Sturgeon hug2a
Politicians

Blukip: why doesn't the Right show a bit more love?

 

Can you imagine Norman Tebbit, Simon Heffer, Nigel Farage and Peter Hitchens indulging in a group hug? No? Too macho? Okay, let’s feminise it. How about Margaret Thatcher, Ann Widdecombe, Theresa May and Baroness Trumpington of Sandwich? Still can’t quite see it? Why on earth not? Is it only the lefty sisterhood that shows their love for one another? Do they all embrace and kiss cheeks in private, or is just a demonstration of socialist solidarity for the TV cameras?

Apparently, there’s a ‘right wing threat to Britain‘. Nick Clegg is warning that David Cameron, Nigel Farage and Nigel Dodds might hug forge a ‘Blukip’ alliance of the Conservatives, Ukip and the DUP. “It is a right wing alliance that brings together people who don’t believe in climate change; who reject gay rights; who want the death penalty back; and people who want to scrap human rights legislation and privatise our schools and hospitals,” Clegg spouts. No love lost there, then. But Dave and Nick wouldn’t hug anyway.

Unlike the cringe-inducing lefty hugging sisterhood, right-wing women give homey handshakes. Socialist feminists might all wear progressive petticoats, but there’s nothing sissy about their syndicate. United by their love for state ownership, central planning and absolute equality, they manifest it horizontally relationally: there is community. But the Right is fractured and fragmented into Burkean little platoons. In this touchy-feely age of androgyny, passion and sentiment, couldn’t those who support individualism and competition show a bit more love instead of spitting in eyes, shredding reputations and tearing strips off each other’s conviction? Or are cuddles and snuggles restricted to statists? Do you have to support generous welfare, free childcare and higher NHS spending before you can get a hug? Or is it that Trident, the economy, immigration and privatisation aren’t conducive to clasps of affection?

So it’s doves left; hawks right. Liberals and Socialists are enlightened and expressively free; Conservatives and are narrow, sceptical and insular. Of course, the impulse to show public affection is inhibited by social convention and egoistic preservation, but the drapery of life changes and allegiance to the self breeds suspicion. ‘Greet one another with a holy kiss‘, say the apostles Peter (1Pt 5:14) and Paul (Rom 16:16; 2Cor 13:12; 1Thess 5:26). That’s one exhortation which the British habitually sidestep, quite literally. Except, it seems, for the lefty sisterhood.

Bound by its duties and centuries of rationalism, the British Right will probably never hug one another literally. But how about a bit of common decency, courtesy, honour and mutual respect between the fractious little platoons? Why not just talk occasionally? What is wrong with dialogues of exploration? Where is the weakness in admitting ignorance? Doesn’t iron sharpen iron? Isn’t that a conservative way? Could it not uncover the wisdom latent in different attitudes and aspects? Might it thereby forge better policy, strengthen identity and benefit society? Or is that the sole preserve of sisters doing it for themselves in pursuit of human perfectibility?

And if ye salute your brethren only, what do ye more than others? do not even the publicans so?‘ (Mt 5:47).

  • sarky

    How about Margaret Thatcher, Ann Widdecombe, Theresa May and Baroness Trumpington of Sandwich? 

    Phwoar – off for a cold shower 🙂

  • Matthew Rowe

    Give the lefts huge out poring of hate and abuse over Thatchers death, attacks some violent on conservatives and UKIP’s people and property the illiberals utter disgust for anyone not of their thinking on any of the social media sites!
    To who exactly are we to show this ‘decency, courtesy, honour and mutual respect’ ? as there is none at all coming from the left well apart from fake luvie staged mwar mwar shots for the cameras .

  • CliveM

    Has it not been noticed that these three have a common aim? The destruction of the UK. They are not in competition with each other, they complement each other.

    However where the Left directly compete, like Labour and the SNP in Scotland, it’s as vicious as you want.

    • Darach Conneely

      How about a common aim of care for the poor and opposition to Cameron and IDS’s vicious treatment of the unemployed, part-timer workers and disabled?

      • TimeForTea

        Oh please, you on the left don’t get exclusivity on being caring just because you can provide for people with someone else’s money, any idiot can do that! It’s easy when it’s not yours!

        • Darach Conneely

          You can have care for the poor with any political system from a benevolent monarchies and dictatorships to ‘Caring Conservatism’. I don’t know if this beast has ever existed. unfortunately the only caring conservatism we have seen from Cameron is rhetoric, in practice he takes care of the rich and makes the lives of the poor an utter misery.

          I hate to break it to you, but the money you owe in taxes is not your own, it is the price you pay for being part of society and being able to make money as part of the community, Society through its government spends that money on what it considers really important and right, such as taking care of the old in society, the sick and the unemployed. Or not. If you want, you can vote for an immoral government that despises and abuses the poor and leaves the sick and disabled to starve while telling them ‘its for your own good’.

          I am sure many conservative votes are sincere and believe the rhetoric that conservative policies are caring and are good for the very poorest and most vulnerable in society. But you now know the suffering they cause, children going to school hungry and without proper clothes for the weather, unable to concentrate because they aren’t eating properly, you know of parents who don’t eat to feed their children and the deep embarrassment and shame ordinary people feel queuing at food banks. You have heard of people dying after being declared fit for work and then sanctioned, of the mentally ill who end their own lives when the only money they have to live on is cut off. You know the cruelty you are voting for. Are you sure it is being done for their good, or are the very poorest being used as scapegoats for the recession, and to reduce the cost of benefits so the rich can have more tax cuts.

          • Inspector General

            You’re not a ‘shinner’ by any chance? One is informed they’re a bunch of dreamer Marxists these days…

          • Darach Conneely

            No, if I live in Northern Ireland I’d probably vote SDLP, social justice and a fair society, but through non violent means. I don’t like the right wing nightmare we are living in where the rich keep getting richer and the poor are plunged into abject poverty.

          • TimeForTea

            Cameron is not that Baby Eating Bishop of Bath and Wells. He hasn’t gone anywhere near far enough to pay for the waste of the last 20 years in particular.

            It’s the state’s responsibility to provide a safe environment in which its population can flourish. That’s militarily, with a rule of law and maybe with a use of collective bargaining power where appropriate.

            It’s the family’s responsibility to look after itself and each other.

            It’s a Christian’s responsibility to look after their neighbours, their brothers and sisters in Christ, the widows and the destitute.

            It is not the state’s responsibility to pile up debt on every one of its citizens to please its whims and keep itself in power. That irresponsibility.

            I have absolutely no complaints about paying tax. However, I have a massive problem with paying lots of it to a huge and cumbersome organisation to pay for them to administrate and then spend it poorly. What you’re advocating is more money to come from none of the people you think it comes from (all those nasty bankers and other rich people) just the plain old middle ground who’s children and grandchildren will pay for your waste.

          • Darach Conneely

            The reason a social welfare system was adopted was because private and religious charities were unable to care for all the people trapped in poverty, You just have to look at Victorian society where people died rather accept the shame a degrading treatment of the workhouse,

            “At this festive season of the year, Mr Scrooge, … it is more than usually desirable that we should make some slight provision for the Poor and destitute, who suffer greatly at the present time. Many thousands are in want of common necessaries; hundreds of thousands are in want of common comforts, sir.”
            “Are there no prisons?”
            “Plenty of prisons…”
            “And the Union workhouses.” demanded Scrooge. “Are they still in operation?”
            “Both very busy, sir…”
            “Those who are badly off must go there.”
            “Many can’t go there; and many would rather die.”
            “If they would rather die,” said Scrooge, “they had better do it, and decrease the surplus population.”

            where religious organisation practised their Pharisaic charity distinguishing between deserving and undeserving poor letting those they classed undeserving die of hunger and disease or swell the ranks of the criminal underclass, prostituting themselves or picking a pocket or two to feed themselves and their families.

