Sunday, February 23, 2014

The bishops who secretly agree with IDS's welfare reforms


It has been a disappointing week. Not only has the Government palpably failed to alleviate poverty; it actually appears to have exacerbated it by current reforms to the benefit system. Worse, according to Bishop Nick Baines, politicians are not being entirely open with us:
Should the government just say clearly: we are determined to get people off welfare dependency and to reduce the tax burden of welfare, so we are prepared for people to starve and become destitute in order to achieve that longer-term goal; they won't take responsibility until forced to do so.

Harsh? Yes, but honest..
The belief that politicians are consciously and deliberately causing people to “starve and become destitute” to reduce benefit dependency is impossible to prove, but it is surprisingly widely held in the Church – at all levels. We can guess at the Government’s motives, and our guess may be informed by observation, suspicion or general dislike of them and all their policies. And our guess may be correct. But it is also possible that starvation and destitution, where they occur, are not the Government’s aim, but collateral damage caused by a chronically inefficient benefits system combined with a cack-handed attempt at radically reforming it.

Intention – as in other ecclesiastical contexts – is everything. Which is no doubt why the letter to the Mirror signed by 27 bishops (and subsequently endorsed by seven others via His Grace's site [and, indeed, eight others, if one includes the Archbishop of Canterbury's tacit blessing]) does not impute such a motive. While it blames delays, sanctions and cutbacks in the benefit system for half of those using food-banks (it does not explain the other half), it neither accuses the Government of having hunger as a policy objective, nor does it question the need for benefits reform; confining itself to calling on government “to do its part: acting to investigate food markets that are failing, to make sure that work pays, and to ensure that the welfare system provides a robust last line of defence against hunger”.

What has become the Great Benefits Row began with the publication on 14th February of a Telegraph interview with Archbishop (now Cardinal) Vincent Nichols, who said that “the basic safety net that was there to guarantee that people would not be left in hunger or in destitution has actually been torn apart” and that “the administration of social assistance.. has become more and more punitive”. This prompted a reply from the Prime Minister in the same paper who claimed that the Government’s welfare  reforms were part of a “moral mission” to give the unemployed “new hope and responsibility”.

Only a month ago, there was a flat endorsement of Iain Duncan Smith by the Archbishop of Canterbury. He told the BBC's Hardtalk programme: "..the Work and Pensions Secretary who's leading on this legislation and on these reforms is one of the most educated and thoughtful people in this area there is. I think we're very careful about saying he's got it wrong.”

There is, to put it kindly, a lack of dovetailing here. Is Archbishop Justin saying that the Government has got it wrong or not? There are characteristic signs of poor behind-the-scenes advice, crass Church House communication and a total lack of co-ordination: the 27 bishops’ letter – which is actually not all that devastating – was published in the Mirror, which is noted for its crude and slavish pro-Labour, anti-Coalition (and certainly anti-Conservative) slant. It would have carried much more weight had it been delivered to a more impartial newspaper, any of which would have been happy to publish it with the 'Red-Top' embellishment.

But, wherever it appeared, we must wonder what good its authors thought the letter might do. Will it – or the furore surrounding it – cause the Government to think again about its benefit reforms? Will it make them more open to the Churches’ representations on behalf of the poor? Or will it force them back into their bunker and to a conviction that, since the Church is prepared to criticise them so publicly, it has no interest in negotiating privately?

For the record – though speaking strictly off the record – two bishops bothered to make contact with His Grace to voice their disagreement with the bishops' letter. They understand the Coalition's political reasoning and appreciate the Cameron/IDS "moral mission". They recognise the social consequences of indolence and grasp the importance of work incentive. Neither bishop wished to be named because they were fully aware that the story would then become one of 'Church schism", or that of aloof Tory-toff bishops indifferent to the plight of the poor. Other members of the clergy have also been in touch to express their dismay, but they are loyal ministers of the gospel, in submission to their bishops, and have no wish for the media story to become one of 'breaking ranks' or rebellion. It is absolutely appalling that the media narrative is so skewed to the Left that sincere and devout Christian leaders dare not be seen to support the Right (whether they do or not). The truth is that eradicating poverty is not a party political pursuit, yet these 27 bishops and Church House have helped to make it so by choosing to bellow through a pathologically anti-Conservative rag: the medium is the message. 

