Leading Anglicans, religion and social policy

They used to say the Anglican Church was the Conservative party at prayer.It was true that in the 1970s and 1980s a lot of Conservative members could be found at morning service on a Sunday. It was not true even then that the vicars preached on Conservative lines. Eye of the needle sermons were more popular. Those Conservatives who were in employment on decent salaries or who had saved for their retirement were made to feel uncomfortable.

Today the gap between the Church and the Conservative party is even greater than when Anglican worthies wrote in condemnation of Mrs Thatcher’s policies, and set up Faith in the cities. They were not too noisy during the Blair years about domestic matters, but today some Church leaders seem to have become the religious wing of Labour’s campaign for higher welfare payments.

They imply there is a level of welfare benefit that could be paid which would mean no-one needed emergency help any more. They look forward to the closure of all food banks because everyone always has enough money to pay the household bills. I would sign up immediately for that if there was a way of achieving it. If poverty could be abolished by a sweep of the legislative pen, elected officials would have done it years ago. If only government could magic away all life’s problems and all people’s mistakes. I seem to remember there were all too many people on drugs, without jobs, and suffering from insufficient welfare support under Labour as well. Food banks were set up under Labour for people facing a temporary crisis, though the government did not want to encourage them. The main difference between the last Labour government and the current Coalition one, is the present government welcomes the additional help food banks offer, and refers people to them, where Labour declined to do so.

Where they draw attention to individual cases where benefits have not been paid on time or harsh judgements have been made in individual cases, they will have Ministers and MPs from the governing parties on their side and seeking to help as well. Coalition MPs did not come into politics to be unfair to the disabled or unsympathetic to someone who cannot find a job.

The evolution of Anglican theology and philosophy is interesting. In the heyday of the Anglican Church when most went to a Sunday service, and when the Church was expanding its buildings and its charitable works, it preached a more balanced moral position. Protestants thought people should work hard and provide for themselves wherever possible. Some in the Church even went too far, implying the elect or God’s chosen were people who those who provided for their families and used the fruits of their success to finance the local Church and offered welfare to the poor. Certainly the rich and the moderately well off were welcomed to Church.

Today much Anglican rhetoric is a doctrine for the oppressed. The Church of course wishes to do good by offering a helping hand to the dispossessed, the disabled and the fallen.I am all for that. But in doing so it does not need to condemn or cold shoulder all those who do manage to provide for themselves and their families in true Protestant enterprising style. The art of the Church should be to draw those people in too, and to harness their talents and energies to a wider purpose.Nor should it just campaign against a government of two parties seeking to promote work as the best means to a better living standard for many, without accepting that there is good in plans to make it more worthwhile for everyone to have a job.

Instead, some vicars seem to think all welfare has to come from the government, that the only morality that matters is the morality of higher taxes, and that the better off half should be condemned or left outside the Church door as unworthy of the union of the dispossessed who will come to attain the kingdom of heaven. Such thinking is divisive and can harm the poor. I rarely hear an Anglican statement these days without a ritual denunciation of bankers, though Anglican staff salaries are partly derived on the extensive invested wealth of the Church which passes through the hands of financiers, and from the extensive tax breaks the Church enjoys on its income and wealth.

I do not want the Anglican Church to go back to supporting the establishment without sufficient thought for the poor.I do want them to have a more mature understanding of the complex causes of poverty, and of the various ways successive governments are trying to combat it. The current government has no more wish than the previous Labour administration or the Thatcher government to create more poverty or to leave poverty untreated.

The Church at its best can be a presence in our communities, itself reducing loneliness, low self esteem, poor morale and the sense of powerlessness which can grip people. Helping people with a few days of free food may be a good thing to do, and unfortunately necessary even in a welfare state spending £210 billion a year on state benefits and tax credits.Some people do face problems which render the benefit payments insufficient, and sometimes a system designed for the many can let down a few through its rules.

Even better is for the Church to work with individuals and families on how in future that family can manage better and work to help themselves, so they can face the food bill the following week with money to pay it. The Church needs to work with the grain of our welfare state, and to help improve it, understanding the drift of policy towards seeing work and self help as the best way for many to achieve a better lifestyle. As is often said, it is better to teach a man to fish than to give him a fish to eat once in a while.

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79 Comments

  1. arschloch
    Posted April 21, 2014 at 6:19 am | Permalink

    Ok so a couple of vicars need to be reminded of article 38. However the vicar of the CoE church I go to regularly points out in his sermons that the much of the need for welfare would disappear if people to led more moral lives. However in my view the government does everything in its way to encourage the opposite. We now have the ridiculous situation that it allows betting shops to be open on a Sunday morning and casinos to proliferate. I am down here in Bristol for the holidays and the town centre stinks of cannabis smoke too.

    I do not support food banks because I do not believe there are sufficient checks in place to stop the undeserving helping themselves to free food. However its a bit funny to read an article like this from some one who comes from a group of people who need to eat in subsidised restaurants and need access to cheap alcohol too. This is despite their base salary being 67k. One of your colleagues even bunged in an expenses receipt for thirty nine quid for his breakfast. If he is spending that amount, Monday to Friday, that is way in excess what I spend to feed a family of four for the whole week.

    http://www.churchofengland.org/prayer-worship/worship/book-of-common-prayer/articles-of-religion.aspx#XXXVIII

    • Anonymous
      Posted April 21, 2014 at 9:40 am | Permalink

      It is also the case that schools fines, for taking children on holiday during term times, married parents are charged at twice the rate as single ones.

      Yet another way by which married parents are weighted against.

      The CofE is at fault through not standing up in defence of marriage against successive governments.

      BTW – benefits recipients get plenty. It is their money management that is questionable. One suspects that the people most in need of food banks are the working poor and pensioners.

  2. Mike Stallard
    Posted April 21, 2014 at 6:46 am | Permalink

    The anglican church has lost its way and that is why our local Church (rebuilt 1274 a.d.) is firmly closed. Church is not about gay rights. It is not about lady bishops in fancy dress. It is not about representing the poor.
    The Church is a conduit for God’s mercy. It is a lifeline to heaven. It is the living body of Christ on earth.
    Jesus himself met, understood and spoke with everyone whether rich or poor, sick or healthy, in or out of employment. Sometimes he helped them, sometimes not. He also came back from the dead and met all sorts of people then too.

    PS In our town it is the Christians who provide the food bank, not the local Labour Party or the National Secular Society.

