Foodbank1
Ethics & Morality

Why doesn't Welby demand abolition of the Common Agricultural Policy?

 

“I have seen the hunger that stalks our country… it shocks me more than Africa,” writes the Archbishop of Canterbury in the Mail on Sunday. In a lucid piece surging with righteous anger, Justin Welby highlights some of the bureaucratic absurdities and legal red tape which prevent supermarkets from donating their excess or unsalable stock to charities, or even giving it directly to the poor: “..under the system we have now, it costs retailers to give their surplus food to the hungry,” the Archbishop explains. “It often makes financial sense to send this surplus to landfill or for ‘anaerobic digestion’ – a process where food is broken down to create energy. Meanwhile, there are empty mouths and hungry stomachs to feed.”

And he recounts some shameful statistics of our wasteful food culture: “One supermarket chain created 28,500 tons of food waste in just 6 months.” How many foodbanks would that stock? What kind of perverse economic ethic is it that obliges shops and supermarkets to incinerate perfectly edible food rather than alleviate poverty? Where is the moral compass of a so-called civilised society which binds responsible parents to enforced fasting in order that their children might eat? Such poverty is not only a present misery; it can have profound consequences on entire futures, for what hungry child can enjoy a game of football? How might they read a book or learn maths if their bellies are empty? What life-goals can they set if their thoughts are always on the next meal?

It is Christmas, the Archbishop reminds us:

Two weeks ago, people in churches up and down the land listened to the passage in St Matthew’s Gospel where Jesus describes who will enter the Kingdom of Heaven. When Christ returns, He will say: ‘Come, you that are blessed by my Father, inherit the kingdom… for I was hungry and you gave me food, I was thirsty and you gave me something to drink.’

The good people are surprised, they don’t remember helping anyone so powerful, and think He has mixed them up with someone else. Jesus tells them: ‘Just as you did it to one of the least of these… you did it to me.’ Those who did not give food to the hungry or a drink to the thirsty find out God has taken their lack of kindness into account too.

And he draws attention to a new report from the All-Party Parliamentary Inquiry into Hunger in Britain, the recommendations of which include inter alia the establishment of a new publicly-funded body, ‘Feeding Britain’, the objective of which would be to eradicate hunger in Britain by 2020. It praises the work of foodbank volunteers who rescue the poor from hunger, which we are told is an achievement “equivalent to a social Dunkirk”. It adds: “This extraordinary achievement has been done without the assistance of central government. If the Prime Minister wants to meet his Big Society it is here.”

And so it is, and so it should be. Christians are called to be compassionate toward the poor, not least because they had a privileged place in Christ’s ministry. The oppressed, miserable, dependent and humiliated are first in line for entry to the Kingdom of God. The poor, starving, homeless and sick cry out for social justice. We may cavil over definitions of ‘social’ or argue about the ontology of justice, but ultimately we are commanded to love them, and that must be expressed materially with prayer and thanksgiving.

But the ‘Big Society’ is a work of fraternal benevolence and cooperative community, made up of kind and humane individuals working for the common good. By calling for the establishment of a new network, ‘Feeding Britain’ – which is to made up of foodbanks, charities, the food industry, and no fewer than eight government departments – you considerably expand the Welfare State and nullify the need for the Big Society: acts of charity such as the distribution of free food are conceived as a coercive government responsibility rather than organic expressions of altruism. The primary task of government in the process of food distribution is to ensure adequate supply and the functioning of a free and fair market which transcends narrow self-interest and recognises those in need. That is to say, government must encourage wealth creation and gainful employment in order that people might participate fully in society and eat. There can be no underclass without the purchasing power for basics such as food.

And that brings us to the price of bread.

In all the episcopal pleas for the Government to alleviate poverty and “do something” about the seemingly inexorable rise of foodbanks, none of them – not even Archbishop Justin – ever refers to the distorting market effects of the Common Agricultural Policy – the CAP – which inflates our food prices by around 17% through a plethora of undisclosed tariffs, unknown subsidies and a bewildering array of production quotas. This is effectively an EU food tax, imposed bureaucratically and collected centrally for the benefit of farmers and other agricultural producers who are paid not to feed Europe, but very often to leave their fields fallow and their harvests to rot.

The CAP is so complex that it is apparently unreformable – successive British governments have been trying for the past 30 years, all without success. But what is certainly known is that it makes our food more expensive. Just compare the prices of bread, meat, fish, vegetables and fruit in the USA to those in your local Sainsbury’s, Asda or Lidl. Market conditions are variable, of course, and costs naturally fluctuate, but world food prices are so manifestly and consistently cheaper than those in the UK and the wider EU, and the sole reason for that is the CAP.

Wouldn’t those families who are humiliatingly forced to visit foodbanks benefit from a weekly grocery price cut of 17%? Is the CAP so hallowed that it blinds our bishops to its immoral inflationary effects? Is our membership of the EU so sacrosanct that even the Archbishop of Canterbury cannot see that it sustains policies which damn the poor to concentric circles of poverty, and cloaks debt, hardship, scarcity and bankruptcy in vacuous anthems to peace, justice and unity in diversity?

  • Inspector General

    Don’t forget the madcap fisheries policies. All that fish caught that has
    to be returned to the sea dead because of some blasted quota. The EU at its
    most disgusting. UKIP will regain our territorial waters and put an end to this
    evil. Jesus, who did his share of fishing would approve. No doubt about that…

  • john in cheshire

    Why can’t leaders of the Christian Church realise they are not social(ist) workers and do the job that Jesus would have them do; i.e. help us to prepare our way through Him to eternal salvation?

    • Peasant Farmer

      Agreed, the Bishops in this country should worry less about the poor, which they will always have with them, and more about proclaiming the good news, if they have an idea of what that is.

      And yet, Matthew 25 v 35-40 does remind us that we have to hold the two things in tension, there will always be the poor, yet it is still the duty of those with means to help them with their physical needs as well as spiritual.

  • Inspector General

    “Britons never never never will be slaves” goes that glorious anthem. Yet when your masters have a hold on what goes into your mouth, you’re a slave to some degree. Don’t think you’re not.

    Cranmer. You’re a man of conviction. Rejoice in that, there aren’t many of
    us around these days. You’ll certainly have to go looking hard in parliament to
    find twelve. Christ needed twelve and so do we. Come on, old chap. Abandon the
    Conservatives as this man has and do the right thing. You’re a man of great
    influence. Help deliver us from the sin the EU has become. Be convicted of the
    crimes of integrity and prescience and leave Europe to the be the land of German
    influence it has always been destined to be. Let them pay for it, until it
    crashes as sure it must…

    • Inspector General

      Have a meeting with Farage. He’ll see you. Enough of his people visit this site and can arrange it. He’s not the laughing devil the BBC make him out to be…

      • Inspector General

        Cranmer. This could be your burning bush moment. You could, overnight, be UKIP’s Director of Spirituality. Your own personal destiny – to give a political party a soul.

        • dannybhoy

          Laugh out loud! That’s really funny.

          • Inspector General

            Never been more serious, that man…

  • Jane McQueen

    Why don’t religions start paying taxes, with the huge increase in taxation we could deal with these issues. If it’s good enough for the Queen and other members of the royal family then religions should follow suit.

    • Inspector General

      Why don’t gay charities pay tax. Sure you can find a reason not to, yet still tax the church.

      Come on then. Let’s have it, or are you merely content to gripe from the side-lines as is your unhappy wont….

      • SeekTruthFromFacts

        Why have you randomly brought gay charities into a question about religions and tax?

        You are conforming to the media’s worst stereotypes about Christians and sex. I’m not sure that helps your overall aim!

        • Inspector General

          Jane is of a different sexual orientation compared to 97% of the rest of us, loathes religion, and makes the occasional foray here to re-instate her desire which if put into practice would have the roof off every church in the UK. See, the context that we have…

          • SeekTruthFromFacts

            Play the ball, not the woman.

          • Inspector General

            You do it your way. This man will do it his…

      • Jane McQueen

        Well gay charities actually do some good, and don’t discriminate against who people are romantically involved with, and as a result have made the UK a more equal place with people now having the same legal rights.

        Religions on the other hand, demand exemptions in law to a whole host of things, and expect those who don’t subscribe to their ideologies to subsidise them through the fact they don’t pay any taxes.

        Why should 98.82% of the population support the CofE when they don’t use it on a regular basis. Even using your hugely underestimated figure of 3%, there are substantially more LGBT people in the UK than the 800,000 who go to a CofE church on a regular basis.

        So why should the majority of the population subsidise an organisation with a net worth in-excess of £6 billion?

        • Inspector General

          Gay charities and organisations don’t discriminate ? You have to be gay or gay friendly otherwise they call you a homophobic bigot. Gay friendly means dog like following and supporting of the latest madcap demand. Sexula orientation lessons for the under 5s wasn’t it ?

          The church on the other hand has it rules. It’s not a blasted free for all, you know. Accept the rules and you are with us. Don’t and you’re not. No one’s forcing you. Gay people are still
          welcome in church, but we draw the line at so called SSM. It’s against the rules you see.

