Market and Economics

Bishop of Chester urges sound money – guaranteed by Budget quango

The Rt Rev’d Dr Peter Forster is a sound bishop. Having shredded the environmentalist papal encyclical Laudato Si’ (“shrill.. naive.. unclear.. unconvincing.. exaggerated scaremong“), his has turned his mitre to the national debt and the need for sound money. In a speech to the House of Lords, he explained:

I do not want to get into the details of the Budget, which are very political, but to talk about two broader, longer-term issues to which the Chancellor referred in his speech. The first, which has already been alluded to, is our national debt. Its rate of growth is forecast to slow in this decade, but that is stabilisation at a very high level, representing nearly £62,000 for every household in the country. Even at the current very low interest rates, servicing that debt costs £50 billion a year—more than the combined costs of defence and police services in this country.

I do not know what level of national debt is sustainable, because I am not an economist, although the economists do not seem too sure either and take different views. I believe, however, that the current level, which grew greatly through the financial crisis that broke about 10 years ago, is much too high for our long-term good, not least if a further, serious long-term crisis were to hit us, for whatever reason. The blame lies in the years before the crisis, when, amid favourable economic conditions—not least the bonanza years of North Sea oil reserves—the national debt was allowed to rise so much. This reflected a national mood that is summed up in the iconic advertisement for an early credit card: that we should “take the waiting out of wanting”. Whether for individuals or for our nation as a whole, I question whether it is right and healthy to prioritise taking the waiting out of wanting. Getting our national finances genuinely into a better state will be a very difficult challenge amid all the political pressures which arise in a consumerist society so resistant to increased taxation.

And he goes on to talk about the proportion of GDP dedicated to health and social care. He thinks it should be greater, which is fair enough, but more money doesn’t necessarily mean a better service. You can pour £billions into the state’s education and healthcare only for their structural deficiencies to devour all hope of betterment and kill off the intended gain. Year-on-year increased spending on education did not increase student attainment: there are simply far too many variables to make a reliable causal link. And the NHS receives extra £billions every year, yet people are still waiting, queuing, despairing and dying.

But that isn’t the quibble of this post: Peter Forster’s dissection of Laudato Si’ evidences acute awareness that increased social spending is contingent on market income, and that capitalism is essentially a good thing. The Bishop is sound on this. But consider his solution for neutering the “political battlefield” which debates over spending on health and social care have become:

We need to try to reduce the element of political controversy as far as possible in the basic decision-making processes, because once something becomes a political football, things tend simply not to happen because of the developing stalemate and the associated emotions.

I know that Governments are generally opposed to ring-fencing taxes but I have come to think that due to the inexorably increasing costs and unique political pressures involved, the future challenges to funding health and social care will best be represented by some form of hypothecation of tax revenues. There is something of a distinct anomaly here, which can be addressed separately. While individual Governments will have to take overall responsibility for what happens when they are in charge, the recommended Budgets and tax-raising plans would best be proposed by an independent and cross-party body—a bit like the OBR. That may not be politically palatable but, frankly, paying for what we need to pay for will be unpalatable in one form or another. We simply have to face up to that, and to a degree of austerity which seems simply unavoidable in the decades to come.

The Bishop’s soundness on the need for “a degree of austerity” is reiterated (though he gets scant appreciation for this). But in order to achieve the ‘right’ level of NHS spending, he suggests that the slicing of the fiscal cake must be handed over to some sort of budget quango: “an independent and cross-party body” whose task it would be determine how much of the public purse is set aside for the NHS and social care provision. This, of course, would make the chairman of said quango more powerful and influential than the Chancellor. Indeed, it would neuter the Chancellor’s tax-raising (and cutting) powers altogether. No longer would a party need to win a general election in order to effect its spending plans: just get your placeman (/woman) appointed to lead OfBudge. And how cross-party would it be, exactly? And in what proportions? Would it extend to Ukip or the SNP? Would its make-up be determined by number of votes, the number of MPs or their national allegiance?

Quangos are unaccountable, undemocratic, and invariably (over-)populated by the great and the good of the ever-circulating elite. The more of them there are, the more power over our lives they possess. Politicians cease to be able to govern when those who sit on these quasi-autonomous supra-legislative bodies call the shots. Indeed, with the proliferation of quangos, politicians are forever able to pass the buck, put their hands in the air and tell Parliament (rather truthfully), “It’s not my fault.” And too many of their influential appointments are in the gift of ministers: to lead a quango these days is far better than receiving a knighthood (though the two often go hand in hand), for the executive quango has real political clout which transcends the capricious whims and base desires of both the people and their political represenatives. How could a Conservative chancellor ever again effect real conservative fiscal policy if the Chairman of OfBudge happened to be one Sir Gordon Brown? How would John McDonnell usher in his Corbynomic revolution if OfBudge were led by Lord Lawson or Sir John Redwood? Not everyone can be conveniently bought off with a ‘K’ or a ‘P’.

Here’s a good idea: why not grant the European Commission the necessary supranational authority to impose sound fiscal governance upon all member states, to ensure that they comply with a prescribed level of expenditure in healthcare and social provision…

The Bishop of Chester needs to consider that doing democracy (properly) is inherently to create a “political battlefield”. The fraught and emotional arguments over how best to ameliorate provision in health and social care need to happen (as do those which are intelligent, reasoned and passionate), and the victor needs to be able to change the status quo. Political peace is best attained not by imposing an episcopal notion of fiscal orthodoxy, but by winning the difficult arguments and reaching consensus by showing – empirically – what works best. You cannot bypass the political fray by imposing a remote quango, or by pretending that a quango is somehow a ‘higher’, more enlightened settlement, for to do so simply frustrates and alienates the people. It isn’t unreasonable to believe that we who pay the piper should be able to call the best tune, even if you think it’s of the devil.

  • Anton

    He’s right about sound money, although getting back to the gold standard, ie basing the pound on what the people regard as money, rather than the fiat muck that politicians stuff our pockets with, will be difficult from here. He’s right that more (real) money needs to go to frontline NHS – although he might have said that less needs to go to NHS admin (where there are FOUR times as many administrators per doctor/nurse than in private medicine!) He’s wrong that more money needs to go to welfare; that’s a budget we need to get down because, apart from the national debt problem, it subsidises and therefore promotes sloth and immorality. And of course he’s wrong about the (un)democratic means to these ends, as Your Grace eloquently points out. So, half marks (half marx?) for my lord bishop.

    • And the NHS admin is still useless. I know – I’m currently trying to use it, and finding things not done and urgent referrals going missing and samples lost.

      • David

        The NHS has become a holy cow, and as with the Indian ones, anything that is too holy to critique become gradually useless. It contains many hard working, skilled people. But it is, compared to other wealthy countries’ systems, rather poor, especially at the diagnostics. Assuming you are a male (just kidding !) when was the last time you were invited to have a prostrate check up, for example ? Other countries do !