Neither these two 'dissenting' bishops nor other members of the clergy deny the reality being experienced by the 27 (now 34), but the view is that this letter was an inept and graceless way of addressing their concerns: it not only failed to appreciate the ethical complexities of debt and the manifold causes of poverty, it gave an utterly distorted view of the Church to the world – that of being riddled with Socialist vicars supervised by Marxist bishops under the lordship of Jesus who would undoubtedly vote Labour. So pervasive is this belief that it constitutes a cultural truth.   

Poverty is a soft issue for the Church, and an easy topic to shout about in order to secure an injection (or perception) of political relevance. The Christian calling is to love our neighbour and to alleviate his or her suffering, and this has been our duty and joy from the beginning. We cannot, and should not, ever be criticised for espousing the cause of the poor. In times when the Church is so little regarded, we need to hang on to that. But the Church needs to see it not so much as a righteous banner or holy war-cry, but as a labour of love, and that includes not denouncing those in power – with whom we may or may not be naturally in sympathy – but engaging with them in a reasoned and constructive manner, and, indeed, praying for them.

The poor need us to do that. We have nothing to lose but our chains.

47 Comments:

Blogger DanJ0 said...

Article: "But it is also possible that starvation and destitution, where they occur, are not the Government’s aim, but collateral damage caused by a chronically inefficient benefits system combined with a cack-handed attempt at radically reforming it."

This. Especially the last bit. The treatment of some of the chronically ill or disabled is driving them to despair or even suicide. But despite the themes and memes on social media and the like, I doubt very much that it's intentional and I doubt IDS is the monster he's made out to be. In fact, he's probably a pretty decent man on a personal level.

23 February 2014 at 09:47  
Blogger James Reade said...

"it gave an utterly distorted view of the Church to the world – that of being riddled with Socialist vicars supervised by Marxist bishops under the lordship of Jesus who would undoubtedly vote Labour. So pervasive is this belief that it constitutes a cultural truth."

And this, rather than any decent politically neutral analysis of the issue at stake, it the nub of the matter, isn't it?

More to the point, it smears many of those bishops who sit just some way less to the right of the spectrum than you do - something those on either wing of the spectrum are never so bothered about doing.

What I find most fascinating is that this article provides no constructive alternative, just vague misunderstandings about debt and its causes, and an attempt to attack those who believe the current government is making the situation worse rather than better (something that can be said without the person saying it being a socialist/marxist/communist.

23 February 2014 at 10:01  
Blogger robert madelin said...

The Resto du Coeur movement in France has run for decades on the bipartisan assumption that no public safety net can be leak-proof. Church and lay social aid in England likewise. But Churchmen have no special knowledge in effective policy delivery, I guess, and were therefore simply emphasising the present unpalatable consequences, intended or not, of the current government's policy. What was missing from the letter was any announced Church initiative to respond to the increased suffering. THAT , preferably shared with leaders of other faiths with local charitable capacity, would deserve the headlines.

23 February 2014 at 11:39  
Blogger Inspector General in Ordinary said...

Well done those two bishops. Bravo those men !

There are now so many charities out there, often formed at the drop of a hat, and government agencies too, that even if the CoE wanted to actively engage in temporal relief, it’s hard to see where there’s an opening. But the relief of spiritual poverty, now that’s an empty field. And yet, it’s almost as if the church was designed for that very mission. Damn uncanny, I call it.

Meanwhile, more thought on the practicalities of what to do with really stupid people who have children, and then expect a plate of food for all at the end of the day, having napped in the lounge for a large part of it...

Well, the Inspector suggests this. Instead of leaving them to their own devices with hand out money they are clearly no good at valuing, they should be monitored. Made to appear every 3 months before a panel, who can advise and chastise. Take an interest in them. Oh, and just to make it interesting, penalties for not appearing. We could revive and borrow an old English term for this - the ‘Quarter Assizes’. One is sure we could even pick up on children who risked being murdered, as well as the Mick Philpot's of this life and the bizarre lifestyles they expose children to.