    • Leslie Singleton
      Posted April 21, 2014 at 8:15 am | Permalink

      Mike–I am surprised (happens a lot these days) that you, and John, have written heaven rather than Heaven

      • forthurst
        Posted April 21, 2014 at 10:36 am | Permalink

        The latter could be confused with a nightclub for persons of sin.

      • Lifelogic
        Posted April 21, 2014 at 3:01 pm | Permalink

        Well is it a place or merely a construct or concept?

    • forthurst
      Posted April 21, 2014 at 9:25 am | Permalink

      “The anglican church has lost its way and that is why our local Church (rebuilt 1274 a.d.) is firmly closed.”

      Sadly, yet another example of a failed nationalisation, as ever, run down by a bunch of socialists appointed by the government acting through the Royal Prerogative.

  3. stred
    Posted April 21, 2014 at 7:00 am | Permalink

    Well said. Perhaps you were watching the Easter morning service on BBC yesterday. My bird had been to services at our local Anglican church this weekend where the vicar works as a middle ranking banker, doing a very good and helpful job during the week, then gives thoughtful sermons with some theology, morality, and a sense and humour, but avoiding politics. A lot of C of E vicars even go along with the idea that Jesus was not actually a god, up there managing things with (The “Father” ed). I might even decide to go to a service one day.

    However, as often is the case the BBC service slipped into a party political broadcast given by some pompous, self righteous (person ed) in a dog collar and I had to leave the room to stay in a good mood. Then RC Frank came on from Rome and he managed to avoid politics by asking for God’s help sorting out all the wars and disasters in the World. Hardly anywhere was left unhelped. Well done Frank.

    My son came to lunch and my bird and I had a lively theological argument about the explanation for Christian beliefs and scientific fact. I found out to my amazement, that although she is all for foodbanks and likes the Cof E prayers and ceremonial stuff, she thinks Jesus may not have been resurrected straight up but may have survived and escaped, but left his important teachings, which are the important thing. My son said the dicussion taught him more about religion that he had learned in school. What a shame these narrow minded socialist vicars are so boring and persuade the less bright congregation to vote their way.

    • stred
      Posted April 21, 2014 at 4:39 pm | Permalink

      Re editing ‘the old one ‘ for ‘the Father’, the former was A.Einsteins name for him.

  4. Lifelogic
    Posted April 21, 2014 at 7:28 am | Permalink

    As a choir boy in the sixties and early seventies I used to listen to a lot of drivel Cof E sermons even then but the bishops now certainly seem even dafter nowadays. It certainly did a lot to make me distrust all religions.

    It is, of course, far better to teach a man to fish than to give them fish. I would go further, it is immoral to keep doing the latter (unless he/she is mentally or physically incapable of work). Augmenting the feckless is not a strategy that helps anyone, least of all the beneficiary. Mind you even if you teach them to fish (or similar) they will still probably be prevented by EU regulations on quotas, health and safely or similar or they will not be able to afford the new “green” regulations engines for their boats or something.

    The moral course to take is surely to create a system (of tax, regulation and legal risk framework) that eliminates non productive of parasitic jobs, rewards those who efforts deserve reward, deters pointless litigation and does not reward those who do not deserve reward. Fewer lawyers, tax consultants, bureaucrats, quack green religion experts, bishops, priests, regulators and similar and more builders, scientists, engineers, sales people and entrepreneurs.

    The world has never been such a promising place. We have made huge strides in medicine, electronics, energy, efficiency, genetics, genetic engineering, dentistry, food production, disease control, inoculations, engineering efficiency, transport, information systems and countless other fields. All these improvement with accelerate further future improvements and advances as they provide tools for inventing these.

    It has surely never been better, more positive, more comfortable or more exciting to be alive.

    Yet we have the BBC, governments, lefties and silly Bishops pushing the usual lefty, anti science, wealth divide, doom and gloom, magic money tree, politics of envy in every direction. When will they grow up. They should ponder on the huge advances and improvements made in the last 100 years and think of the even greater ones to come over the next 100. Hopefully with less irrational religion, less green crap, fewer parasitic jobs, politics of envy and far less BBC/Libdem/Labour think around.

    Alas no science and rather lefty Cameron is about to put Labour in power for a few terms.

    • Lifelogic
      Posted April 21, 2014 at 7:34 am | Permalink

      People could not even go to garden centres yesterday due to these unelected Bishops. Nor employ teenagers even to serve tea and cakes in tea rooms, nor do any other job. Who are these loopies to tell us all what we can do on Sundays?

      Getting young people a Sunday/Saturday job is a very good thing indeed for them the government should get out of the way.

      • Cliff. Wokingham
        Posted April 21, 2014 at 10:35 am | Permalink

        LL.

        You must remember that, your “right” to go shopping at a garden center on Easter Sunday, or indeed any other Sunday, imposes a duty on others to man that facility. People who work in retail now, are forced to accept bank holiday and Sunday working, often for no pay enhancement. This is the case despite the government of the day, stating at the time of the change, that no one will be forced to work Sundays.
        I do not think it is too much to ask for Two whole days a year (Easter Sunday and Christmas day) when places close which allows families to spend some time together. I would also add Good Friday too. Remember it tends to be those further down the socio-economic scale that work in retail; just the type of people I thought this government should be helping to promote strong family units. That is, I would suggest, a strong piece of traditional Conservatism. If only we had a Conservative Party leader or a Conservative Party which we Conservatives could get behind. In my opinion, Mr Cameron and the party leadership, should be prosecuted under the trades description act. You think you’re buying Conservatism with your vote, but end up getting progressive Marxism.

        Just because you don’t like religions, it doesn’t mean you should belittle everyone who has faith, you need to accept that many people have deep faith, including many engineers and some very highly educated people.

        By the way John, the “Eye of the Needle,” referred to in the Bible, is a pedestrian gate beside the main gate to the city of Jerusalem. The rich merchants usually rode into the city on camels and needed the main gate opened in order to get in.

        I do think that The state’s church has distorted many of the Christian teachings, just to make political points…..Perhaps The Archbishop should remember Saint Paul’s instruction: “Let him that does not work, not eat.”
        Personally, as a Catholic myself, I think we have a duty to provide for those less fortunate than ourselves however, some people do appear to take the mickey just a tad.

        • Lifelogic
          Posted April 21, 2014 at 5:45 pm | Permalink

          The point surely, is that the religious can, if they so choose not shop or work on a Sunday (or Easter Sunday) we do not force them to. They however do want to force others (not of their beliefs) to do things just because they do not like them.

          Nor should they have representatives in the house of Lords. Though they are often very amusing with their purple outfits, headgear and with their silly, irrational pronouncements.