        • Anton

          A prostrate checkup?

          • David

            Yes.
            Prostrate cancer kills 10,000 men annually in the UK, simply because we don’t monitor it regularly like most rich countries. It is a disgrace.
            The feminised NHS / government provides women with breast cancer checks (as they should), but men are ignored – nice !
            All it takes is regular blood checks. I shan’t mention the invasive internal exam. option, although unless you are squeamish it is nothing really.
            All men over 55ish need regular checks. It is a slow growing condition, so biannually I request one from my GP, who complies. I pay enough tax ! Everyone should be screened.

          • Anton

            Prostrate or prostate…?

          • David

            Consult a dictionary – never my strong point.

            P.S. Just checked.
            Go to the top of the class – you’re won the spelling test !

          • Anton

            I was wondering if you typed it correctly but your computer “helpfully corrected” it…

          • David

            That’s very generous of you, Anton, so thank you. But no it was my mistake. I don’t often write about that organ !

          • len

            Sometimes both coincide.

          • jsampson45

            It is a matter of opinion. PSA is not altogether reliable.

          • David

            True.
            But you can combine the PSA tests with other checks to build an overall picture. What do you suggest, leave it to chance and risk dying like the other 10,000 UK men annually – not a good option !

          • jsampson45

            I don’t see why I should suggest anything. The risk of my dying is 100%. I have no objection to you having tests if the doctor recommends them or if you pay for them.

          • David

            Practice preventative medicine or increase the risk of an early, preventable death. It’s your choice pal !

          • Royinsouthwest

            You can sometimes get a prostate check if you ask for one, especially if you have a family history of prostate cancer. However you have to persuade your GP that it is a good idea and that is not always easy, even for men with a history of the disease in their family.

          • David

            My GP readily agrees, when requested.
            If not I’d pay for it myself.

    • David

      Spot on Anton – a sound list.
      This lot suck in Marx with their daily Groaniad, that’s why, even the best ones like this chap, haven’t a clue about implementing anything – the “how to” – is a total mystery to them – like almost all academics.

  • chiaramonti

    Would it be a novelty for a C of E bishop to advocate “sound” theology?

    • David

      Steady now, are you being reasonable ?

  • The bishop’s quango is a non-starter, especially so given Brexit and the restoration of accountable government. That leaves us with the present system of sleazy politicians promising jam today and racking up the national debt to finance it. Eventually, Britain’s debt will be so enormous that lenders, if prepared to lend at all by then, will demand crippling rates of interest and reality will hit the British smack in the face.

    Before that happens, perhaps it will occur to the people that their selfishness is burdening generations yet unborn with horrific debt and, in their remorse, they will elect a new type of politician, honest and trustworthy, who will put country before party and avert disaster. More chance of pigs flying.

    • alternative_perspective

      Quite, we don’t have careful governance by parliament but reactionary, media driven, mob rule acting on a nervous government.
      The one, and only, benefit of the EU’s systems is its ability to step back from the foray and consider things in a semi-insulated fashion.

    • David

      My prediction is that, eventually as the (carefully contrived ) debt becomes excessive, HM Government will simply recalibrate to zero – default !
      It is all artificial fiat money anyway, a lie designed to put interest profits into bankers hands, for doing nothing, other than electronically “creating” money out of thin air ! The entire global financial system is a scam controlled by a tiny few.

      • @ David—For the cartoonist Ben Garrison, the most important thing The Donald can do ‘is audit and then end the Federal Reserve and return the control and creation of money to We The People.’

        • David

          Yes indeed.
          The Donald is the first POTUS in many, to my knowledge – where’s Karl ? – to identify the problem. But achieving it would be a very tricky problem. But where there’s a will, there’s always a way….

        • 1649again

          The Fed needs massive reform and actually to be brought under government control.

        • David

          Thanks. I enjoyed the cartoon – a youthful looking Trump – and the short article, expressing my thoughts exactly !
          God bless Donald Trump !

      • 1649again

        The problem with default though David is that most pension funds are invested heavily in government debt. There is another partial solution which I am reluctant to mention for fear that politicians will see it as a magic money tree. It could only be done once, probably in concert with a number of other major western economies, and alongside measures such as I have outlined above.

        • David

          I take your point about pension funds.
          I confess I made my comment when in a slightly gung ho mood !

          • Dominic Stockford

            Who wants to retire anyway?

          • David

            Brave man, or lucky man ?
            I enjoyed my various roles enormously, but working in an intensely, politically charged environment was both continuously risky and exhausting. So after twenty years at the top, I was happy to withdraw, whilst I was still winning, and then run my own business for a while.
            Later after an illness I was content to retire professionally, and then apart from still running a very small business, to devote more time to community and church work.
            But if you enjoy what you do – that’s great !

          • Dominic Stockford

            I’m a pastor!

          • David

            Well the full time ones often retire, frequently to assist part time for free, which proves your point !

    • Coniston

      The19th century Scottish Historian, Alexander Tyler, allegedly wrote that a democracy is always temporary in nature; it simply cannot exist as a permanent form of government. A democracy will continue to exist until voters discover they can vote themselves generous gifts from the public treasury. From then on, the majority will vote for the candidates who promise the most handouts (without sufficient unpopular tax being raised), with the result that every democracy will finally collapse over loose fiscal policy. Tyler probably didn’t write this (the first reference appeared in the 20th century), but it is nevertheless horribly plausible.

      • 1649again

        That theory goes right back to Aristotle.

        • Anton

          Slightly earlier still, Plato regarded democracy as inherently unstable, although not for that reason. Are you suggesting that Aristotle gives a financial argument for democracy’s instability, please? (Certainly there is a quote from a relatively recent writer to that effect, possibly Tyler, which I’d be glad to trace.)

          My own award for the daftest serious book of the last 30 years goes easily to Francis Fukuyama’s End of History, about how the whole world will move to liberal democracy and we shall all live happily ever after. Toilet paper.

          • 1649again

            No, but by Aristotle’s time Greek thinking, which he articulated, basically saw constitutional arrangements are cyclical, starting with monarchy which sank into a tyranny, was replaced by an aristocracy which deteriorated into oligarchy which was overthrown by popular revolt and replaced with democracy which deteriorated through demagoguery into mob rule into anarchy which was then replaced by an absolute ruler in reaction and so the cycle turned again.

            The UK’s old balanced constitution, which the USA tried to replicate and adapt, was arguably the best the world has seen as balancing long term interests with popular representation. Alas universal suffrage, the dominance of the Commons at the expense of the monarchy and aristocracy, means that we are sinking through democracy into mob rule, bankruptcy, potentially anarchy and then some form of absolute government which would have to be established to restore order.

          • Anton

            Yes, elections are become auctions of unsustainable promises in which politicians bribe the people with their own money – or, at least, the money of the productive classes.