Pip Pip !


23 February 2014 at 12:43  
Blogger Rebel Saint said...

Like you say Cranmer, poverty - like 'equality & diversity' - is such a soft issue. Much easier to denounce the doctor who is making the patient 'suffer' withdrawal symptoms than denounce the benefits dealer who got them hooked on the first place!

What I long to hear is a bishop not denounce a political system of benefits but speak out against the root cause of genuine poverty - Sin. Wouldn't it be great to hear a bishop denounce greed, covetousness, laziness & selfishness and promote charity, alms, contentment & industry through the transforming work of the Holy Spirit.

I wish the CofE was as confident in the power of the gospel to bring healing, hope & restoration as it has in the power of the state to tax & spend.

23 February 2014 at 12:58  
Blogger Len said...

Inspector ,

'Your plan' is already in operation regarding benefits.
My daughter who is on Jobseekers (actually seeking a job!) was rushed into hospital and spent 3 days there .She was subsequently 'sanctioned' by the Jobseeking gestapo for not appearing to' sign on' leaving her unable to pay her rent.

Guess who ended up paying her rent?...No prizes for the right answer.

23 February 2014 at 13:01  
Blogger Elwin Daniels said...

There was some highly opinionated stuff on BBC radio 4 about all this this morning. Beginning with '4 thought' at quarter to 6 with a whining ex drug dealer blaming the middle class for forcing the poor into sink estates where they deterministically became criminals. Then on the 'Sunday' programme more of the usual 'tax the rich-and their descendants unto the seventh generation through borrowing.

At least Peter Hitchens, when he wasn't being interrupted, managed to quote St Paul 'He who will not work, let him not eat'. Whilst making it clear that the Church has a responsibility to feed and clothe widows and orphans.

Hitchens (I quote him freely) called for the Church to develop and roll out an authentically biblical view of poverty and charity rather than just assume that Jesus was a socialist and that we should all vote Labour and dish out benefits ad lib to anyone who wants them.

Telling this society and its trendy vicars that there is such a thing as the difference between deserving (widows and orphans) and undeserving (drunkards, thieves and layabouts) is a nasty job, but someone's got to do it.

23 February 2014 at 13:01  
Blogger Inspector General in Ordinary said...

Gentlemen. It’s time for the Inspector’s usual Sunday constitutional, taken whatever the weather, he might add.

Today, he shall be visiting the well known benefit claimants drop in centre at Kings Square, Gloucester - the ‘Fox and Giro’ – where, while taking refreshment with the needy as they eat their not that expensive Sunday roast, he will expand upon his idea of them being helped in the manner alluded to in his aforementioned post. He has brushed up on the Heimlich maneuverer, armed himself with smelling salts, and is in possession of a quantity of airline strength sick bags, lest the goodly layabouts choke on their pudding on hearing their fortune...


23 February 2014 at 13:08  
Blogger DanJ0 said...

Elwin: "Whilst making it clear that the Church has a responsibility to feed and clothe widows and orphans."

Let the widows work like the rest of us as we're not in the same sort of patriarchical society as the biblical authors were.

23 February 2014 at 13:09  
Blogger Rebel Saint said...

@DanJO 'Widows & orphans' does remind us who God expects to be the primary source of welfare - the family. But the family has been systematically deconstructed over several generations by politicians of every hue, whilst the Church has meekly stepped aside. Would love to see a letter in the mirror signed by 27 bishops extolling the relatively low benefits dependency amongst Asian & oriental communities, and denouncing successive governments for dismantling marriage & familial responsibly, and apologising for their part in not robustly defending opposing it.

23 February 2014 at 13:32  
Blogger David Hussell said...

Your Grace, Thank you providing some much needed balance regarding the far from simple, one issue nature of the moral arguments, and the need for the churches to see the wider moral picture. Idleness is not good for the fit and healthy. Poverty like most issues doesn't reduce to sound bites very well. But I suppose the media like to set up a Government vs Churches contest as it's assumed to be good copy.

