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The Archbishop is right to speak out, and right on the substance

Posted on 9 June 2011 | 8:06am

Rowan Williams is right to speak out, and right on the substance.
As I know from my time in government, Archbishops can provoke and anger from time to time, but why shouldn’t they? They are people in important positions of moral and religious leadership, and part of their role must be to contribute to political and policy debate.
As a statement of fact, he is absolutely right to say the government is implementing policies nobody voted for. Now there is a political argument for that – the public could not make up it’s mind – but it is a statement of fact. The NHS provides the clearest of many examples where the government has used the existence of the coalition to bring in policies which were in neither manifesto and not in the coalition agreement.
Neither of the parties fought on a mandate for moves to a free market in schools, universities and health, but that is the clear direction of travel. As Tony Blair has been pointing out over the last few hours, Labour reforms were always made with a view to pursuing progressive values, and for making sure the less well off were given opportunities previously denied.
The Archbishop is right to point out that George Osborne’s economic strategy does not have that insight at or even close to the top of his strategic priorities.
‘We don’t do God’ is one of my most quoted and often misunderstood statements. It does not mean there is no place for faith in politics, or politics in faith. And even if politicians do not do God at all, those who do God for a calling and a living have not just a right, but a duty, to speak out when they have concerns about what a government is doing. It happened to us from time to time. It is now happening to the coalition, and long may Rowan Williams and his successors feel they can and should speak out.

  • Watoop

    Absolutely agree but it is a shame when a rare coherent piece of opposition has to come from the church. I have really tried to give Ed a chance but it is just not happening is it? His PMQs performance yesterday was pretty awful and it looks like he is going backwards. So this shambles of a Government is just getting away with it, with the Tories still polling in the high thirties.
    I’m starting to feel pretty much disenfranchised from the whole political system (and it seems many people I know feel the same).

  • Rosie

    I agree . Normally religion and politics don’t mix but when the vunerable are being hit hard by policies of a Govt,then he should speak out. 

  • Don’t you find it sad that the Archbishop is making a strong case whereas the Labour Party seems to be asleep on the job? I imagine that you cannot put into print what you must really be feeling about the current Labour performance. Surely the Labour Party has more than a duty to point out the things that the Archbishop is saying. Where are our left of centre thinkers in politics? Where are Labour’s policies? We should not have to rely on unelected religious leaders to tell us the right thing to do. That is the way of other states which we rightly despise.

  • Red Flag

    How predictable is it that when a religious thinker/ leader speaks out ,there will be the inevitable media twist about the right to speak rather than discuss the valid issues raised ?

  • Paul M

    Once they get their hands on the levers of power Conservative politicians tend to go farther than in their manifesto to avoid frightening voters before an election. Labour by contrast tend to promise more they can deliver and are arguably too cautious in the face of any opposition. Thatcher proceeded cautiously with privatisation and anti-union legislation in her first term. Cameron and Osborne seem hellbent on imitating the Tory cuts of the early 80s AND ramming through the policies of the mid and later 80s in their first year. However the signs are that they are waking up to political realities. A long period of confusion, muddle and uncertainty everyone seems likely.

  • MicheleB

    Glad to read in ads for the mag that GB has also written an article.

    Tebbitt’s reasons for his criticisms might not be altrustic but they are objective :……..
         Former Conservative cabinet minister Lord Tebbit, whose own
    government agenda was criticised by Lord Runcie when he was head of the
    Church of England, agreed the archbishop was entitled to his opinion.

    “No-one would dispute the right of the archbishop to make
    comments of a political kind in this area; it’s part of his job to do

    “And he’s quite right that there are policies of the
    coalition for which nobody seemed to vote and policies for which people
    voted which are not being carried through by the coalition, but that’s
    the problem of coalition.”

  • Richard

    The Archbishop is of course entitled to speak out on any
    subject he chooses. His position will always mean that he is given great

    As the leader of a diminishing and more irrelevant and
    fragmented Church attended by 1.7 million people each month, he should stick to
    his knitting.

    I do not recall him wasting too much energy criticising a warmongering
    PM, presumably as all religions are tribal and spend more time warring with
    each other than promoting the good of mankind.

    What had Williams to say about the 0.7% GDP commitment to
    Overseas Aid?