          As for the figure of 3%, that in itself is overstated when it comes to people who want to associate as being gay. Then, you’re talking of not even 1%.
          Hurts, don’t it !

          • Jane McQueen

            How is your repression and self-loathing going these days, still making regular visits to Hampstead Heath after dark?

          • Inspector General

            Heh ! Reduced to wheeling that old retainer out, eh.
            Oh look, you’ve given him a white flag to wave…

          • William Lewis

            If only it was just after dark and actually on the Heath. I discovered that one could be propositioned in broad daylight just walking down the road in the general vicinity. And that was twenty years ago.

          • DanJ0

            *licks pencil*

            Just out of curiosity, which road was it again?

          • William Lewis

            Put your pencil away. That’s not your scene.

        • dannybhoy

          “Why should 98.82% of the population support the CofE when they don’t use it on a regular basis.”
          Where’d you get that from please?

        • magnolia

          I am afraid you are digging a deeper and deeper hole for yourself. You really don’t understand economics very well, or church government. You are not subsidising the church. You pay nothing towards it. In fact it is much more likely to have subsidized you. When people are healed by pastoral and healing work of the church, you are relieved of the costs to the NHS of psychiatrists and doctors, and to the government of sick pay and benefits. If the church stopped subsidizing the country via church schools, built on land given to the Church, and further financial help your taxes would go up. And that is a mere few examples, as Christians give their labour free or cheap in so many places and give over the odds, which otherwise the state would have to pay for.

          So stop looking a gift horse in the mouth, stop moaning and get your facts accurate.

    • William Lewis

      Take money away from religions which, in some cases, are the only organisations doing anything about it. Brilliant. You are clearly an ideologue beyond reason.

      • dannybhoy

        “Idealogue?
        Far too generous!
        You surely mean “turkey…”

    • SeekTruthFromFacts

      What do you mean by “religions”?

      If you mean Christians, then we do pay tax, the same income tax as everybody else.

      If you mean churches, well, they don’t get taxed on their profits because they don’t make any profits. In fact, most churches give away a large proportion of their income.

      If you mean donations from Christians to churches – well, those qualify for Gift Aid if the church is a registered charity. And churches can become registered charities under the same rules as everybody else: they have to demonstrate a public benefit (simply being a religious organization does not make you a charity).

      So what you appear to want to do is to introduce a special tax on religious people. You need to explain why I should pay more tax than you just because I believe something different. The only place I know that taxes people according to their beliefs is the so-called “Islamic State”, and I’m sure that’s not an example that you want to follow.

      • Jane McQueen

        Actually they are not, if you look on say the charities commission website, which gives you detailed break down of the accounts of all tax exempt organisations in the UK you will see that a lot of churches are sitting on vast sums of money. Yet they are all moaning about the government not doing anything to help.

        Let’s pull one out of the air at random shall we, oh how about the magical underpants wearing mormons. Who are sitting on a cash reserve of £257 million.

        Then there is the CofE, one of the largest landowners in the country, again does not pay any tax. But does have a right to say which laws are passed in the UK.

        • SeekTruthFromFacts

          The C of E is one of the largest landowners in the country, but provides services to tens of millions of people each year. Hard to do that, and provide for all those pensions, without some land!

        • SeekTruthFromFacts

          And on the Mormons – I’m no fan of the Mormons, and I agree that their reserves are wholly disproportionate to their expenditure. However, it seems that the money mostly came from LDS HQ in Salt Lake City, and it would be a strange choice for a government to tax somebody for investing money in Britain (some of which seems to have gone into commercial farming, to bring the discussion full circle).

        • magnolia

          Very few churches indeed have “vast sums of money”. You are not close to the ground in terms of where churches are financially at all, you are just, as frequently, speaking from unexamined and shamelessly unresearched prejudice, having looked at one, repeat one website.

          You speak from, I fear, rank ignorance. “One of the largest landowners” They own the parish churches, which are also repositories of history and often Grade One or Two listed buildings. Now you may want local village churches razed to the ground, their monuments and tombstones turned into marble chips, and the sightly tan rooftops of a Tesco local replacing them. That might be your idea of cultural enrichment, but you would be lynched by your average village if you tried to achieve that. Because they want “their” church, and “their” vicar, even if only for occasional offices, burials, scenic beauty and comfort and Christmas and Easter.

          The C of E is a charity, as you well know, so of course it does not pay business tax, the same as all charities, but those paid a stipend, a pension or a wage pay income tax, just like everyone else, again.

          It isn’t a pretty vendetta you know!

  • dannybhoy

    “Wouldn’t those families who are humiliatingly forced to visit foodbanks benefit from a weekly grocery price cut of 17%? Is the CAP so hallowed that it blinds our bishops to its immoral inflationary effects? Is our membership of the EU so sacrosanct that even the Archbishop of Canterbury cannot see that it sustains policies which damn the poor to concentric circles of poverty, and cloaks debt, hardship, scarcity and bankruptcy in vacuous anthems to peace, justice and unity in diversity”

    See, the reason chimpanzee groups survive in the wild is that they haven’t yet invented refrigerators or grain silos.
    So every chimp from the brightest to the dullest knows an urgency to find food and share the source with the rest of his posse.bThat’s what keeps them fit for however long they live, and maintains the structural hierarchy of the group.
    Now just imagine what would happen if chimps escaped back into the wild, and taught their pals how to freeload…

    2 Thessalonians 3:10
    10 For even when we were with you, we would give you this command: If anyone is not willing to work, let him not eat.”

    There is no political will to reform the CAP. Too many vested interests you see.
    And not only that, the photo opportunities are VERY limited….
    (Delicately wipes brow with ecclesiastical handkerchief before cameraman refocusses on saintly pullover….

    • Inspector General

      Danny, one suspects that for nearly every visitor to a food bank, they arrive there in their own car. These contraptions were once luxuries to be afforded. Now, they have become a right, yet impoverish people whose benefits don’t stretch that far, as neither they should…

      • dannybhoy

        I don’t know the statistics. All i do know from my own little bit of experience is as youngster attending a labour exchange, you got offered I think, three jobs.
        You HAD to take one of them.
        Being on the dole was socially frowned upon because that meant someone else had to cover the costs of keeping you.
        Over the years the attitudes changed. People became more brazen, and politicians in their constant hunt for votes jumped on the bandwagon and started increasing the level and scope of benefits.
        The’s always a price to pay for free loading.
        And it IS freeloading.Governmets don’t have any money really, they just take it off of the workers in the form of taxes and pretend it’s their money.

        • DanJ0

          “And it IS freeloading.”

          In the technical sense, it’s freeloading because the recipients are not paying for it. However, that’s true for recipients of any kind of charity too. There are lots of people who are mentally or physically disabled, or down on their luck, or simply struggling for a host of reasons who need communal help. It’s a bit mean to label them as freeloaders, to add insult to their injury.

          • dannybhoy

            Read it again J0Dan…
            “Over the years the attitudes changed. People became more brazen, and
            politicians in their constant hunt for votes jumped on the bandwagon and
            started increasing the level and scope of benefits

            I’m nbot talking about the down and outer/fallen on hard times/mentally ill folk.
            I’m talking about people who have become so impervious to self respect that they will take whatever’s offered.
            The system ensures that they are better off on benefits and that has to change because we can’t afford it.,

          • DanJ0

            I took that to mean that people stopped feeling shame for being the recipients of what we used to call social security payments, so I was really questioning whether the type of people I listed ought to feel shame, or just grateful that we collectively have a support system. Of course, I recognise that some people have accepted a lifestyle on social security when they could help themselves at some point and support themselves, and those people could easily be called free-loaders.

          • dannybhoy

            No. like I say I have had a few bouts of unemployment. the longest two years.
            It’s a change in cultural attitudes, and governments have effectively killed enterprise by interfering too much in market forces and establishing businesses.
            They stuffed business because business could not afford the level of wages that benefits paid out.
            The incongruity of it is that they are importing labour because it’s cheaper to do so!

          • Martin

            DanJ0

            It is my impression, supported by a few examples, that there is neither shame nor gratitude in some, just a sense of entitlement.

  • Graham Wood

    There are three major obstacles in reforming the C A P, or any other of the EU’s grossly inefficient policies, namely the united determination of the Conservative, Labour, and SNP political parties (Lib Dims not worth a mention), to continue to chain the UK to the corpse of the failed idea called the EU.
    Unless and until that cosy consensus of the political careerists is broken then nothing will change. Simple but true analysis.

  • One wonders haw many of these starving families have smartphones, 42″ TVs, Sky subscriptions and regularly drink alcohol.
    After reading in the Mail the other day about a couple on benefits who were proposing to buy presents costing about £1200 for their two children and she was complaining that she’d had to give up her regular beauty treatment, one wonders whether there real poor out there or whether they simply can’t manage their money. I can’t imagine anyone entitled to benefits is not claiming them, so how do we get all these starving people?