            I agree with every word of yours but I think that the form of government matters less than the collective morality of the people.

      • alternative_perspective

        It is for this reason I believe democracy can only thrive in a strong Judeo-Christian culture.
        Democracy is predicated on: putting the greater good first; believing we have the ability to improve the world and the fundamental belief that all people irrespective of capacity, birth, gender etc. have intrinsic and equal value.
        Only the Judeo-Christian culture promotes these values naturally.
        For other worldviews to achieve the same thing they must fuse them with other beliefs – the origins of which are often mutually contradictory.
        A naturalistic view requires socialism to promote a sense of otherness but naturalism reduces people to atoms thereby undermining the belief in intrinsic value. To overcome this one weds a theory of personhood but this introduces a relativistic scale in terms of rational capacity undermining equality. To overcome this naturalism weds socialism, personhood and equality together but this creates a hierarchy of equals: which is no equality at all and ultimately equality is fundamentally undermined by naturalism which is predicated on Darwinian social theory. In short – it is a deeply ad hoc construct with so many loop holes and internal contradictions even Tony Blair would struggle to justify them.
        Islam struggles also due to its affirmation of an absolutist approach to determinism – which leads to fatalism and an belief that we cannot ourselves do anything to improve our lot – hence the need for strong men and dictators.
        The Eastern mystical religions affirm the one-ness of creation which eventually collapses in to naturalism and the self contradictions described above. Buddhism teaches disconnection whilst Hinduism caste structures. The latter leads to fatalism and the other inequality.
        Although Greece developed the notion of democracy, it wasn’t sustained in any place until Christianity was fused with it.
        Take the USA, the supposed bastion of democracy – it has been proven, quite categorically that is more like a corporate oligarchy. We’re probably in a similar state. How has this happened: Christianity has been forced from the public space and the equality of all under God supplanted by purchasing power.

        • David

          You were on a roll there !
          But seriously, well said, as you’ve expounded an unquestionably correct analysis.
          Our Judaeo-Christain faith is the basis of western societies. Yet so many are too blind to see that.

      • bluedog

        Tyler was a disgraceful plagiarist. His ‘discovery’ is pre-dated by the Greco-Roman thinker Polybius and his theory of Anacyclosis: https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Anacyclosis

      • David

        I agree. It sounds all too plausible !

  • David

    What a pleasant surprise, a C of E bishop who gets something right for a change.
    Yes to sound money.
    But unfortunately he gets a lot wrong.
    So, NO to any form of tax hypothecation, for any purpose whatsoever. The elected government, and its Chancellor, must remain responsible, and retain fiscal flexibility, as the future is always uncertain.
    NO, NO, NO to any more quangos ! They are remote, unaccountable and undemocratic, with the potential for becoming instruments of inequity.
    The unspeakable Blair creature manufactured quangos, so as to deliberately loose, accountable government level responsibilities for all sorts of important functions. That left him free to just pose, strut about and start wicked foreign wars. We want quangos scrapped, and the powers returned to a more accountable, local level, for example, land drainage.
    With us leaving the EU soon – hurrah ! – the opportunity is opened up for wholesale, root and branch reform and improvement. We want a return to a more cost conscious, common sense driven type of decision making, policy formulation and with local operational management possessing again, a high degree of local discretion. No more dictats from remote ivory towers ! Powers need to be returned to the lowest practicable level !
    Say that in your prayers of intercession, My Lord Bishop !

    • Maalaistollo

      Bring back vestry meetings and poor law guardians!

      • David

        Our vestry is too small for such gatherings.

  • Peter Forster

    His Grace, whom I generally regard as very sound indeed, misrepresents me slightly, but crucially. My proposed cross-party body would propose, but the government of the day would take responsibility and decide. At present there’s something of a stalemate, endless structural fidgeting, and short-term sticking plaster financial measures – now undermined by the recent politically driven u-turn on NI contributions.

    • James Bolivar DiGriz

      “My proposed cross-party body would propose, but the government of the day would take responsibility and decide”
      That is, IMO, an even worse option.

      If the quango did take the decision then it might (but only might) take some of the political point-scoring out of the issue.

      Having the quango recommend and the government take the final decision will mean that the government will try and take the praise for anything that goes well and deflect the blame for anything that goes badly onto the quango.

    • Bishop Peter, bless you for your contribution, but it isn’t clear how a cross-party body which might merely make proposals will in any sense “reduce the element of political controversy”. Indeed, there is a danger of exacerbating it, for bodies which may make policy proposals are generally called think-tanks, and these have no authority over the basic decision-making processes, but simply add to the democratic fray by seeking to exert influence through the acquisition of political patrons. Surely only a body which removes or mitigates “stalemate and the associated emotions” can have the outcome you prefer: “political football” is preferable to government by oligarchical quangocracy, even if ‘fiscal governance’ is nothing but a benign suggestion (and it won’t remain that for long, as political appeals will be made to its ‘expertise’ and ‘impartiality’, neither of which may be actual). But keep up the good work: you are a blessing to the Church and the nation.

      • alternative_perspective

        So we have a thesis, an anti-thesis … what might be the synthesis?
        I very much agree with the Bishop’s considerations, however the stark reality is the de-politicisation of decision making is equally applicable to many policy areas. For example: a new airport in the South East or more crucially the housing crisis and new nuclear power. The latter was shelved for the full thirteen years of the New Labour government. This abdication of responsibility, un-necessarily inflated the risks and costs associated with the replacement programme and has pushed the stability and security of our entire electrical transmission system in to a precarious state.
        The stolid reality is: democratic accountability has detrimentally affected our economy, vital infrastructure and consequently – quality of life. It is an ugly realisation but one that should be acknowledged – this coming from an individual who voted for Brexit on account of its democratic deficit and to regain parliamentary sovereignty.
        The current settlement is failing and not fit to make the decisions needed to tackle the debt; meet our infrastructure needs; fund our military or promote post-Brexit reconciliation.
        In my opinion we need to separate vision from delivery and strategy from implementation. In some manner we need to fuse our adversarial decision making process with a consensus orientated definition and delivery model.
        Perhaps I am calling for a via media betwixt Westminster and Brussels – eyes rolling.

        • chefofsinners

          You are right. Health, education, the armed forces and many other aspects of our society suffer from the political pendulum’s 5 year period.

          • alternative_perspective

            When the lights go out one cold winter’s day remember that or if the nation defaults I think this will be proven false, sadly.

      • Dominic Stockford

        We need a government, as you say, that bites the bullet, grasps the nettle, or whatever metaphor you wish to use, and deals with the follies in the current budget. Cameron failed to do it, and it now seems May is not doing so either.

        • CliveM

          They believe that the risk of electoral extinction is to high. This is wrong, but who’s to blame, the politicians or the electorate?

        • David

          Quite right Dominic. We need leadership and incisive action.
          My favoured metaphor for the circumstances you describe is :
          “lance the boil”, as it makes ’em wince !