          • TimeForTea

            The important thing is not what other people do, it’s what we do. We are not in a ministry or works, they are fruits of the spirit. Hand wringing on this scale will make you ill!

            I don’t really like the guy but Cameron isn’t responsible for all the deaths you say above, that is quite simply the most preposterous statement I’ve heard all year and completely idiotic.

          • Darach Conneely

            Thanks for the concern about my health, but what
            I find really unhealthy of ordinary decent people to feel any empathy or compassion for the suffering of the poorest and most vulnerable people in our community. It is even more astounding from Christians who are warned again and again Old Testament and New not to harden their hears against the poor. That sort of lack of empathy is what you would expect from people who are clinically psychopath. But brain scan studies show the same psychopathic lack of empathy can be produced in ordinary people when the people suffering have been marginalised creating tribes of us and them, and labelling ‘them’ as cheats. In other words the constant diet of ‘scroungers’ and ‘benefit cheats’ we have been fed for years by politicians and right wing media. The result is ordinary decent otherwise caring people not only feel no empathy for the people suffering but are eager to see them punished even more.

            Cameron and IDS introduced the draconian sanction system targeting people with no income other than benefits, often with mentally and physically ill, and stopping their benefits for months at a time. They were warned again and again that people were dying as a result but refused to stop. It is human rights abuse, and they are responsible for the deaths.

          • TimeForTea

            A quick word and phrase search on ‘hardening of our hearts’ in the bible will show God is much more concerned about us hardening our hearts to Him than the poor. Also, the one in Deut you point to is again about how His people treat each other, it’s …thy brethren, within thy gates…

            We are of course not to oppress the poor, we are told that plenty of times but again you mistake our actions with those of the state.

            We are certainly numb to suffering in this country and throughout the world. Seeing it everyday in the print and news media with wars, rumours of wars, natural disasters and the like desensitised us to it. Young and old alike murder relentlessly on games consoles while we watch the depravity of man in our entertainment industries across the globe. A fallen world we truly live in.

            We don’t even have any concept of death anymore or the value or cost of life. People don’t die in their family homes, we send them away to hospitals and state sponsored nursing homes to leave the world as gracelessly as they entered it. We don’t even have to take life to eat. We don’t have to have the Passover Lamb with us before we kill it, we don’t have to make coats of skin to cover ourselves like Adam and Eve. Thankfully that innocent blood has been shed already for us.

            None of this though is DC or IDS’s fault. They are no more responsible for the deaths in your constituency as you. We are not saved by the way we do works or treat the poor. We are saved by our belief in Christ’s birth, death and resurrection. The way we treat the poor is a fruit of the spirit and how we are known as Christ

            You’re absolutely right that not all people on benefits are cheats. I’m sure by far and away the majority who are on them are on them perfectly legally and through no fault of their own. All the ones I know, don’t know any other life. Doesn’t make benefits right.

            No one is born with any rights. They’re a human construct that is barely upheld and rarely enforced. We’re born into a sinful world and there is only one redeemer of it. We look forward to a time when there is a new heaven and a new earth. He’ll be back soon to claim what He paid for on a wooden cross in Judea 2000 years ago. I’m pretty sure he won’t be reinstating benefits though when He sits on David’s throne….

          • Darach Conneely

            Yes a lot of the hardening you heart verses are about hardening you heart to God by turning to idolatry, but as you point out the Deuteronomy verse is about hardening you heart to the poor. In Zech 7:9-12 we see a warning about hardening you heart to God – by ignoring his command to protect the poor, widows, orphans and immigrants.

            The passage in Deut, 15:7-11, doesn’t mention immigrants, but it is about the poor of the whole nation of Israel, in ‘any city’ and ‘in the land’ (v 11). Not specifically mentioning immigrants in this passage doesn’t exclude them, they are mention often enough in other passages about care for the poor.

            In fact the Old Testament doesn’t just recommend care for the poor that individuals come across themselves, it establishes the nation of Israel as a welfare state with national system to collect wealth to distribute to poor Israelites and immigrants.

            The Jubilee years were a redistribution of wealth in the form of land collected by the rich over the previous 50 years, returning it to the people who had it before. Since people tended to sell land to pay debts, this also cancelled the debts of the poor.

            Debts were cancelled every seven years too and land was allowed to lie fallow. Of course crops will still grow from fallen seed and vineyards and olive trees will still bear fruit, but this belonged to the poor and the immigrants Exodus 23:11.
            Prov 13:23 The fallow ground of the poor would yield much food, but it is swept away through injustice.

            Farmers were only allowed to gather their olives by beating olive trees once. Anything left belonged to, you guessed it the poor and the immigrants. The same sort of rules applied to crops and vineyards Deut 24:19-21.

            Tithes, one tenth of all produce in Israel wasn’t just for the Levites, it was also meant for immigrants and for widows and orphans Deut 26:12

            I realise there is a compassion fatigue that comes from seeing so much suffering on the TV, but people are still able to feel empathy for those they identify with. You heart will go out to a friend with cancer or who’s mum has been diagnosed with Alzheimer’s But the lack of any empathy towards people marginalise and labelled scroungers and benefit cheats, that is not the compassion fatigue of no longer being able to bear the pain, it is the emotional and moral numbness that comes when people have been dehumanised.

            Cutting the welfare the poor depend on to live is oppressing them, imposing draconian sanctions on the slightest pretext is oppressing them, so is telling the disabled and chronically sick they are ‘fit for work’ and making them jump the same hoops as the unemployed looking for non-existent jobs. Imposing the bedroom tax on people, most often disabled, who cannot afford to live as it is, when there is no alternative accommodation, is oppressing

            .When Cameron and IDS take away money from people already on the breadline, then they are responsible for children going hungry as a result, When their sanctions cutting off money for month on end and people die, when they know people are dying but keep on attacking them, they are responsible for those deaths.

            Paul says that even people without the OT Law have God’s laws written on their hearts Rom 2:14&15. Rights, fairness, justice are all abstract ideas we have learned about through our ability to empathise, the understanding that other people are like us, we can share in the pain and joy they are feeling. From that we can learn ideas like fairness, if other people are the same as us they should be treated the same, even if it goes against our desire to have an unfair share ourselves. Even Capuchin monkeys can tell the difference between fair and unfair.

          • bluedog

            Were you at the First or Second International?

      • Royinsouthwest

        Why is unemployment falling?

      • alternative_perspective

        The left don’t care for the poor. They’re just a minority cause to be exploited for political purposes. They wrap their concern up in “pretty words” to manipulate people like yourself in order to conflate their political ends with moral causes. It is the mass indoctrination of people into thinking tax, redistribution and handouts are moral goods because they make the poor … ever so slightly less poor.

        Real care starts with re-building confidence, getting people back in to work, re-engagement with community, developing a sense of independence and self-reliance: not moribund dependency and systemic welfare-ism. It is about breaking the cycle of poverty and dependency by opportunity, empowerment, hard work and reward.

        These are things the left rejects because it acts in direct opposition to their political belief: nationalisation, centralisation and state control. And people like you give the left cover to trap people in permanent state of dependency, always needing handouts, always needing the state to act as some-kind of saviour.