    • bluedog

      Exactly. The greatest curse of the poor, apart from booze and the ciggies, is gambling, whereby they persuade themselves that they can beat the odds. Of course the poor can never win, there is no level playing-field in a casino, a betting-shop or a fruit-machine, and the poor are simply the mug punters whose limited means are ruthlessly siphoned off. The government is a willing participant in this process through the taxes it raises on gambling. Indeed, HMRC has just refined its procedures with the apparent aim of making the UK a global gambling power: https://www.gov.uk/gambling-tax-reform-new-rules-from-1-december-2014

      • Certainly they all seem to buy lottery tickets, I’ve watched at the local newsagent.
        If there are starving people around the question should be “why?”.
        Why isn’t the benefits system providing them with adequate help or are they simply wasting the money they get on non-essentials? This should be answered before providing food banks. Perhaps we should give food coupons instead of cash, as in the US.

        • bluedog

          Yes, to buy a lottery ticket is to make a voluntary donation to consolidated revenue.

  • SeekTruthFromFacts

    The CAP desperately needs reform. But the idea of subsidising farmers came from Whitehall and Smith Square (the old home of Conservative Central Office), not Brussels.

    Britain massively subsidised farmers before the UK joined the EEC for four reasons. Firstly, the experience of rationing during and after WW2 meant that governments wanted to limit Britain’s dependence upon overseas food supplies. Secondly, the National Farmers’ Union was by far the most effective lobbying organization in the country, with powerful members in the House of Lords and Smith Square. Its relationship with the Ministry of Agriculture, Fisheries and Food is the textbook case of a government department enslaved to the people it was supposed to regulate.* Thirdly, the ‘Bretton Woods’ system of fixed exchange rates linked to gold forced the government to ration imports: every pound spent subsiding farmers was a pound saved for other overseas spending like oil purchases and defence. Fourthly, new technology (e.g. tractors and fertilisers) meant that for the first time it was possible to increase agricultural output by investing in equipment rather than hiring workers.

    When we joined the EEC, the rate of spending didn’t change, but the spending was funneled through Brussels rather than Whitehall. This was probably a good thing, if only because it meant the NFU lost direct control of the budget. Of course, as a Christian, I like to see CAP radically reformed, because subsidising the rich is abhorrent. ‘Set aside’, which Cranmer condemns, is a step in the right direction. I would rather see British farmers working as land managers and reviving traditional practices at a premium, leaving Africans, southern Europeans, and Ukrainians to win a mass market through lower prices.

    However, leaving the EU is not a panacea and will not solve this problem. Even if the UK had full control of agricultural policy, the landowners and agricultural corporations would wage a ferocious campaign against the abolition of their industry. The only way to overcome that is to get voters to see the importance of loving your neighbour and that the poverty of people elsewhere in the world is often caused in part by our policies. Blaming all our evils on anonymous ‘foreigners’ in ‘Brussels’ actually inhibits that. And if we left the EU and stopped subsidising food, our markets might well be flooded by food from the US, which not only subsides its own food prices but often pays its farmer to grow food that it dumps abroad at cheap prices. Only the EU is big enough to stand up to the US and insist that moral food policies are a condition of free trade. British firms are far too dependent on US subsidiaries and sales for any UK government to credibly adopt that kind of position.

    * Grant, W. “The NFU: the classic case of incorporation.” Pressure Politics, London: Junction Books (1983): 55-74. Haven’t read it personally but have read a summary.

    • carl jacobs

      A good comment.

      However, a Gov’t is first responsible for the welfare of its own people. The Gov’t of the UK has no responsibility for the prosperity of Ukrainian farmers. A Gov’t that would sacrifice the interest of its own people for the sake of a foreign population is a Gov’t that has failed its first responsibility.

      • SeekTruthFromFacts

        Firstly, we live in an interconnected world, so simply leaving other people mired in hopeless poverty will come to haunt us. After all, we tried leaving Afghanistan and Somalia to their own devices for a decade – that’s worked out well for Britain, hasn’t it?

        Secondly, giving British people the chance to love the weak and poor of this works is not sacrificing their interests – it’s giving them an opportunity to be more truly human. Of course, I don’t expect a spiritually apathetic nation to go very far down that road, nor do I think the material resources of one nation alone will bring lasting change. But greed is not good and I hav explained why agricultural subsidies are both *economically* and morally suboptimal.

        • carl jacobs

          STFF

          Firstly, we live in an interconnected world

          It does not therefore follow that everything in the world is connected. Neither does it follow that every connection demands a response. The truth is that 1) there are all sorts of problems in the world that present no compelling national interest and 2) there is no capability to respond to all the compelling problems on the world. There was a terrible slaughter in Rwanda in 1994. Did it actually affect the National interest of any nation outside the region? Consider the horrible state of the Horn of Africa. Would money fix Somalia? Or Sudan?

          If you want to parse those problems by National interest, you are going to quickly discover that almost none qualify for potential selection. But if not by National interest then your statement…

          that’s worked out well for Britain, hasn’t it?

          … falls by the wayside. But if not for national interest, then for what? Altruism? Which cases do you choose? You once again suddenly face the dilemma of capacity vs need. You will also confront the truth that many of these problems could only be solved by some kind of “virtuous colonization.” They aren’t money problems. They are corruption problems. Is there virtue in only choosing the easy cases? Your first reason therefore falls. There are many problems in the world that can be safely ignored. Most of those problems are too intractable to solve.

          giving British people the chance to love the weak and poor of this works is not sacrificing their interest

          But the British people arent actually doing anything. Money is taken from their earnings and allocated according to some alchemy of national interest, self-interest, cronyism, corruption, and good intentions. The one group that figures not at all in this equation is the British people. How then do they derive any benefit from it? There is not even any perceived sacrifice. Their tax money is simply spent on X instead of Y. Unless they have some vested interest in Y, they won’t see any impact. And how would they know that Y had been sacrificed for X in the first place? Your second reason therefore falls. There is no virtue in the collective.

          If you really want to do something significant, then you would have to seriously impact standard of living. Are you willing to do that? Are you willing to (say) significantly reduce the quality and availability of health care in the UK in order to marginally raise it elsewhere? Why should you have good health care when others don’t? Shouldn’t you seek to level it? If you say ‘yes’ then you are consistent. If you say ‘no’ then you have conceded my position. It won’t help to say “Health care is special.” You have set the principle. You have privileged your own people over others. And that’s where I came in.

          Employment in the UK is more important to the Gov’t in the UK than some abstract notion of equality and the greatest good. The Gov’t of the UK exists to protect the interests of the people of the UK. It is not a missionary organization.

          In the end, you will spend a little money (relative to the budget) on relatively easy projects that fulfill some national or personal interest. You won’t be allowed to significantly affect the standard of living in your country. There isn’t much virtue in that. It sounds like a combination of tokenism and self service. And that is really what foreign aid amounts to. It’s a tool of national policy. It’s not charity.

          • *gasp*

            So when America demanded Britain permit self-determination in its colonies and the break up of its Empire after the war, this was self-interest? The justification was just flannel? And the Marshall Plan was just self-interest too? Jack is disappointed as he thought America was supposed to be God’s chosen nation for bringing freedom, peace and prosperity to the world. Instead, it is just a sneaky, imperialist, capitalist machine enslaving the world with MacDonald, Walmart and Coke Cola..

    • bluedog

      Some serious misconceptions.
      In the first instance the CAP with its subsidised agriculture developed completely separately to any subsidised agricultural regime in Britain. The CAP was simply the means by which France sought to become the agricultural super-power of Europe. Two things decimated British farming in the years prior to WW2, starting around 1870. The emergence of massive grain production in the New World together with the development of refrigerated storage and transport led to a flood of cheap meat and wheat to the UK. These imports reduced the return on capital invested in British agricultural land. The second was the own-goal of Estate Duties that decimated the old land-holdings and disrupted production. The proof of these contentions is that the price of rural land in Britain scarcely changed between 1870 and 1955. That this should have been the case points to the falling return on investment in rural land. If the NFU was running a monopolistic cabal to boost farm profits, it failed.

      You say, ‘…new technology (e.g. tractors and fertilisers) meant that for the first time it was possible to increase agricultural output by investing in equipment rather than hiring workers’. Not sure of the implications in this gem but it suggests that agriculture was to blame for shedding labour post-war. The truth is very different and relates to the displacement of working horses by tractors. Prior to the introduction of tractors a typical farm devoted up to 20% of its pasture land to grazing for the working horses. To breed and train working horses, which have a relatively short working life, requires a considerable commitment in non-working horses such as brood-mares and a stallion or two. This capital commitment and overhead cost was removed by the introduction of tractors, which also required less manpower, leading to a huge increase in productivity. Of course, the British don’t eat horses but their foxhounds do, or did.

      You say, ‘Even if the UK had full control of agricultural policy, the landowners and agricultural corporations would wage a ferocious campaign against the abolition of their industry.’

      This is utter rubbish. No government is going to abolish an industry that feeds the population. From time to time one reads staggeringly naïve comment on the blogosphere about importing 100% of food requirements, but for reasons of self-sufficiency, a high degree of domestic production is prudent. As the global population surges to 9 billion, one can see food becoming a critical factor in both international relations and the ability of governments to keep the peace domestically. The current tussle over the future of the Ukraine illustrates the first point and the food riots in Egypt in 2008 after the wheat price doubled, leading to collapse of the regime, illustrates the second point. Prior to the EU instigated Maidan revolt in the Ukraine, China had contracted to lease 5% of the agricultural land in the Ukraine. One suspects this lease is now just another ‘scrap of paper’. Was the EU motivated by this Chinese encroachment? Who knows.