      • chefofsinners

        Take what you can get, Cranmer. “Very sound indeed” is a decent return from a man you’ve poked in the eye.

  • Stig

    The concept of National Debt is a total fiction, designed to put taxpayers hard-earned money into the pockets of rich bankers. Basically it is theft. You need to remember that in these days of fiat currencies, governments can print as much money as they like, they don’t need to borrow it. So you might well ask why do they outsource the printing of money to banks? And why do they pay interest on it? The whole thing is a scam designed to transfer wealth from the poor to the rich, and no Christian should fall for it.
    To governments transferring money overseas, by whatever means possible, is a good thing since it means they can spend money without fueling inflation in the domestic economy. That is why we pay interest on sham loans, that is why we prefer overseas companies to undertake large projects in this country (UK), that is why we are happy for multinational companies to pay less than their fair share of tax, that is why we give aid to countries that don’t need it. The purpose of taxation is to take money out of the domestic economy, so it doesn’t much matter if foreign owned companies don’t pay it, and in fact if they don’t it exports the inflation to other companies so might even be seen as a “good thing”. Always remember, when governments do perverse things like borrowing instead of printing money themselves, there is a motive – and it is always “follow the money”.
    By borrowing as much as possible governments put money into the pockets of bankers, who being duly grateful ensure that those politicians who help them are rewarded. George Osbourne is only the latest example.

    • chefofsinners

      No.
      Printing money causes inflation.
      You can’t eat money. It is just a medium of exchanging one commodity for another. When there are no more goods in the economy and you expand the money supply, the price of real things rises.
      Borrowing money means you’re spending it instead of someone else. This enables you to buy more goods, either from abroad or from latent domestic capacity, without causing inflation.

      • Dominic Stockford

        And the money created is given straight to the banks, who lost what we had in the first place…

      • Stig

        Or as well as someone else. What matters for domestic inflation is the money supply in the domestic economy. If you print money and spend it overseas, it exports the inflation. That also makes imported goods more expensive, benefitting domestic industry and taking even more money out of the domstic economy. There is actually no limit to the amount of money they can print, they just have to ensure it doesn’t end up increasing domestic money supply too quickly. Population growth helps keep inflation in check too, which is why it is so popular. Since governments can’t avoid spending SOME money in the domestic economy, they have to have a way of avoiding too much increase in the domestic money supply and the resulting inflation, hence taxation, austerity, cuts to public services etc.

        • chefofsinners

          No, not as well as someone else. If the government borrows £5 from you, you can’t spend it.

          The effects of spending abroad are governed by changes in the exchange rate. You can’t print £5 notes and spend them in other countries. A government which prints money to spend abroad will find its balance of payments worsening and its exchange rate falling. That drives domestic inflation as imports become more expensive. There are no easy wins in economics. The markets always get you in the end.

          • 1649again

            Quote right.

          • Stig

            “If the government borrows £5 from you, you can’t spend it”.
            True, but it is not me they are borrowing from. It is a bank that is empowered to create as much money as they like out of thin air. That’s the difference. The money I have I have to earn, I don’t have an unlimited supply like those banks. I can’t just create more by typing some numbers into a computer. The money the banks lend doesn’t exist until they lend it, but of course they expect it to be paid back with interest.
            As for the effect of spending newly created money abroad, this simply inflates the money supply in whichever economy it is spent, causing inflation and devaluing the overseas currency, not ours. That’s what I mean by exporting our inflation. It is likely that if the total supply of another currency is increasing faster than ours, the value of that other currency will fall.

          • chefofsinners

            Banks are limited as to how much money they create. If the money goes to government it can’t go elsewhere as loans. In any case, most government bonds are bought by investment funds, not by banks. The money supply is only increased if the central bank buys government bonds.
            Before you can spend newly created money abroad you have to use it to buy that country’s currency. Thus the foreign money supply is not increased. Doing this will affect the exchange rate, reducing the purchasing power of every pound that exists and thus effectively contracting the foreign purchasing power of every pound in existence – which is the logical equivalent of contracting the money supply.

          • Stig

            Central bank money creation is only limited by the threat of inflation. That’s why overseas investment is used to avoid that. And yes, investment funds don’t create money, so that does curtail inflation by taking money out of circulation. I doubt that most of that 1.5 Trillion pound national debt is owed to them though. It is the central banks that are the problem as you say.
            Central banks, or people like the Rothschilds, who have incidentally financed both sides of every major war since Napolean (financing wars is VERY profitable), aren’t restricted to a single currency. They operate worldwide, if dollars don’t work they can create Euros, Pounds or anything else through the appropriate central bank. Think IMF. Nothing to stop our govt from borrowing money from any of these banks in whatever currency they choose, although I’m sure they would convert the figure to sterling at the prevailing exchange rate in order to add it to the total published figure for national debt.

    • David

      Well said.
      Few seem to understand the scam of fiat money. It is of course all deliberately hushed up.
      The gold standard was far more honest and stable. But the fiat option benefitted the bankers. and no one else, which is why it was introduced, from the 1930s onwards. It is of course the ultimate , dishonest and corrupt mechanism for delivering power to the globalists.
      The problem is how to return to solid money, and the gold standard ?

      • bluedog

        Complete cr*p. A return to the Gold Standard guarantees a recession and/or depression. Can you seriously think of anything sillier than linking the liquidity in the economy to a commodity whose supply you cannot control?

        • David

          Hah ha !
          And paying bankers interest on artificially created money out of thin air is better !
          That’s most amusing.

          • bluedog

            The joke’s on you, comrade. The banks are in a symbiotic relationship with the government which depends on them to buy its debt. If the banks didn’t exist the government would have to invent them. If the banks are a beneficiary of the government’s need to borrow money, so be it. Bank finance enables the government to deliver to the electorate on its otherwise unfunded promises.

          • David

            Yawn ! You are telling me what I know, yes there’s a symbiotic relationship – that’s not news.
            But you are a strange one. How can you like the fact that a vast proportion of our wealth disappears into the banks, to service interest payments ? But it’s your choice I suppose.

          • bluedog

            ‘But you are a strange one. How can you like the fact that a vast proportion of our wealth disappears into the banks, to service interest payments ?’

            Where do I say anything of this nature? Neither do I imply anything of the kind.

            Let’s take a step back. You ask; ‘The problem is how to return to solid money, and the gold standard ?’ It would interesting to know why you think a return to the gold standard is a viable policy option for the UK, post Brexit.

            Looking forward to your thoughts.

          • David

            The scam of fiat money, and all its disadvantages, is summarised by Stig higher up the thread, so there’s no need for me to repeat that.
            And no, I am not saying it is possible to return to the gold standard soon, but heading towards a linkage between our money and real assets, including gold, is a desirable long term, strategic policy.