          No one is forced to work on Sunday, nor even to work at all in the UK.

          I am perfectly happy for people to have religions if they find they help them personally, so long as they do not think they have a right to ram their beliefs down my throat, down young children’s throats or indeed down any one’s throats.

    • arschloch
      Posted April 21, 2014 at 8:42 am | Permalink

      “As is often said, it is better to teach a man to fish than to give him a fish to eat once in a while.” JR are you not being a pharisee here? I seem to remember the government that you were a minister of liked to waste the oil revenues on benefits rather than retrain the newly unemployed as you went about destroying the UKs manufacturing base.

      Reply The Conservative government had substantial programmes to train people and generate new industrial and commercial activity.

      • arschloch
        Posted April 21, 2014 at 9:59 am | Permalink

        Eh I seem to remember it was never a case of “get out of thy bed and work” More like sign up for incapacity benefit and we will give you (until now) the wink that you will never need to work again as it helps us keep the dole figures down

      • ian wragg
        Posted April 21, 2014 at 2:27 pm | Permalink

        The Tory government has presided over the biggest de-industrialisation programme anywhere in the world by interfering in markets and distorting things. Whilst it was correct of Mrs Thatcher (God Bless Her) to cut off the oxygen of subsidy to state failing industries, there has been no need to price our steel, chemical, aluminium and other industries out of existence.
        When history is written, you will all be ridiculed for your fake green religion and gross stupidity. Roll on Nigel, let’s get some sense in Westminster.
        By the way my wife’s charity gives out food parcels to the really needy as defined by various state agencies which are unable to get their sh-t together with benefit payments.

        • libertarian
          Posted April 21, 2014 at 9:17 pm | Permalink

          Ian Wragg

          Currently the UK is the worlds 7th largest manufacturing nation ( UP from 8th)

          Just for once I wish people would at least try to understand that the world changes. Innovation and technology change the way things are made. Thats the reason that less people are employed doing manufacturing jobs NOT because we don’t make anything. We now make more vehicles in this country than we’ve ever made before

          Oh and

          Arschloch

          During Thatchers reign industrial output and manufacturing ROSE 12%

      • Edward2
        Posted April 21, 2014 at 4:08 pm | Permalink

        We all had a hand in destroying our manufacturing base AL.

        Buying Japanese, Chinese, Indian and all other nation’s products instead of our own.
        Poor quality and poor reliability products made often by unhappy strike prone workforces, I would agree led to this situation.

        The ending of Labours policy of endlessly bailing out loss making nationalised industries was all Mrs Thatcher did.
        The rest was down to all of our personal purchasing decisions.

    • Lifelogic
      Posted April 21, 2014 at 2:35 pm | Permalink

      I cannot help thinking that people who have a strong and/or genuine religious belief (in whatever old religion or the new religions like Catastrophic Warming, quack energy, all shall have prizes, or the equality by government decree religion) are quite unsuitable for a position in government. Unless that is they can separate out these beliefs from their hopefully more rational actions and considerations in government.

      After all look at the damage created by Blairs idiotic, damaging and losing wars – one entered into on a blatant lie. For good people to do evil it takes religion. It is however true conversely that religion can often make bad people do good things sometimes.

      • Mike Stallard
        Posted April 21, 2014 at 5:01 pm | Permalink

        Why not reply to this drivel?
        Al Bukhari was indeed religious. He lived a century or so after the prophet Mohammed at a time when people were forgetting all about the original events. So he deliberately went round remembering by heart – yup rote learning and remembering – at lest 6000 stories and reflections about the Prophet. Not only that, but he also remembered who had told him the stories.
        To the disgust of many other Muslims, he then wrote the whole lot down.
        etc ed

  5. Antisthenes
    Posted April 21, 2014 at 7:36 am | Permalink

    The church has a good and long record of supporting the poor and the sick and charitable works by them and other better off members of society is always welcome. However capitalism has a far better record of taking people out of poverty and giving healthcare as past and present experience tells us. Yet the evidence tells us that Conservative ideology may not appear on the surface to benefit the less able or those with disabilities however a side effect of the policies arising from that ideology indeed does. Left wing thinking which the clergy appear very guilty of is designed specifically to target the poorer and disadvantaged sections of society but has very limited success and quite often produces the opposite to that which was originally desired. If the lefts dominance aided and abetted by the clergy is allowed to continue then all that will be achieved is that we will all become poorer and disadvantaged and only left wing parties apparatchiks and crony capitalists will benefit.

    • uanime5
      Posted April 21, 2014 at 11:25 pm | Permalink

      However capitalism has a far better record of taking people out of poverty and giving healthcare as past and present experience tells us.

      No it hasn’t. The capitalist USA has more people living in poverty and without access to healthcare than the more socialist Scandinavian countries.

      Yet the evidence tells us that Conservative ideology may not appear on the surface to benefit the less able or those with disabilities however a side effect of the policies arising from that ideology indeed does.

      How exactly does calling the unemployed scroungers and forcing them into further poverty with benefit cuts help the poor and disabled?

      Left wing thinking which the clergy appear very guilty of is designed specifically to target the poorer and disadvantaged sections of society but has very limited success and quite often produces the opposite to that which was originally desired.

      How exactly does calling for these benefit sanctions to be scrapped harm the disadvantaged in society who are suffering the most from these sanctions?

      It seems that Conservative ideology is the source of most people’s problems, while left wing thinking is the solution.

      • libertarian
        Posted April 22, 2014 at 11:01 am | Permalink

        Uanime5

        As always you are WRONG. The USA spends more on public health than we spend on NHS

        Socialist France has more homeless people than the whole of USA

        Not one single country has succeeded with socialism oh and socialism cant even get started without capitalism

        More than 20 countries have abondoned socialism

  6. Cheshire Girl
    Posted April 21, 2014 at 7:50 am | Permalink

    I am finding it hard to ascertain the names of all the 55 ‘public figures’ who wrote a letter in the Telegraph today , berating David Cameron for saying that Britain is still a Christian country.
    Can anyone help me to find this list please as only six names are printed in the Telegraph. I’m sure that some of the signatories would not want to remain anonymous

    • Cheshire Girl
      Posted April 21, 2014 at 8:32 am | Permalink

      I have now found the full list – and some of the names do not surprise me!

    • arschloch
      Posted April 21, 2014 at 8:45 am | Permalink

      http://www.telegraph.co.uk/comment/letters/10777417/David-Cameron-fosters-division-by-calling-Britain-a-Christian-country.html

      Most of them are never off the BBC, the last one being because his Daddy works there too

      • Tad Davison
        Posted April 21, 2014 at 10:00 am | Permalink

        So David Cameron is CE? I always thought his religion was EU.

