Lord Truro and the “Undeserving Poor”

Once more all decent folk found themselves under attack from the ever hungry and multiheaded mythological beast. Fortunately Lord Freud was able to defend us all once more from the onslaught of the “undeserving poor”.

20130703-074824.jpgThe daemonisation of the poor is a well documented phenomenon and a tool that is being used to drive ideological political change. “Why don’t they help themselves out of poverty?” We have a situation in the UK where food bank use has trebled in the past year. Lord Freud seems to be of the opinion that food banks are one of the many choices that people mmakes when planning their weekly shop. “We can get some cold cuts from the farmers market, they do that lovely Brussels Pâté. We need to make sure we get to Waitrose on the way home for the loo roll and dishwasher tablets. Ooooo, and we’d best stop at the Food Bank and get some beans for the kids”.

The Bishop of Truro challenged Lord Freud on his statements to The Lords. Church Action on Poverty challenged these ideological beliefs five weeks ago. Oxfam challenge this ideological belief daily. Everyone who works with people in poverty challenges this blame culture, designed to shift the focus of blame for the current global economic climate to the most vulnerable in our society. The people who aren’t challenging this are those who are using the myth to drive ideological political change.

The growth in food aid demonstrates that the social safety net Is failing in its basic duty to ensure that families have access to sufficient income to feed themselves adequately. The exponential rise in the creation of food banks reflects a growing problem and only delivers mitigation. Food banks provide a vital emergency service to the people they support but they do not address the underlying structural causes for the growth of food poverty. – Walking the Breadline


Wacko Tree-huggers

Global WarmingI’m always disturbed by the concept of Starbucks being the vehicle of truth.


Who is in Control?

Over the last six months there has been an ongoing war of words in the UK between politicians and Google. Google have spent the last decade seeing off all competition and making our lives better. However it would seem that they have not paid any tax. Their “UK sales team” don’t sell anything in the UK, which makes perfect sense so it must be OK.

A friend asked “how do I stop using Google products?” on Facebook. So much of our lives is now powered by Google. If you peel off the label of many websites underneath it says “Google inside”. This is of course great. Google make everything work together as a giant benevolent force in the universe.

Well…. Except for the desire to make money. Apart from that they are a giant benevolent force in the universe making everyone’s lives better. How do you stop using google products?

20130617-081348.jpgThe system goes on-line August 4th, 1997. Human decisions are removed from strategic defense. Skynet begins to learn at a geometric rate. It becomes self-aware at 2:14 a.m. Eastern time, August 29th. In a panic, they try to pull the plug.

PS If you didn’t spot it, this isn’t really a post about Google. It is about our reliance on technology and giant corporations. I’m currently Robb not 3 of 8.


Responding to Woolwich

In a week that has seen the internet in the UK explode with a wave of racial tension, I came across this cartoon on my desktop.

This is at the heart of the good news of Jesus Christ.

How to change the world

Less Stuff = More Happiness

This advent has been a time of much soul-searching in our household.  Between the two of us we have been looking at what “life is all about”.  Between us we have notched up a collective 16 years of university education during our married life and now we have recently [insert artistic license] become adults in a world that has moulded and shaped us into the people that we are.  As I come towards the end of a curacy we may for the first time in our adult lives move to a place that we will be able to settle down in and call home.  We may be able to leave behind the transient life we have known together since we were 18 years old and find a place that we will live in together for an extended period of time.  The 8 dwellings we have lived in during our married life, often for little more than a year at a time will become a thing of the past.

And it is with this in mind that we realise we have become a product of the national educational system of our country of birth, England.  We went to university in the late 1990’s when our country’s policy was to teach all of our young people to live in debt.  The perceived wisdom from government was that we could all buy ourselves some happiness and economic growth.  TV ads were predominantly for credit that was freely available and highly desirable.  Those years of university education were predominantly paid for using a variety of state sponsored credit programmes.

This system has been designed to make us all desire more and more things in our lives to make us happy.  We still live in a world that tells us we can buy happiness on interest free credit.  We have been reevaluation where we stand in all of this….