          • bluedog

            I would regard Stig’s analysis of the economy, the banks and government as an ill-informed conspiracy theory that doesn’t even stand up in terms of its own logic.

            What you don’t seem to understand is that by linking the currency to a commodity you immediately monetise that commodity. This only works briefly for short periods of time such as after the collapse of the Weimar republic, when the onset of hyper-inflation was ended by the introduction of the renten-mark.

            Any commodity used as a base for the currency simply encourages substitution of the currency by the commodity. The two become interchangeable. Hence the importance of gold because of its rarity in the ancient world. Urban populations and economies are of course particularly vulnerable to issues involving the soundness of the currency as they lack the means to find a natural hedge against its debasement. However, there is a solution, but you don’t seem to have worked it out and are sticking to an unachievable ideal. Rural economies and farmers really don’t care what happens to the currency because they create wealth in the form of commodities which are instantly tradeable in the currency of the day or can be exchanged in barter trade. It follows that not every sector of the economy is disadvantaged in the manner you seem to express.

            But of course, I’m not telling you anything you don’t already know.

  • chefofsinners

    These proposals are the fault of the dynamic duo: Brexit Bill and Spreadshit Phil.
    Bill is threatening a huge number of elite spongers with having to work for a living for the first time in their lives.
    Phil is looking incompetent because the teenager who wrote the last Conservative manifesto accidentally put the word ‘no’ in front of ‘tax rises’.

    The solution is obvious. We need a new quango to determine bishop’s pay, chaired by Sir Bill and Sir Phil.

  • 1649again

    At last a Bishop who seems to understand that subsidising today’s generations’ self-gratification at the expense of loading debts onto our children and grand-children is unChristian and wicked.

    Quite simply a binding law, which would require a two thirds majority in Parliament (other than in times of war and major depression) to repeal, is required to force governments to run a public sector net repayment of say £50 billion per annum, rising as interest service costs fall. Political debate would then be about choices within a constrained budget.

    It’s probably unrealistic to go back to the Gold Standard in the forseeable future but leverage constraints could be put on banks’ borrowing, falling over time, debt service costs for companies should have their tax shelters progressively removed to a deminimis, and Sterling linked to a basket of measures, say gold, oil, wheat, copper and iron ore.

    • Anton

      And beer?

      • 1649again

        Only from a brewery of limited capacity and gold plated integrity to ensure no inflation or devaluation of the currency!

      • Dominic Stockford

        Beer? Tax it until the pips squeak. Oh no, sorry, that’s cider….

        • 1649again

          Good. If you were serious I would have to cross the Tiber in retaliation.

          • Dominic Stockford

            Lol.

            My first trumpet teacher used to say “I like my beer, it makes me farrrrtt” (in a Dorset accent). I’ll just stick to liking a very occasional beer.

    • David

      I don’t pretend to know how to achieve it, but certainly a return, very gradually no doubt, to gold based money is hugely desirable.

      • bluedog

        There’s always Bitcoin.

    • chefofsinners

      Political debate would still be about the overall levels of tax and spending but yes, the repayment option could work.
      Imposing financial prudence on business is impractical in a globalised economy. Businesses which are too big to fail continue to be a major headache.
      Speculative trading accounts for most currency flows. Another massive problem…
      My word, economics is dull. This thread is reminding me why I left it.

      • 1649again

        Financial prudence is in the long term interest of both shareholders and banks. Acting in isolation would of course be risky in the short term but this could be mitigated by reductions in tax on companies and dividends paid by them as we moved to a neutral and simpler tax system. As for capital flows between banks, you are referring to investment banking operations whereas I was referring to corporate and retail banking. Bring back Glass-Steagall’s equivalent in the UK (speaking as a one time investment banker).

  • Peter Forster

    I think my suggestion is contingent upon a recognition that the social, political, and financial issues around providing good health and social care require a strictly unique solution. Extrapolations from other quangos and think tanks miss this point. The territory is sui generis, I suggest.

    • David

      That’s really not very convincing. Because surely, with western governments now spanning such a vast range of disparate activities, and I make no comment on the desirability of that situation, most areas of government are distinctly different from most other areas, hence the career specialisms longtime used in the Civil Service ? So the sui generis argument would apply equally forcefully to most areas of government, thus negating any reason for its application to the one you’ve chosen.

  • David

    What always confounds me regarding many bishops is that they feel comfortable arguing for more of others people’s money for social services, which is Socialism, but never, to my knowledge, seem to identify the root causes of economic and social needs, whilst encouraging social change in wholesome, desirable moral directions. When is the Christian sexual and wider family morality ever heard ?
    Jesus encourages all believers to give generously to the poor. But I suspect that this does not equate to requesting that Caesar forcefully appropriates more, only to then redistribute it as inefficiently as only Big State does, all whilst enhancing the power of our distinctly secular politicians.

    There are of course many causes of deprivation. But a major one is the decline of marriage. Social services can merely attempt to alleviate the disadvantages of unwise lifestyle decisions, often inflicted upon hapless, helpless children. The greatest cause of poverty is the relentless, year on year, decline in marriage. Instead children are born outside marriage, often into unstable family situations. There is abundant evidence to demonstrate that marriage provides a more stable, lasting environment for the nurturing of children and the young. The lack of fathers is a noticeable in many areas. This is partly the result of aggressive feminism. Its noisy upper and middle class proponents, usually very well remunerated single career women, do well from this change of social norms, whilst uneducated working class women, their children and the absent fathers suffer. But do we see a concerted campaign, led from the top by the two primates, to promote wholesome marriage ? If so I must have missed it !

  • 1649again

    The fundamental challenge to the good Bishop’s argument is of course Who Appoints the Quangocrats? One remembers Sir Humphrey Appleby’s old wisdom that to get an independent enquiry to deliver the desired result merely appoint the ‘right’ people.

    Like it or not no abdication of democratic accountability will solve the problem. One bears in mind the ‘independent’ Bank of England’s poor performance pre 2007 and even latterly, the latest being the resignation of a senior new member of the MPC.

  • Dominic Stockford

    I cannot imagine the HoC ever allowing an unelected person to hold such power as you say this Bishop suggests. They want it themselves, both in creating, overturning, and challenging spending decisions. The last few days excitement of NICs or not would not have happened, and there would be no way to overturn the most significant wrong decisions taken (which tend to be on spending, not on raising, of revenue).

    By the way, I believe that the UK National Debt is currently increasing at a rate of about £10,000 per second. Some naughty people might suggest that cutting Scotland out of the UK might dramatically alter that figure for the better!

    • David

      Given the vast bloated, size of the budgets in question the good bishop’s suggestion is utterly untenable politically. All PMs and Chancellor’s will need to retain control, not allow hypothecation, to allow for necessary adjustments. This is what they are elected for, as you said.

  • CliveM

    What this all underlines is how difficult it is to have a rational discussion on the NHS. On one level removing it from the political sphere is attractive. But it is also illusary.