        The old addage: give a man a fish and he’ll feed his family for a day; give him the means to catch his own fish and he’ll keep them for life – is instructive. The left is the former, the right is the latter.

        Point of note: its easier to give fish and get a warm glow from feeding someone than making that someone independent and taking the time to teach him / her a new skill.

  • Politically__Incorrect

    One thing I have learnt about the female gender is that hugs between sisters do not always mean genuine goodwill, They can just as easily draw each other’s blood if things don’t meet their idealist expectations.

    Why aren’t the right-wing parties co-operating more? Well for a start, Cameron hasn’t exactly endeared himself t o people on the right with his “swivel-eyed-loonies” and other similar insults. Secondly, party tribalism seems to trump the needs of the nation. Being in power is everything; leading the nation successfully is a bit of a side-issue. I guess the parties of the right will start talking to each other when they put the nation first.

    • IanCad

      Wise words. The claws are only sheathed for the camera.

    • alternative_perspective

      Which marks Cameron out as a wolf in sheep’s clothing rather than a servant leader.

  • IanCad

    It was, indeed, a black day when women got the vote.

    • bluedog

      With that statement you really are leading the Inspector on.

      • Inspector General

        Something about black people getting the vote, is there. Well, had to happen…

    • alternative_perspective

      You can plot a correlation of Britain’s decline with wonderbra sales.

      There may be causation there.

  • Busy Mum

    As I pointed out the other day, hugging is terribly unBritish, especially when accompanied by the Continental double kiss – the success of the cultural revolution can be measured by going into any school and seeing the children, sorry, ‘students’ falling all over each other in pathetic displays of affection.
    Hugs and kisses have suffered from inflation – the more they are used, the less valuable they are.
    If your hugs and kisses are not holy, do not hug or kiss at all.

    • alternative_perspective

      Oh busy mum I love you.

      Where I wrote “love” please read, “I respect and agree with your analysis”.

  • Busy Mum

    Meant to say, should I be questioning my gender? Am I trapped in the wrong body? I have looked at the picture above again and I just simply do not have anything in common with these human beings who identify as women. Either they are true women or I am – or maybe, just maybe, female Englishmen are truly a breed apart.

    • IanCad

      You have been posting here for a long time Busy Mum.
      Let me be the first to say that you are a true lady.

      • Busy Mum

        Thankyou kind Sir:)

        And no, I am not giving you a virtual hug!

    • Politically__Incorrect

      None of those three are English of course. They are Scottish, Welsh, and Australian. A true English lady would not behave like three tipsy chicks outside a nightclub

      • Busy Mum

        Exactly. So if a government is serious about British values in our schools the first thing the education secretary will do is crack down on the hugs-for-all culture which is being deliberately allowed to permeate the younger generation.
        Wishful thinking of course, because that implies self-restraint and self-control may be good things after all and we can’t have that in our morally licentious society can we?! Dear me no, bodies are for sharing these days and if you don’t hug you are just being selfish by keeping your body to yourself.

        • magnolia

          I think it actually goes more the other way. The more gradations and nuances of physically shown affection are in there, the less likely people are to progress rapidly from a handshake to a full sexual encounter!

          Hugs are really not morally licentious, in the massive majority of cases, but just warm and kind. They imply affection and desire for the other person’s wellbeing, and nothing necessarily more. As such they illustrate the base of Christian care. Now as we all know, some Christians are capable of hugging one day and stabbing each other in the back the next. However it is the stabbing and the false Christian at fault, not the innocent hug!

    • dannybhoy

      Nor my wife, who is the loveliest and gentlest and kindliest example of womanhood. I know that many blokes liked working with her because she doesn’t do the pouting or screaming or teary bit. She just gets on and does what’s necessary.
      And her male colleagues, being (lazy) males, let her.

  • john in cheshire

    It just reminds me of the three witches from MacBeth.

  • bluedog

    Your Grace, your communicant recalls reading that homo sapiens shares 98.5% of the DNA of chimpanzees. It is a characteristic of female chimps that they sit around in small groups picking fleas off each other. Is it possible that the actions of these three women are some kind of deeply ingrained simian behavioural pattern?

    • dannybhoy

      Lol!
      A lot of girls seem to enjoy going to the loo together too…

    • sarky

      Also explains the male ‘ahem’ mudslinging!

      • bluedog

        Hardly, manly types don’t gossip. Interestingly, human males with their emphasis on courtly love show a clear break with the sexual behaviour of other primates. Male chimps, for example, sit around waiting for one of the flea-picking female chimps to come on heat. Then it’s yet another competition in which the first correct entry wins. And the winner is invariably the alpha male.

        • sarky

          I was referring more to a primates predisposition to throw its own s##t when angry!!!

        • magnolia

          But have human males ever risen to the glorious wisdom of the male pigeon? Now there is real courtly love in action. He breaks off every three or four seconds from feeding or dodging pedestrians to go round in circles bowing low and copiously to his beloved, who very often is 85% ignoring him. Maybe human males don’t share enough pigeon DNA!

    • Martin

      BD

      Actually it’s only 65-70%. I’d say they do it because they’re a bunch of big girl’s blouses.

    • Owl

      Actually homo sapiens also shares 50% of the DNA of a banana.
      As far as inteligence is concerned, these three might well hail back to a common bananaistic (fruity) ancestry.

  • CliveM

    For Darack Corneely

    One of the things that I have never been able to understand is how in the light of its abject failure people still keep advocating a failed system like Socialism.

    You talk about the unemployed. The best thing for an unemployed person is for them to get a job. Over 2million jobs have been created over the last 5 years and we have a record number of job vacancies.

    France, who have tried your option ie. a strictly controlled labour market, limited working hours, low retirement age, high levels of benefit, have a stagnating economy, high levels of long term unemployment and even higher levels of social alienation. But has all this been worth it? Do the unemployed have greater levels of life satisfaction? Are they happier? Does the fact that a relatively small number of elite employed, enjoying high levels of security, justify the number of people excluded from the jobs market? Because that is what your policies will create.

    Well the Banlieue’s answer that question.

    If you thought about it for a second it is stunningly obvious, for example, that forcing skilled workers into retirement or a shorter working week won’t create significant levels of additional employment. How will sacking an engineer, lead to employment for the long term unemployed without a qualification to their name? The employer simply loses a skilled, knowledgeable individual.

    Of course how all these additional retired will be paid for is another question. You say increase taxes. But there are so many things that you would increase taxes for, that quite simply your sums don’t add up. But then I suppose we could claim that by creating all this misery we are being ‘moral’. Which I Suppose enables people to actually avoid thinking about it.

    You see this is the problem. You keep highlighting individual issues, pretending that they are typical. They aren’t. Yes disabled people are being pushed into finding jobs. But why shouldn’t they? It is almost certainly true that some cases have been unfairly treated. But the counter to that is that a lot of people, who otherwise wouldn’t have taken the opportunity to work, have been able and encouraged to do so, to the betterment of their life experience and self-worth.

    Destroying jobs, wealth creation, ambition, self-reliance isn’t more moral, it may make you feel better about yourself, but it crushes and destroys lives and an individual’s self-worth.

    And as equally importantly it doesn’t help the poor.

    • David

      Q. The question posed in your first sentence.
      A. My answer anyway is, because it appeals to them at an emotional level. So using logical argument, and producing evidence will have zero effect on them. Yet many of these socialists claim that a belief in God is irrational. So their claim to only use rational thinking, or their version of it, is in fact one that is switched on and off, selectively.
      Basically the leftie is a dreamer, dreaming of humanity’s greatness (so dump God ) and the triumph of the economic system we want, over reality.
      That’s my opinion CliveM.