  • Paul M

    As Alastair has pointed out the media aren’t interested in listening to Labour only 12 months after a bad general election result. No press coverage, no interviews of Radio 4. There aren’t many policies it’s true as they’re under review. Bad policies are a hostage to fortune later on. Labour has about a year or 18 months to get the policies right and then out into the public domain but no longer.

  • I should have much to say on this as a Christian but, in fact, I feel a few words will suffice. It is a question? What is the difference between a dictatorship and an undemocratic path of government? A thin line, surely?

  • Probably, RF, because it is easier to split theological hairs than to continually argue against the current political regime?

  • I wish I hadn’t felt the the Like button must be pressed but, yes, my own party is not speaking loudly enough for me…but wait, I am that party so speak I do. And so have you – be proud, be bold, speak on!

  • MicheleB

    Tsk, I should concentrate more as there’s no ‘edit’ feature :-
           “Tebbitt’s reasons for his criticisms” should read
           “Tebbitt’s comments”


  • Duncan Phipp-MacIntyre

    whilst I find the present prelate to be ineffective and anything but a leader, I do entirely endorse his comments and view as appropriate his expressing them as he has.
    The cry for social justice is not being shouted loudly enough and the most marginalised in society are, as ever, the prey of the merciless Tories. 

  • Nicky

    Good for the Archbish.  He’s absolutely spot-on.  It can’t be said often enough – nobody voted for the destructive policies of this government.  They have no mandate.

    I don’t know whether it’s entirely fair to criticise Ed M for not making similar noises – the trouble is, the right-wing bias in our media makes it difficult for him to get the message across.  However, I did think that he was being more assertive yesterday at PMQs, although that didn’t stop the Tory media belittling him as usual.  

    For any leader of the opposition, it’s quite tricky to get the right balance between being too aggressive or too intellectual.   In my view Ed always comes across far better than Cameron.  The way Cameron behaves during PMQs is a disgrace to his office (actually quite fitting for someone who had to sneak into Downing Street in the dark).  Does he really think the electorate are too dim to realise when he’s taking quotes out of context or wilfully misinterpreting figures (as in waiting lists for the NHS)? For him to then accuse Miliband of lying is like a sick joke.  As Ed said, the man is shameless.

    Regarding Tory bias in the media, the BBC’s Carole Walker was on the 1 pm radio news, doing what sounded suspiciously like a pro-government damage limitation exercise regarding Rowan Williams’ remarks.  The emphasis was decidedly on refuting what the Archbishop was saying.  What the hell is happening to the BBC?  Have Downing St got them completely by the short and curlies?  That’s yet another reason why we really need people in public life such as Rowan Williams to tell it like it is.

  • Robert


    One can picture Dave and Nick sitting there pondering what to do when Sir Humphrey Appleby pulls out a file of bright ideas “for just such an occasion”.

  • MicheleB

    I’m hoping EM will grow in to his role, won as a result of AV, but I reckon Labour as a whole is being subtle to watch.

    There is no point at all in them repeating what they have already said.  It would be predictable and it would be deemed cynical destructive spoilerdom by all who voted for the *cough*ers.

    All those voters have to realise for themselves what a mistake they each made and what a wrong collective result they have landed us all in.  They won’t be told that, we can be sure.

    I am stupefied and sometimes wordless myself by what I see and hear; I’ve never governed a country but even I, having ‘only’ done what I have, know that govt’s speeding is madness.  Inexperienced drivers don’t understand the repurcussions of what they’re doing and these ‘cough again’ don’t seem to grasp the beautiful simplicity of procedure, doing things systematically and absorbing one set of changes before guessing what the next should be.  Perhaps they’re too used to throwing their toys in the air to get what they want?

    If yesterday’s PMQs intensified one thing it was the flashman persona (middle half hour of this 90mins):

    As for all the new lingo they’re trying to introduce, I wish the hacks would just have a go about that.  What is the new yadder about a ‘senate’ meant to be about?  Yawn.

  • ambrosian

    Before swallowing the media guff that this was a devastating attack on the coalition, I suggest people go to the Staggers website and read the article in full.
    Not so much an attack, more like being lightly goosed with a feather duster.