    On what basis is the quango to decide? Who decides this? How will it be interpreted? Who has final authority? What happens if what is recommended is simply important? Etc, etc.

    The major questions relating the the NHS are deeply political and it is right that we expect our politicians to sort them.

    Otherwise what are they for?

    • chefofsinners

      Take a trip to A&E to see how well our politicians have sorted out the NHS.

      • IanCad

        In the US light bulbs have threaded bases. In that robust land Poles were what the Irish were in the UK a generation ago; and deprecatory jokes abounded. Known to all is the “How many Poles does it take to change a light bulb?” Answer; five – one to hold the bulb and four to turn the ladder.
        Well; on a recent visit to Torbay Hospital that very process was in operation. I saw one man with the bulb on a short stepladder, four standing at each corner of a roped off area, two within the enclosure, seemingly doing nothing, two more stout fellows without, observing. One most frightfully well dressed young lady with a clipboard (Again, without) and to her hand, a sallow thin young man with a tie; quite obviously her inferior, delegated no doubt to record the proceedings and forward written confirmation to supervisory staff within the bowels of the institution.
        NHS needs to trim fat.

        • Royinsouthwest

          Did you ask them what they were doing with taxpayers’ money? It is a pity that you, or someone else, did not use your mobile phone to take a photo of the scene and pass it on to the press – or put it on the Internet!

          • IanCad

            Shame on me for not doing exactly that Roy. I didn’t have my mobile and I was anxious to visit a relative.
            Let me add: The floor staff hustle and bustle and are a credit to their professions.

        • David

          Much harm was done by the Blair creature’s slight of hand to hold down the PSBR by using his wretched, fundamentally dishonest, Public Finance Initiative schemes. They were an excellent way to force us, over time, to pay many times over for new hospitals – all for cheap, short term political gain of course. The firms profited grossly ! The sheer cost of these appallingly bad deals explains why we lack the funds to update our antiquated, very poor cancer treatments.

          • IanCad

            Public/private partnerships. Guess who’s gonna get screwed.

          • bluedog

            No contest. The political cycle is shorter than the term of the contract in most cases.

          • David

            The public – betrayed by mendacious politicians !

          • chefofsinners

            G4S continue to make money hand over fist from PFI schools.

          • David

            Quite – it’s immoral, though legal.
            Like many of our woes, it’s due to the Blair creature and light touch socialism.
            As you’ve noticed bishops, bless their cotton cassocks, tend to like light touch socialism.

      • CliveM

        I have on several occasions.

        My point isn’t that they have done a good job, but as the questions related to running the NHS are deeply political (tax, spend, resources) it is their job to address these issues.

        Palming it of to a quango won’t resolve this as it will be the politicians that would determine its remit and how Parliament responded to its recommendations.

    • Royinsouthwest

      Didn’t a judge decide that the NHS should pay for anti-viral drugs for gays who do not have HIV but do not like the idea of having to use condoms to reduce their chances of getting infected?

      • CliveM

        Something like that.

        I was listening to R4 and the legal profession, in the shape of senior judges, were complaining that it isn’t respected enough.

        Wonder if they can work out the link?

        • David

          Hilarious !
          I’ll set up a course for our “learned” Judges – something like
          “How to win friends through issuing just decisions” !
          There that should pack ’em in !

          • Merchantman

            Aren’t judges just another form of quango? The oldest probably.

          • David

            Interesting point.
            I don’t know much about how they are appointed, so I can’t be sure. But they certainly trumpet much about the separation of judicial powers from the political ones, and I can see the advantages of that.
            But the Brexit episode demonstrated how much they resemble a shoal of pre-programmed fishes dangerously remote from everyday life.

  • Inspector General

    Absolutely, Cranmer! You have it, sir.

    One has been pondering man’s ingenuity of late. The stuff that has made the West successful, that put men on the moon. That kind of thing.

    You see, we need to let man run free if he’s going to solve his problems or indeed, progress himself. This business about us, and that includes parliament, being answerable to a quango of all things makes a fellow roll his eyes in despair. It’s the way of the timid, so it is. It’s of the beaten.

    The National Debt is an interesting beast, in as much as it looms before us all, but it’s not the end. In fact, for the Conservatives it’s an asset and should be displayed prominently by them at each General Election. Perhaps some fellow here can supply the additional amount the debt will rise by if an empowered Corbyn and his socialist rotters nationalise the rail industry. For no other reason than it is what Reds do.

    • chefofsinners

      Depends whether they raise taxes to pay for it. And on the effect on growth of raising taxes. And on the world economy. There are no answers in economics, only more questions.

      • Inspector General

        In 1948, with Britain virtually months away from a winding up order, the Labour government commenced not only the NHS, perhaps the most civilised act of love any country at any time in history has done for its people, but a wide ranging nationalisation program. Paying for it all wasn’t an issue. It just isn’t with those people. Some Labour types are truly barking. Not of this world…

        • David

          Labour types.
          “Not of this world….”.
          Indeed Inspector !
          Most may do badly in the next world, as well …….

    • Jon of GSG

      As far as I know, no-one knows how much the government subsidises the railways by, but not too long ago it was widely reckoned to be 3 to 5 times the subsidy under British Rail. And of course fares are generally higher in real terms now too.
      But what gets me is that no-one knows! I have a friend who works for Network Rail, and another who until recently worked for the rail regulator, and they both agreed the system is completely impenetrable and basically cuckoo. But one thing it’s definitely not is cheaper on the public purse than BR was – or even comparable in price.

      • Inspector General

        70-30 by the rail user. 30 years ago it was 50-50. It’s complicated though. Much finance from the tax payer is not day to day running and maintenance, but capital investment projects.

        • Dominic Stockford

          Which are clever government figures which hide the exact sum to which the railway system is in hock.

          • Inspector General

            We shouldn’t be cynical as such about capital investment in the railways. For example, the railways have undertaken an ambitious project of further electrification. That will cost several billion, but it’s not an indulgence. On completion it will speed up journey times and take many private cars and much freight off our suffering roads. it’s all been worked out on a cost:benefit ratio. Savings will come in other areas.

            Incidentally, one reason why our roads are breaking up is due to the ever increasing weight of HGV things allowed on them. That’s the EU for you, allowing that. Short termism at it’s worst and no appreciation of the TRUE cost of what they legislate for.

          • David

            That’s correct. Ever increasing axle weights pound the carriageway until it develops holes. The A14, a designated “Euro-route”, leading from Felixstowe to everywhere else in the UK, takes a severe pounding from inbound, heavily laden continental trucks.

          • Jon of GSG

            I’m sure that’s true, that we should appreciate capital investment. Part of the reason that government spending is so much higher, even with the split going to 70/30, is that politically capital investment in the railways was not particularly popular in the days of BR, at least not in the last 20 or so years of it. The rubbishy East Coast Line electrification is a case in point. One big difference nowadays (this is just a theory of mine) is that Network Rail is seen almost as a quango, so politically it can be seen to be spending much more than the nationalised industry that BR was without people – Tory politicians mainly – being up in arms.