I am with Peter Hitchins on this one, as explained well, by Elwin Daniels @ 13.01. Poverty is a terrible thing but so is robbing people, sometimes generations of people, of the satisfaction of supporting themselves and their families by their own efforts. But with endless ever cheaper immigrants forcing down the wages that can be earned, whittling away at motivation, it is the foolish policies of successive Governments that are largely to blame for creating the situation.

Wages need to be nudged upwards, by stemming the inward flows of people, thus opening up a clear gap between the wages available and welfare benefits. OK prices would rise as a result but taxes could be lowered as welfare out-payments would shrink. But first we need a labour supply more in balance with the labour demand, and that in turn requires us to regain control of our borders by exiting the EU. Support UKIP.

23 February 2014 at 13:33  
Blogger Happy Jack said...

Elwin Daniels, Happy Jack notes those words of Paul being quoted a lot nowadays to justify walking past people in need. He recalls Jesus saying:

For I was hungry, and you gave me to eat: I was thirsty, and you gave me to drink: I was a stranger, and you took me in: Naked, and you covered me: sick, and you visited me: I was in prison, and you came to me ....

Amen I say to you, as long as you did it to one of these my least brethren, you did it to me."

23 February 2014 at 13:36  
Blogger Anglican said...

Rebel Saint 13.32
“successive governments [have] dismantle[d] marriage & familial responsibly, and [should apologise] for their part in not robustly defending [and] opposing [this dismantling]”. I trust this accurately reflects what you said. Surely a major cause of poverty (also the increase in crime, despite official statistics, & welfare benefits, and poor education standards) is due precisely to this action by successive governments.

Having said that, the disparities in wealth and incomes in this country are far too great for a healthy and supposedly Christian society. I won’t even start about bankers’ bonuses.

23 February 2014 at 14:29  
Blogger Lucy Mullen said...

I think if the Bishops are blaming Westminster politicians and IDS for all the shenanigans of BIG BIG money (less a small % of decent multimillionaires who are trying to turn things around) then they are looking in the wrong place and concerned with apportioning blame wrongly. Most Westminster politicians haven't a clue what has happened, and are just trying to find some plasters that do some good. Why don't the Bishops educate themselves about the big time frauds, backhanders and cabals in world finance, question where that big deal came from that almost collapsed the world financial system in 2008, or has everyone forgotten that? It is no good saying that that was water under the bridge, no one really knows what happened, the US congress didn't really know, so let's trot on as if it never really mattered.

Because it matters profoundly deeply and intensely that anyone should have both power over sufficient funds, and the evil will to make a (presumably highly leveraged) deal that could do that, and there should be no let up until this has been rooted out of the system. And we need the Bishops to do their homework on these big economic issues, very hard work though it is.

As there are still a lot of derivatives out there, few if any begin to understand their composition and construction, nor their ubiquity, and we could still be a couple of leveraged deals off world economic chaos. And there are probably nihilists willing to pull the levers.

23 February 2014 at 15:03  
Blogger IanCad said...

We must help the helpless and offer the physically able the prospect of reasonably well paid work.

Let's focus on the young.

There are thousands of low skilled but demanding jobs in the agricultural sector that enterprizing foreigners are snapping up.
These occupations could, to a major degree, serve to give our youth a taste of the real world.

Howls will go out; employers will say that they won't work hard enough and that they are too soft, to say nothing of the constraints of the H&S Executive and insurance companies.

OK: They will be paid piece work rates; no minimum wage.
Employers shall be held harmless for injuries except in the most egregious cases of irresponsibility.

If they are offered employment a right of refusal shall be granted on the condition that all benefits will stop.

Got to start somewhere.

23 February 2014 at 15:12  
Blogger Lucy Mullen said...

@ Danjo

"Let the widows work like the rest of us."

How soon do you want the 60 or 70 year old widows back on the task force after bereavement no doubt doing heavy labour, and do you want them to slog till they drop.

Of course in the old days if you had no children there was no one to support you in your old age. Nowadays you can live off the labour of other people's children, while abusing those who did all the hard unpaid work of bringing them up, and insisting in equal handouts of money put aside originally specifically to help widows, who had lesser incomes from being women and having sacrificed earnings to bring the next labour force up.

Looks to me like you really dislike these poor mostly elderly women.

