Wednesday 30 January 2013


If Cameron thought that appointing Justin Welby as the new Archbishop of Canterbury would bring him a friend in Lambeth Palace, then he will take no comfort from Dr Welby's final sermon in his old post as Bishop of Durham.

In it the archbishop elect talks of Britain's dark days, of children going hungry and churches organising food distribution centres for the poor, reminding us of a previous Bishop of Durham, David Jenkins  who pointed out during a previous Tory government in the 1980s that some children in his diocese went to school with no shoes, just like it was in the Hungry 30s!

Of course Dr Welby's remit is England, but the same thing is happening here in Scotland. And while the poor get poorer, the rich appear to be adding to their wealth.

During 2013, when the Housing Benefit cuts come into force, we can expect to see people, particular from the richer and more expensive parts of the union, being forced out of their homes, and banished to live in lower cost areas, (where, incidentally, there will be even fewer jobs and no available housing) cut off from their families and support, without the financial means to get their worldly goods transported. So, in other words, chaos. 

(The Scottish government, thank goodness, has found money for at least a year to offset the worst of the Housing Benefit cuts.)

Added to this, if people like Max Keiser and Michael Portillo are to be believed, interest rates are set to rise, possibly quite steeply, in the not too distant future, because of the falling Bonds Markets and the diminishing value of the pound against the Dollar and the Euro.  Relatively steep devaluation of the pound is likely to follow. If, or rather it seems when, interest rates rise,  people on Tracker Mortgages, or those with mortgages about to be renegotiated, will find the cost of their homes sky rocketing. Some will clearly not be able to afford to pay, having taken on far large mortgages than they could in reality afford. They will fall into arrears and will subsequently be evicted. That's business. That's the free market.

In the meantime the queues at the food distribution centres, soup kitchens if you like, will grow and grow. And in some places you can expect to see people living on the streets. And that's no joke. 

A many of you will know, after Edinburgh, Paris is my favourite capital city. I hadn't been there for several years, and 2 years ago, after 4 years of the malevolent rule of president Sarkozy, I returned to the city I love to find it strewn with "clochards" sleeping on the streets (in November) and begging for money. It was a heart breaking sight, and frankly, for the first time ever, I was glad to get away from Paris. It's coming to a town near you.

This, people, is how much Better it is Together.


  1. I will take no lessons about social justice from an organisation that hates women and gays , or the Church of England for that matter ! :D

    I agree once more with Tris about the importance of facing down Tory cuts

  2. Tris

    Your conflating better together does you no credit
    The real cause is capitalism. And the snp
    Haven't bailed out on that the idea the snp
    Wouldn't let people starve on the streets is
    Fanciful at best and mendacious at worst.

    After did not the snp say they would join the warmongering
    NATO .


    All being well and the economic mess
    Doesn't catch me will no off to the south of France
    In July. Hot hot hot so I'm told


    Bah humbug!

  3. No Dean. I wouldn't be taking lessons on anything from the CofE, which seems to have spend the last 5 years with its head in the sand about poverty and joblessness while it navel gazed over women and gay bishops. This is a matter of incredibly minimal import next to the tragedy that is unfolding in their country.

    I was merely amused that Bishop Justin used a sermon he knew would be widely reported, not to bang on about the inner machinations of the church, but in fact something that the rest of us have been worrying about for a long time... and that that would embarrass Cameron and his bunch of rich boy cabinet ministers.

  4. Now then Monsieur Niko:

    I don't think it was unreasonable to associate all these problems with being together. Capitalism can be made to work. It works perfectly well in the northern countries. And clearly communism has never been made to work anywhere.

    It seems that the British form of capitalism is at fault, and that is the form that is run from London, pandering to the desires of the rich and super rich of that area.

    I wouldn't want Scotland to be a communist economy, but I'd like a form of capitalism that has a heart and understand that the right way to save money is not to kill off all the sick and the old.

    I believe that the politics of Scotland would be most likely to deliver that kind of capitalism.

    Let's face it it s not going to happen under the likes of Cameron.

    And tell me...either you or Dean...what policies of the Tories will Labour overturn?

    Anyway...where are you going in France? I've got a mate who lives in Juan Les heaven! If you want any French lessons prior to your departure, you let me know. Very reasonable terms for friends!

  5. Institutional religion is exactly, what the hippies made it to be.

  6. Bringing a smile before the apocalypse gets going full swing.

    Who needs a spare room, anyway?

    Vote no then we can all join in Tory/Lib/Lab land!

  7. "Capitalism can be made to work."

    Quite right. It comes down to challenging the Blatcherite (blair, thatcher) commitment to neo-liberal economic logic embodied in deregulating finance and business ('cos those industries correct themselves ... right?)

  8. Tris

    I consider myself a born again Christian, certainly not the best Christian given my prayer life etc is poorr. I would also take no sermons from the Church around poverty etc, the Church across the board should be taking a long hard look at it'self. I don't attend Church just now because I can't find one that actually follows the Christian message. The Church and Bishops in particular shoudl maybe come out from under the perks and take a long hard look at our society, they might learn somehting and become the Christians we would all like them to be by actually following the principles of Jesus.

  9. Yeah Dean. it's here that it has gone all wrong... and in America. The truth is that if you leave anything unfwettered it will take off. Welfare, business, whatever... it has to be controlled by some rules...

    Not too many, otherwise you stifle but heavens sake anyone with half a brain who had read any history at all could see that we were heading for a cliff.

    Interestingly Dr Gordon Brown has a PhD in History. He must have been off the day the did the crash and hungry thirties.

    Seriously, other countries manage. We should do well to model ourselves on Finland or Norway, rather than the USA.

  10. Well said Bruce. I'm not a Christian myself, but i had to study it at school, so I know a bit about what it is about, and it's nothing, as far as I can see even vaguely like either the Cof E or the Roman Church.

    Jesus never had a pointy hat, not a multi coloured robe. He didn't live in a palace neither the Papal ones at the Vatican nor Castel Gandolfo, nor Lambeth.

    he ate what teh peasants ate, he slept where they slep, he preached wherever, without worrying about spires, organ funds or any of the other things that seem to overwhelm the Church at the moment.

    I don't now what he though of women or gays, but i know that his message was love, not hate, and by God (if you pardon the pun) the current lot have little enough of that about them.

    Archbishop Tutu, one of the men I most admire in the world decided not to go to bishops conference in Africa any longer, because, as war and pestilence and famine scoured the countryside, these fine bishops in their amazing costumes sat in air conditioned splendour and worried their silly arses off about gays and women...

    (The fact that he also refused to share a platform with the war criminal Blair endears him further to me.)

    Now there is a Christian.

    The Church of Scotland, with no hierarchy, plain black costumes and a fairly democratic management, is a bit nearer Christianity for me...