        Tad

        • Timaction
          Posted April 21, 2014 at 4:18 pm | Permalink

          The Tory led Coalition Government took people to their European Court to try and stop them wearing crucifix’s in the workplace and introduced gay marriage against the will of the people. Enough said of Mr Cameron’s hypocrisy.

        • Lifelogic
          Posted April 21, 2014 at 5:50 pm | Permalink

          His religion is perhaps rather like his political views, he say what he thinks will go down well at the time then does whatever he fancies later.

          • Jennifer A
            Posted April 21, 2014 at 11:51 pm | Permalink

            I bet he doesn’t dare say this is a Christian country again.

        • stred
          Posted April 22, 2014 at 8:35 am | Permalink

          Perhaps he got it muddled up with the Council of Europe?

    • Lifelogic
      Posted April 21, 2014 at 9:15 am | Permalink

      Interestingly there seems to be quite a few believers in the new catastrophic global warming religion, the huge exaggeration thereof, on the list.

      From one mad religion to another is there no hope? Times have never be better for humankind yet still they need a story of doom to sell.

    • sjb
      Posted April 21, 2014 at 9:24 am | Permalink
      • Cheshire Girl
        Posted April 21, 2014 at 1:56 pm | Permalink

        Thank you James, sjb, and Arschloch for your help in finding the list.

    • James Matthews
      Posted April 21, 2014 at 9:41 am | Permalink

      There is a full list here: http://www.telegraph.co.uk/comment/letters/10777417/David-Cameron-fosters-division-by-calling-Britain-a-Christian-country.html
      No great surprises. The usual academediaochracy (or ocrity)

      Speaking as a convinced atheist, I see Britain as historically and mostly (for the time being) culturally Christian. For so long as any large organised religions exist I want it to stay that way. If that means acknowledging the divisions that clearly already exist (it didn’t cause them) so be it.

    • The PrangWizard
      Posted April 21, 2014 at 5:43 pm | Permalink

      Those of who know that Christianity has provided the basis of our English Law, and through the Bible’s teachings moral guidance, is a force for good and provides much consolation for those in need, must counter and challenge these humanists and other aggressive secularists and Marxists, who are the true divisive and intolerant ones. If they had any respect for others they would have kept quiet, but they are of course completely incapable of such decencies and prefer to follow the tactic of seeking to close down any views which oppose theirs.

      • libertarian
        Posted April 21, 2014 at 9:21 pm | Permalink

        The Prang Wizard

        Sorry not true. The basis of English law can be found in the pre christian Anglo Saxon trial by peers and common law.

      • uanime5
        Posted April 21, 2014 at 11:27 pm | Permalink

        Those of who know that Christianity has provided the basis of our English Law

        Such as homosexuality being illegal. Good thing we moved away from Christianity and stopped oppressing people because of their sexuality.

      • Excalibur
        Posted April 22, 2014 at 12:22 am | Permalink

        Precisely, Prang Wizard.

  7. Richard1
    Posted April 21, 2014 at 7:52 am | Permalink

    As I remember the CoE’s leftism really got going in the 80s in opposition to Thatcher and to nuclear weapons. Given the Thatcher Govts reforms are now accepted and have been imitated around the world and were not reversed during 13 years of Labour, and given the cold war was won by Reagan and Thatcher without a shot being fired, the Church should reflect on how wrong they were.

    Presumably its the steep decline of religious observance that makes the Church more and more desperate to seem ‘relevant’. It has now effectively become the religious arm of the Welfare Party as you say. Its efforts to maintain high levels of welfare dependency and to oppose capitalist wealth creation are profoundly immoral.

    Let’s hope that Church leaders and other clergy will have the humility to recognize how wrong they have been in the past and how wrong they are now.

    • sjb
      Posted April 21, 2014 at 9:29 am | Permalink

      “As long as you are proud you cannot know God. A proud man is always looking down on thing and people: and, of course, as long as you are looking down you cannot see something that is above you.” – C S Lewis

    • uanime5
      Posted April 21, 2014 at 11:38 pm | Permalink

      Given the Thatcher Govts reforms are now accepted and have been imitated around the world and were not reversed during 13 years of Labour, and given the cold war was won by Reagan and Thatcher without a shot being fired, the Church should reflect on how wrong they were.

      Which countries imitated Thatcher’s reforms? I can’t recall any other European country privatising their industries to the same extent as the UK.

      Also the Coal War was won because the Soviet Union’s economy collapsed. The only role nuclear weapons had was for Mutually Assured Destruction and Non-Proliferation (stopping other people getting nuclear weapons).

      Its efforts to maintain high levels of welfare dependency and to oppose capitalist wealth creation are profoundly immoral.

      Making things up just shows you lack a real argument.

      The church is calling for those who aren’t benefiting from the “capitalist wealth creation” (99% of the population) to be allowed to live tolerable lives, rather than forced to work like slaves while living in poverty. Just like they did in the 19th century.

      Let’s hope that Church leaders and other clergy will have the humility to recognize how wrong they have been in the past and how wrong they are now.

      How exactly are they wrong when all the evidence shows that more people are living in poverty because of the Conservatives’ anti-welfare policies? If anyone needs to have some humility it’s the Conservatives, who’s percentage of the votes keeps decreasing because they’re so out of touch with the average person.

      • Richard1
        Posted April 22, 2014 at 1:14 pm | Permalink

        As ever your post is replete with nonsense and invented facts. All European countries, especially those in the former socialist bloc have carried out extensive privatisations. Look it up, the comment is so absurd its a waste of space to refute it in detail here.

        Indeed the Soviet Union’s economy did collapse, that’s because it was a socialist economy without a market mechanism. The robust policies of Reagan and Thatcher in maintaining the nuclear deterrent showed the communist thuggery there was no way to win militarily.

        The church does appear to be opposing the welfare reforms which are intended to liberate people from welfare dependency and liberate taxpaying workers from funding it. The church did also not oppose the immoral build up of debt and increase in welfare dependency under Labour.

        With employment levels very strong and real wages now showing a recovery your comment that 99% of people are living in poverty like slaves is clearly absurd.

        Your line of argumentation really is very thin, can’t you at least try to make a coherent and rational case?