    Like all Rowan Williams’ utterances, it’s difficult to work out what the hell he is saying. You read some sentences over and over, trying to decide what they mean or whether they mean anything at all.
    He says: “To acknowledge the reality of fear is not necessarily to collude with it.”
    How do you collude with fear? I assume he means that the fear provoked by government policies may not be justified. But the fears ARE justified if you are someone dreading that manilla envelope that brings news of your benefit cut or the news that your hip operation has been postponed.

    It would be an interesting exercise to re-write some of Christ’s utterances in the dry, impenetrable style of Rowan Williams. I doubt that the Christian religion would ever have existed.
    If this article is a lucid and powerful attack on the government then I am the leader of the People’s Front of Judea.

    Furthermore, for many of us Rowan Williams lacks any moral authority, given that he has put the poltical imperative of preserving his worldwide Anglican empire above the moral imperative of equality for women and gay people within his church.

  • The trouble is Alastair, if you bother to read the 2010 manifestos of both the Tories and the Lib Dems, you’ll find proposals for extensive welfare, education and health reform – go and look it up! So the Archbishop was wrong in his substance, period. 

    As to whether he was right to speak up, he used the word “vote”; this is not a word pertaining to religion, and is a matter of party politics and not philosophy. His intervention was way off beam here, and does his office no good.

    Finally, who the hell (excuse the pun) voted for him? What’s his mandate to spout off his erroneous guff?

  • It’s not just the vulnerable being hit, it’s everyone else – due to a 25% devaluation in the pound due to Gordon Brown crashing the economy into the barriers and bringing the roof down.

  • If you think the Beeb is on the government’s side you are truly delusional. Most real Conservatives would privatise it and break it up given half the chance – they’re not exactly fans…

  • Religion is the opiate of the masses…

  • What is Labour’s ‘social justice’, exactly? Only implementing 7 out of every 8 of the government’s cuts – as per the last Labour manifesto? Big deal!

    Let’s not forget that none of these cuts would have been necessary had Gordon Brown…

    [a] not deregulated the banking industry, allowing it to run out of control and eventually implode – costing us £200 billion

    [b] not borrowed an additional £300 billion on top of our 1997 debt of £295 billion in the period from 1999-2007, before the banks collapsed.

    [c] not sold our gold at an all time low, costing us an additional £9 billion overnight!

    Such gross economic mismanagement would have caused him to be executed in the Tower of London in an earlier age; it has left us all – including those who need ‘social justice’ in a terrible place – and even our unborn children will be paying off his debts in 25 years time, still financing his mistakes from a bygone age. What’s ‘just’ about that? 

  • MicheleB

    Would you let us know what would have happened if he hadn’t led the way and saved the world’s BANKERS ?

    Thanks in advance

    I put the crash down to Lehman Bros and Bush standing back going ‘Eerrrr.rrrrr…….rrrrr ……. daddy?’.


  • Ian O’Neill

    I would guess that I’m not the only correspondent on this blog that is getting sick and tired of Cameron bullying Ed at PMQs. Ed got mullered yesterday and I cringed in my car as I drove north on the A1. It’s become a habit for Cameron to quote the Labour front bench team in his answers. Unfortunately he only regurgitates half the quote and makes it appear that it endorses his policies.

    Now surely Ed’s team must be expecting this so why doesn’t he finish off the quotes and make Cameron look like the sham that he is. The justice bill is a mess, as are the NHS reforms and just about any other legislation that’s been introduced in the last 12 months, but the Bullingdon bullyboy is getting away with it.

    Olli, I look forward to your posts as much as I look forward to AC’s, but I find it hard to agree with your assessment that Ed is the best leader for Labour. I thought his speech the other week was truly inspiring, and as AC commented on here, the beginning of a strategy. But he’s not winning the battle in Parliament and while I agree that it isn’t watched by that many people, a victory at PMQs does lift the morale of the troops.

    Tony Blair rattled John Major nearly every week when he first became leader of the opposition. Perhaps Ed needs to take a look at some of the old PMQ clips on U-Tube. And he would be well advised to seek help and advice from TB’s team at the time.

    Suggestions as to who that may be are welcome …

  • Gilliebc

    I think you are spot-on there ambrosian.  The A of C speaks a different language to most of us.
    I would just add the following:
    Christianity and the state don’t mix.  I don’t give a toss what the Archbishop or indeed the pope say about anything.
    Finally, to those of you who are feeling disenfranchised from the political system, you are not wrong to feel that way.  We have been disenfranchised by design not accident.
    Democoracy is just an illusion and it has never been clearer than it is now.