      • CliveM

        I agree with that. The only other thing I would add is the like the warm fuzzy feeling they get from their believe moral superiority. Socialism is about making the believer feel better about themselves, not about helping the poor.

        • David

          Well they certainly adopt a posture of moral superiority towards everyone else.

        • alternative_perspective

          They should walk around the ex-mining communities riddled with promiscuity, drugs and hopelessness to see how their socialism and moral freedoms has helped those places.

          • CliveM

            They want servitude, not dignity.

    • Darach Conneely

      Why shouldn’t disabled people be pushed into work?

      Because they don’t have the physically energy to hold down a job and the stress of being assessed by heartless systems that don’t care about their medical realities just want to hit target, being pushed into back to work schemes, and subject to vicious sanctions makes their health so much worse that people are dying because of the treatment. One of the Tories’ biggest lies is that they are succeeding in getting people off benefits and into work, the fact is while some disabilities are lifelong, you have always had people getting better and going back to work. Of course the Tories closed Remploy who really did help disabled people capable of working.

      How much of Cameron job creation ‘miracle’ is are real jobs paying a living wage and how much is, part time work, zero hour contracts, or people registered as self employed but not earning anything near minimum wage let alone a living wage. Why have we now the largest number of employed people on welfare? The reason so many people are unemployed is that there aren’t enough jobs to go around.

      If the Tories want to insist on every one having a job ‘for their own good’ they can play around with retirement ages, in spite of the problems you point out, in fact they already are playing with retirement age, in the opposite direction, making teachers work longer than they are physically able to. If they cannot provide an economy capable of providing full employment at a living wage, then don’t blame, and worse punish the unemployed. That is simply immoral.

      • CliveM

        There are now tens if thousands of people previously receiving disability benefit, now working and living a more fulfilled life then they did on benefits. It improved their emotional and mental well being. Studies show they will live longer because of it.

        And for ideological reasons you would deny them this. Infantilise them, expect nothing of them, destroy their self worth and patronise them.

        That is not moral, it’s selfish.

        People are now working and now working and contributing who weren’t. They will enjoy an enhanced quality of life. And you think pushing them into work is immoral!!

        Working is a good. Even working in a poorly paid job is better for the individual then sitting at home on benefits. And you would deny them this.

        Morality isn’t about destroying opportunity it is about creating it. You again bring up early retirement as a cure. You have NO evidence in support of it. The French experience is at least ( and I’m being charitable here) strongly suggestive that it won’t.

        Surveys have shown that for a large number of retired losing their job is traumatic and had a direct negative impact on health. Why do you want to impose that?

        • Darach Conneely

          Ten of thousands of people on disability got better and got jobs before the Tories thought that what the poor sick people really need is a good kicking. You are still blaming the unemployed for the inability of the government to create enough living wage jobs. There is nothing ideological about that, though there is in your insistence on blaming poor people for the lack of jobs. Sure people are better even working part time, so create a system where people have a reliable living income and people one zero hour contracts don’t have to worry from one week to the next whether they will be able to feed their family. Don’t leave people struggling to live below the poverty line and ‘encourage’ them to look for non existent jobs by starving them for months at a time.

          If you are concerned about infantalising the poor, try treating them with dignity instead of buying into a bullying into Tory paternalism that what the poor need is for posh people to the plebs a really good kicking.

          I bring up early retirement because it is another way for a government to provide the employment it pretends is so important. But really Government is only concerned about inflating jobs figures and using its ‘concern’ about the effect of unemployment as an excuse to cut benefits, without any concern about the dire effects of starvation and being raised in grinding poverty has on people. We both seem to agree part time work is a viable way to increase overall employment. It is not going to cut down benefits though.

          • TimeForTea

            Who do we rely on to provide for us? Is it God or is it Caesar?

          • Darach Conneely

            The problem is, you are Caesar, or at least you have the privilege of choosing how the country is to be governed. As Caesar the question is whether you care for the poor and the sick, the widows and orphans. God holds nations responsible
            when they don’t.

          • Old Blowers

            “As Caesar the question is whether you care for the poor and the sick, the widows and orphans. God holds nations responsible when they don’t.”

            Does He also hold political parties responsible for p&ss poor stewardship of the national purse to fund said caring…”Well done, good and faithful servant! You have been faithful with a
            few things; I will put you in charge of many things. Come and share your master’s happiness!”

            Writing “Dear God Almighty, we are afraid to tell you there’s no money left, not even a widows mite” will not cut the mustard chum!!! Marxist hypocrites.

          • Darach Conneely

            The Tories borrowed half a trillion more during the crash to spend on the things they prioritised, like tax cuts for their rich chums, but apparently the poor and the disabled in the country going hungry and dying in the nation they were responsible for governing wasn’t such a priority. The real priority in a crash is to get the economy running not to cut down debt, pulling money out of the economy simply slows the recovery, but it was a great excuse to hack away at the welfare system that so many people depend on.

            Do you know why the UK is the fastest growing economy in the G7? Because everyone else except Italy had climbed out of the depression years ago.
            http://static.guim.co.uk/sys-images/Guardian/Pix/pictures/2014/7/25/1406291524772/79ea2488-aebb-42fc-8e3f-4a93c0ae864e-620×530.png
            It’s like a proud mummy shouting out how her little Dave is the fastest runner in the race when nearly everyone else had finished.

          • CliveM

            You are economically illiterate. Your last point about how everyone else pulled out of the recession years ago shows the limits of your understanding. More jobs have been created in the last 5 years in the UK then the whole of the euro zone.

            The 50% tax rate achieved nothing in increased income. Indeed what evidence there is suggests that tax receipts have increased since cut to 40%.

            You forget who caused the crash, Labour. You forget why the deficit was so high, Labour, and then you try to suggest that if only tax rates had stayed at 50% there would be no problems and no deficit. You use discredited figures and present a completely dishonest analysis. Did hunger only start in 2010? No. Where the disabled only pushed into work from 2010? No. Did food banks only start in 2010? No. Is your proposed policy of higher taxes, early retirement etc addressing the deficit, unemployment or hunger in, oh let’s say France? No. Your policies don’t work. They have failed and if you genuinely cared about the poor, you would have the courage at least to admit it.

          • Darach Conneely

            The conservative are quoting their success in GDP growth by comparing themselves with the G7, Obviously they wouldn’t want to compare their progress worldwide where they are 111th, but if they want to look at the G7 they have to deal with the fact that Canada, USA, Germany, France and Japan all got their GDP back to their pre-crash maximum years ago while the Tories with their Austerity dogma kept us in recession years longer than we needed to be. The Tories are comparing their rate of growth finally emerging from the recession, with countries that are long out of the recession and back in normal economic growth. Even then, the Tories had to plump up the growth figures by adding income generated from drugs and prostitution to our GDP.

            Switching from the failure of the G7 growth argument to employment does not address the failure of the G7 claims. But even with employment, it is clear the Tory figures are an illusion made up of zero hour contracts and part time work, where even working hour a week counts as being employed. But the largest group are people classed as self employed, who while they may work all the hours God gives them typically earn 40% less than people in paid employment. The number of people in full time paid employment has still not recovered from the crash

            Wouldn’t the tax receipts increase anyway as we come out of the recession? We were going to come out of the recession anyway whether Tories cut tax for the rich and crushed the poor or not. Tory Austerity simply meant we came out of the recession more slowly.