  8. David Murfin
    Posted April 21, 2014 at 8:03 am | Permalink

    It is not the function of the church to tell the government how to run the country. (Romans 13). It is the function of the church to tell its people to love and help their neighbours. (Matthew 22v39)

  9. Alan Wheatley
    Posted April 21, 2014 at 8:10 am | Permalink

    A difference between now and “the past” is that nowadays disadvantage is seen as someone else’s responsibility to remedy where as in the past people looked to themselves for, at least, improvement.

    For instance, I am always impressed by tales of miners who contributed a tiny part of their wage to a common fund by which they could buy books for a local library, or to run art classes and so on. Their objective was to improve their knowledge and understanding , and not just materially, but in the arts and sciences.

    And from old news footage another example is of the “ordinary working man” doing a menial job on a low wage whose main objective was for a good education for their children so they could have a better life than had been their lot. They would have been horrified by a life on benefits passed down though the generations.

    I think the more the poor are inclined to help themselves the more inclined the rich are to help them. “It is better to teach a man to fish than to give him a fish to eat once in a while” can not be said too often.

    The less spent on those who can help themselves the more money available for those who do need help.

    • alan jutson
      Posted April 21, 2014 at 10:31 am | Permalink

      Alan

      Interesting your point about workers putting a little aside for those who are in trouble/need.

      I have been a member of our local Lions Club, a voluntary charitable organisation for the last 25 years, our members come from many backgrounds, (many now retired) but what was always interesting is that all worked, we had no members during those 25 years who were out of work or on benefits who wanted to make any sort of contribution (in time) to help others in the community.
      When we run public events we were always wanting more people to help on the day, requests would go out, but again not a word or a volunteer from anyone who was out of work.

      Why is it that many of those who have the most time, do not seem to be able to volunteer to help others.

      Why is it that if you ever want something done, we always seem to ask (human nature) those who are the most busy, and those who are busy, always seem to volunteer.

      Whilst I and my children went to Sunday school, and I believe live a life with Christian values, I do think the Church (CofE) has in many cases failed its local population by not being relevant in many ways to todays problems, hence the small attendances in many churches.

      Just like some areas of politics, religion in its most extreme form has caused so much division and harm within the Worlds population.

      The clergy should be careful with what they preach and what they wish for given the tax status they hold.

      • uanime5
        Posted April 21, 2014 at 11:50 pm | Permalink

        When we run public events we were always wanting more people to help on the day, requests would go out, but again not a word or a volunteer from anyone who was out of work.

        Well when you can only afford one meal per day you don’t have the energy to volunteer. Perhaps you should offer a free lunch to anyone who helps out.

        • alan jutson
          Posted April 22, 2014 at 5:07 pm | Permalink

          Uni 5

          You always have an answer/excuse for anyone to choose not to work don’t you !.

          Perhaps if some people volunteered they then may get some satisfaction of actually doing something positive for the community, instead of constantly moaning and taking.
          They may also at the same time may make contact with someone who is working, who may know of a paid job.

          Guess those you are making excuses for have the energy to get to the food bank though eh !
          Guess they also have the energy to get to the job centre to sign on !

          Yes as it happens we do sometimes provide burgers and drinks for our volunteers, but we do not advertise the fact up front because we would rather people offer to help willingly, for the right reasons.

          Please get real and sensible if you are trying to find an excuse, because otherwise your arguments look just silly.

      • Anonymous
        Posted April 21, 2014 at 11:54 pm | Permalink

        I’ve noticed this too. And never a person with a facial tattoo either.

        • alan jutson
          Posted April 22, 2014 at 5:12 pm | Permalink

          Anon

          “….Never a person with a facial tattoo”

          Yes I wonder why !

    • uanime5
      Posted April 21, 2014 at 11:47 pm | Permalink

      A difference between now and “the past” is that nowadays disadvantage is seen as someone else’s responsibility to remedy where as in the past people looked to themselves for, at least, improvement.

      Well that’s because in the past if you were disadvantaged you didn’t get any help from the state so you had to look after yourself. Though looking after yourself basically meant finding somewhere on the street to sleep on and stealing food.

      They would have been horrified by a life on benefits passed down though the generations.

      Studies have shown that most people on benefits did not have parents who were on benefits. The claim of generations of workless households is a largely a myth.

      I think the more the poor are inclined to help themselves the more inclined the rich are to help them.

      Why would the rich want to help the poor when they can force the poor to do all the work without paying a penny?

      The less spent on those who can help themselves the more money available for those who do need help.

      What is this even meant to mean? Are you claiming that we shouldn’t give people money to buy food until they’re so ill that they can’t work?

  10. John E
    Posted April 21, 2014 at 8:24 am | Permalink

    I support the separation of Church and State. Dis-establish the C of E and they can preach as they wish. The Monarch does not claim a divine right to rule any more.

    Also separate religion and education, but perhaps that’s a topic for another day.

    • Lifelogic
      Posted April 21, 2014 at 3:11 pm | Permalink

      Indeed please get religion out of education now, otherwise you are just building up future problems – a Northern Ireland mark II, III, IV and V perhaps. I include the AGW exaggeration religion and the bogus such science.

  11. Leslie Singleton
    Posted April 21, 2014 at 8:25 am | Permalink

    Cannot say that I see much wrong with Food Banks. Maybe part of the antipathy towards them is from the word “Bank” in the name. Something along the lines of Welfare Food Supply might be preferable. I do not see much wrong either with the idea that a suitable portion of Welfare payments by the Government should not instead be given out as food–in fact there would be obvious advantages. Bit like food vouchers but I do not see anything wrong with those either. The genuinely hard-pressed and needy would welcome such provision without a doubt.

    • Leslie Singleton
      Posted April 21, 2014 at 8:27 am | Permalink

      Oops-Omit the “not”

    • uanime5
      Posted April 21, 2014 at 11:56 pm | Permalink

      Cannot say that I see much wrong with Food Banks.

      Most people feel than in one of the richest countries in the world people should be able to buy enough food to live on, rather than having to rely on charity.

      I do not see much wrong either with the idea that a suitable portion of Welfare payments by the Government should not instead be given out as food–in fact there would be obvious advantages.

      Food banks are mainly used by people who have had their benefits sanctioned. So they’re used by people who don’t have any food because they don’t have any welfare payments.

      Bit like food vouchers but I do not see anything wrong with those either.

      You mean other than people selling them for real money so they can buy things such as clothes or pay for their heating.

      The genuinely hard-pressed and needy would welcome such provision without a doubt.

      The “genuinely hard-pressed and needy” prefer real money rather than stigmatising vouchers.