  • MicheleB

    I wish I could feel sympathy for ‘(y)our’ unborn children; what I actually do feel is sympathy for those already born but not yet in school, who will see little benefit remaining from the incredible improvements Labour brought in to school infrastructure and systems from the very start of being in Govt.

    Instead of concentrating only on future children and how much they might (or might not) have to pay back to lenders, why not try to imagine what is in store for those whose education will be affected, posing as a concerned person you should surely worry about those whose facilities might mean they never get to earn.

    As for the gold, we’ve never been told why the choice to sell it was made, but given that gold is an unethical/blooded product I’m glad we aren’t sitting on piles of it any more.  It’s bizarre that nations’ wealth is measured on/secured by something that takes so many lives.


  • Yonks

    Think you’ve got that slightly wrong Michele….I think you’ll find he actually ‘saved the world’…..

  • Nicky

    Agree with that.  The speed that the government’s going with its ill-thought out and dogmatic policies is madness.  They are heading for one almighty crash.

    I agree also with the bit about the Flashman persona.  I suspect however that Cameron is vain and deluded enough to see the ‘Flashman’ soubriquet as some kind of compliment – since the character had a dastardly glamour about him.  I think the emphasis should be on Cameron’s ineptitude rather than playing along with his self-consciously cultivated bully boy image.

  • Jose

    Labour did many things systematically in IT and nearly everyone of them was a costly waste of money. Labour spent money that they didn’t have, a government’s income is our tax, spend too much and we pay more tax. Hence the present situation, we’re all getting screwed for decisions taken by Labour.
    By the way,hypothetically speaking, in case of a war do you believe that speed is unessential, you don’t have time to sit on your bum trying to work out how you’re going to achieve your objectives. Similarly with this financial mess, tell you what we’ll do nothing for 5 years and let Labour become re-elected so, they can start screwing up the economy yet again.

  • MicheleB

    The bit about doctors being turned in to buyers must have been in the very small print.  Would you mind showing us the bit about PCTs being scrapped and the advance estimations of redundancy costs?

    I do not want my doctor to be thinking about their budget when deciding what to prescribe, I resent that they will have to.   Doctors have a more important role than administrating and it’s bonkers to think otherwise (no matter the spats between a few of them with their PCTs).

    Most of the radical changes have been about offloading responsibility for Govt, chucking it out to any over-confident wannabe to open a ‘free school’ (or a big hello to faith schools).

    I really wonder why Cam even wanted the job …. unless Govt is to offload absolutely everything and become a lot like PR schmoozing.

  • Gilliebc

    I agree with you Michele that GB did the right thing at that time.  But, if
    Olli I’s statistics prove correct, then he was simply postponing the inevitable!  And the fact that he did the right thing then doesn’t I’m afraid excuse the other things he was responsible for before that time.  As set out in commenter David Price’s post.
    I do believe that this is all the fault of the greedy bankers.  But if they hadn’t been allowed to get out of control by the government of the day
    then it maybe wouldn’t have happened.  The buck has to stop somewhere.
    To finish on a cynical note, as they are all in it together, who can honestly say they are surprised by where we are now.

  • And now our PM tells us it will ‘always be a two-sided debate’ – I’d be more interested in knowing if he intends listening…

  • M

    At last some really tiptop comments from the clergy.  Of course we didn’t vote for what we are receiving at the present time.  The sooner we have another general election, the better.  The baby-faced types in the coalition are a disaster.  Where are the mature men of politics  We’ve lost one of the best, ie Tony Blair – where is there another like him to lead us forward?

  • M

    Good work from the clergy.  Of course we didn’t vote for the nonsense we are getting today.  The two leaders are far too young and inexperienced to run a country such as ours – where are the giants of politics of yesteryear? Tony Blair could leave Clegg and Cameron standing, but, alas, he has gone on to greater matters and don’t we suffer from it.  Roll on the next general election and the sooner the better.  Let’s not make any more mistakes.

  • MicheleB

    Nope Yonks I think you have it wrong; as we all know, GB was interrupted mid-sentence.