            It was unregulated Banks caused the crash, deregulated by Labour following a Thatcherite dogma that the Tories agreed with too. It has nothing to do with whether Tory Austerity works better than higher tax rates for the rich.

          • CliveM

            Dear lord your economic illiteracy is incredible. The reason why you compare to G7 is because that are also developed economies, with relatively little spare capacity. You are comparing with like. Undeveloped economies have large spare capacity so are able to make what on the surface seem impressive growth figures. However 10% growth of a minuscule figure still leaves you with nearly nothing.

            As you say labour generated the regulatory environment that caused the banking crash.

            You say the recovery would have happened whatever the Tories did. Well that’s a new claim and not one Balls made in 2010 and repeated thereafter. This is the recovery that Labour said wouldn’t happen. The initial climb out was slow, but the devestating collapse that proceeded it, generated by Labour policies, was unprecedented.

            Again you misrepresent the facts.

            I note you come up with no evidence for your solution or defend it. You don’t deny it’s application has been a disaster in France. You just parrot it’s moral. There is nothing moral about destroying jobs, denying opportunity, crushing ambition and creating dependency all for a set of policies that have been shown to fail. As Einstein said, the definition of insanity is trying the same thing again and again and expecting a different outcome.

          • Darach Conneely

            Sorry you still haven’t dealt with the fact that the rest of the G7 nations, apart from Italy and the UK, emerged from the recession years ago, and the Conservative Austerity’s economic miracle was to keep us in recession years longer than we needed to be. The UK’s GDP is growing faster that than the other because it is just emerging and business is recovering from the recession.

            Yes there are obvious differences between the UK and emerging economies that make GDP comparison meaningless. though Ireland, Iceland, the US, Australia and New Zealand are among those nation growing faster than the UK. Ireland’s GDP is growing 50% faster than the UK’s probably because it is emerging from a deeper recession than the UK, but that illustrates the fact Cameron can’t compare the UK’s GDP growth with G& countries that got out of recession years ago.

            “As you say labour generated the regulatory environment that caused the banking crash.”

            Are you denying that deregulation was a Troy policy that the Tories agree with? You blame the recession on ‘Labour policies’ Cameron plays that game too, how about dealing with the fact bank deregulation has nothing to do with Austerity vs ending Austerity.

            As they say, doctors take credit for lots of people who would have got better anyway. The fact is, we have been through world wide recessions in the past and countries emerge again, the only difference economic policy makes is how deep the recession goes and how long it lasts. All Cameron and Osborne achieved was to make the UK the second slowest recovery in the G7, only emerging for the run up to the General election.

            It is immoral for the 6th richest country in the world to have people going hungry and dying because of sanctions. The bible condemns grinding the face of the poor as the Troy party has done. It is certainly good for people to have work, but social welfare doesn’t destroy jobs, remember it was the bankers that caused the crash not people on welfare. But while it good for mental well being to be earning an income you can live on, it is soul destroying to forced to keep applying for work when there simply aren’t enough jobs there. Worse when you are forced to go through the process of application and rejection time after time under the threat of vicious sanctions that will take away the very little in benefits you have to live on.

            There are 1.8 million people officially unemployed in the UK. But that is nowhere near the the short fall in jobs in the UK. But that is just a fraction of the real number. There are also 9.3 million people who are classed as economically inactive. These are people of working age who aren’t working but aren’t included in official unemployment figures, from students and home makers to the sick, retired or people who have simply given up looking. Of these 2,3 million want work but aren’t included in unemployment figures. Then you have 8.4 million people in part time work, of whom 65.4% almost two thirds are looking for either full time work or more hours. That another 5.5 million. Which comes to a 9.2 million hole in the UK job market that people on benefits are supposed to find work in.
            https://www.nomisweb.co.uk/reports/lmp/gor/2092957698/report.aspx
            http://www.ons.gov.uk/ons/rel/lms/labour-market-statistics/february-2013/sty-uk-employment-increases-by-154-000.html
            https://www.gov.uk/government/statistics/numbers-of-part-timers-seeking-full-time-employment

          • CliveM

            Tell you what, let’s start with something simple, show me how forced, early retirement of skilled workers will increase the employment prospects for the current unemployed.

            Give examples. You gave done nothing but made false comparisons. You still hide behind the ‘morality’ of your position without making any effort to defend your policies.

            Perhaps you can’t.

          • Darach Conneely

            I’m not suggesting early retirement, I’m simply saying if the conservatives think it is so important that unemployed find work that they hound them and sanction them to chase non existent jobs, they could increase the number of jobs through job sharing and early retirement. Clearly that would require advancing and training people further down the rungs but it could be done. However the conservative rhetoric about how important it is to be employed is simply a pretext to attack the unemployed and cut them off from the benefits they need to live on. The real problem is the conservative failure to provide the 9.2 million extra jobs that are needed.

            I can see what you want to concentrate on early retirement. You may not be interested in the morality of people dying and children in the UK going hungry as a result of Tory policies, but you seem to be interested in economics, you certainly like to keep calling me economically illiterate :). Yet you haven’t been able to address the way Conservatives and their Austerity dogma kept us in recession years after the rest of the G7 (bar Italy) recovered, or the games the Conservative play inflating employment figures and adding drugs and prostitution to inflate the GDP.

          • TimeForTea

            The question was, do you rely on fallible man to provide for you or your Heavenly Father? And the answer was the problem with fallible man is that I am a fallible man. What insight!!

            The fact is, I won’t be judged in heaven by proxy for the government of the time. If I vote for the Greens, or Labour, or anyone else making unfunded promises (nevermind the degradation of society that comes with it) He will not say to me ‘well done, good an faithful servant’ because God isn’t subject to politics, He is King. He will judge me for the way I treated the poor, I helped the afflicted, I helped the sick. Not for the way I let someone else do it.

            Also I think a point worth making here. Had you considered why things are so terrible? If you don’t think God is already judging this nation, giving us terrible leaders, handing us over to vile afflictions I think you should open your eyes. And the remedy? His people, called by His name, must humble ourselves and pray, seek His face and turn from our wicked ways; then He will hear from heaven, forgive our sin and heal our land.

            If you rely on the government or the population of a nation to fix it you will be sorely disappointed. Even if this leftist coalition happens, you will also be sorely disappointed. You’re relying on the wrong people.

            The sick, disabled and the hungry children you worry about going to school, who can provide for them? Is God not able? God is sufficient to provide for them all. Man isn’t, which is why his psychological help drives the mentally unhealthy to suicide, his terrible governance drives them to food banks and their government drives the very people it’s supposed to serve to poverty.

          • Darach Conneely

            The sick, disabled and the hungry children you worry about going to school, who can provide for them? Is God not able? God is sufficient to provide for them all.
            James 2:15 Suppose there are brothers or sisters who need clothes and don’t have enough to eat. 16 What good is there in your saying to them, “God bless you! Keep warm and eat well!”—if you don’t give them the necessities of life?

            It is all very pious to say God will take care of the poor, But God gave us that responsibility and will hold us responsible if we vote for leaders who despise the poor and promise to cut them off to go hungry.

            Is the UK under God’s judgement and if so why? If anything it is Maggie Thatcher’s Greed is Good philosophy. After all it was the predatory greed of the banking system that crashed the economy, not taking care of the sick. Reading the bible God judges nations on how they treat the poor, the widows and orphans.