  12. Aunty Estab
    Posted April 21, 2014 at 8:33 am | Permalink

    Can`t add anything to the debate, but wonder if this says something about the present day clergy. going to church yesterday I paused in front of a parking place to let my wife out of the car as the space was close to a wall, to our amazement the vicar drove in front of us and pinched the space! At wife`s insistence I held my tongue metaphorically turning the other the other cheek.

    • Anonymous
      Posted April 21, 2014 at 11:57 pm | Permalink

      Our vicar refused to help stack the chairs after an event because it was ‘his day off’

      It was our day off too !

      (Guardian reader. Need I say any more ?)

  13. Iain Gill
    Posted April 21, 2014 at 9:33 am | Permalink

    Yes the churches are making many mistakes.
    But then so is the state.
    Neither side has much to commend it.
    John, I thought you were on stronger ground when you said the Conservative party should have been magnanimous at the end of the miners strikes all those years ago. In a similar way they should be magnanimous now to folk forced to live on big social housing estates built, for instance, to support mines which are no longer there. It is completely and utterly pointless to preach about “work with individuals and families on how in future that family can manage better and work to help themselves” when there is no jobs market within travelling distance from the location the state basically forces them to live. These communities are not feckless, they were salt of the earth contributing members of society in recent history. It is the inability of the social housing sector to adapt to the changing jobs market that is largely to blame, and that is fundamentally the states fault not the individual benefits claimant. But you leave a big estate jobless for one generation you are of course encouraging fecklessness in the subsequent generation.
    You would be on stronger ground fighting for greater power for individual citizens. If the individual citizen was choosing how to direct their housing subsidy, or state school fees, healthcare spend, and the rest of it, you can be sure they would self-optimise much better to the ever evolving jobs market. You also conveniently don’t mention that ongoing mass immigration is displacing Brits from the jobs market, a blindness shared with the rest of the political bubble, are we really expected to compete with uncapped numbers from anywhere and everywhere?
    As for the gap between finding you need to claim benefits and the money being available to spend I don’t think “a system designed for the many can let down a few through its rules” is a good enough excuse. A big simplification of the tax and benefits system is needed, to cut the cost of administration, to get money to those who need it but tend to avoid claiming at the moment, and to put the incentives in the right place. Just give everyone a negative tax allowance which results in them being entitled to money from the tax coffers if they are not earning, put everyone not already on a payroll on a simple PAYE payroll system and pay them a token one pound a month (to trigger their tax refund), adjust their level of benefits by altering the tax code. That removes the need for masses of complex DWP IT and business processes. It uses simple cheap payroll systems. And it removes the complexity of countless layers of taking with one hand and giving with another. It also allows folk to see they would really benefit from working at all levels of income, without masses of form filling or risking complexity of going back to benefits after a short term job. Very few tweaks are needed to this simple idea, you need to drip feed the tax allowance over each month so they don’t get the entire amount at the start of the tax year, but simple stuff compared to the massive complexity all over the current and planned systems.

    Also folk who have worked the majority of their adult life should get out more than those that have not, this simple dynamic is needed to return some common sense incentives to the system.

    • Anonymous
      Posted April 22, 2014 at 12:06 am | Permalink

      Hear hear !

      There is a tendency to misrepresent the welfare budget. Around a quarter of tax goes towards it according to official figures.

      In reality it’s a lot more than that when there is an overlap with other budgets – policing, NHS, schooling, state pensions.

      In fact anything which the welfare recipient has not contributed to through tax or NI should be considered to be a welfare cost also.

      Things are getting both better and worse at the same time.

      When they predicted all those years ago silver suits, flying cars, domestic robots and LOTS OF LEISURE they didn’t expect it all to turn out so messy, unedifying and so unfair to the working poor.

      And just where are the silver suits and the flying cars ???

      • Anonymous
        Posted April 22, 2014 at 12:11 am | Permalink

        Should read;

        In fact any service which the welfare recipient uses (or causes to be used) which he has not contributed to through tax or NI should be considered to be a welfare cost also.

  14. Bob
    Posted April 21, 2014 at 10:22 am | Permalink

    Is there no depth to which David Cameron will not stoop to in order to prop up the dwindling support for the Modern Tory Party?

    • A different Simon
      Posted April 21, 2014 at 10:42 pm | Permalink

      The job of a politician is to get elected and once elected re-elected .

      If that requires covering for (crimes which he falsely alleges all MPs have committed ed) then sobeit .

  15. Tad Davison
    Posted April 21, 2014 at 10:46 am | Permalink

    I try to stay out of religious arguments, but I’ll give in on this occasion. I was born and baptised a Roman Catholic but was never confirmed as such.

    ‘Give me the child to the age of five, and I’ll give you the man’.

    I attended a Roman Catholic school from the age of four, and that is perhaps why I developed a life-long antithesis towards religion, because what I saw there, were lessons given by those in authority on how to behave towards our fellow man, but those same people didn’t seem to employ even the rudiments of their own teaching. I really couldn’t hack the double-standards and the brain-washing, so moved to a secular school at around seven years of age, and felt a lot more comfortable. Except that I then found myself shunned by Roman Catholics in my own community for daring to go against their enshrined belief, which taught me another important lesson, and served to mould my character still further.

    All through my adult life, I have come across people of the cloth who never seem to practise what they preach, so ‘Let those without sin cast the first stone’ as the great man once said. And of course, who could possibly overlook the wars that have been fought by these perverted people, who distort ‘the word of God’ to suit their own agenda.

    God is my conscience, and unlike a lot of others, I DO have one. But to believe in a prescriptive religious doctrine is not for me, and I feel we’d all be better off without them when double-standards are their mark. And that fits in well with today’s topic, for we presently have a lot of people pontificating over others, doing a lot of meddling, saying what should and should not be, then doing something entirely different elsewhere (and it doesn’t take much imagination to see what I mean!). So little wonder the power and influence of the church is diminishing all the time, and people are voting with their feet and staying away.

    I will certainly listen to those who practise what they preach, but all too often, I am left to question those who don’t, and it is regularly they who make the most noise.

    Tad Davison

    Cambridge

    • John E
      Posted April 21, 2014 at 6:00 pm | Permalink

      I also found there was nothing like a Catholic education to cure you of religion.

  16. Tom Willam
    Posted April 21, 2014 at 11:47 am | Permalink

    I think that food banks are doing a brilliant job, but the church is exaggerating the problem. According to the Trussell Trust, which organises them, 913,138 people were given three days supply of food in the financial year 2013/2014 as opposed to 346,992 for the equivalent period last year. 31% of these were due to a bureaucratic delay in benefits, which the government could, if it really tried, reduce considerably.