    However, I did get it wrong with my ‘ER’, it was just ‘banks’.

    As for how much Cable made of that soon after, with his ‘Stalin to Mr Bean’ quip, we’ll doubtless soon be hearing cracks about his own fall from grace …..  ‘Mr Clean to Mr Has been’.


    I’m much more likely to place my confidence in GB than I am in DP Gillie.

    The Lehman Bros collapse and inactivity on that side of the Atlantic for days on end (after who knows how long before it) is what made the domino chain so long.

    The sub-prime housing market and buy to let / self-certifying etc all helped (as in didn’t help).

    I’m only glad that all those people that have been repossessed here did not have the humiliation of ‘bank owned’ on the board advertising their home for sale (as in US). 

    However, let’s not get in to a spitting competition or (LOL) I’ll drag up 18% mortgage interest rates early 90s, endowment mortgage scam, Lloyds names, beginning of the tax-dodge pension plans and so much more.

    No govt can be wholly good, it’s their motiviation that matters and the motivations of GB and all those before/behind him were for society (little ‘s’ one).


  • MicheleB

    What was that about ‘in case of a war …. do you have time to sit on your bum ……. ‘   ….. etc?

    Nope, not sure what brought up the topic of war but as it’s there ……. we’ll have plenty of time to sit looking at ripped up planes and scrapped ships won’t we?  
    I just don’t get that ……. it’s one thing to decommission, it’s another to turn costly items in to scrap metal.  Were there an international agreement between all nations that such warchest reductions and timetables had to be followed it would be understndable, as there isn’t it isn’t.

  • MicheleB

    It’s probably silly to cross-ref the present HoC situation with comedy culture but there was a fabulously nihilistic routine on the box last night from Stuart Lee.

    He’s got a very dark side but has first hand experience of the Bulli-boys and the reaction they cause in those they deem NQ1OU was gold.


  • Dave Simons

    Who has the most real power, Gillie? Elected politicians or unelected bankers? As Marxists always say, ‘in the final analysis’ economic power counts, and politicians don’t have any – bankers do.

  • Dave Simons

    If I can lift a quotation from the Conservative Manifesto of 2010:

    ‘We will strengthen the power of GPs as
    patients’ expert guides through the health
    system by:
    • giving them the power to hold patients’
    budgets and commission care on their behalf;
    • linking their pay to the quality of their
    results; and,
    • putting them in charge of commissioning
    local health services.’

    But the point is that very few people actually read any party’s manifesto. What gets across is what happens at hustings and in the media, and the Conservatives did not give their proposed health ‘reforms’ a high profile. What did get a high profile was David Cameron’s love of the NHS and his determination not to instigate any more top-down reforms. And as soon as he became Prime Minister that’s exactly what he has tried to rush through. Which is why Rowan Williams is dead right to attack him, never mind what’s discreetly tucked away in the small print of an unread manifesto. The Conservatives have a historical track record of hating the NHS and wanting to bring in a private health system modelled on the now-discredited US system. The Conservative Manifesto keeps going on about politically-motivated bureaucracy in the NHS, which rather confirms their hatred of a system introduced by a Labour government in 1948. But even the worst and most narrow-minded Prime Minister of the twentieth century, Margaret Thatcher, said that the NHS was safe in her hands – which shows how much the Conservatives have to pay some attention to the opinions of the electorate.

  • Dave Simons

    Pardon me, Jose, but the economy has been screwed up by casino capitalists – aka bankers – not by relatively powerless national governments. Perhaps you were hibernating towards the end of 2008.

  • Dave Simons

    You’ve made me think of a 1960s one-hit-wonder pop group – Sam the Sham. Now we’ve got Cam the Sham, and his one-hit-wonder is:
    Woolly Bully!

  • Yonks

    We all know it was Lehmans that started the fall, or should we say Bush and his mate Paulson. However, your faith in GB in surely misplaced as good old Gordon spent so much of our money and made future unsustainable commitments that we’ll be paying it off forever! His motivation might have been excellent but it has to be paid for by someone otherwise your aspirations are no more than ‘spit’ in the wind…gotta laugh tho haven’t ya..arguing over a bunch of avaricious ******s

  • Franwhi

    There are over 250 Labour MPs in Westminster earning at least 70 grand each per annum and they’ve had a year in opposition to reflect and move forward. Without policy formulation or leadership on political action against the Coalition what exactly are they getting paid for ?  Can we afford to wait any longer for what amounts to a very expensive think tank to deliver effective opposition. – must be great being a Labour MP in this era of opposition torpor – nice work if you can get it hogging those opposition benches and pocketing three times the average wage  PLUS expenses  

  • Liz

    I thought the Archbishop was right too, just as he was right when he spoke out against the Iraq war, all night drinking policy causing more harm etc when he criticised Labour policy too.