  • IanCad

    I posted a comment. It was there! I saw it! Came back later and there it still was. Re-read it, saw a stray comma, fixed it and now it’s vanished!

  • Linus

    Like most middle class Englishmen, Welby likes to take his vacations in France and eat real food for a few weeks a year rather than the battery-raised, hormone injected pap sold in English shops.

    If there was no more CAP, there would be no more family-run, small scale production of excellent produce in France. So think of it as a vacation tax. It’s like a service charge to keep the French countryside running for the 48 weeks in the year when English tourists are not crawling all over it, eating twelve course lunches washed down with a case of red (any red) per person and then vomiting their way from bar to bar in search of more alcohol.

    Cheap at twice the price, I’d say.

    • Inspector General

      It is right what they say. France lost it’s status as a world power in 1940
      and never got it back. That’s because it also lost its respect for itself too.

      So the French agriculture is a basket case dependant of foreign welfare is
      it. You may well have to get off your Gallic behind when the British pull out of
      the EU then, won’t you…

      • Linus

        When the British pull out of the EU, all will carry on as before with the exception that average BMI in Europe will halve overnight.

        In terms of CAP spending, Britain takes out largely what it puts in, so it’s a zero sum game. If you pull out of the set-aside scheme then you’re going to have to compensate your own farmers yourselves, or let them go to the wall, which sounds like a much more British solution, doesn’t it? And then who’ll be producing the food you eat? French farmers, maybe? Imagine the prices we’ll be able to charge.

        Now where’s that exit door and how can we speed you through it quickly?

        • CliveM

          Ah the sad bitterness of a Frenchman. Pomme Frites on each shoulder nicely balanced.

          It must be all those Nobel Prize winners that give you such an air of superiority? Mais what is this, UK 123 Nobel prize winners, France 61. Still all yours will be in the sciences, but non, again UK 97, France a paltry 36. And to imagine with all those world class universities you would expect a better performance. But wait, zut allors what is this I see, in the top 10 World performing universities, 4 from the UK, none from France? Why is that? Must be something in the DNA, the structure of which was discovered by an Anglo American team. No French.

          Isn’t this internet thingy good? Oh a British invention. The French don’t seem to invent things do they?

          But what is this? Good news at last. France finally leads the way! Most Homophobic nation in Western Europe! I can almost see your chest swelling with pride.

          Strange really when you think about it? All those ‘collaborators horizontal’ of the Second World War, you would expect France to have a more laissez faire attitude?

          Ah is this good news at last? A world survey of most popular nations? Surely France, land of the endless casullet must be ahead of poor old Blighty? But again, Le disapointment, led ros beefs ahead!

          It’s a funny old world!

          • Clive, the French invented speed bumps, surely? They called them the ‘Maginot Line’.

          • CliveM

            Americans I’m afraid. Arthur Holly Compton (got to have British ancestry with that name).

          • Linus

            Interesting that you need all that affirmation from others. Reassures you while you’re waiting to die from coronary heart disease or bowel cancer, eh?

            Yes, the UK is ahead of us in so many ways. Obesity rates, single teenage mothers, pedophile scandals …

            We’re so jealous we just don’t know what to do.

        • Phil R

          “that average BMI in Europe will halve overnight.”

          That IS a comment I can agree with.

          I never really understood it as the rest of Europe eats mostly the same sort of crap we do as far as I can tell.

          • Linus

            Try looking for hobnobs in a French supermarket. You might find them in areas with a high concentration of English immigrants, like central Paris or the Dordogne or some parts of Normandy. But they’ll be on a floor level shelf with a British flag (the equivalent of a skull and crossbones when it comes to labelling food) and a public health warning stating (I translate freely) :

            DANGER! This product contains potentially fatal levels of concentrated sugar syrup dissolved in saturated fat. Nutritionists do not consider it fit for human consumption. May be administered to constipated English guests as the only guaranteed way of stimulating intestinal transit. Do not exceed stated dose, viz: for French nationals, 1 crumb per month accompanied by citrate de bétaïne à volonté ; for British nationals, entire packet, to be taken less than 1 hour before main meal with choice of flat warm beer or tannic milky infusion. Ensure all routes to WC are left open and unimpeded. First aid number for overdoses and septic tank emergencies : +33 (555) OMG-BEURK!

          • Phil R

            In my part of the world a diet consists of an extra large pizza and a diet coke

    • carl jacobs

      Do you get the idea that someone is displeased with the fate bequeathed by history to France since Napolean stood athwart Europe? Beneath all that corrosive rhetoric and invective, one detects the presence of wounded pride. Just consider how well that post was written. It must gall a Frenchman to learn English that well, knowing that by doing so he is contributing to the marginalization of his own language. So I would encourage the reader to look past the insults delivered by the man. I would ask him to see the pain that motivates those insults, and empathise.

      • Inspector General

        Yes Carl. Looking at it that way, what Linus has put is truly pathetic…

        • Linus to Inspector: “”OK I’m sorry, you win, I concede, I give up, I surrender, no more, have mercy, leave me alone.”

          Please pardon his French.

      • Jack hears that with the tense stand off between Russia and Ukraine, France’s president has announced an unconditional surrender – just in case.

        That’s why the French flag has velcro. So the blue and red sections are easily removed during a time of war.

        • carl jacobs

          You’re not empathizing, Jack.

          • Jack will try ………

          • A French and British general were surveying a battlefield.

            A bullet strikes the British general, grazing his arm. He shouts “Aide! Bring me my red jacket!” The French general asks “Why did you do that?” The British general responds “So my men don’t see that I’m bleeding, and lose hope.”

            A second bullet narrowly misses the French general’s ear, and he shouts: “Aide! Bring me my brown trousers!”

          • CliveM

            Lol, cruel, very cruel.

          • Jack gave up – that’s perfect empathy with the French.

        • dannybhoy

          Cruel.
          The French have been a great military power Jack, and they have very long borders to defend..,

          • CliveM

            ‘Have been’. Has beens more like.

          • dannybhoy

            Like any country France has its ‘nasties’ but the wife and I have holidayed there quite a few times and seen every area except the south west Provence Alpes and Cote d’Azur.
            Practically everywhere we met polite, kindly people -one might almost say civilised people.
            Yes, there is the notorious ‘Gallic shrug’ (wish I could do it!) but overall a relaxed, polite people with a most beautiful country, great roads, parks, well behaved children with their parents and grandparents enjoying a meal together in a restaurant…..

          • CliveM

            Pity Disqus have stopped the down voted option!!! ;0)

          • dannybhoy

            There!
            A down vote for you..
            You’re a Francophobe, a Little Englander of Scottish descent….

    • Vat’en, Satan ta femme t’attend.!!!

      Happy Jack recalls a holiday in France with his aging father. At the French passport desk, dad took a few minutes to locate his passport in his luggage.

      “You have been to France before, Monsieur?” the impatient, garlic, gallois smelling immigration officer asked, sarcastically.

      Dad acknowledged he had been to France previously. “C’est la fin des haricots ! “ The French official gasped, “Then you should know well enough to have your passport ready.”

      Dad replied, “The last time I was here, I didn’t have to show it.”
      ” Didon dîna, dit-on, du dos d’un dodu dindon. The British always have to show their passports on arrival in France !” came the answer.

      Dad gave the chap a long, hard look, then quietly explained: “Well, the last time I was here, I came ashore on D-Day in June 1944, at Normandy, and I couldn’t find any f*cking Frenchmen to show it to.”

      • David

        Precious !

      • Linus

        If your neighbor helps you out, you accept his help, thank him and then get on with your life. If you can return the favor when he’s in trouble, so much the better.

        But when your neighbor takes every opportunity to remind you of his selflessness and heroism and tries to make out that he did it all for you when his principle aim was to protect his own interests, how do you react to him then?

        The French have always been grateful for British and American support during World War II. But gratitude does not imply giving in to every imperious demand and taking every self-congratulatory insult on the chin.

        Perhaps the British should ask themselves why they’re the least popular nationality in Europe. They’re so conceited, they probably think it’s all about jealousy. I wonder – do they have mirrors across La Manche and what do they see when they look in them?

        • On t’a bercé trop près du mur?

          • William Lewis

            Il n’aime pas le rosbeef.

          • … il sent comme le boeuf et le fromage.

          • Linus

            Il faut aux insultes laisser les autres avoir raison, pour que cela les console de n’avoir pas autre chose.

          • Happy Jack does not parley in French. Mind, he did pass his exam with distinction by writing: “I give up.”

            What greater authority than the Bard?

            “France is a dog-hole, and it no more merits
            The tread of a man’s foot”

          • CliveM

            I failed my French exam miserably. Still never been an issue. Who needs it?

          • During our lessons we had to draw little matchstick people with balloons coming out of their mouths with strange soundings words. Jack knew then the French were a very weird people.