    But 913,138 is only approximately 2,500 people a day, which does not seem to me to be a huge number for a country the size of the UK.

    I agree with the drift of the arguments about “teaching a man to fish” etc., but a glance at the Trussell website does show examples who, through no fault of their own, fell through the net that was supposed to catch them. However the example of an army officer who was too proud to ask for help and was living on the street would, however, have been instantly solved had he approached the Royal British Legion or SSAFA.

    • uanime5
      Posted April 22, 2014 at 12:02 am | Permalink

      But 913,138 is only approximately 2,500 people a day, which does not seem to me to be a huge number for a country the size of the UK.

      Perhaps you should compare it to how many people need to use food banks in other developed countries. You’ll find it’s high.

      It’s also a problems when the number of people needing food banks trebled at a time when the economy and wages are meant to be recovering.

  17. Roger Farmer
    Posted April 21, 2014 at 2:49 pm | Permalink

    Jesus Christ had a very good message and by his example gave everyone something to aim at in their own lives. Then of course the church created itself and got down to what man has never failed to be good at. First it was manipulating peoples lives and sovereign states from Rome. Slaughtering God only knows how many millions in mid and south America. Then it started slaughtering it’s own in Europe via the inquisition, and fostering strife between nations. It even indulged in paedophilia in many of it’s establishments of trust throughout the World. Currently it still has the effrontery to dictate how people live their weekends. The insurance they sell is less credible than that of Equitable Life, based on the premise that you must do as we say while ignoring what we the church do. Stick with the original message and forego the smoking handbags.
    Now lets have a lengthy discussion on what has been going on in Birmingham schools in the name of the Muslim religion, why various bodies have ignored it for so long and what should happen to those who have created the problem.

    • Anonymous
      Posted April 22, 2014 at 12:15 am | Permalink

      The politicians created the problem.

      We told them this sort of thing might happen but they willfully ignored us.

  18. margaret brandreth-j
    Posted April 21, 2014 at 3:15 pm | Permalink

    I don’t agree with much of the faith driven beliefs of the church although it was an important part of my childhood and I went to the church in mid life with a crisis I was passing through.I got rebuffed by many old conservatives ; surprisingly when I was well off and married and only attended church on rare occasions , I was more accepted. Still I believe that the Anglican church remains the foundation of most English peoples upbringing. I have fond memories of whit week walks, the rose queen, the brownies and the guides and there were a couple of good looking choir boys whom I still see around.
    I noticed in a church service yesterday Asian dances were being flaunted through the isles . I have nothing against this;it is simply a realisation that we have a multi ethnic society, but can you imagine incense , choir boys and up beat Christian bands being allowed in a mosque?
    I also have enjoyed many a good conversation with theologians. The priests and religious lay people on the whole are well read and caring sensible folks; ( I just cannot accept the ‘magic ‘ attributed to religion) The paradox is when the camel gets the hump there is no one alive to feed the five thousand on a few loaves and fishes. Society is a safer place with religion , for all its covert goings on. Revelation happens progressively with philosophy and science ,yet I can get caught up in the Sunday rituals and love the canticles, especially the Nunc Dimmitus. Ah well evening time is well upon us and we must all give thought to those who are suffering in one way or another and thank, if not God, Luck.

  19. Posted April 21, 2014 at 9:24 pm | Permalink

    Maybe the Church of England could offer a better, more efficient and streamlined service, more in tune with customer demand, if it was privatised or demutualised?

    It would, at least temporarily, boost congregations if shares were issued on the basis of a proven attendance record!

  20. A different Simon
    Posted April 21, 2014 at 9:38 pm | Permalink

    My biggest problem with the C.of.E. recently was with Rowan Williams who they have thankfully ditched . I will not support Christian Aid whilst he is a director .

    What upsets me about them is that i) they are a vested interest and seek to profit from the very usury they should be opposing ii) they completely miss the point (eg buying the global warming scam) .

    By claiming to do God’s works perhaps they do have a greater claim on creation than corporations which do not claim to do God’s work (or claim frivolously like GS) .

    Nevertheless I don’t think they should be seeking to benefit disproportionately from either mineral rights or rents .

    Sorry John but this is poppycock “Even better is for the Church to work with individuals and families on how in future that family can manage better and work to help themselves, so they can face the food bill the following week with money to pay it. ”

    The average wage in any region is no longer enough to cover the costs during ones working life and put money away for old age – even if one spends no money supporting the local economy .

    Are you really expecting the Church to vindicate George Osbornes house price puffing , washing overnight money with transactions to allow it to be levered up 15 time before being bet on the casino with high frequency trading ?

    London is the modern day Sodom and Gomorah and it’s only a matter of time before some misguided soul claiming to do God’s work destroys it .

    If Staines and Chertsey were not sacrificed recently it would already have suffered a terrible flood .

    They still have the place signs for Sodom and Gomorah up on the road down to the Dead Sea , even though nobody has lived there for centuries .

    It should be remembered that the first Easter occurred over the passover period .

    The banker and politician classes perhaps should worry that God is going to visit a plague on their households .

  21. uanime5
    Posted April 21, 2014 at 10:23 pm | Permalink

    They look forward to the closure of all food banks because everyone always has enough money to pay the household bills.

    In other words a time before the Conservatives’ austerity and welfare reforms. I believe this was 2010.

    The main difference between the last Labour government and the current Coalition one, is the present government welcomes the additional help food banks offer, and refers people to them, where Labour declined to do so.

    The main difference is that Labour didn’t give people 3 years long benefit sanctions so they didn’t need food banks. While the Conservatives try to deny that their mismanagement of the economy is causing these problems the evidence clearly shows that most of the people needing to use a food bank have had their benefits cut or delayed due to changes introduced by the Conservatives.

    http://www.bbc.co.uk/news/uk-19468697

    Coalition MPs did not come into politics to be unfair to the disabled or unsympathetic to someone who cannot find a job.

    Then why did the Conservatives give ATOS a contract to evaluate whether people were disabled or too ill to work? The fact that 90% of appeals were successful, yet ATOS wasn’t punished because of this and only ended their contract due to negative media pressure, shows that the Conservatives’ were quite happy to see the sick and disabled be abused as long as it reduced the welfare bill.

    The Conservatives’ attitude to the unemployed has been equally abusive. An example of this is the workfare scheme where the unemployed were forced to work for free for 6 weeks in a private company. This was ended to due objections from the general public because it replaced paid work with slave labour. Despite these failings Osborne has introduced “traineeships” where unemployed young people are forced to work for 6 months in private companies. Osborne is also trying to force unemployed 25-65 year olds to work for 6 months in community placements but is having problems because his usual workfare providers don’t want anyone to “volunteer” for so long. I expect both of these job destroying schemes will be ended due to negative media pressure as well.