    Watoop, I personally don’t care what Eds performance is like, we had slick Blair and now smooth Cameron. It’s policies that matter.

  • Gilliebc

    That is quite true of course Dave. 
    I temporarily forgot that most important fact.  Just as well I’m not a politician or anyone important!

    As Mayer Amschel Rothschild said,  “Give me control of a nation’s money
    and I care not who makes her laws”

  • Sally Phillips

    Hello Alistair
    It was good to see you again tonight on the airwaves (on ‘Today’). Long time no see.
    Well done! Oh, what bliss to hear the voice of reason again in politics!  And the prog.was a good laugh, too, as always. 


  • Gilliebc

    Sorry to but-in on your reply to someone else Dave.  But this is very important (not)!  Don’t forget the Pharaohs!
    It was Sam the Sham and the Pharaohs.  There, now I can rest easy 🙂

  • Ehtch

    Been posting on NS for about eighteen months now as EhtchTee, my initials, and lurked for a good several few years previously, but this must have been the finest day in New Statesman’s recent history for a long while, surely.

    Sky News and beeb news 24 couldn’t get enough of it, rolling.

    And good appearance on The Late Show with Andrew Neil and Michael Pots last night, Alastair. I think you wound that bloke setting up a school on some business plan of his, right up – to put the comment of with reference to your wife at the last moment, was frankly, quite bitchy of him. In that, he showed his colours – don’t you believe where he says he is coming from, to quote Tom from Tom and Jerry, which you should show your kiddies, and especially your daughter mentioned – mine is twenty now, and enjoying a superb healthy life in Surrey, since maybe they missed being brought up on Tom and Jerry on the BBC, repeated constantly,

    • Ehtch

      Alastair, my daughter getting into scubah diving in the Adriatic on the usual Greek Islands in about a few weeks ago. OK, she is not classicaly academic, but is a free-spirit like me, and has made a hell of a lot of money from just serving at tables at such restaurants as Frankie and Bennys. Surrey has those opportunities, to make serious money from rich people. She’ll go far, without being brainwashed in some academic environment, giving youngsters prat ideas about life. Ok – to be debated that is.ân-Thomas/720165273

  • Ehtch

    More Tom and Jerry for your missed out kiddies, Cat Fishing, which I am sure over the years when young saw several times Alastair, one of the ones with Butch the bulldawg in it. All seem to have a present hidden message in, especially when a Tory (even with fools backing them – LibDems should have called a lack of confidence by now) are running things,

  • Yonks

    Perhaps I was hibernating Dave but you’ll never know will you? But you seem to have swallowed the whole line about the bankers ruining our economy when you should know full well that it was them coupled with Labour’s fantasy world of tax revenues increasing forever and consequently ever expanding spending…e.g. PFI etc.

    • Chris lancashire

      You’re wasting your time Yonks. To the committed Labourite it wos the banks wot did it. Gordon saved us all. Never mind the gold sale, the structural defecit in the boom years, the bank supervision, the end to boom and bust, the PFI scams …..And all this whilst knifing Tone in the back.
      Yep, you’re wasting your time.

  • Robert

    ….or “Car 57 where are you?” by Car 57.

  • Ian O’Neill

    Dave, you’ve started my day off with a smile. And by god, don’t we need it with this crowd in office 🙂

  • Richard

    An excellent appearance on This Week last night. Your clarity of thought and delivery showed up those around you, not to mention those on QT an hour earlier.

    The void at the top of the Labour party is crying out for a principled communicator of your weight, Al. I am sure that the Labour establisment would tell you that you are damaged by your involvement with TB, Iraq, etc. Do not listen to them.

    Get into Parliament man, it is your destiny.