        • carl jacobs

          Linus

          “Helps you out?”

          France courageously sat on its assets in the face of German re-armament when it could have pre-empted Hitler before he was an actual threat. It hid behind the Maginot Line when the entire German army was in Poland. It marched its army into a trap because it wanted to fight the war in Belgium instead of northern France. It folded like a cheap suit inside of three weeks. It made a separate peace when it swore it would never do so. Its principle contribution to winning the war was forcing Churchill to sink the French fleet at Mers El Kabir. It offered the Germans the easy occupation of a collaborationist nation. Were it not for Winston Churchill’s courage, French incompetence and inaction and lack of intestinal fortitude would have lead to the end of Western civilization in Europe. And yet at the end of the war, France was still treated like a victorious power. While it atoned for its manifest guilt by shaving the heads of women. And the best description of this historical record you can generate is that the British and Americans “helped you out?”

          You might be received better if you stopped insulting those who by blood and sacrifice gave back to you a country that you did not deserve to receive. Those ignorant beasts from Texas fought harder for France than your entire damn nation.

          • CliveM

            Well said. The French still believe they liberated themselves. If you ever visit the museums at the Normandy beaches, you will fully understand their conceit!

          • CliveM

            Carl you won’t often hear me say this!!! The Americans were right (yes there, I said it) de Gaulle should have been dropped from a great height! Churchill for all his strengths was too much of a Francophile.

          • carl jacobs

            Clive

            At least de Gaulle fought and refused to surrender. Give him that. But France as a nation should have been chucked into the ocean with the rest of the collaborationist flotsam and jetsam.

          • CliveM

            Carl

            I have just finished reading a book on the last Anglo-French war, 1940 to 1942, they killed more allies then they did Germans in the Battle of France.

            De Gaulle may have shown willing, but he was more then able to stiff the allies if he felt the ‘glory’ of France was being undermined. You wonder what Glory he was on about!

          • Empathy, Carl?

          • carl jacobs

            Technically, I encouraged you to empathize with the author and not the nation.

          • A French author. A French author who writes this:

            “The French have always been grateful for British and American support during World War II.”

            A French author who accuses Christians of constructing a fantasy world.

          • CliveM

            It’s the word support isn’t it! It sort of suggests they were in the vanguard of action against the Germans!

            LOL.

          • Phil R

            Carl

            Write a book and speak your mind

            Please!

          • William Lewis

            I think that Churchill wanted to rebuild France because he knew that Germany would rise again.

          • CliveM

            He was also a big time Francophile. He was willing to risk the RAF (at French bidding) in a desperate bid to halt the Germans in the Battle of France. Fortunately Dowding ignored him.

          • William Lewis

            True enough.

        • William Lewis

          The British don’t really care if they are popular in Europe or not. We have been fighting against rising European powers for centuries, the current manifestation of which is the Franco-German EU project. And, by the way, it’s only really France and Germany. France because we helped save them from defeat (twice). Germany because we helped save them from victory (twice). There’s just no pleasing some people. Also I now have a new definition of irony: it’s a Frenchman telling the British that they primarily acted in their own self interest during WWII.

    • William Lewis

      The French countryside seems to be crawling with well todo retired and semi-retired English 52 weeks of the year, replacing the more entrepreneurial French who have fled to London to escape the countries latest socialist experiment. The CAP is a criminal subsidy that penalises the world’s poorest and, like the latest EU demand for more money from the UK, just another attempt to prop up a failed political/economic system. France is a basket case with little social mobility, chronic structural hindrances to economic activity and a dangerous culture of entitlement. The sooner it is weaned off the teat of European subsidy, the better for all concerned.

      • CliveM

        Tried to get lunch in France once, all the effing restaurants were shut………… For Lunch!!!!!!!

        It you want decent food, well served, in a restaurant with a good atmosphere, Italy or Spain. If you want over rated tat, with too much sauce, served by a surly waiter who is a stranger to soap, go to France.

        • William Lewis

          Totally agree Clive. The food and wine in Italy is usually fabulous and the atmosphere far more relaxed and convivial.

          • CliveM

            I love eating out, won’t ever do it in France again. Miserable experience.

          • dannybhoy

            I’d have to agree with you there Clive. On holidays in France we ate poulet and frites and salat. steak and frites and slat, plzza and omelettes with frites or salat
            Ice cream was fine, but French cuisine I didn’t care for.

          • CliveM

            Things have improved, they now have MacDonalds.

          • dannybhoy

            🙂

    • dannybhoy

      Oi!
      Linus Ranter!
      What are you doing back here again?

    • magnolia

      French restaurants are ok, but not that good. Too few vegetables and not very healthy food by and large. No better than the average British pub of a decent sort. What lets them down is the faciliities. An abomination of dire proportions to have the gents and ladies combined. Men are not as well house-trained, and it would be preferable to share them with well brought up dogs!! I shall not describe the worst excesses of this ghastliness but my daughters thought it gross, and undercivilised, and I concurred!

      • CliveM

        Went into a public toilet in France!!!!!!

        You won’t believe what the female of the species left lying all over the place!!!!!!

        British men are better toilet trained then French women.

      • Busy Mum

        Gents and ladies are now being combined in new school buildings in the UK…..can’t have boys and girls being labelled as such nowadays, can we?!

        • magnolia

          Well we can foresee the problems that will lead to. I assume that they can’t. Sad to have the limited imagination which can rethink the old, without the greater (and almost ubiquitous) imagination to see what can and will go wrong.

          The first batch of sexual molestation problems and they will come out, all surprised, saying that they could never have predicted it. As if completely unaware of such potential twistedness in the human race…

          • Busy Mum

            exactly – and it’s all being done in order to cater for the transgender pupils – and I wonder how many there are? Did you ever come across crowds of children who didn’t know whether they were boys or girls? No, me neither.
            An awful lot of children who are sure of what they are will simply not ‘go’ all day. Scientists will then be ‘researching’ the phenomenon of higher rates of urinary tract infections among the conservatively-gendered juvenile population – or maybe they won’t, as this will be one minority that won’t get special favours….

  • Shadrach Fire

    Your Grace,

    I guess that our dear Gillan would be well pleased to see what Justin is doing. And so he might be excepting that Justin is not a Deacon, he is the Arch Bishop and his responsibilities lay well beyond the serving of the Saints with material blessing.

    A commentator, maybe yesterday, said give a man a fish and he will have his hunger satisfied for that day. Teach him to fish and his hunger will always be satisfied.

    Many others as well as myself have said that preaching the Gospel and seeing people saved changes lives and they are no longer dependent on society.

    Our materialistic needs have changed dramatically. We used to wait till we could afford something before we bought it. Credit cards had not been invented. Now, so much is expected and when they find their is not enough for food they cry poor.

    There are of course many who are in dire need, particularly the elderly who are too proud to ask for help and it is to those that the help should be directed. Our Lord said the ‘poor will always be with you’ meaning that we need to give him due deference.

    Whilst I would rather Bishops attend to spiritual matters, the Arch Bishop should be in a position to rattle the Governments cage regarding issues that affect us all such as the EU Cap and many other issues.

    • Martin

      SF

      The Bible knows nothing of a role as ‘archbishop’ and each local church should have a multiplicity of ‘bishops’ or elders. I Justin Welby were really interested in the hunger of men he would be preaching the gospel of Christ, not man’s gospel which is no gospel.

      • SeekTruthFromFacts

        The Bible does show both Timothy and Titus as taking charge of a group of churches though. And Anglican churches do have plural leadership at the local level: bishop, presbyter(s), and PCC members.

        As I’ve said above, the Archbishop does preach the gospel of Christ, but you’ll have to hear him live rather than edited.

        • Martin

          STFF

          Timothy and Titus both served under the authority of the apostle Paul. Once the apostles had died their authority passed to Scripture.

          It is questionable whether a local church that cannot produce its officers from within it’s own members is really a church.

          • Is that written in scripture?

          • Martin

            HJ

            Which bit, the transfer of authority at the end of the apostolic age is covered in 1 Corinthians 13.

            As for appointing elders in the churches, is not the practice seen in Acts, Timothy & Titus as well as elsewhere, to appoint elders from within the churches, not import them from elsewhere?

          • Phil R

            The whole point of scripture Martin is that it is apostolic.

            that what the New Testament is

          • Martin

            Phil

            Have I denied that?

        • Martin

          STFF

          My reply seems to have vanished, so I’ll try again.

          Timothy & Titus were acting under the authority of the apostle Paul. When the apostles died so did their authority, to be replaced by the authority of the Bible.

          It has been said that a local church that cannot produce its officers from within its own membership is probably not a church. Each individual church should have elders and deacons within it who are not in authority in other churches.

          It is strange that Justin Welby’s own output does not include the gospel.

  • Dominic Stockford

    The real tragedy/crime is the desperate spiritual hunger stalking this country like a roaring lion, looking for someone to eat. And the disaster is the failure of the national church, under the leadership of Mr Welby, to even make a show of addressing it. May God forgive them, for they seem to know not what they’re not doing.