23 February 2014 at 15:25  
Blogger Elwin Daniels said...

DanJo and Happy Jack

I happily accept both your criticisms on my earlier post. Yes, widows in today's society may well be capable of work, and of course our Lord did command us to act charitably. I can prove from my bank statements and tax return that I try to obey.

The fact remains (as the bishops' letter and reaction to it shows) that it is easier for a Christian to appeal for more government distribution of free money than to articulate the case that some (not all) benefit claimants are layabouts, drunkards, thieves and scroungers. Even harder to argue that it was stupid going on wicked to create a system in which it was possible for many people to make a more or less conscious decision to live off the labour of others.

As I said above, it will always attract some opprobrium for suggesting that some claimants are non legitimate. Peter Hitchens is perhaps the most hated journalist in Britain because he says unsayable things like this. He even said this morning that the collapse of the married family as a support network had been a disaster. Ouch!

Let me try to set out the safety net versus feather bed principle simply.

stroke victim=deserving poor

habitual drunkard=undeserving poor

We should help the first, but not the second, except with at least one fair chance at rehab. Which is why I always bung the Salvation Army £100 at Christmas time.

There is of course more to it than that, and there will always be particular cases. But we really do need to move beyond the party political 'benefits good, cutbacks bad' level of debate on this.

Our yet unborn great grandchildren, to whom we are bequeathing an unrepayable debt mountain because we will not live within our means, will rise up and curse our memory if we don't sort this. Bishops campaigning for a Labour vote on a simplistic and emotive ticket won't help.

23 February 2014 at 15:27  
Blogger Happy Jack said...

Elwin D, sounds like the song "Gypsies, tramps and thieves", to Happy Jack.

Jack would prefer good old Christian charity to state 'entitlement' for many of the reasons you have given. However, it seems to Jack, a Christian should be prepared to lend assistance to anyone who needs it, without grilling them about their circumstances. Drunks, drug addicts and prostitutes included. Each will have a 'story' and each a spark of life within them.

Isn't it better to be conned by 99 "reprobates" than to risk losing one soul because of judging them unworthy of help?

23 February 2014 at 15:54  
Blogger Lucy Mullen said...

@ Elwin

Having known people, and been myself one of those with relatives who are alcoholics I think it is much more complex than simply to label alcoholics as "undeserving poor". Most of them are trapped; they didn't set out one day, and think "I will become an idle alcoholic". They got there slowly, and by the time it is clear that they are ill they are usually in too great denial to admit it, and the thing has them in thrall. It is next to impossible to help someone in denial, and gifts get squandered on e bay for cash to buy drink. I can't say they are undeserving. Some find themselves in a living hell, and if they take on less drink, they are plagued by D.Ts when monsters and demons pursue them in nightmares. Any of us would pity that wretched state, but dealing with it needs a multidisciplinary team with outside support, specialist knowledge, patience and prayer. These are extremely thin on the ground, so most fall by the wayside, dragging their friends and relations down as well.

Best of course that society grows up and has a take it (in moderation) or leave it attitude which would be a proactive dissuasion, but we are far from there at the moment.

I am sure IDS would agree.

23 February 2014 at 15:58  
Blogger DanJ0 said...

Lucy: "How soon do you want the 60 or 70 year old widows back on the task force after bereavement no doubt doing heavy labour, and do you want them to slog till they drop."

Lucy, you seem to be mixing up 'widow' for 'pensioner'. I can explain the difference if you like. Or you can get yourself a feckin' dictionary.

"Looks to me like you really dislike these poor mostly elderly women."

I see you're away with the faeries [1] again, like you were when that B&B couple came up.

[1] No, not those.

23 February 2014 at 17:10  
Blogger Elwin Daniels said...

Happy Jack, I SO hear what you are saying and I am sure you are very compassionate. But at the risk of sounding like Mrs Thatcher, the money to fund our massive welfare bill, including pensions and healthcare costs from retirement at 60-65 to the now average age at death of 81, actually has to be found. It cannot simply be wished into existence.

Such funds must come from selling assets (none left last I heard) taxing current workers (already taxed to the hilt) or borrowing (taxing future generations).