  • SG

    Your comments would be fair enough if it wasn’t for the fact that Labour spent most of it’s time in governement implementing policies that nobody voted for. I don’t remember voting for uncontrolled mass immigration or the never ending handing over of powers to the EU, let alone the outrageous war we were taken into !

  • MicheleB

    Oh dear, perhaps you should convince me Yonks by explaining what cudda/shudda happened when the banks started collapsing, you see I have the impression the whole world, developed or not, would have been plunged in to economic depression so if I’m wrong I might start to feel as you do about what GB did.

    Re now: those banks that are still part state-owned have decided to compensate people they had mis-sold insurance and/or mortgages to.  They’re doing so while we are still shareholders.
    I can’t work out how that has been allowed to happen; were we (or was this Govt) consulted about that being done by the banks now (as opposed to them repaying after our loans have been repaid and the compo is coming out of their own pot)?


  • Ehtch

    OOPS, mainly know as Spike,

  • simon

    There may be half-hearted and rather desperate enthusiasm for Ed amongst those who contribute here, but do you think he’s regarded highly by voters who need persuading ?  Not as far as I can tell.

  • Ehtch

    Scotland or England?

    Christ, if Scotland becomes the new Norway, I’ll be up there like a shot, giving them immigration problems.

  • MicheleB

    I don’t accept your subjective use of ‘war-mongering’ but, since you asked about the past :-

    I’m so sick of opportunistic wollies blathering on about Iraq and denying Saddam had weapons of mass destruction – his cousin hid some of them  inside 000s of people found buried in Northern Iraq. 

    Your denial of their murder (or pretence that you don’t know how they were killed) is shameful and your ignorance that those very chemicals were easily transportable is pathetic.

    Stop being a user.


  • Chris lancashire

    How many lives has gold cost? As many as Iraq for example? Or as many as Iraq + Afghanistan? Or as many as Iraq + Afghanistan + Libya? Just asking.

  • Chris lancashire

    Don’t wish to correct too much, but due to the rise in the gold price, the loss is now more like £12bn.

  • Here Here

  • MicheleB

    I think that as gold has been costing lives for centuries and that is probably one of the very reasons for the commodity’s rarity and price, your question’s an odd one.

    As to whether there’s a parallel between wars against murdering dictators and acquiring something simply for its value, I await your explanation of it.

  • Richard

    Thank you for your most educational posting…..however, you entirely miss the point. At the time of the parliamentary debate, the march and public debate PRIOR to the invasion of Iraq, I saw nothing of Williams. At that point his intervention would have been helpful and worthwhile. His later jumping on banwagon performances were irrelevant.

    Re: “I’m sick……etc blah blah.” Blix was searching, the world was watching, “we” could wait no longer. Your reading of 1441 obviously agrees with Bush and Blair’s. “He once had them, so we are off to change regime”. No such resolution existed. Why did they not wait for Blix?

    Please advise where the opportunistic wollies, shameful, pathetic and ignorant as they may be, should have searched for the WMD’s which are so easy to hide.

    The most obvious large polluted storage area is in your gob!

  • Ehtch

    Ploughing through these comments is loik walking in mod, if you are not used to it Alastair. Well done me son, and of course the Most Reverend himself for causing all this fuss. Always knew he had something, Rowan.

  • Yonks

    Hi Michele…our debt is not just that that we took on from the banks as you suggest but you must add in all the other government commitments overseen by GB. Irrespective of the banks he committed to far too much expenditure without knowing where the money was going to come from. My goodness, you just have to take the MoD as a simple example…30bn of unfunded commitments…

    I don’t mind you kicking the banks to your heart’s content but lets not forget the dross that was the last government.

  • Yonks

    Chris, are you suggesting that I’m ‘banging my head against the wall’? Maybe explains the headache….

  • Gilliebc

    You are spot-on there Richard!

    AC, the Labour party definitely need you and I would go further and say,
    this country needs you.

  • MicheleB

    yep Richard, Blix was searching. 
    Why was that? Was it because all the inspectors just wanted another overseas jaunt on expenses?  I doubt it.
    It was because Blix and  the other inspectors knew there certainly had been WMDs.
    We know some were used, should UN have presumed that all had been? 

