Well I’ve got to say, this makes me glad I’m a Roman Catholic. Is Rowan Williams trying to become the biggest load of lefty liberal mush this side of, well, Tony Benn? and why have religious figures in this country drifted inexorably to the left of the political spectrum? Christianity has a wealth of experience and knowledge to draw upon, why doesn’t Rowan give that a go rather than issue vague and soporific attacks couched in the language of ‘feelings’ rather than facts.
The sad thing is this coalition does deserve to be attacked, for its wetness, because its desire to cling to power overrides its aversion to half-measures, because it panders to the Liberal Democrats who at this stage have absolutely no public support as a political party. (This is all with the exception of higher education which is going to die a death in this country in the next few years when £9,000 per year fees come in, I’m glad I’ve got my degree already.)
The cuts are not being effectively targeted, and somehow this country seems to think the NHS is a model of efficiency and cutting its budget will pauperise nurses… there are plenty of ways the NHS could cut bureaucracy without affecting front line services, just ask virtually anyone who works in it, but the lack of political courage at the top is staggering. The NHS needs to be reformed, it costs a staggering amount of money and delivers at times very mixed levels of care but it needs a heavyweight politician to helm it… the unwillingness for a serious politician to take the poison chalice is telling.
The benefits system desperately needs to be reformed too and here I have more hope because Ian Duncan Smith may be a walking cure for insomnia in person but he is a heavyweight and I have high hopes he will carry through what he starts.
At the moment the benefits system rewards people for not working at all, when it could be encouraging people to do what they can. This could not only bring economic sense to British life, but be one of the most empowering policy shifts capable of transforming the country. If Rowan Williams wants to attack this country’s deeply ingrained ethos of the deserving and undeserving poor then perhaps 2 Thessalonians 3: 6-12 might serve as food for thought. (excuse the pun)
When people live off handouts it is undesirable because quite frankly its demeaning, I’ve spent time on the dole and I’m about to return there 😦 and it is incredibly depressing, the feeling of worthlessness is hard to shake and that makes it even harder to get a job, its a viscous place to be.
Instead the jobcenter could be encouraging people to take part time roles by supplementing incomes or help people do voluntary work to better the world, build up self esteem and strengthen your CV all at the same time. Doesn’t that sound like a good idea? a Christian idea? I think so, so does the Church.
There are plenty of ways Christianity could be offering solutions, concrete philosophical and moral guidance to this country in this time of austerity, but instead Bishops (unfortunately not just Anglicans) often do nothing but bewail our national misfortune, perhaps because of all the links with left wing groups they assiduously cultivated when Labour was in power? The Church should get stuck into politics more not less, but only when its Bishops find something constructive to say.