Currently we are taxing many people who are not particularly wealthy themselves to fund welfare, as Peter Hitchens said on Radio 4 this morning (at about 07.50 if you want to Listen Again).

At this stage in our nation's economic history, any increase in benefits can only be funded by borrowing.


While the possibility exists that some people are allergic to work and will play the system, welfare simply has to be limited, and, guess what, those who consider themselves entitled to a limitless supply of free money and those who buy their votes will object. And of course anyone says anything about it, they are a heartless evil Tory, a Levite and Pharisee passing by. Even if they privately support development and relief charities by monthly standing orders.


A reduction ad absurdum scenario might imagine a drunk falling out of the pub demanding money of a woman on the way to the shops to buy her children some shoes. Should she refuse? If so, on what grounds? And if she does refuse to hand the children's shoe money over, then we have established a principle that some poor people do not have a legitimate demand to free money. And having established this principle.....


See how difficult it gets? I do not envy IDS, but wish him well. His job is of course much harder because Tony Blair, having tasked the decent socialist Frank Field to 'think the unthinkable' on welfare reform, promptly sacked him when he did so.

But it can't go on. Its the arithmetic that will fix it more than the ethics. The current generation of heavily indebted university students facing unaffordable housing and unable to afford to have children will turn on my cossetted generation and refuse to pay for our 25 year retirements. The longer welfare reform is left the nastier it will become.

kind regards.

23 February 2014 at 17:24  
Blogger Elwin Daniels said...

Lucy Mullen

Again, you illustrate beautifully how difficult it is to set out even the POSSIBILITY that some benefit claimants are behaving unfairly towards others who have faced adversity but made morally better choices.

OK, so lets get rid of blame, abandon any attempt at means testing and just give a free home, free money and free everything to anyone with a hard luck story.

Tax the rich Tory toffs to fund it. They can sell their yachts and homes in the south of France.

What could possibly go wrong?

23 February 2014 at 17:28  
Blogger Lucy Mullen said...

IT isn't as simple as that. Tell all the alcoholics that they are the undeserving poor and will no longer be funded and what happens?

More stealing, cheating, police time, prison, NHS & associated costs, or more people begging and dying out on the streets.

Believe me it gets as basic as that.

@ Danjo

Best figures I can find are these, albeit AD2k

28% of women aged 65-69 widowed
74% of women aged 85 and over.

eprints.hud.ac.uk/5129/2/Chapter_3_Pat_Chambers.pdf

A bit of a myth, or a fairytale that there is an army of feckless idle healthy widows living it up in front of the telly out there. In fact loads of these are involved with looking after grandchildren while mothers go back to work also.

23 February 2014 at 17:46  
Blogger Mrs Proudie of Barchester said...

Isn't it all a matter of priorities and who decides what they are? I mean, the government does not generate money per se, it takes money from the people in tax using a variety of methods, all backed up with the threat of coercion. One might expect the money thus raised was spent to improve the lives of those who contributed, and those in need of extra support. However, government sees itself as a world player and a member of this and that international club, so billions of pounds are handed over to international institutions such as the EU. Some would argue this is a good thing, ensuring trade and other benefits (which tend to be obscure as far as ordinary people are concerned) and others would say charity begins at home. Most of us do live within our means but government does not. Priorities - the people or the world stage...hmmm

23 February 2014 at 17:52  
Blogger Inspector General in Ordinary said...

Right, that’s it, a fellow can only take so much of this on-going rot about the poor.

The way out of poverty is to have children, and they do. The little mites are no doubt better off than their contemporaries whose parents live in the real world of work.

As for the childless poor, when has there been a case of someone found in their hovel having starved to death ?

It doesn't happen in the UK.

So, appoint a Royal Commission if you don’t believe this man. See what they have to say.

There is a lot to be said about environmental poverty, as in sink estates. That’s different. We can actually DO something about that over time. Tomorrow if you like if you put drug dealers to death, but you won’t...

23 February 2014 at 18:19  
Blogger Inspector General in Ordinary said...

And another thing. Stop bashing the bankers.

The UK earns a sizeable part of its dinner money from financial services. From these peoples efforts we ALL get to eat. If it involves making millionaires out of the top few, then so be it. That’s the price of it. it’s not as if it’s coming out of your pockets, so what is the damn problem. Out with it, what is it ?

