Five ‘wise’ men

THE five Church of England bishops who have attacked Labour as “immoral” should not be dismissed out of hand.

After all, these giants of Christian leadership are the very people who have presided over a colossal rise in church membership and attendance. Such has been their inspiration to the nation, few people fail to consult them on great matters of import before coming to a conclusion. 

So when these Five Wise Men choose to ignore the work of this government in combating poverty in the Third World, we have to assume they have good reason to do so (perhaps involvement in such causes might detract from their party political work?).

When they ignore the tax credit system, the historically large increases in child benefit, the minimum wage or pensioners’ winter heating allowances, we must assume that the Five Wise Men have prayed long and hard to seek Divine Inspiration for their pronouncement and that God agrees with them.

And when they, by implication, dismiss the record investment in the NHS under this government, we should perhaps ask if the Church of England’s runs a Bupa membership scheme for its clergy.

More than all of this, we should remember that the description of the Church of England as “the Tory Party at prayer” was never more true than when there is a Labour government.



Filed under Church, Conservative Party, Economy, Politics, Society

22 responses to “Five ‘wise’ men

  1. Rory

    No doubt the same would be true if they heaped praise on the Labour governent?

  2. A little like when the bishops queued up in the House of Lords to defend fox hunting. Strong moral leadership there! Or do they have affluent rural consituencies to serve?

  3. Alasdair

    Well, finger’s crossed this’ll nudge the government into removing these unelected buffoons from the seats of power. Lords Spiritual indeed…

  4. wrinkled weasel

    Do you believe in moral absolutes? I think you probably do. After all, even young kids understand basic concepts like fairness, and naughty and nice.

    Well, Labour has been naughty. Doesn’t matter who has to say it, Labour is not nice, it is naughty. And naughty is as naughty does.

    When a Government lies to the people and seeks to keep the people in ignorance someone must call it to account. If those who ostensibly hold themselves responsible for our spiritual and moral welfare stay silent, they would be failing in their duty.

    Gordon Brown has long cited “morality” as a keystone of his administration. If he uses it, he must be challenged about it because some people are beginning to think he pulled the wool over our eyes on that one.

    As for Bupa, you might ask yourself why increasing numbers are turning to private health care? Why is it, for example, that after years of paying into the NHS I have had to spend four figures on dental care because I cannot get it done on the National Health?

    How many Labour MPs send their children to private schools, or pay into private health schemes? Such petty back biting is beneath you. Shame on you.

  5. Tacitus


    “dismiss the record investment in the NHS under this government”

    Money in # product out.

    As anyone who ever did a proper job knows.

  6. Since when was it immoral to kill vermin, Mr Hobday.

    Anyway, Tom, glad you’re back. It’s been a cold and lonely Christmas without you…

    Hope you are getting plenty of rest to prepare for another year of pummelling from we, the people.

    Having followed the BBC link, I can’t see anything the bishops said that wasn’t true.

    I am not a fan of the CofE or the Archdruid of Cantbebothered, but it’s about time they hammered this government for its failures.

    Just throwing money at the NHS and the ‘developing’ world has done little INMO.

    When HMG removed the 10p tax rate, all doubt about what your party thinks of our own poor was finally quashed.

    New Labour’s clear agenda of destroying family life is in itself completely evil – all to make controlling the masses easier.

    And if Sir Stuart Bell MP (who he?) thinks people who live in palaces should shut up, does he also say this of the Queen?

  7. Tacitus

    response #1 to the previous

    Faith in government is more important then being vigilant. If you list countries where the people most trust/distrust their government you will find that the countries where people believe their government will do the right thing are the more pleasant places on earth. If you don’t trust government will do the right thing then you do not only have to live with inefficiencies but also with bridges crashing in rivers.
    Posted by: Von Hohenheim |

  8. Tacitus

    response #2

    As an American, I cannot believe you are capable of writing all that you have, with such conviction, clarity and truth, and yet not be able to see why our founding fathers saw the need to ensure that in order to safeguard these freedoms as coded in our constitution, they also saw the need to ensure the right of our electorate to wield marshal implements of force via the second amendment.