    • SeekTruthFromFacts

      The Archbishop does try. I’ve heard/read interviews where he talks passionately about Jesus, but the media don’t regard a Christian talking about Jesus as newsworthy.

      • dannybhoy

        But then when I’ve emailed head office, there has been no satisfactory explanation as to why he doesn’t speak up even to the Church and Bishops on the big issues. If he’s afraid or can’t say what he wants to say then perhaps he needs to stop spiritual fence sitting.
        The whole establishment edifice is tottering and in part that is because the church has failed to speak up with the word of the Lord.

      • Dominic Stockford

        He should stick to talking about the Gospel – nothing is of any value compared with the truth of the Gospel, I could tell you of finding pearls beyond price, and the like, but I expect you’ve heard that. No Christians should play the world’s game when they find that the world doesn’t listen to the truth.

  • DanJ0

    Article: “The oppressed, miserable, dependent and humiliated are first in line for entry to the Kingdom of God.”

    Is that true? I suppose in the end it’s up to god who gets in and why but I thought in Christianity guaranteed entry simply required a belief in salvation through Jesus, and it made no difference whether you are wearing Armani or Primarni, whether you are happy or sad, or whether you are virtuous or vicious. Have I misunderstood?

    • dannybhoy

      No, old pal you’re quite right!
      Again it’s a question of context. TI think the Lord Jesus was talking about children and the poor in their cultural setting.
      Always ready to be corrected though!

      • DanJ0

        I thought for a moment that I had been helping one or two of the more suspect ‘Christians’ here into heaven by humiliating them, but alas no. 🙁

        • dannybhoy

          May one ask how a self confessed unregenerate reprobate such as yourself decide which ones are “suspect”?
          Danny hopes all bloggers here will meet with their Saviour whiist they can.
          Life is so much better!

          • DanJ0

            Reprobate? :O I’m lovely!

            In answer to your question: by their behaviour. If people truly believe the source of their life is through the Holy Spirit then I expect that to manifest itself in thought and deed.

          • dannybhoy

            That’s about right.
            There used to be a badge Christians could buy which read
            PBPWMGHFWMY
            I loved it!

          • DanJ0

            Is that Welsh?

          • dannybhoy

            Nope.
            Where do you come from, Lugs?
            That’s a pretty horrible photo oif you don’t mind me saying so. You should ask for your money back.

          • Mrs Proudie of Barchester

            I think dear DanJ0 chose his photograph from the viewpoint of a convinced Darwinian…

          • dannybhoy

            I must admit to a pang of guilt when I looked closer, and I hoped his doting mother hadn’t read my insensitive salutation.
            Then I saw this in this morning’s news and felt even worse…

            http://metro.co.uk/2014/12/07/man-travels-to-australia-to-meet-toddler-with-the-same-rare-genetic-condition-4977503/

          • CliveM

            We are none of us oil paintings, with the exception of Mrs Proudie of course.

          • dannybhoy

            “We are none of us oil paintings…”

            Speak for yourself mate….

          • CliveM

            Ok I concede, your a Picasso!

          • dannybhoy

            Wanna signed photo?

          • CliveM

            I hope he gives you an answer, as I have no idea what he is on about!

            It’ll be an English, non-conformance thing.

    • William Lewis

      It appears that people will be honoured differently in Heaven, and not as one might have expected from their position or apparent acts on Earth. There will also be justice.

      • dannybhoy

        This is very interesting. Our vicar was here for lunch today and I was telling him about last week’s conversation about divorce. We said that we would have accepted whatever had been decided, but we cannot get away from the understanding that God always wants us to turn and repent. This is His nature, He does not cry over spilt milk but takes us on from where He found us.
        What our Lord will say to us on that Day I do not know, but I’d rather be judged by Him than any other.

        • William Lewis

          Indeed Danny. One can only repent of the past and try to commit the future to Him. Only He is worthy of that commitment.

          • dannybhoy

            Amen William. That’s exactly what I do.

    • Martin

      DanJ0

      Does this answer you:

      For consider your calling, brothers: not many of you were wise according to worldly standards, not many were powerful, not many were of noble birth. But God chose what is foolish in the world to shame the wise; God chose what is weak in the world to shame the strong; God chose what is low and despised in the world, even things that are not, to bring to nothing things that are, so that no human being might boast in the presence of God. He is the source of your life in Christ Jesus, whom God made our wisdom and our righteousness and sanctification and redemption. Therefore, as it is written, Let the one who boasts, boast in the Lord.

      (I Corinthians 2:26-31 [ESV])

    • Phil R

      Almost right. But what did Jesus say.

      Love the Lord your God and Love your neighbour as yourself.

      The first is to actually desire salvation. (A lifetime with God — I am guessing that this does not appeal to you?)

      The second means yes help the poor, yes help the afflicted and yes not agree to live and let live those “neighbours” around you that refuse to follow God’s plan for human flourishing.

      Live and let live you see is not loving your neighbour at all.

  • David

    An excellent article, that unlike the national Church cuts to the quick. Jesus was keen, ruthless even, at exposing the truth, unlike the leaders of C of E, who do the “nice” bits but refuse to expose the truth, which is course is, like many things that are highly objectionable, a product of reversible political decisions. Could Archbishop Welby’s reluctance to acknowledge a major, deliberate roadblock, frustrating importing cheaper food, be that here we have one of the EU’s pet policies, all well supported by a culpable UK establishment ? Is that a statement from Ukip I hear rustling in the wings ? Certainly the true opposition to the groupthink LibLabCon consortium, which is now Ukip, would be well advised to consider issuing a suitable statement over this Christmas period, a season when it presses more deeply on all well meaning people, that people, children indeed, are going hungry, here in this nation.

  • John Waller

    ‘Just as you did it to one of the least of these… you did it to me.’

    The ellipsis substitutes for just two missing words in the original, being , “my brethren.”

    Any particular reason for their omission? Could it be that they would serve to put Jesus’ words into context & that context would make his application somewhat problematical?

    • “On one occasion an expert in the law stood up to test Jesus …. he wanted to justify himself, so he asked Jesus, “And who is my neighbour?”

      Jack would say, it saves space without detracting from the texts meaning.

      • Martin

        HJ

        Brethren doesn’t mean the same as neighbour.

        • Jack never said it did.
          You probably understand Matthew 25 as meaning we should only help other ‘authentic’ Christians.

          • Martin

            HJ

            No, but that passage only refers to helping those who are believers.

          • Hmmm ……. and how would one know who this applies to? And what of those who have never had a proper opportunity to know Christ? And what about a Christian’s neighbour? Who is is this?

          • Martin

            HJ

            Christians can usually identify their fellow believers. And all have received the offer of mercy, yet none accept it. As I said, the passage doesn’t refer to the neighbour.

          • No … but what Jesus meant in this parable can perhaps be better appreciated by His commandment to love our neighbour, wouldn’t you say?

            And how would you judge “fellow believers” and identify those predestined to be converted? The very act of charity itself may open someone to the workings of the Holy Spirit.

          • Martin

            HJ

            No, I don’t think it is reasonable to expand it. You will notice the what He says to the others is “one of these”, clearly meaning those righteous ones.

            True believers tend to know who are the Lord’s, just as those in the same family do. Yes, believers will do acts of kindness to all but that is not what is focussed on here. It is not the act that brings merit but the act is evidence of the salvation obtained.

          • CliveM

            Why is it when I read Martins comment the parable of the Good Samaratin comes to mind?

  • Shuvah05

    Matthew 6,2-4 comes to mind here, I have no doubt Justin is a good and pious man,but why not be a “example to the flock” and dip in to that £5 billion portfolio, downsize those palatial vicarages and give alms to the needy and lay up treasure in the Heavens that faileth not. Faith overcoming money

    • Inspector General

      Silly idea. Jesus appreciated money, and Judas Iscariot was the group’s treasurer. Maybe that was a mistake, depending on your point of view.

      As Jesus didn’t want 13 hungry belies at night, we can extrapolate from that that he doesn’t want his continued presence on this earth in the form of clergy, active or retired, going hungry too.

      As a Scotsman would say “Do you have a problem with that”

      • len

        “Do you have a problem with that “Yes…Judas Iscariot ‘appreciated’ money so much that he stole from the disciples communal purse and sold Jesus Christ for 30 pieces of silver.

        Not much of a recommendation ?

        • Inspector General

          It was never proved that Judas intentionally sold Jesus to his death. One suggests he thought your man was going into police custody anyway and well, there’s 30 pieces of silver for the taking….

          Kind of weasel thing you might consider maybe, one would like to think…

          • dannybhoy

            Yes, no one really knows, and in any case the other disciples didn’t exactly cover themselves in glory either..
            That Peter chap f’rinstance…
            We’d all have run away I think.

          • ” … so that only one has been lost, he whom perdition claims for its own, in fulfilment of the scripture.”

          • dannybhoy

            Yes, and his motive was?

          • The Gospel texts are not clear about precise motivation of Judas. However, they do point to one aspect of it. John says: “the devil had already put it into the heart of Judas Iscariot, Simon’s son, to betray him” and Luke writes: “Satan entered into Judas called Iscariot, who was of the number of the twelve”.