WELL ?

23 February 2014 at 18:55  
Blogger Len said...

I have worked constantly for 50 yrs and paid my taxes took out a private pension which tuned out to be virtually worthless and now I am being told by some people that I am 'surplus to requirements'.

I am also supporting various charities and my children( young adults) who find it virtually impossible (or at least extremely difficult) to get a permanent job,so I support them when I can.
So at the age of 67 I am embarking on a new career to try and make 'ends meet'.
In heard a rumour that pensioners are going to have their medication stopped because they are (the term I think is 'useless eaters')and this(cutting off their medication) will possibly hasten their demise.

I have always thought that any society which can 'terminate' their offspring in the womb will eventually turn their attention to the other end of the spectrum and find ways to terminate those who have passed a certain age.







23 February 2014 at 19:00  
Blogger IanCad said...

IGiO @ 18:55

Spoken like a true American!

23 February 2014 at 19:02  
Blogger IanCad said...

God bless you Len,

May good fortune smile upon you.
Age is entirely relative. You will make it.
As I said on another thread: "There is still spirit in this land."

23 February 2014 at 19:06  
Blogger Len said...

Orwell had it right ...A man before his time but very relevant today.There is only so much cake to be divided up (in this case apples and milk)

Comrades!' he cried. 'You do not imagine, I hope, that we pigs are doing this in a spirit of selfishness and privilege? Many of us actually dislike milk and apples. I dislike them myself. Our sole object in taking these things is to preserve our health. Milk and apples (this has been proved by Science, comrades) contain substances absolutely necessary to the well-being of a pig. We pigs are brainworkers. The whole management and organisation of this farm depend on us. Day and night we are watching over your welfare. It is for your sake that we drink the milk and eat those apples. Do you know what would happen if we pigs failed in our duty? Jones would come back! Yes, Jones would come back! Surely, comrades,' cried Squealer almost pleadingly, skipping from side to side and whisking his tail, 'surely there is no one among you who wants to see Jones come back?'



23 February 2014 at 19:07  
Blogger Lucy Mullen said...

IG in O

If it is me who you think is bashing the bankers I would say:
a) Banking is an honourable profession, when done with old style professional ethics.
b) Some very dodgy stuff has been happening recently, and with particular reference to certain very large banks who have been found rigging markets. Libor is not the half of it.
c) In 2008 a very dodgy deal went through which almost collapsed the world markets. Rep Paul Kanjorski can be seen asking some pertinent questions and turning pale at the answers. The people who tried this were not friendly to the way the Western world is now, nor to the Church, nor to individual freedom.
d) quantitative easing has produced a pig's breakfast.
e) the derivatives markets are ripe for a major catastrophe, not least the gold paper market which is done on a fractional reserve basis, of, I believe 82 paper ounces to every 1 real ounce; this is absurd beyond ridicule.

I am pro capitalism, but that means decent markets, without cabals, fraud, manipulation and monopolies. I want the markets to work for humankind and not for those who fix the markets unscrupulously.

23 February 2014 at 19:14  
Blogger Inspector General in Ordinary said...

IanCad. Why, thank you son. You sure do know how to please a southern gentleman. Now, you get yourself back home boy, them chores are awaiting.

23 February 2014 at 19:17  
Blogger Phil Roberts said...

Lucy

"Of course in the old days if you had no children there was no one to support you in your old age. Nowadays you can live off the labour of other people's children, while abusing those who did all the hard unpaid work of bringing them up, and insisting in equal handouts of money put aside originally specifically to help widows, who had lesser incomes from being women and having sacrificed earnings to bring the next labour force up."

Excellent

Though I disagree with you later. Alcoholics should get no welfare. They are not capable of working neither should drug users

Single men up to the age of 50 should not get welfare either. they are quite capable of working.

Phil

23 February 2014 at 19:31  
Blogger Phil Roberts said...

David H

Well said

I think if you were running against our local MP (Conservative)I would be tempted to go out and vote for the first time ever.