            If you want to complain about unfunded promises, look to Cameron’s unfunded promise of £8 billion for the NHS and there is no mention of how he will pay all that extra housing benefit to private landlords after he sell off council housing. We are still paying £4.8 billion a year extra to private landlords for te sell of Maggie started.

          • TimeForTea

            I refer you back to my other comment:

            ‘It’s a Christian’s responsibility to look after their neighbours, their brothers and sisters in Christ, the widows and the destitute.’

            The James verse you quoted there is referring to our brothers and sisters in Christ which is exactly what I said. It is not taking about the poor in general who we will always have with us.

            So no, it is not pious to say that God will care for the poor. God looks after His people. He can provide for our brothers and sisters in Christ but he does it through us not the state.

            It doesn’t not take away our responsibility to care for the people who live in the world and not in Christ. He also provides for the unbeliever through us, that is how they are saved. They need more than bread for man cannot live on bread alone. We show Gods love through the way we treat our neighbour. Our neighbour is that person next to us whether they are a believer or not.

            As for the judgement of God, I was specifically thinking of Romans 1 but there are other examples including the worship of the creation, being given and following poor leaders, the rise of Islam and Paganism in the nation, the reduction of our national wealth, giving the nation over to be owned by those that lend to it (our enemies) (passages from Deut, Isa, Jer, Psa, Rom) the list goes on. Should be quite obvious.

          • Darach Conneely

            The quote from James shows you cannot ditch your responsibility for the poor by saying you trust in God for them. Yes James as talking about the church here, but it applies just as much to our responsibility to the poor when we vote for a government to run the country. If you vote for a party that just looks after the rich there is no point in relying platitudes that you trust God to look after the poor. That sort of faith is just as dead when you go to vote as it is in church.

          • TimeForTea

            Again, in my comment above I did point out that it doesn’t remove OUR responsibility. It is not the STATES responsibility. The state cannot feed them with that which they need. God provides for the poor who are His people, so what you are left with is the poor that aren’t. They need more than food.

            You just seem to want to foist our responsibility onto the state. We can’t get rewards for doing His work unless WE do it. Tax is an obligation, everyone has to pay it. Do you think when the unbeliever stands in front of Him and tells Him that he voted for the left that God will say, ‘oh, sorry I didn’t check your polling card, let me just get your name here in My book…E Milliband was it?’ No we won’t be rewarded for our vote.

            If you want to give more money, prayerfully give to some causes that spread His Word, not one’s that deny His existence. You will not be rewarded for that.

            The idea that a £70-odd-billion welfare system isn’t providing anything for our poor and only for the rich is obviously not true.

          • Inspector General

            If you can’t provide for a family, don’t have one. It’s at the stage of being a young adult that many regret pissing around at school and failing to get educated. That’s what socialism did for them. Gave them an inaccurate idea of being ‘looked after’ by the state from cradle to grave. No one told them it would likely be in poverty…

          • bluedog

            Actually it’s time to put the permanently unemployed on compulsory contraception. Why should tax-payers finance the life-style and families of those who find every excuse to game the system rather than to work?

          • Pubcrawler

            Sounds a bit like the Fabian eugenics of Marie Stopes to me. Not a position I would be happy to support.

          • CliveM

            I’m not blaming poor people, I am blaming people like you.

          • alternative_perspective

            You use the examples of a few that fall through the cracks to imply all the whole system is like that. That is disingenuous.

            And what about your wrath, reserved only for the Conservatives, presumably its a coalition when it does something well and the tories when they don’t.

            New Labour created a welfare system that infantilised adults; made separation economically preferable over staying together; trapped millions in welfare dependency; presided over the greatest fall in social mobility in 60 years; were the cause of rising inequality now reversed under the “coalition”; drove more manufacturing to the wall than the conservatives; spent billions of the next generation’s money on financially illiterate PPP projects; put us in a ruinous debt AND deficit situation DURING THE LARGEST EXPANSION IN GDP EVER and still only managed to raise the poor 1 PENNY above the poverty line: great record! So what do you expect to happen when the global economy pops and Britain with its staggering debts is plunged into turmoil? New Labour barely managed to ease Britain’s poverty in the good times and left a highly unsustainable system that was destined to fail at any other.

            And yet you have the audacity to damn the coalition for creating MILLIONS of jobs… because they’re not the right kind of job! It is better for people to be employed and receive benefits than to be totally unemployed.

            And I do not buy the claim that all disabled people cannot work. Some obviously won’t be able to; the majority could at least manage some part time work. Employment is a moral good. It empowers individuals; unites them in the common endeavour of building society; improves living standards (now that work pays under the coalition) and once in work is the most sure fire way of improving life quality.

            As for old Labour, you can keep it… with their endless tax and spend initiatives. I nearly earn 40k but I rent a dump of an ex-council house because I cannot afford anything nicer; drive a 10 year old ford and work more than my contracted 37.5 hours to subsidise those who get all of this and better for free. Where is the justice in that? Why should I spend more subsidising activities I find morally outrageous, which the progressive left seems to adore: abortion, euthanasia and the squeezing of faith schools.

            I don’t pretend to like Labour. And I dislike even more those with big houses, fancy cars and large pay packets telling me I should pay more in tax. How about those champagne socialist sell their property and give it to the poor if it so concerns them? But I won’t be voting conservative this time round on account of the gay marriage debacle. I cannot give my vote to the parties who introduced and supported that move.

          • CliveM

            Well said.

          • Darach Conneely

            A million people have used food banks. That is not the isolated cracks in a comprehensive safety net. That is the welfare system being torn to shreds and people cut off as a deliberate policy of this Government.

            I hold The Lib Dems responsible for enabling the Conservatives in their abuse, for voting for the bedroom tax that takes from the very little that people had to live on. 60% of those hit by the bedroom tax are disabled. I have already criticised the Labour party. But the conservatives want to keep cutting welfare, push more people into the abject misery and poverty that is killing people and blighting children’s lives. LibDems say they will keep cutting too, just not as viciously as the Conservative.

            The Coalition jobs aren’t just the wrong type of job, they are largely an illusion. Our economy simply recovering from the crash would increase jobs to the level they were pre crash. Economies recover eventually with or without the governments help, what the conservative austerity did was give us the slowest ever recovery. But they measure their job creation from the lowest employment level during the crash. There are more jobs than that, But with the population increasing over this period, we need more jobs to break even. But they have done great at producing zero hour contracts.

            If you have ever been serious ill you will know sick people can’t work. There are a lot of people with long term illnesses and being forced to work or even worry about assessments and sanctions can be, not just misery but seriously damaging to their health. There is a serious ethical obligation not to introduce punitive systems that cannot tell people apart and end up making sick people’s lives a misery and damaging their health. Some disabled can do part time work, but you can’t simply declare people fit for work when there is no suitable part time work they would be able to do. Most disabled people would love to be able to work and make a contribution to society. Provide systems to get the disabled back to work as they fell well enough, with the ability to stop if they are pushing themselves to far. Don’t punish the genuinely sick because a few people may abuse the system.

            Resentment for people on benefits when you are working, is not a basis for deciding how the benefit system should work. Instead we need to ask ourselves how would like to be treated, or want our children or grandchildren to be treated if they were our of work and there simply were no jobs for someone your age or long term unemployment record, or were suffering long term illness or disability.

          • James Bolivar DiGriz

            “A million people have used food banks”
            And one of the biggest causes of that is the wonderful welfare system not being able to react fast enough, cutting off or reducing payments, etc.