            We know Judas yielded to temptation from Satan. Apart from this, his betrayal is a mystery.

          • dannybhoy

            But obviously he himself felt very guilty about it as he returned the money saying “I have betrayed innocent blood!” and went out and hung himself…

          • After his fall, Peter repented and found forgiveness and grace. Judas repented but his repentance degenerated into despair and became self-destructive. Who knows what went through Judas’ mind in those moments before his death?

          • dannybhoy

            I can’t imagine what that would feel like.

          • Then count yourself fortunate. Jack has met people filled with despair to the point of suicide.

          • dannybhoy

            What, you mean they believed they had committed the unpardonable sin?

          • No ……….. Jack meant suicidal, desperate folk. Besides, if someone thinks they have committed sin, then they probably haven’t.
            You think Judas’ sin was unpardonable?

          • dannybhoy

            Nope I don’t. I have been around a couple of suicidal people though..

          • Mrs Proudie of Barchester

            Judas had his part to play…was he acting through free will or was his pivotal role in the story pre-ordained? Was he as much of a victim? Should he have been offered counselling? Where were the social workers when he hanged himself?

          • The question Jack has always wondered about is how the other Apostles might have treated him if he’d turned to them in his despair?

          • Linus

            I thought Judas died in a field when he fell down and his bowels split open.

            Oh no, wait a second! That must have been after he hanged himself. Or was it before? And did he purchase the field with his blood money before he died, or did the priests purchase it afterwards?

            So many questions, all answered differently depending on which bit of scripture you decide to believe.

            I know! Let’s just call it a “mystery” and leave it at that, shall we? Carpet lifted, dust swept nicely underneath it, carpet replaced and stamped on a little bit, problem solved!

          • Inspector General

            Well, we know he didn’t die from AIDS. Will you be able to say the same about your future demise…

          • Linus

            That’s the way to convince an Atheist that you’re more than just a vicious homophobe motivated by hatred and anger! Keep it up! Why not wheel out accusations of pedophilia while you’re at it? In for a penny, in for a pound…

          • len

            Judas hanged himself on a branch over a cliff, the branch tore out of the ground under his weight and he fell to the bottom of the gorge (a rubbish dump actually )where his intestines spilled out as a result of his body impacting the ground.
            ‘The field’ was purchased by the Temple priests with the money thrown into the Temple by Judas in remorse for selling Christ…..

      • dannybhoy

        Jesus was neither a socialist nor a capitalist. He respected people with land or wealth, and He encouraged people to use what talents they had.

    • SeekTruthFromFacts

      The bulk of the church’s financial assets are there for pension provision. It would be both immoral and illegal for him to give away other people’s pensions.

      • dannybhoy

        It’s not just that, the Cof E does have a lot of land , but for example where I live we have plenty of old churches and believe it or believe it not we have to repair and maintain them in strict accordance with DAB and insurance guidelines..

  • len

    Jesus tested the commitment of the rich young man who wanted to follow Jesus when He said “give all you have to the poor and follow Me”
    The rich young man failed the test which proved he loved wealth more than following Christ.The cost of following Christ was too much…

    Of course it is better to give up what you cannot keep to gain what you cannot buy…

    • Inspector General

      The Inspector has been urging you for years to sell your PC and give the proceeds to the poor….

      Well, what have you got to say about that !

      • dannybhoy

        Right on!

        • Inspector General

          No car. Really. Good public transport around here, and then there is walking. Never felt fitter…

          • len

            No worldly goods at all of any value to donate to the poor Inspector and all that education you have had lavished on you?

            blimey I almost feel sorry…almost…..

          • Inspector General

            Apart from a mere laptop, one has but just a pot to piss in…

          • Ditch the pot and use the bushes. Who knows, you might cool the ardour of the local wild-life in doing so.

        • dannybhoy

          Sirry I meant that for Len seeing as he’s been called to give up his worldly goods.
          Having read about the struggles you have your steam driven computator I am hardly surprised you haven’t got an automobile, Inspector Sir.
          When I was young I walked everwhere (my parents kept moving)
          Nowadays I do hardly any walking. Partly because of the COPD and partly because walking seems so boring!

      • Shadrach Fire

        Len’s OK. Jesus was well taken care of whilst he worked in the carpenters shop, and on his ministry he was accommodated for well. At his finish, he had such a valuable garment on they did not want to divide it.

        • Inspector General

          No. Len is not OK. He’s a damn troublemaker who relishes in being rather more Christian than the rest of us, in his self centred and we find hypocritical way.

          • Come now, Inspector. Nobody’s perfect. We are all work’s in progress. Len is on the right path and in this increasingly Godless world, Christians need to stick together.

          • len

            Truth is Inspector I am less Christian than the least of you, but He who dwells within me is greater than all of you.

          • Too late, Len. Nominations closed at midnight on Sunday. Next year …..

          • len

            Damn!

          • Once the New Year begins you must not use such expressions …..

      • len

        If Jesus commands me to sell my PC I will until then…..

        • dannybhoy

          I don’t think He will though Len. It’s the willingness to be obedient that counts.

          Er, what kind of computer is it anyway?
          Condition?
          Performance? 😉

  • bmudmai

    The use of the sheeps and goats passage is a misuse of scripture. Jesus is referring to ‘brothers’ and thus is talking about believers of him.

    I agree as Christians we should be helping the poor but that passage is not the passage to use. People need to stop misusing scripture to make their point it’s an awful thing to do and is opposed in scripture too (I.e 2 Peter 3).

    You have to question the Archbishop and his position if he is going to misuse scripture like that.

    • dannybhoy

      To show charity to those you come across sleeping in the street or help feed someone at Christmas or donate to a disaster like the Phillipines have experienced, to offer someone a bed for the night; this is charity, this caring for the poor.
      But it’s not that simple anymore. Charity has become an industry with CEO’s earning £100k+. They employ fundraisers, they do all kinds of things to get money..
      This is now an arm of our social service network, our welfare state, and woe betide you if you won’t fall in with the worship of it!
      I personally think it’s a con. It’s a growth industry, and for Christians a welcome diversion from the other things the Lord asked us to do.

      Take my wife and I. Our income is £12k a year, state pension.
      We live frugally, we give our time and sometimes money to causes or people we believe in.
      And let me tell you all, NO ONE’S going to take up a collection for my wife and I if God forbid, we ran into seriously hard times….
      So I ignore all the hype about the poor and I try to act responsibly and with compassion.

      • bmudmai

        Is that even a reply to what I had written? Seems a completely different point! (no issues with what you said other than it doesn’t seem to be a ‘reply’)

  • Mudd321

    “Just compare the prices of bread, meat, fish, vegetables and fruit in the USA to those in your local…”

    The USA’s agriculture sector is one of the most protected and subsidised in the world. Just as its health sector is one of the most inefficient and expensive – no doubt you’ll be saying that’s superior next.

    • IanCad

      Actually, from my experience, groceries are more expensive in the USA along with a noticeable lack of selection.

  • Mrs Proudie of Barchester

    Goodness! Well not so long ago we celebrated Harvest Home here in the cathedral at Barchester. Local farmers brought in the sheaves and my Lord the Bishop preached on the Feeding of the Five Thousand, after which we all sang ‘Lettuce, with a gladsome mind.’ My hobnobs went down a treat with the deserving poor, I can tell you, though what Signora Neroni was doing behind the Apprentice Pillar distributing amoretti biscuits I don’t know (she hustles into everything). Mr Slope took charge of the boys from Dr. Wortle’s School and helped them warm their chestnuts, whilst the Archdeacon scattered his groats willy-nilly. Mr Bunce and the gentlemen from Hiram’s Hospital then raised our spirits with a lively rendition of ‘Food, glorious food!’ Such fun.

    • IanCad

      As always Mrs. Proudie. A chuckle in every post.
      Or a hearty belly laugh.

      • Mrs Proudie of Barchester

        Ah dear Ian, many thanks. One tries…spending long hours between services writing tracts and servicing kneelers (they get so tatty after a while) does weary one a tad, so a little whimsy works a treat.

        • CliveM

          And you are the master (or should I say mistress) of it.

          • dannybhoy

            Hear Hear! One doesn’t often encounter gentle (as befits a lady) humorous writing these days. Mrs Proudie and the Inspector’s non pc irreverence are to be treasured.

          • Mrs Proudie of Barchester

            *swoons*

          • dannybhoy

            Aah!
            A gentlewoman such as yourself Mr, Proudie is as a page from one of my favourite novels…
            John Halifax, Gentleman.
            A lot of swooning and noble brow mopping goes on in that Victorian classic too..
            Allow me ro revive you Madam…

    • dannybhoy

      You’re a saucy old bird and no mistake. I’m surprised the Inspector doesn’t favour you with his manly gaze more often….

      • CliveM

        I think he is to shy and to much of a gentleman of the old School!

        Besides she is already taken.

        • dannybhoy

          Too shy?!
          A gentleman?!

        • Mrs Proudie of Barchester

          Taken but not erred…

        • magnolia

          More plucked than taken I think…

          • CliveM

            Ok already! I regret ‘taken’!!