Silent Night

I spotted this guy outside Covent Garden begging/busking.  He’s found a traffic cone and he is playing all of the Christmas Classics on it.  He was very good.

Of course this photo doesn’t exist because we don’t have any poor people in the UK.

The Advent Calendar Conspiracy – Day 2

Join the conversation.

My Chains Fell Off

“Lord, when was it that we saw you hungry or thirsty or a stranger or naked or sick or in prison, and did not take care of you?”

That is just a little excerpt from next Sunday’s reading, a taster if you will.  How often do we look for examples of justice and mercy to illustrate the Christian faith?  Today one dropped in my lap when someone shared it with me.  There is an article in today’s Guardian explaining that Richard Branson has started to encourage Virgin to employ recently released offenders and those who are approaching release as a way of giving people that second chance.

 “Everybody deserves a second chance,” … “One of the prisoners I met in Melbourne told me he’d been released with no money. He had to find his own way to the city. He was thrown back out into this world with no help whatsoever. The end result was that he was back inside in a very short time. For people coming out of prison it’s a vicious circle. If they can’t get a job, the only thing they can do is reoffend. From society’s point of view that can be very painful.”


That Christmas Advert

OK, perhaps not that Christmas Advert

Over the last two years society has increasingly looked at the state of the nation’s finances on both a macro and a micro level.  We are starting to see a relationship between the prosperity of the country and the way in which people treat the money in their pockets.  People are examining the causes of our current financial state and finding that people were spending money they didn’t have on things that they perceived that they needed because external pressure was applied to them.  The systems increasingly indoctrinated people into using credit to buy trinkets and gadgets to prove their worth to the world around them or the value of their love to another.

I regularly listen to the radio throughout the day whilst I am working and the above advert is played regularly.  Its catchy format lends it to audio as well as video by capitalizing on the old song by Terry Scott, “My Bruvva”.  Yesterday on the blog I tried to articulate something about the way in which Christmas could still inspire us to change the world.  With this in mind it is with sadness that I am confronted with the old world order every twenty minutes throughout the day.  Nothing says ‘I love you’ like a child induced guilt trip over an X-Box, 0% finance and crippling debts for… my lovely, lovely mother.

Now that’s the real meaning of Christmas :-/

Three and a Half Letters (I Need a Job)

The church is in a process of focussing its attention more closely on issues of wealth and poverty.  People are standing on the steps of the Cathedral and asking the question “what would Jesus do”.  This is the new song from Chickenfoot’s second album.  Sammy Hagar reads three and a half letters that were sent to his charitable foundation asking for help.  It has become the soundtrack of my life for the last two weeks.

I’m 37 years old
Married to my childhood sweetheart
Two beautiful girls, two and a half and four
Worked nine years at the plant where my father worked
And his father before him
I have a B.A. but laid off seven months ago
It’s been hard tough so many others
But I still believe
Can you help, brother?
Can you help?

I need a job
I need a job
I’m willing to work
But I need a job

I stand in the street
With a sign in my hand
But I need the work
I need a job, yeah

I just returned from Afghanistan
Spent four years in the military service
I’m 24, strong and I can’t find work in my hometown
I’m married with one beautiful son
Seven months old today
Never had a chance to buy a home
Can’t afford the apartment we’ve been living in
Moving in with Debbie’s parents, whose home is now in foreclosure
Can you help?

I need a job
I need a job
I’m willing to work
But I need a job

I stand in the street
With a sign in my hand
I’m willing to work
But I need a job

I’m sorry this letter is hand-written but I don’t have a computer
I don’t have access to one
I’m 51 years old
I lost my wife to breast cancer three years ago
Lost my job of 26 years one year later
I’m homeless with no one to turn to
I’ve been through a lot, bother
I heard you like to help people
Well, I need help

I need a job
I need a job
I’m willing to work
But I need a job

I stand in the street
With a sign in my hand
I’m willing to work
But I need a job

Got nothin’ left
Lost it all
Can I get back to zero
Zero, zero, zero, zero, zero
I need a job

Yeah, I need a job
I need a job

And the last letter said:
I’m nine years old and homeless.