            As for the so-called ‘bedroom tax’, what I would like to know is why you are not complaining about the people who introduced it – the last Labour government.

            They applied it to people in private rented housing and teh current government extended it to public rented housing.

            Treating everyone the same. Surely that is fair?

          • William Lewis

            “The Coalition jobs aren’t just the wrong type of job, they are largely an illusion.”

            The illusion is yours thinking that the government can actually create real jobs. Let alone ones that pay a “living wage”. The only thing that creates real jobs is a growing economy.

      • CliveM

        It’s also interesting that you appear to have forgotten that a lot of the changes to disability benefit were started under Labour. They implemented tougher medical assessments, but you lay the full ‘blame’ for this at the Tories door!!

        • Darach Conneely

          I agree, New Labour drifted way too far to the right and brought in expertise of US health Insurers of all people to avoid making payments to people who are genuinely ill. What the Tories have done is take a Bank induced crisis to make even more savage and punitive attacks on the poor and disabled. The point is, its wrong, people arre dying families are going hungry while and the Tories and Lib Dems promise even more suffering

      • James Bolivar DiGriz

        “Why shouldn’t disabled people be pushed into work?
        Because they don’t have the physically energy …”

        So you are able to categorically speak for each and every person who ever claimed a disability benefit. That is impressive.

        “Of course the Tories closed Remploy who really did help disabled people capable of working”
        29 Remploy factories were closed in 2008 – who was in government then I wonder.

        The decision to close the remaining Remploy factories was based on a review by the head of RADAR which concluded that the best use of government money would be to concentrate on getting disabled people into mainstream work.

        RADAR must be some sort of ultra-capitalist group, unless it is the Royal Association for Disability Rights.

        However as David (in reply to CliveM) said earlier “So using logical argument, and producing evidence will have zero effect on [those who advocate Socialism” so I don’t suppose this will have any impact on you.

  • IanCad

    “Can you imagine Norman Tebbit, Simon Heffer, Nigel Farage and Peter Hitchens indulging in a group hug?–“
    Certainly not; they are men.
    Supposedly so also are sportsmen, yet at every event – football, cricket, and most particularly at rugby matches, displays, of the most unseemly bonding are indulged in throughout the matches.
    Looks a bit iffy to me.
    In the USA there is similar behavior shown among the police. Hugs and cuddles are quite normal after the excitement of an incident.
    The divorce rate for police officers is very high.
    Is it the stress of the job? Or too much hanky-panky down at the station house?
    One does have to wonder.

    • Come on now, there’s no harm at all in celebratory hugs when the moment calls for it. Nothing sexual in them at all.

      • IanCad

        Greeting hugs? Maybe.
        Celebratory hugs? I don’t think so.

  • steroflex

    Not fair!
    I deliberately go on left wing and right wing blogs. On the right wing, I get respect, decent answers, wit, humour and it is fun. I look forward to it.
    On the let wing ones, I get struck off, insulted and I notice that people get ratty, angry and they do not read the stuff. The worst of all is, in fact, the Times Educational Supplement website where the teachers are, I am afraid, very anxious to close down lessons of which they disapprove.
    The hugging bit fools very few people.

  • Inspector General

    If everything goes to plan, Clegg won’t be doing much hugging when the election results are in. Nay, he’ll be weeping just like a disappointed schoolgirl as when his beloved voting reform failed.

    The Inspector would enjoy getting close to Clegg, with arms outstretched and dagger concealed, as Shakespeare imagined the end of Caesar. For the sake of the ‘Republic’ of course. His degenerate and costly ideas will plunge us into a debt we may never come out of. And that’s not to mention his effect on the social cohesion of this country. What’s left of it, that is, both cohesion and country, come to that. That he would hand the keys of this magnificent United Kingdom to Brussels is enough to send him to the scaffold. In earlier times, they would have cut the blighter’s head off just for thinking about it.

    To hug is to drop your defences. Women hug because women normally don’t stab anyone. They scratch and bite, as the Inspector found to his cost as a younger man, but they normally stay clear of the blade. Perhaps those three in today’s picture will end up biting and scratching each other and pulling each other’s hair. We can but hope, and if it does come to that, put your money on the Scot – a member of the people who gave the world the menacing “Have YOU got a problem wi’ that?”

    (Legal Disclaimer: The Inspector wishes to point out to both Scotland Yard and MI5 that he has no intention of harming even a beloved single hair on Clegg’s sweet head…)

    {DROPS DAGGER}

    • Actually, Clegg appears to be growing more ‘bitchy’ by the day. Hell hath no furry like a politician scorned, eh.

      As for hugs – Jack once attended a Mass where one was encouraged to hug the person next to you. Nah …. Now, if Jack had been a few rows further up …. These things have to be spontaneous, don’t you think?

      • CliveM

        You think that’s bad! I was at a Gerald Coates Rally in the mid-80’s and half way through he instructed us to turn to the person behind and tell them that you loved them!!

        Dreadful man. Still never went back. I still wake up with nightmares about it.

        • Uncle Brian

          I’ve never heard of Gerald Coates, I’m afraid. Probably just as well.

          • CliveM

            Plenty on google. I hesitate to say what I think of the man.

          • Inspector General

            You sure you weren’t at Gerard’s Cross….

          • CliveM

            I’m not fully getting that reference????

            Nope definitely Gerald Coates. One of the early pioneers of the House Church movement in the UK. His Church was so charismatic that daily raising from the dead was de rigour. Also everyone communicated by speaking in tongues and slaying each other in the spirit.

            It was decidedly scary.

            The Rally was in Dundee!

          • Inspector General

            “Gerrards Cross is a village and civil parish in the South Bucks district of Buckinghamshire, England. It is in the south of the county, separated from the London Borough of Hillingdon at Harefield by Denham. London is centred 19 miles east. ”

            Damn useful for the young gentleman motorcyclist that this man was getting on for 40 years ago. Follow sign posts for that place to get out of London, heading due west.

          • CliveM

            Hmm a tame explanation. I was expecting something a little racier!

          • Inspector General

            Them were good days for motoring. Not only was there a quarter of the vehicles on the road than now, but each vehicle there was only did one third the mileage in a year. It is the insistence of the piss poor to run a car they cannot afford that contributes so much to poverty these days…

          • CliveM

            When I first past my test, I loved driving. I had an old banger and went everywhere. Unfortunately for about 5 years I was commuting about 30 to 35 thousand miles a year, 3 to 8 hours per day. Killed my joy in the open road.

            You’re right. Too many cars on the road and too many drivers appearing as if they want to get into a fight. Like do many areas a little pleasure out of the experience.

          • Driving in Scotland is still a pleasure ….

          • CliveM

            Not on the m8 it wasn’t.

          • Pubcrawler

            Dr Johnson would probably say that driving out of it is a greater one. 🙂

          • Lol …. but that was before the M6 traffic snarls at Manchester and Birmingham.

          • Uncle Brian

            Not many motorways back then, Inspector. No M25, anyway, right? Just the North Circular and South Circular. The North Circular was at least a road, but the South Circular was not much more than a string of streets that you had to pick your way along with the map open on the seat beside you.

      • Inspector General

        The RCC can stick the ‘sign of peace’ too while they’re at it…

        • Uncle Brian

          I disagree, Inspector. I like it. But here, at least, it’s only a handshake with the half-dozen or so people within easy reach – one or two each side of you, plus the people immediately behind you and immediately in front of you, with the words “Na
          paz de Cristo” (In the peace of Christ). Hugs, of course, for friends and relations (and kisses where appropriate, see above), but not with strangers.