    Other idiotic policies by Cameron include putting anyone who was unemployed for over one year on the 2 year long Work Programme to remove them from the unemployment statistics (those on this programme are considered in training rather than unemployed). The result was a cost of £5 billion and 3% of people finding a job (the government’s target was 5%). Perhaps if the Conservatives tried to help the unemployed, rather than calling them scroungers and forcing them to work like slaves, they might be able to find work.

    But in doing so it does not need to condemn or cold shoulder all those who do manage to provide for themselves and their families in true Protestant enterprising style.

    Unless of course they provide for themselves in a way that makes it difficult for other people to provide for themselves, such as firing their employees during tough economic times so they don’t need to cut their own salary.

    Nor should it just campaign against a government of two parties seeking to promote work as the best means to a better living standard for many, without accepting that there is good in plans to make it more worthwhile for everyone to have a job.

    Work is only good if you’re paid for it. Since the Conservatives want people to be forced to work for free to reduce the unemployment statistics this has come into conflict with the church’s anti-slavery policy.

    Also people get benefits to search for jobs. If the Conservatives want people to work in a job they should be prepared to pay them minimum wage.

    Instead, some vicars seem to think all welfare has to come from the government

    Well government that reduce welfare so that they can give the wealthy a tax cut, while forcing the poor to rely on charity, are generally immoral.

    that the better off half should be condemned or left outside the Church door as unworthy of the union of the dispossessed who will come to attain the kingdom of heaven.

    In the UK the richest 10% of the population own half the wealth.

    Also Jesus did say it was easier for a camel to pass through the eye of a needle than for a wealthy man to enter the Kingdom of Heaven.

    I do want them to have a more mature understanding of the complex causes of poverty, and of the various ways successive governments are trying to combat it.

    Or in the case of the current government causing additional poverty using the bedroom tax, benefit sanctions, inflation that was higher than wage increases, benefit increases that were lower than inflation, and until recently ATOS.

    Some people do face problems which render the benefit payments insufficient

    Such as the bedroom tax which effects 660,000 people or the 3 year long benefit sanctions which effect over 1 million people.

    Even better is for the Church to work with individuals and families on how in future that family can manage better and work to help themselves, so they can face the food bill the following week with money to pay it.

    Where are they going to get this money from it their benefits have been sanctions for 3 years and they can’t find a job because of the economic stagnation?

    The Church needs to work with the grain of our welfare state, and to help improve it, understanding the drift of policy towards seeing work and self help as the best way for many to achieve a better lifestyle.

    Self help is only useful if it makes people more employable, not because it reduces unemployment statistics.

    Work is only helpful it it pays at least minimum wage, rather than being used as a punishment because someone is unemployed. Statistics on the employability of unemployed people on the government’s workfare schemes found that they were less likely to get a job than people not on these schemes because they had less time to look for jobs and prepare for interviews.

    • Edward2
      Posted April 23, 2014 at 12:40 am | Permalink

      You live in a strange world Uni where you feel that people should receive money from the State and not have to do anything in return for it.
      In every socialist nation the state allocates its subjects work to do and gives them money and housing.
      I presume you support this if it done by socialist nations but when the same thing is done by the UK government you rant on about slave labour.
      How odd you are.

  22. Excalibur
    Posted April 22, 2014 at 2:12 am | Permalink

    The Church of England was (is) tied inextricably with English sovereignty. The Book of Common Prayer, and the English Bible indelibly influenced the language. And because ‘God was an Englishman’, it behoves the radical leftist multiculturalists and EU apologists to attempt to undermine our religion. A majority of English people still regard themselves as Christians. While I have no doubt that David Cameron’s utterances were tainted by political expediency, what he said is true.

  23. Mockbeggar
    Posted April 22, 2014 at 10:18 am | Permalink

    The left wing cry that the growing use of foodbanks is a clear indication of the failure of the government to provide adequate welfare to the poor, conveniently overlooks the fact that as the number of food banks increases, so the number of people using them will also increase. Secondly, the publicity given to food banks encourages people to use them. Finally, any service that is provided free (the NHS is a case in point) will attract an ever increasing number of users. I guess the qualifying restrictions placed on users do not prevent them from taking food for ‘non-qualified’ people or, dare I say, from food parcels being exchanged for money….?

    • Edward2
      Posted April 23, 2014 at 12:44 am | Permalink

      It is a political campaign against the current government.
      If Labour get in the food bank growth and the propaganda about them will cease.
      The people getting the food are just pawns in a game being waged for those with ulterior motives.

  24. Posted April 22, 2014 at 11:14 pm | Permalink

    The ” teach a man to fish” analogy is all very well if there is a ready market for those fish.

    The GDP of the UK , per capita, now, even though it is lower than its 2008 peak is still more than twice what it was in the early 80′s under Mrs Thatcher. Most of that growth took place between 1992 and 2008. So it started under Mr Major and the Labour Government which followed was sensible enough to not change the system too much when it was doing well.

    In other words, people are now catching twice as many fish, as we were then, but we still have a big problem of too many unemployed fishermen. We’ve essentially got smarter at catching fish so it doesn’t take as much effort as it used to. It would have seemed hard to imagine, in the early 80′s, that a future Conservative government would have the big problem they have knowing that GDP would double in the meantime.

    So there’s a bit more to it all than just catching more and more fish from one year to the next. It is about distribution too.

    Reply The point of the phrase is you do not starve if you can catch fish, as you can eat the fish you catch!

    • Posted April 23, 2014 at 9:23 am | Permalink

      Reply to reply:

      I don’t think it is meant to be taken quite so literally. If it were, then the unemployed of Wolverhampton and Birmingham would have a hard time living off the fish catch might be available from the canals in their region.

      But, there are many unemployed there who do have skills and there are still nowhere near enough jobs.

      Harold Macmillan was a Tory who understood that the economy could function very well for all. Everyone who wanted a full time job but couldn’t find one was counted as unemployed in the 60′s. And that wasn’t many. Less than 2% in fact

      Reply It is meant to say that it is better to teach someone how to provide for themselves on a regular basis than to give them help occasionally.

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    John Redwood has been the Member of Parliament for Wokingham since 1987. First attending Kent College, Canterbury, he graduated from Magdalen College, and has a DPhil from All Souls, Oxford. A businessman by background, he has been a director of NM Rothschild merchant bank and chairman of a quoted industrial PLC.
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