Monday, 17 February 2014

A grubby way to rubbish the Archbishop

The intervention of Cardinal Archbishop Vincent Nichols in the "welfare" debate was indeed embarrassing for the government.  As far as the Daily Mail was concerned it demanded a response.  So they have today published a lengthy piece by Dominic Lawson headlined: "A Lefty Archbishop who's generous with YOUR money - but not his flock's".
To call this article grubby is an understatement.  Lawson is the son of Nigel Lawson, Margaret Thatcher's Chancellor of the Exchequer, who has recently reinvented himself as the spokesman of climate change deniers.  Dominic starts his piece with a slur, to direct his readers' attention away from the issue and towards the Catholic church's meanness when it comes to money.  That paves the way for a kind of character assassination.  Nichols, he says, "is entitled to his opinion" but clearly doesn't understand the issues - which concern "breaking the cycle of dependency", of course - and he doesn't understand how popular this is with his parishioners.  But "Nichols's anathema owes more to political prejudice than to religious doctrine" because the Archbishop is "tribally Labour".  Why is Nichols wrong?  Here, Lawson fails, as Tories always do, to address the specific points.  To say that the government has torn up the safety net is wrong because it is spending £94bn a year on working age benefits.  That is a non sequitur.  The safety net was a minimum income level designed to ensure that no one was completely without money, and that, as we know, has gone.  Delays in paying benefits, as cited by the Archbishop?  Well, they have actually gone down a bit since 2009/10.  Food banks?  Here it gets very dirty indeed.  "Many users may be relying on it because they have spent too much of their welfare payments on less essential items, such as the Fixed Odds Betting Terminals, which now litter every high street in the nation's less affluent boroughs."  There is then one of those Tory untruths about Labour banning Jobcentres from pointing people towards food banks, and the Church of England's supposed support of this, and he ends by returning to his wife's little anecdote and using a cute biblical phrase about "motes and beams".
This is not journalism, of course; it's pure propaganda.  Perhaps the Archbishop will be heartened by the fact that the government felt it necessary to respond through its mouthpiece, the Mail.  And he will surely reflect that, according to the portrayal in the Christian gospels, Jesus was a Lefty.


  1. "Working age benefits" are paid to those in work as well as those looking for work too. People need to get work in order to reduce dependancy but as we know the vast majority do not get work on the WP.

  2. I think the Government is making too many enemies! They seem determined to pick a fight with the church (both Anglican and Catholic) and this is a mistake. They should have just ignored the church's intervention knowing that it would be yesterday's fish and chip wrapping soon enough. I hope they regret this clumsy riposte as the clerics will no doubt respond with more and renewed criticisms. Organised religion still has a considerable influence amongst those who tend to use their vote and the Tories seem to have forgotten this.

  3. Let's look on the bright side. It is attacks like those by Lawson on respected figures that has led the Liberals to concede their role in the coalition and publically approach Labour to form a government post the May '15 GE. The Tories have alienated almost ever voter in the country - let's go...

    The unemployed via benefit cuts and failure of the WP;
    Part-time workers via lack of full-time work and fall in real minimum wage;
    Full-time workers via fall in real wages and increase in cost of living;
    Pensioners via increase in energy prices;
    Home-owners via increase in personal debt;
    Small businesses via lack of retail spending (linked to increase in cost of living).

    History will show this govt. to have achieved precisely nothing expect line the pockets of it's own sponsors.

  4. Lawson is an ideological tool. He has no idea how foodbanks operate. Not that I am an authority on the subject, thankfully never having the need to use one. However, I can empathise with those that do. I like to have experience of what I type or say or at least do my research. It would appear Lawson has done neither.

    Lawson idiotically says:

    "The Trussell Trust, this country’s biggest foodbank, itself acknowledges that its recent growth is partly the result of its publicity campaigns. Also, the Coalition government has authorised JobCentres to point people in the direction of foodbanks."

    He seems to think that foodbanks are used due to increased publicity similar to the latest Tesco, Morrisons or Aldi advertising campaigns. He has no idea that one cannot turn up to a foodbank and demand their help. A client has to be referred via the CAB, social workers, health professionals and yes their local JCP. The reason a client is referred is all too often due to their being inappropriately sanctioned. The use of which has skyrocketed under this government. Furthermore a client gats only three days worth of provisions and a foodbank can only be used a limited number of times. But let's not have facts get in the way of naked ideology, eh Domonic?

    And this is what ticks me off. A well paid commentator like Lawson spouting on about topics he has no idea about. His words are based on naked ideology, fear and sheer ignorance! A university or even sixth form student would be marked down and told to do a re-write if handing in rubbish like this without any prior research.


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