          • Inspector General

            Just out of interest, why do you consider the East Coast electrification rubbishy…

          • Jon of GSG

            Ha, I think it must be everything I’ve read on the subject, which to be fair isn’t much, but there seems to be a general consensus that it was done very much on the cheap, in a “false economy” kind of way – very much the stereotypical Mrs Thatcher approach to the railways. I’ll have a little rummage and see if I can find any easy Internet link…

          • Inspector General

            Yes, if you could.

          • Jon of GSG

            Rather a general reference to it here:
            http://www.rail.co.uk/rail-news/ecml-suffers-another-failure/
            Here’s quite an interesting one making a tentatively dissenting argument, sort of recognising that negative consensus:
            http://www.railforums.co.uk/showthread.php?t=119023
            And another slight reference here, in a kind of “everyone knows this example” way:
            http://www.railfuture.org.uk/DL125
            Paragraph “improving our electric railway” near the end.

          • Inspector General

            Thanks for that. Turning in soon, but will inspect tomorrow…

      • David

        How revealing !

      • Sybaseguru

        20 years ago I used to do Manchester – Euston return, up to the City on Monday, back on Friday, peak times for £133 first class (including free meals and drinks) on BR. Its now £500. Allowing for a bit of inflation, (77%, over 20 years) its still more than twice what it was.

      • The private and foreign state owned companies owning various parts of our railways are creaming off the profits and taking it out of the country, our government then has to subsidise them. It’s theft by any other means.

        • Jon of GSG

          Yes, it’s crazy isn’t it – the government is against state-owned transport companies unless they are owned by a foreign state – in which case, fine. The non-logic just baffles me.

  • chefofsinners

    Are there any economists out there who would like to lecture the bishops on theology?

    • Inspector General

      As many as there are bishops who would like to stick to Jesus and his plan of salvation for us wretches, and that alone.

    • David

      Maybe the economists would do the theology better than most of them do economics !
      Economics is “the dismal science”.

      • Anton

        Do you know what Carlyle contrasted it with?

        • David

          Do please, lighten my darkness

          • Anton

            The gay science. To discover what that is, see

            https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/The_dismal_science

          • David

            Your link. I may have sensed something of the snobbery of the “landed” classes there, with a sneering attitude towards the grubby business of making money, but I may be wrong.
            Anyway to me the phrase “the dismal science” express my lack of faith in the ability of economists to get anything much right. It certainly isn’t a predictive science !

    • 1649again

      Haven’t see HJ and the Inquisition for a while…

      • Inspector General

        Think he’s been doing a stock-take of his pokers, 1649…

        • 1649again

          Dealing with an outbreak of heresy in the Vatican perhaps? The new Pope better double the Swiss Guard…

          • Inspector General

            Jack de Madio

        • bluedog

          Either that, IG, or he is re-appraising some of his career decisions.

          • 1649again

            You mean like whether it’s a good idea to handover FGM’d girls back to their abusing families? I still haven’t quite got over that revelation.

          • Inspector General

            He said that !

            “Janice, it’s the Inspector. Get Scotland Yard on the phone”

          • bluedog

            You really must pay attention, IG. Go back to the thread of HG’s post about West Midland cutters and check out the debate in which HJ found himself.

          • Inspector General

            Sorry, bluedog, but a fellow has been preoccupied in other areas of late. But not now. Yesterday, he was told a spot in the roof of his mouth was not cancerous. There is no word in English to cover the feeling, but ‘relief’ goes part of the way.

          • 1649again

            One is very grateful for your well being IG.

          • Inspector General

            …and hopefully, the Almighty will keep one around for longer, 1649. So much to do, you see. And one doesn’t want to miss out as our insanely liberal society gets a damn good clipping …

          • Inspector General

            One has got to the age, bluedog, late 50s, when the medical profession equate an enjoyment of tobacco with imminent death. Meanwhile, as your man here walked home, the youthful obese had trouble keeping to his pace…

          • bluedog

            Glad to hear you’ve got the all clear, IG.

          • Inspector General

            One has got to the age, bluedog, late 50s, when the medical profession equate an enjoyment of tobacco with imminent death. Meanwhile, as your man here walked home, the youthful obese had trouble keeping to his pace….

          • bluedog

            One is confident you are brisk in all regards, IG. But your doctors’ advice on smoking is to be heeded as a matter of urgency.

          • Inspector General

            I say, if you live in Mexico city, a sunken volcano which for some reason the Mexicans thought would make an ideal home, shielded from winds, you endure the daily equivalent of smoking 20 cigarettes…without lighting up once…

          • bluedog

            Talk to anyone cynical enough to tell the truth in the life insurance industry and you will find that smokers are a boon. The government would have to think the same, ‘cos in an ageing society the statistical evidence weighs brutally against the smoker. Just becomes the Mexicans have made a bad choice there is no reason to do the same. Build a Wall between yourself and your ciggies!

          • Inspector General

            A few years ago, this man’s GP offered him a full checkup. Heart, lungs, liver, kidneys, and anything else going. This was one’s response. As now as when it was given back then…

            “I don’t know how long I’ve got on this earth, but I’ll be damned if I spend the time worrying about chlorestoral, blood pressure, fatty liver or the possibility of kidney failure. Have you got a light, son?”

            Suggest you and anybody else following this site tell them to get stuffed in so many words similar…

          • bluedog

            Can’t see the point in paying them for their advice if one plans to ignore it.

          • betteroffoutofit

            Yup. Their ‘flu shots make me ill; they laughed in my face when my retina was detached; they refuse antibiotics when they’re needed … and they’re rude and arrogant to boot. They laughed and didn’t even ask my aunt if she wanted to fight her cancer … just gave her the ‘pain’ medicine and had the alien ward ‘cleaners’ whip up the infected dust all around the patients.

            Why would anyone want to be in their world .. or to bring people like us into it?

            PS: My health has been really good ever since I stopped going for their ‘treatments’ 🙂

          • IanCad

            That’s good news Inspector. Stub ’em out – we can’t afford to lose our senior FOO assigned to Pink News.

          • David

            Good show, Inspector.
            Whiskey is a great cleanser !

          • Pubcrawler

            Hurrah!

          • chefofsinners

            Was it the chewing gum you lost in 1997?

          • bluedog

            Yes indeed. Group think at its most evil.

    • bluedog

      Proceed, CoS, we’re waiting.

      • chefofsinners

        My text this evening is taken from St Paul’s letter to the Colossians, chapter 3 and verse 2.
        “Set your affection on things above, not on things on the earth.”
        Experience shows that by this point the congregation will be asleep. I quietly leave the building.

        • bluedog

          Do you always give the first sermon after lunch?