    Alas in hind-site, it has not done, nor will it ever do the Americans much good, as they are only a but a decade or so behind the UK in the state of their civil liberties. Perhaps the ignorance and incompetence of the electorate is more than evenly matched with the same on the part of the government, such would be paint a bleak picture for the civil liberties of any country.
    Posted by: Jason Drekler |

  9. Jay

    What took them so long? This Government has pursued policies that are inconsistent: smoke or drink more than the recommended guidelines of alcohol (which appear to be entirely arbitrary) and you’re branded as socially irresponsible yet the Government has encouraged behaviour that now sees the UK as top of the leader board in teenage pregnancies. It has destroyed educational standards in the State sector and decimated our industries so that there are few traditional working class jobs and tries to tell us that poverty is being successfully tackled by topping up poorly paid work by tax credits. And, thanks to this Government, millions can now look forward to working until they drop or living a poverty-stricken old age. Now, with the economy in chaos, it plans to ‘get tough’ with those on benefit!!

    The Government’s latest promise, the ‘eradication of child poverty’, which they can’t hope to keep will soon join the other promises that have ‘vanished into thin air’ which they could have kept, but didn’t.

    Much publicity has been given to the Government’s plans to charge loan shark interest rates to those who have been given a social loan. The Bishops forgot to mention it but, there again, the plans have been denied. How on earth do such false stories even get an airing?

  10. Tacitus – Okay, I get it, you’re not a Labour voter. Big deal. Or should I say, big yawn. Deal with it and move on, preferably to someone else’s blog.

  11. Donkey Kong

    Roll on the next Election…

  12. Rapunzel

    What is this “destroyed educational standards in the state system”? Where is the evidence for this sweeping statement? I seem to recall a year on year rise in both Key Stage 2 SATS and A level results. To say nothing of the increase in the number of university entrants.

    And if anyone wants to discuss the decimation of our manufacturing industries, they should study local history in the north of England, in Wales and in Scotland and check just when the majority of ship yards and coal mines stopped production. It certainly wasn’t since 1997.

    It is so easy to trot out the old lines. I could as easily say that Conservatives are a load of toffs, only in politics for their rich mates, or that Conservatives don’t care about the unemployed, or that Conservatives undervalue state education.

    But would I? Imagine the verbal abuse if I did!

  13. “What is this “destroyed educational standards in the state system”? Where is the evidence for this sweeping statement? I seem to recall a year on year rise in both Key Stage 2 SATS and A level results. To say nothing of the increase in the number of university entrants.”

    The problem with those staticstics is that the qualifications are no longer as difficult as they used to be. If more people can pass an examination because the examination is easier, then that doesn’t really represent progress, it represents a waste of time. The same goes for people perusing a university education that will fail to equip them with skills that they will later use in their jobs. What will we do with hundreds of thousands of psychology students in a few years’ time? Far better to move into full-time employment rather than to waste time and money at university.

  14. Johnny Norfolk


    Anything you think you have achieved during the last 10 years years been wiped out with your destruction of the economy.
    What is the point for example of a minimum wage when there are no jobs.
    You are totaly deluding yourselves as all you have done is spend and waste money. Just tell me one thing Labour has done to create wealth for the country.

    The Bishops are correct.

  15. Jay

    If you want evidence, Rapunzel, just look on message boards to see the standards of literacy. Even the younger reporters on the BBC can’t get it right. The poor standards are criticized by both employers and academics. The only reason that university entrance is greater is because, as Will S says, exams are easier (and I’ve heard this from a former high heid yin on an exam board) and university intake and results have been manipulated by HMG.

    I take your point about industry (I was on a bit of a rant!) nevertheless the Government could have encouraged proper trade apprenticeships. Why have we been relying on East Europeans when we need a plumber?

  16. Rapunzel

    Will S, Jay: I might just concede your comments with regard to university education.

    In my day, many, many years ago, there were few subjects on offer at degree level apart from those of an academic nature.
    Although, I do remember being highly amused that one university offered a degree in brewing in the late sixties. I am not decrying brewing as a subject, but at that time it was unusual, to say the least.

    There were also many students in my day who went to university to study a subject for the sheer love of it, and not because they wanted a job, or to make money. That all came later.
    And in the course of that study, we had such a good time that I have long thought that a stint of three or four years study, away from home, should be a right for all youngsters! So I welcome the increased number of uni entrants.
    Even if nowadays many good mathematicians and other graduates have got their degrees, then gone into the “city”, to make “loads’a’money” by thinking up complicated mathematical formulae that sold financial products!