Phil

23 February 2014 at 19:33  
Blogger Phil Roberts said...

Happy Jack

"Christian should be prepared to lend assistance to anyone who needs it, without grilling them about their circumstances. Drunks, drug addicts and prostitutes included."

Absolutely. Giving them welfare though for life (especially for the first two) is a different thing entirely.

Phil



23 February 2014 at 19:43  
Blogger Phil Roberts said...

Len

Read about KFC and "Col" Sanders who started frying chicken at the age of 65 when he found his pension did not make ends meet


By the time of his death, (age 90) there were an estimated 6,000 KFC outlets in 48 different countries worldwide, with $2 billion of sales annually.

Phil

23 February 2014 at 19:53  
Blogger Inspector General in Ordinary said...

My dear Lucy. The banker is a cunning animal, of that there is no doubt, but he does not wish to go to gaol. So, he confines his mischief not so much as to what is legal, more to what is not yet illegal.

There you have it. At the moment we have a closing of the stable door situation. Though one hopes that one day, all the options are covered, one suspects that will never be the case. You see, we have men involved who are actually cleverer than the Inspector, if you could imagine such a thing.


23 February 2014 at 20:15  
Blogger Happy Jack said...

"You see, we have men involved who are actually cleverer than the Inspector, if you could imagine such a thing."

*chuckle*

23 February 2014 at 22:02  
Blogger Lucy Mullen said...

@ IG in O

Hmmm. Whilst sure this is so for your sort, there are others who do things with smoke, mirrors and algorithms, clever Maths graduates who either don't go to church, or are good at sophistry to self-justify. I daresay there are no pubs in Gloucester called "The Smoke and Mirrors"; not really that sort of place despite tattoos and being the younger muckier sister of slightly prissy and over -classical Cheltenham.

23 February 2014 at 22:38  
Blogger Happy Jack said...

Lucy M "Gloucester .... being the younger muckier sister of slightly prissy and over -classical Cheltenham."

*chuckle*

23 February 2014 at 23:45  
Blogger Len said...

Phil Roberts ,

There is hope for me yet.Not sure about the frying though!.

24 February 2014 at 08:39  
Blogger David Kavanagh said...

Lucy Mullen @ 23 February 2014 19:14, you seem very knowledgeable about financial markets, have you got any tips? I agree with you that proper specie is better than the paper stuff. Krugerrands and standard delivery bars it is!

24 February 2014 at 11:13  
Blogger Lucy Mullen said...

@ David Kavanagh.
Not that knowledgeable to be honest.
I just pass on some of the best of what I hear from those who really are knowledgeable! Next stop is Andrew Maguire on King World News. He is really worth listening to/ reading and really knows a lot of what is happening!!

24 February 2014 at 11:49  
Blogger John Thomas said...

"but as a labour of love, and that includes not denouncing those in power – with whom we may or may not be naturally in sympathy ..." - and also includes BALANCING their message with a frank admission that there are indolent benefit scroungers, and giving them money involves first STEALING it from people who do work; all an immorality which bishops should be denouncing.

24 February 2014 at 11:51  
Blogger David Kavanagh said...

Lucy Mullen,

Ah thanks for that. I thought you might have been a Hedgie (:

24 February 2014 at 13:15  
Blogger E.xtra S.ensory Blofeld + Tiddles said...

John Thomas said...

"but as a labour of love, and that includes not denouncing those in power – with whom we may or may not be naturally in sympathy ..." - and also includes BALANCING their message with a frank admission that there are indolent benefit scroungers, and giving them money involves first STEALING it from people who do work; all an immorality which bishops should be denouncing. "

The bishops are not saying this at all.

They have not said 'give money to fraudsters and tricksters irrespective'.

They are saying that as the drive for austerity is going ahead relentless of justice, the genuine poor are suffering for lack of fail safes within the ATOS assessment system...It's called DISCERNING THE GENUINE FROM THE CROOKED!!

Every fish is caught in the DWP net, there is no selective criteria in operation.

Blofeld

25 February 2014 at 01:20  
Blogger Peter C said...

Seems to me the Bishops should be setting the agenda - protect the weak etc, but leave the implementation to the politicians. This allows a discussion of the best way to achieve the goal.

27 February 2014 at 23:42  

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