          • chefofsinners

            I’m generally after the port and cigars, or ‘extended communion’ as we like to call it in synod.

          • bluedog

            So the ladies have withdraw before you rise to speak?

          • chefofsinners

            Yes, withdrawal symptoms are one of the many burdens which our dear sistren bear. Childbirth, sports bras, VPL…

          • Pubcrawler

            As I have noted before, that is the thirst after righteousness, as an elderly prelate (forget now which one) once described it to me.

  • bluedog

    One despairs, Your Grace. Perhaps if the Bishop were elected rather than appointed he would have a better grasp of the processes of a democratically elected government. But then again, perhaps not.

    • Holger

      What a stupendous idea!

      I can promise you the membership of the CofE would double overnight if you elected your bishops.

      On the strength of the gay vote alone you’d have Stephen Fry as ABC and Lily Savage at York. People would flock back to church!

      This MUST happen! The People’s voice must be heard! Quick Mr Corbyn, introduce a private member’s bill immediately. And abolish the Lords while you’re at it!

      • bluedog

        The post relates to the Bishop’s status within the Parliament, Holger, not within the CoE.

      • Inspector General

        Yes, as we all know, gay people account for 45% of the population, not 3%, and have been cruelly suppressed for centuries. Well, the two cheerful fuc, er fellows, and the family they naturally produced in each case, multiplied by tens of millions…

        • IanCad

          At about 5:50 this evening, on R4, Eddie Mair did a piece promoting homoism in the latest Walt Disney movie.
          At 6:30 the American serial bender David Sedaris did a 30 minute celebration on all things bum.
          Now, I’m a tolerant sort but forty minutes perversion within the space of an hour and ten minutes is pushing it.
          Lord knows what they get up to in The Archers these days.

          • Anton

            I must say I’m wondering who the new lady vet will get together with.

          • IanCad

            Is it that bad in the shires as well?

          • Anton

            Borsetshire.

      • chefofsinners

        Thanks for the offer of your ‘membership’, but you can keep it in your trousers. This is a respectable blog.

  • len

    Bishops seem to want to do anything but preach the Gospel.Render under Caesar and all that?.

    • David

      Yes and, like Prince Charles, they tend to pontificate on subjects with which, let us say, they are not well acquainted, which does not do wonders for the faith that they are supposed to represent.

      • Paul Greenwood

        Prince Charles fell under the spell of Laurens Van der Post and Lord Porrit’s son

  • Sybaseguru

    Another excellent article from your Grace. Politicians keep threatening to have a ‘bonfire of quangos’, but as soon as they get into office they realise that quangos are there to give them a scapegoat. The worst one at the moment is the CPS (prosecution service) which decides things “in the countries interests” according to my High Peak MP. Things like not prosecuting doctors of a certain category who sign off abortions based on the childs sex.

    • Royinsouthwest

      In other words, instead of asking “is this a crime?” the CPS asks “what particular groups do the alleged victims and the alleged perpetrators belong to?”

    • Anton

      Crown Persecution Service. Ask any street preacher.

  • 1649again

    I wonder what our Bishops will make of this? Will they considering organising a CoE Crusader Legion to join in the Holy War that he new Caliph of Turkey seems to be about to declare? First stop Luton, Bradford, Birmingham etc.

    http://www.independent.co.uk/news/world/europe/dutch-elections-netherlands-geert-wilders-freedom-party-turkey-fascist-no-difference-rallies-islam-a7632571.html

    • bluedog

      The Turkish politician is quite right. It’s only a matter of time and reflects a very basic truth; any organism on the planet inevitably expels an alien intrusion that threatens its existence. It’s no different to your own resistance to disease. European electorates perceive Islam and Islamists to be a deadly infection and will expel the threat. As usual the politicians are struggling to come to terms with the parallel rejection of their own ideology.

    • Sarky

      Bet the turks are crapping it at the thought of all those mobility scooters hurtling towards them.

      • 1649again

        Scythe blades on the wheels and a machine gun on the handle bars… Great thinking Sarky. A mobile suicide brigade to put the wind up the jihadis.

        • Sarky

          As long as the supply line is manned by pensioners dishing out cheap coffee and hobnobs, I’m sure everything will be fine.

          • 1649again

            Good thinking that man. You can be Logistics Officer for the regiment.

          • Sarky

            Crikey!! Do you know where i can get a job lot of hearing aid batteries and adult nappies???

          • bluedog

            Didn’t realise your need was so pressing.

          • Sarky

            It was for a mercy mission to the inspector!

          • 1649again

            I think he’d rather have decent whisky and cigarettes. He’s only in his fifties.

          • chefofsinners

            House of Lords tuck shop.

          • Royinsouthwest

            Surely there should be more than one regiment? After all, we already have the [Inspector] General waiting to assume command.

    • Royinsouthwest

      It is strange that the Independent reported the story. Will the Guardian and the BBC do so, I wonder?

    • David

      Yes under that delightful man Erdogan they are working themselves up into quite a state !
      Perhaps it’s to detract from problems at home – just a conjecture !

      • Royinsouthwest

        Surely no dictator would do that? Only nasty, hate-filled western politicians like … oh, whoever is currently president of the US instead of the rightful winner Hilary.

    • Manfarang

      It’s going to be the new Kurdistan, the return of territories to Armenia and Greece, the relocation of any Turks left to their homeland in central Asia.

  • Manfarang

    ” Render therefore unto Caesar the things which are Caesar’s; and unto God the things that are God’s.”
    What about his speech on falling church attendance?
    Maybe he should consult with the Council of Guardians in
    Iran to see how they deal with economic matters.

  • Mike Stallard

    Structural…
    No.
    What we need is
    Spiritual…
    Or, in simple language: less management, less money for people who do not visit wards, more nurses on the wards, more cleaners, more doctors. Healing is a sacred vocation: we are in danger of forgetting that. Patients come first, then the people who heal. Oh – I nearly forgot – the accountants and social workers come last.

  • Paul Greenwood

    Simple way to control National Debt is to eliminate Budget Deficit. Obama doubled US National Debt in 8 years 44th President added more than previous 43 Presidents Combined – $10 Trillion to create marginal growth. Osborne increased UK National Debt by 50% in 5 years.

    Eradicating the Budget Deficit would reduce the B of P Deficit too. It would take down Aggregate Demand in the economy and cause sectoral bankruptcy. It requires Spending Cuts and since the biggest items are Pensions they would need to be reduced relative to Incomes. Housing Benefit would need to be abolished as would Tax Credits (which fraudulently show Benefits as a reduction in Taxes).

    It is classic national bankruptcy just as in pre-revolutionary France. The system cannot reform itself. The UK has too many people living well without working in productive occupations. It has too many businesses servicing The State and its operations. It has the lowest proportion of SMEs in the OECD with family businesses a smaller proportion of GDP than even USA