    But after a lifetime working in education, I still will not concede that standards have been destroyed. There were always youngsters who struggled with spelling, and it was not always their fault, or that of their teachers. The education offered to young people now is vastly broader and more interesting than it was 40 years ago. For those youngsters who learn easily, the sky’s the limit. And that is due to changes brought about by all governments during that time. (And they have all had pretty barmy ideas as well!)

    And no party has yet successfully addressed the needs of those young people who do not fit the academic mould, and who are seen as failures by the age of 11. That is where the big challenge lies. It is because youngsters are labelled as failing that many turn to anti-social behaviour, in my view.

    Feel free to disagree!

    I don’t know about the plumbers! Maybe we didn’t value the role of plumber because it wasn’t seen as academic. Maybe schools didn’t teach plumbing because non academic subjects didn’t impress OFSTED. Maybe we were so busy trying to cram French and Physics into children who struggled with basic literacy and numeracy that we couldn’t see what they really needed. Maybe we looked down on good, honest, manual labour. Who knows?

  17. Mr. Charlie

    Literacy. Yes. Splendid article in the Beeb last week saying that the government were going to have to

    “spend large”

    Yes. The BBC. Once the home of received English. Now horribly suborned by the nasty pox that is New Labour

    Happy New Year everyone. I’m off to stock up on piano wire.

  18. Wee Jimmy Hooner

    What do think the Bishes will make of this Tom?

    Latest ominous signs that this is what Labour has in mind for us comes from Liberty who report one effect of the Immigration and Citizenship Bill:

    Powers to examine identity documents, previously thought to apply only in UK ports of entry, will be extended through hidden clauses in the bill to criminalize anyone in Britain who has ever left the country and fails to produce identity papers upon demand.

    Thus, by the time they have done with it, pretty well any Jobsworth with a mind to will be able to demand of you that you prove your right to walk the streets of England and if you cannot (or, as they may find will be often the case, have a mind to refuse such an impertinence), you will be banged up and given a criminal record.

  19. Yeah, in your dreams, Jimmy. It comes from Liberty, does it? Well, then, it must be true, then, musn’t it?

  20. Jay

    I think that I’m going to disagree with you, Rapunzel. Personally, I don’t think that the place to be making education ‘broad and interesting’ (although you perhaps didn’t mean this) is the primary school – children are there to be introduced to the subjects they’ll study at secondary level and to learn social skills but primarily to be taught the fundamentals of literacy and numeracy without which they can’t hope to really cope with secondary let alone higher education. Reports down the years always seem to suggest that every ‘innovation’ in teaching literacy results in poorer standards – then it’s decided that the traditional standards (eg spelling) shouldn’t matter anyway. (I think that they do.)

    I still don’t really understand what was wrong with the old distinction in secondary education that separate schools provided a mainly academic or non-academic education. Academic pupils could get on with preparing for further study and non-academic pupils could get on with learning skills that would secure them work without being forced to grapple with subjects with which they couldn’t cope nor see any relevance in learning. The biggest, but surely not insurmountable, problem that I can see was in the testing that determined which school a child was sent to.
    (Perhaps I should say that I’m talking about the Scottish education system here).

    Like you, I was at university in the days when a liberal education was valued and a degree was not seen as preparation for a job but simply a step. Those who wanted to study a vocational course went into further education or to a polytechnic. I believe that the demise of the poly was a bad thing and ‘polyversities’ created on the most spurious of grounds. We need mechanical engineers as much as we need theoretical mathematicians and I think that the distinction between institutions of theoretical learning and those of practical learning was a useful one.

    I suspect that your last paragraph nails it – it boils down to class (much more evident in England than in Scotland, in my experience). Class is perceived as a bad thing among the decision-makers with the working class needing – through education – to be elevated to the middle-classes. Why do middle-class people persist in projecting their values onto working-class people? “We’re all middle-class, now”, Tony Blair proudly announced. No, and many don’t want to be. Aspiration has negative connotations, too. Working-class people have pride in their values and, although some will want to join the middle classes, others would just like to have an education that equips them to ply a trade without the need to have a degree to be an electrician.

    I believe that education is the key to lifting people out of poverty but I think that, in engineering education into ‘one size fits all’, we are causing more damage than good.

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