Monday 21 November 2011

Much prominence has been given in the press and television to a letter written by 18 bishops to the Observer newspaper (where else), protesting at the government’s welfare cuts which they describe as creating child poverty.  This has generated much comment on the internet, mostly adverse, for the vast majority of the public, according to opinion polls, feel benefit payments are in fact too liberal.  When a cap is proposed at £500 per week and £35,000 a year for unemploeyed people,it can be understood why people feel that way.  There are a great number of men and women with families working very hard at personal cost in time energy and stress for a lot less than £35,000 a year. Many indeed who would feel it was their lucky day if offered those terms. It is hard to credit that so many as alleged by the bishops are living in poverty at such rates
Perhaps it might have been wiser if the bishops had thought with their minds rather than their hearts.  No fair minded person would object to the provision of assistance for the necessities of life, but necessities obviously mean different things to people.  There have been tragic cases where men have been made redundant who would normally never have been thought to be at risk, and as a result are facing difficulty in meeting commitments previously made.  But against that there are people who have not worked and have no intention of doing so, enjoying luxuries those men cannot now afford.  Friction and annoyance are therefore reasonable.

In addition there have been some outrageous abuses of welfare payments by some people who have conjured up the most sophisticated frauds to illegally obtain many thousands of pounds.  If their ingenuity was put to honest labour everyone could benefit. 

Much has been said regarding foreign workers taking employment away from British workers.  Employers have responded by alleging young British men and women lack skills in education, communication and a willingness to work hard, in other words less work for more money.  Certainly documentaries on television have portrayed British youth reluctant to stay the course where hard work is required, and be much inferior to European workers  As a consequence those young people willing and seeking work, are finding it much harder to get employment. 

I would like to have seen the bishops make condemnation instead of the liberal establishment who control the agenda which has denigrated endeavour, and sought to create a society of equals which is determined by a mediocre standard at best, and which has left us unable to compete in may ways with other nations. 

Gone is the encouragement to feel pride in obtaining success in work and achievement.  Gone too are the grammar schools which enabled many boys and girls from working class backgrounds (like myself) to get a good education which they could use to benefit themselves and the community, closed by politicians who attended the best private schools or indeed grammar schools themselves.  It seems rather importune to condemn grammar schools if you have been to Eton. 

I look forward, without a lot of hope, to the time 18 bishops write to any newspaper protesting at the government’s decision to prohibit adoption by married couples if they refuse to give same-sex education to children in their care.  Most people would agree that two men, however well-intentioned, are totally unsuitable to raise children, especially female children.
Such decision has forced Catholic Adoption agencies which did such wonderful work to close down and so leave many children uncared for.

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