Judaeo-Christian than I did as a Stoic.

I think what they must mean by ‘peace’ is that which is compromising, accommodating and non-confrontational.

No wonder the early Judaeo-Christians were accused of ‘turning the world upside down’.

The Bishop is unlikely to be accused of that. After twelve years of socialism Marxian assumptions seem to be orthodox in Britain.

9 October 2009 at 15:39  
Anonymous not a machine said...

Oh dear another critic of future spending abilities appears !

Given mr osbourne can shed no more light on the nations fiances than the treasury , this guy seems to have jumped the gun.

If he thinks Mr osbournes plans are a laugh wait until he hears about reducuing the deficiet by 50% in 4 years , as if that isnt going to hurt.

Your grace and readers are no doubt waiting with baited breath for the man that got us into the biggest debt since ww2 is going to get us out of it in a mere 4 years .

Jesus never was happy with the money lenders but that doesnt equate to hime believing in marxism .

9 October 2009 at 15:52  
Blogger D. Singh said...


Maybe the Bishop ain't that 'bad'.

Here is a snippet from his blog of 29 April 2009:

'But, driving south through some beautiful countryside this morning, my thoughts turned to other singing nuns. Julie Andrews appeared in my head, climbing every mountain, doh-ing a deer and refusing to go away. I nearly crashed when I couldn’t get ‘How do you solve a problem like Sharia’ out of my mind.'

9 October 2009 at 15:53  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

make more money

9 October 2009 at 16:35  
Anonymous martin sewell said...

He claims to be the only Anglican Bishop to have been arrested for busking on the Paris Metro (presumably not recently). You have to like him for that alone.

9 October 2009 at 16:48  
Blogger D. Singh said...

Mr Sewell

Would the good Bishop like to try entertaining us on the London underground?

He'll be arrested under the 1844 Vagrancy Act.

9 October 2009 at 17:01  
Blogger D. Singh said...

This is just ridiculous; just ridiculous.

Our country is in debt to the tune of billions of pounds - thanks to the socialists; our country's constitution has been demolished by the socialists; we have been sold into the slavery of the fascist EU - and we are meant to have sympathy for a bishop whose claim to celebrity is to have been arrested in Paris for singing presumably for singing 'How do you solve a problem like Sharia?'

9 October 2009 at 17:11  
Blogger McKenzie said...

This comment has been removed by the author.

9 October 2009 at 17:28  
Blogger D. Singh said...

The Nobel Peace Prize? THE NOBEL PEACE PRIZE?

For what?

Withdrawing the proposed missile shield in Eastern Europe?

Are they mad?

Obama's trajectory towards American isolationism; will mean war.

This is madness.

9 October 2009 at 17:51  
Blogger Green Christian said...

I'm guessing the Bishop got his 'prioritising of the rich' from both existing Tory policy (the first policy ever announced under Cameron was, after all, abolishing Inheritance Tax - a tax which only affects the rich), and Osborne's comment in his speech to the effect that he plans to repeal the new top rate of income tax on those earning over £125,000 as soon as he can afford it.

I'm also confused about where you get the idea that low tax economies have higher standards of living. The US has both the lowest taxes and the highest poverty rates in the Western world, and those organisations that work to relieve poverty in "third world" countries point out that implementing low-tax policies (as the World Bank and the IMF have forced most of these countries to do since the 1980s) has actually had the effect of increasing poverty levels - or, at best, holding them steady.

9 October 2009 at 17:53  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

"even Old Etonian rich kids and their chums live with bread like him"

Bread, I am certain, tastes very much the same wherever it may have been purchased, especially when spread over with beans, but it is the finer adornments that painfully expose the gap between Toffs and serfs.

Here you expose your own lack of any realistic understanding.

9 October 2009 at 18:02  
Blogger McKenzie said...

This comment has been removed by the author.

9 October 2009 at 18:08  
Blogger D. Singh said...

Your Grace,

I apologise for shouting at your guests, in your house.

Mr McKenzie,

To every thing there is a season, and a time to every purpose under the heaven:
A time to be born, and a time to die; a time to plant, and a time to pluck up that which is planted;
A time to kill, and a time to heal; a time to break down, and a time to build up;
A time to weep, and a time to laugh; a time to mourn, and a time to dance;
A time to cast away stones, and a time to gather stones together; a time to embrace, and a time to refrain from embracing;
A time to get, and a time to lose; a time to keep, and a time to cast away;
A time to rend, and a time to sew; a time to keep silence, and a time to speak;
A time to love, and a time to hate; a time of war, and a time of peace.
What profit hath he that worketh in that wherein he laboureth?
I have seen the travail, which God hath given to the sons of men to be exercised in it.
He hath made every thing beautiful in his time: also he hath set the world in their heart, so that no man can find out the work that God maketh from the beginning to the end.