          • Inspector General

            Probably caught the flu from it, Brian. If it’s not medieval, it doesn’t belong in the Mass. Distracts from the solemnity of the occasion, don’t you find…

          • Uncle Brian

            In the Middle Ages, so I’ve read, there were no seats in churches. You stood up all the time, except when you were kneeling. That’s the tradition that you stoutly maintain to this day, is it, Inspector?

          • Inspector General

            Yes that’s right, and no organs either. Livestock were occasional stabled in the church too in adverse conditions…

          • Uncle Brian

            Organs are very unusual here. Most cathedrals would have an organ, I imagine, but I don’t think I’ve ever seen one in a parish church. Guitars, I’m sorry to say, are the standard instrumental accompaniment, usually played, if that’s the right word, by a teenager. Once, and only once, I went to mass where they had a drum kit as well, which wasn’t really a very good idea, IMHO.

          • Inspector General

            It would not be a good idea for a young priest to conjure up a guitar while the Inspector is in churchly residence. There would be a ‘Father Jack’ reaction…

          • sarky

            “Organs are very unusual here” – speak for yourself! !!!!!

          • James Bolivar DiGriz

            My wife sings in a quire that sings west gallery music, which largely dies out with the introduction of organs to church buildings..

          • Pubcrawler

            Excellent! Where is this?

          • James Bolivar DiGriz
          • Pubcrawler

            Great stuff! Thanks for the link, if I’m in That London when they’re performing I’ll try to pop along.

          • Pubcrawler

            As the Orthodox still do.

          • Uncle Brian

            No kidding! I never knew that. I wonder whether it has a measurable impact on the incidence of varicose veins.

      • dannybhoy

        Hell hath no fury like a politician who sees that his party has sprung a leak and is sinking fast..

  • DanJ0

    i’ll take one for the team and volunteer to hug the handsome ones. 🙂

    • Inspector General

      Hug? A mere hug? it’s election time…the 3 main party leaders would kiss your gay behind, and thank you for the privilege. A single homosexual vote being worth 20 these days, it seems…

    • sarky

      Lol!

  • Uncle Brian

    I live in a country where the hug is the standard salutation between men in certain social circumstances, but it is a quite formal proceeding subject to a clear (though
    unwritten) set of rules. You stand at a certain distance from one another and place your right palm on his left ribcage while patting him on the right shoulder with your left hand. It isn’t all that intimate. I rather suspect that the origin of the Brazilian abraço is a reciprocal frisking, to avoid surprises of the Godfather variety.

    • Is it permissible for a man to give a proper hug to a Brazilian woman?

      • Uncle Brian

        Yes, certainly, in just the same way, except that you’ll probably want to be more careful about the exact position of your right hand. But if she’s somebody you already know, a kiss on each cheek would be considered more friendly.

        In Argentina, a kiss on the cheek (one cheek only) is also a standard form of salutation between men. But not in Brazil! It looks just as suspicious to Brazilian eyes, the first time you see it done, as it would to British eyes.

        • CliveM

          Burgh………..!

          And yuck.

        • Hmmm ….

        • dannybhoy

          “In Argentina, a kiss on the cheek (one cheek only) is also a standard form of salutation between men.”

          Dropping one’s trousers in order to kis cheeks would take rather more ‘sang froid’ than I possess..

      • Mrs Proudie of Barchester

        or indeed a Brazilian to a tree hugger…

        • Pubcrawler

          You mean topiary of the lady garden? I suppose it would depend on whether any fauna lost their habitat.

          • dannybhoy

            That’s truly gross!

        • sarky

          You would need a hedgecutter 🙂

    • dannybhoy

      When I was a child we played a game called kiss chase. At the time most of us boys thought it kinda ‘yeukky., Now I am old, the idea of clicking dentures with a frisky mature lady pensioner
      ….remains ‘yeukky.’
      Hugs are best.

  • magnolia

    As a female right-ish wing hugger I object!!

    To anyone who will take it in the right spirit, and is not left wondering whether there is a suspect content, and to all who would not use it as an excuse to lean over the shoulder and plant one between the shoulderblades, a virtual hug is on offer, provided the recipient has washed within the last week and doesn’t smell of whiskey or cross-dress!! (One has one’s limits.)

    • sarky

      I would offer a hug, but after one of mine, you would never want to hug another 😉

      • magnolia

        Don’t know what to say!! I shall have to limit this to a 3 second hug in the safe Christian manner described ably by Adrian Plass, and take the further precaution of hiding my computer from my husband under a large pile of cushions lest he suffer from anxiety attacks!!

        • sarky

          Lol !

    • Inspector General

      One does whiff occasionally of ‘old pipe’
      {Ahem}

      • magnolia

        Sewer, drain, or something other?

        Isn’t that just the difficulty with these charitable feelings? No sooner has one made a generous kindly offer than one has to start hedging with stipulations. In the “S” category, all sewer workers,sex workers, smoked kippers, skunk sprayed, and St. Bernard drool-splattered (recent) must apply liberal amounts of tomato ketchup to self before donning a hazmat suit before this offer applies. Does that close a few loopholes?

        • Inspector General

          {Hangs head low}

        • Uncle Brian

          When you exclude “smoked kippers”, aren’t you unfairly discriminating against the political party that is supported by a substantial number of His Grace’s communicants?

          • Inspector General

            Genius Brian!

            Smoked Kippers would make an excellent name for the tobacco lobby within UKIP and there must be one as the pub ban on smoking will be lifted….

          • magnolia

            As an unsmoked probable kipper I reserve my right to poke fun at the smoked kippers!! Must keep up some semblance of “fractious little platoonism” to back up the verisimilitude of His Grace’s learned comments. Fractious Platonic platoonism, of course, peppered with occasional well-considered and regulated hugs, applied for in advance in triplicate.

  • Anton

    Can I vote for Francis Urquhart?

  • magnolia

    On the further end from hugs I see from Zerohedge the wonderful headline “Humans Score Rare Victory Over Machines As Colorado Man Executes Computer in Alley”.

    It kept on being awkward, thus ending up with no fewer than eight bullet holes.

    Now if only he had had compassion upon its incorrectness and booked it in for reprogamming, as any self-respecting Guardian reader would do!

    • sarky

      I have total sympathy with the man. I once punched a laptop to death when the screen kept flickering. I am quite a placid person, but there is something about technology that lights my fuse!!!!

      • dannybhoy

        I was sent for therapy…

      • CliveM

        A few years back I read a report of a man in the UK shooting his laptop in frustration. Of course being the UK he ended up in Court!!

      • Anton

        I simply scold mine. But I got to know an Army officer who once put his ceremonial sword through his.

  • Inspector General

    Conneely, are you a Marxist or are you not? Simple enough question which you have avoided answering…

    • Old Blowers

      The deluded fella thinks Jonah Broon was an economic genius..need I say more??

    • CliveM

      Is the Pope a Catholic!

  • The last paragraph sounds like his Grace is trying to reach out to UKIP…

  • The Banana

    Fruitcakes and loons? A self inflicted wound if ever there was one. You should ask Cameron, your Grace.

  • wiggiatlarge .

    A million people used food banks, a year, every day, the facts…………..
    https://fullfact.org/factcheck/economy/food_bank_number-40853

  • Albert

    Wasn’t the purpose of the hug to exclude men? Nigel was obviously not going to be hugged, but Red Ed should have been. So why was he excluded? It just looks sexist to me.