            Properly married, is that better?

  • magnolia

    I find it bizarre that markets are so interfered with and distorted. Just about everywhere. Whether it is central planners, governments, plunge protection schemes, Abenomics, QE, a fractional reserve gold market at 100 pieces of paper to each ounce of gold, or oil at probably 20 to 1. Food is just another example of a skewed market, and when the ECB starts buying anything and everything (except gold, which they are scared of) I guess food prices will increase again.

    And on top of that 17% the VAT for many food items. Incidentally can anyone explain to me why a rich tea biscuit would be a luxury whilst a top range Dundee Cake would qualify as a necessity!!??

    • You can feed a family of four for a week with a Dundee Cake.

      • magnolia

        Are you speaking from experience? Buy a Dundee cake from Nuts R Us and the family shopping sorted for another week?

        You extinct birds sure know how to live!

        • Packed full of nutrition and goodness. Very healthy.

          • dannybhoy

            (Jack’s been brainwashed….)

          • carl jacobs

            (Jack’s been brainwashed….)

            Now, now. Jack’s Catholicism has nothing to do with these… Dundee cakes.

          • dannybhoy

            I was thinking that when I wrote it, but I refrained…
            A man’s most dearly held convictions should always be treated with reverence and respect.
            Besides,
            he’s old.. 😉

          • Happy Jack has recently been informed by a enlightened, erudite man, with a beard, and who has been reading the bible for 40 years in its original language, that he is a homophobic, Islamic Pelagian.
            Time for a rethink ………

          • dannybhoy

            ???
            (languages )

            He (beardie) meant you are a homophobic Islamic Pelagian,
            or he is?
            ps
            Is an erudite one who sends rude comments by email?

          • No such a person would number amongst the Shitites. A true Erudite is never rude.

          • dannybhoy

            Ah,
            so it was YOU he was talking about?
            Luke 6:43
            “For no good tree bears bad fruit, nor again does a bad tree bear good fruit, 44 for each tree is known by its own fruit. For figs are not gathered from thorn bushes, nor are grapes picked from a bramble bush. 45 The good person out of the good treasure of his heart produces good, and the evil person out of his evil treasure produces evil, for out of the abundance of the heart his mouth speaks.”

          • Jack has amended the text of his reply.

            Yes, he accused this man of being a homophobic Muslim-Pelagian who did not comprehend scripture. This was not very erudite or pastoral. In response, Jack posted the following:

            “Watch out for false prophets. They come to you in sheep’s clothing, but inwardly they are ferocious wolves.”

          • dannybhoy

            It sounds as if you have been falsely accused Jack.
            Don’t dwell on it.
            I don’t think I would have bothered answering.

          • One has to fight all those who preach a false gospel, Danny.

          • dannybhoy

            But fear not young Jack!
            You have Danny the Non Conformist standing shoulder to shoulder with you!
            (Just keep the incense away from me, doesn’t help the COPD..)

            BTW and off topic
            Did you see “The Way” with Emilio Estevez and Matin Sheen?
            Went kinda overboard on the “Catholicy guilt trip” thing, but a most inspiring and enjoyable film

          • Jack watched it very recently on BBCi Player.

          • dannybhoy

            You “watched it”
            You enjoyed it?

          • Jack did ……. very much.
            He didn’t think it particularly Catholic in message. The scenes in the Cathedral in Santiago de Compostela were spectacular.

          • dannybhoy

            You know it feels like drawing teeth at the moment, Monsieur Jacques.
            I liked it too. I liked the father son thing (which of course they are)
            and the various characters and situations along the way.
            I thought the end, when they reached the Cathedral was both spectacular and showcased the power of imagery and religion.
            That spoilt it for me……

          • Hey Carl. What’s the weather like today where you are?

      • dannybhoy

        Oh, I so missed this golden opportunity!
        ” You can feed a family of four for a week with a Dundee Cake.”

        A family of four what??

    • Phil R

      Very good post. It is not just the CAP

      It seems we have a pack of cards that everyone knows is in danger of falling down but nobody knows what is holding the cards up.

      If anything!

      The sad thing is that Welby comes across as having has no idea either. But he should have lots of ideas. The trouble is that the ideas that will work come from the Bible, they are unpopular and so if he talks about what really needs to be done, he will not be invited to dinner with anyone. (“important”)

      So he goes along with the secular world looking for a plan B or pretending there is one.

      The trouble is there is no plan B, never was.

  • Kevin T

    A large amount of the clergy are bought and paid for by the EU. My priest at my mother’s Catholic church has written pamphlets saying Catholics should not be Eurosceptics and, incredibly, that Jesus would support the Euro. (Given that the last time Europe was united under one union and currency, the people who ran it nailed Jesus to a cross, I am not convinced He would). I googled the priest in question and he was a member of some EU-related “faith” groups. Wherever you find vociferous pro-Europeans, you find groups related to the EU and probably financed by it.

  • david17606

    The churches see immigration as good for their business, just like the Labour Party.

  • Inspector General

    The poor as the irritant they most surely are…

    One notes the press is giving Welby a bit of a hard time on his most recent initiative, and Mellor has warned him against becoming a political pawn.

    Understandable.

    You see, we need to differentiate between the deserving poor, the underserving / feckless poor, and the evil / nasty poor. One suggests that you might find all three types in the same what passes for family.

    Though of course, it could be argued that the last two aren’t actually poor at all. Not as Jesus would have seen them, they’re not. Just stupid, or lazy, or wicked, or all three, or a combination thereof. But able to work the system, the rotters. They’re never too stupid to do that, apparently…

  • educynic

    Surely our criticism of the EU’s role in food poverty should not be confined to its effects within the EU.The CAP undermines non-EU producers by the twin effects of tarriff barriers cutting them out of EU markets and the dumping of EU surpluses on the world. So the CAP promotes hunger throughout the third world as well. On top of that EU biofuel policies take land out of food production, a futher cause of millions dying. These policies and their effects are wicked. Why, oh why, do our churchmen support window-dressing with Fair Trade and debt relief, which have marginal effect, but fail to speak out about EU policies with obvious and disastrous consequences?

    • dannybhoy

      The EU is a USSR mark II.
      It is the kind of growth which if not humanely put down, will lead to the kind of society Winston Smith would recognise..
      It’s biggest export is bureaucracy, it thrives on bureaucracy, recruits and trains bureaucrats and like all bureacracies is answerable to noone.

  • Whilst impugning no one’s sincerity, it is to be much regretted that many churches in Britain today do not focus upon sin and repentance, as our Lord did (Mark 1:15). They have opted instead for a more user-friendly social justice message.

    Re the Matthew 25 passage, one courteously responds as follows : In Matthew 25:40 our Lord says concerning giving aid to the hungry, thirsty and imprisoned, “Inasmuch as ye have done it unto one of the least of these my brethren, ye have done it unto me”.

    The Lord here is speaking of those who have given succour to His own brethren, the members of His body, His disciples. He is focusing on helping those who have been made hungry and destitute for His sake. He is referring to helping one’s suffering fellow Christians. So we must not treat this passage as a general charter for a social gospel. Yes of course Christians also help non-believers in genuine need, but that is not what “ye have done it unto me” means.

    In a modern highly developed welfare state defining poverty is not as easy as it might sound. Consider the problem of homelessness, for example, and related to that, a failure to eat properly.

    Yes, some may be homeless though no fault of their own and should of course be helped, but others may be so because of relationship breakdown. It is not that they have no relations, but they have no relations willing to help them. It is likely that sin has got in the way; there has been a divorce or some other form of alienation and family rift. A lack of regular meals may also be due to a mismanagement of existing resources. So we must think of spiritual need, not just material need.

    The Bible teaches that the existence of poverty is an aspect of God’s providential dealings with any given nation. It is righteousness – obedience to God’s law – which exalts a nation (Proverbs 14:34). Wealth creation is a function of a nation’s standing before God (Deuteronomy 8:18).

    There was widespread poverty in Britain in the early 18th century. 50% of the population lived at subsistence level. The remedy for this situation came from anointed Gospel preaching which called upon men to repent. Yes, the early Methodist preachers also gave material help to the poor, but the eradication of poverty was never the substance of their message.

    Where a nation is blessed by powerful Gospel preaching which focuses upon personal salvation, there will always be socio-economic benefits following in the preaching’s wake, because that is how God works : “All these blessings shall come on thee, and overtake thee, if thou shalt hearken unto the voice of the LORD thy God. Blessed shalt thou be in the city, and blessed shalt thou be in the field” (Deuteronomy 28:2-3).

    • Phil R

      So good. A comment worth keeping I think

    • dannybhoy

      Well said Sir, you put my own view much more clearly even to myself.
      What you have said illustrates again the principle of context, place and persons involved.
      Also we need a return to the preaching of the Gospel to bring conviction of sin and backsliding too. A very good post

  • Cynical Ex Academic

    Is food really that much more expensive in the UK than the US (in retailers, that is)? When I’ve been in the US or Canada, I’ve been appalled at supermarket food prices. On the other hand, the price of food in ‘all you can eat’ restaurants and fast food outlets is a fraction of what it is over here.