    What they did or didn’t know, but what Blix advised five weeks in …….. I sometimes bore even myself with the necessity to repeat this to people who must have had cloth ears or no eyesight at the time  ……. Blix advised, five weeks in, on Today, ten minute regular interview at 8.10am, that the inspectors had by now come to the conclusion that the WMDs they knew existed had been snuck/sneaked away to friendly neighbours like Syria for storage. 
    What Blix added, somewhat subjectively to that, was his guess about why Saddam might have done so but not told anyone; namely that he did not want his poor subjects to know he had made any small capitulation to the West.  He continued that Saddam was known to like a game of poker and this was his biggest gamble ever, with his country’s safety.

    He said something similar some time later to the Australian media; no longer suggesting hidden away, now saying they could have been destroyed, un-witnessed.  Cudda.

    I’m sure that you don’t want to believe the above Richard, it’s a lot more trendy to be on the bandwagon you are; I bet you even have a T-shirt misappropriating Mr Blair’s surname.

  • MicheleB

    Between us we’re managing to go majorly off-topic, however I thought this was worth your sight :-
    Iran’s declarations of WMDs as at ’09. 

    The mention on that page also of India’s declaration reminded me of their having been sanctions busters pre-’03 and that one of the best outcomes of the invasion is that those decades-long punitive sanctions are now ended. 

    I remember something else that you probably didn’t hear; namely that the sanctions had killed far more people every single month for decades than the invasion did in one.

    Back on topic?


  • Yonks

    Okey dokey…thanks for the opcw link, interesting!

    We can now cross swords over the 2 Eds and Tony revelations…

  • Dave Simons

    I’m sorry Yonks but I was around in 2008. One remarkable achievement I will grant to the LibDem-backed Conservative government is the way it’s wrenched public attention away from the bankers and onto public sector employees who did not create the crisis of 2008. The reason of course is because the Conservative Party is of the same kith and kin as the bankers, so dear old Vince can make as many threats as he wants against bonus culture but nothing’s going to change up there, is it? The Labour Party has always had a redistributive side – Clause 4 was one expression of it, public spending (or investment) has been another. The Conservatives are fundamentally opposed to redistribution, or ‘fair shares for everyone’. They think human nature is basically selfish and some people will always have a lot more than others and good luck to them. Or, as Margaret Thatcher said: “There is the ladder. Climb as high as you want and the best of British luckl!” What music that must have been to selfish rogues who felt shackled by such things as a social conscience and having to think about others, particularly those less fortunate.
    By the way you’re not banging your head against a brick wall, but I have to say I find your comments, and those of the gentleman below, a bit lacking in persuasive power, perhaps in need of a little elaboration? Also by the way I’m not a committed anything, not even a committed ‘Labourite’, whatever that is.

  • Dave Simons

    Thanks Gillie, I’d forgotten about the Pharaohs, which is very remiss of me because I hear them on the Shipping Forecast most mornings. Not this morning though – I knew from my pocket diary that it was the Duke of Gaffs’ ninetieth birthday, so I couldn’t bear to turn the radio on and hear that dreary tune they play on these occasions. Mind you, I am glad to hear that at ninety he has decided at last to start work – or maybe I’ve been misinformed by some disrespectful joker?

  • Ehtch

    That link didn’t work try googling “facebook 720165273”. Nice sunglasses, ey?

  • MicheleB

    Welcome 🙂  I’d also not heard of the organisation and hope it’s not a spoof!

    I want to play Liam Burn and you can be Jo Coburn (sp?) who was flogging a dead horse yesterday.  He was very impressive.

    Have a good weekend.

  • MicheleB

    PS: re the above, I meant she had an impossible task (I could go all trendy and say ‘big ask’) trying to make a meal out of discussions/memos after TB had announced departure.

    HaGW anyway.

  • Anonymous

    Mumbles from the comfort zone of a decaying belief system… the kind of comment I would expect from Alistair. In turn why wouldn’t I view Alistair’s thinking in this way?

  • Willg2412

    I back the Archbishop in his criticisms..being a church goer myself they are more in touch with the people than the government..the church leaders meet the general public on a regular basis..face to face..they are more concerned with what is happening in their communities than the government are..

  • MicheleB

    I’ve really got to sort out my eyesight!
    This above –
         I thought this was worth your sight :-
         Iran’s declarations of WMDs as at ’09. 

    SHOULD read IraQ not Iran

    Lines for me!