9 October 2009 at 18:10  
Blogger McKenzie said...

This comment has been removed by the author.

9 October 2009 at 18:56  
Anonymous ahem said...

Economics makes a fascinating study; they should really teach it in school.

9 October 2009 at 19:51  
Anonymous Terry said...

2 points from the bible:
(1) Owe no one anything. This has been ignored in the UK and the nation is suffering as a result of the huge national debt.

(2) Taxes are not to be used as confiscation. In Israel they paid regular tithes but anything of even 40% upwards is too high as a tax rate.

9 October 2009 at 20:28  
Blogger ultramontane grumpy old catholic said...

Stupid scouse git...

and I speak as a native of that fair city.

It would not surprise me if the Bishop were an Everton supporter like the execrable Derek Hatton

9 October 2009 at 21:05  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

Nick's a Blair babe - a 'liberal evangelical' from Scouseland appointed by Tone, a bishop who despises that church-going Christian Thatcher with a venom, who sticks it to real evangelicals in his diocese who start up new churches, and who always sticks up for his boss, the (hic) Bishop of Southwark.
He'll go far, that lad!

9 October 2009 at 21:40  
Anonymous Adrian P said...

After reading this I feel a war coming on to usher in the New World Order.
See the rest of you fellow cattle on the other side.

9 October 2009 at 21:50  
Anonymous Andrew K said...

Adrian P, that's too much of an insult to anyone's intelligence even to dignify with the label "paranoid".

9 October 2009 at 22:33  
Anonymous The only Christian in The Village said...

I am the chosen one. God has spoken to me and told me the real truth.

10 October 2009 at 14:50  
Blogger dmk said...

Theo: wealth and poverty are very much to do with the Kingdom of Heaven, Jesus had plenty to say about both.

10 October 2009 at 15:34  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

From David Lonsdale
As a Christian my commission is to go into all the World and make disciples. My purpose is to tell peole about Jesus and to glorify the Father. The more Christ like I am, the more people will listen to my preaching of the gospel and the more will be saved.
I am not interested in peoples wallets, nor their possessions. I want them to hear the good news. If I dislike someone with a passion, as Baines does with the Conservatives in general and Thatcher in particular, they will not listen to me. Furthermore I would not be able to warn them of looking at other peoples motes without having first removed their own beam.
I am assured, because the scripture tells me so, that if someone puts his faith in Jesus he is born again of the Holy Spirit. He becomes a new spiritual creation. The old passes away and, behold, all things are become new.
Once a person has repented before the cross God can work on the areas of his life which may need straightening out. Amongst other things God would work on is his wallet.
Baines seems to want to work on the mans wallet but has nothing to say about his soul. If we convert every banker to follow the ways of Marx they will not find salvation. They will finish up in the same hell as the impoverished people who rejected the salvation offered freely by Jesus.
God loves all men. He wants them all to find salvation. I doubt that Baines has yet found salvation for, had he done so, he would be manifesting Godly grace.

10 October 2009 at 19:05  
Anonymous Voyager said...

When a Bishop of the Church of England can spawn a self-righteous bigot like University dropout Jon Snow we know where we stand....

11 October 2009 at 02:05  
Anonymous Adrian P said...

@ Andrew K
But that's exactly how they think of us, only by accepting that will the world around youmake any sense.
If you assign a 50 : 50 Probability for each Protocol being a correct prediction you end up with the probability of the document being a forgery.
Do the math.

11 October 2009 at 06:06  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

I’m surprised that the bishop couldn’t find something nice to say about the Tories. After all, Cameron is a sponsor of the marxist UAF, is he not? You would think that would have curried some favour with yet another C of E bishop who wants to do politics and ‘excommunicate’ anyone who’s not well left of centre. I guess the CONservatives have not moved far enough to the left for the bishop’s liking.

11 October 2009 at 12:52  
Blogger Mrs Proudie of Barchester said...

Bravo Bishop Nick, that's the ticket! Rather go-ahead of you, if you don't mind me saying.

11 October 2009 at 18:30  
Blogger Mrs Proudie of Barchester said...

Oh dear... that's what comes from having spent a long tedious morning with Dr.Spacely-Trellis... I really must go and lie down

11 October 2009 at 18:31  
Anonymous Adrian P said...

Economics is very interesting, here is why they don't teach it in schools,

apparently, the Bank of England, Isn't.

The Money Masters Pt 1

22 October 2009 at 00:12  

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