It’s all very well to try to reunite finance with ethics, but why was the Church the immediate Go-to? Why not the head of The Sikh Coalition, representatives from the numerous Muslim and Jewish councils, or The National Council of Hindu Temples (UK)? Where are the representatives from the British Humanist Association or the National Secular Society? The fact is that if the Church were approached, they ALL should have been. The church are not representative of the majority and they do not hold the monopoly on ethics. The problem is, that the church is, and always has been, arrogant enough to try just that and claim to be representative of all. The uniting of a corrupted industry which pays little tax at its highest levels and an organisation which pays none, to discuss the finances of a nation beggared by the profligacy of its banks, can never end well. Forget any similarity to the 1980s, it bears more resemblance to feudalism (when the clergy and nobility convened to discuss which taxes (taxes they didn’t pay) should be extracted from the commons (the 99%) in order to pay debts accrued from expensive foreign wars)!!!
Twenty-five years ago the Church of England, published a damning report entitled ‘Faith in the City‘ which rightly laid the majority of the blame for economic and ‘spiritual’ crisis at the door of Mrs Thatcher. Set against the backdrop of economic decline due to the loss of our heavy industry which lead to soaring unemployment, the report caused outrage and no doubt immense irritation to a host of guilty consciences. Rather than suffering a mere spiritual decline, I would say it would be more accurate to say her hard-nosed and heartless approach to the leadership of this county, as well as her promotion of the ‘There is no society’ and a dominant ‘Me first’ culture, has had untold negative effects on this country. This effect will be felt for generations: until either the generation which enabled her to economically and socially cripple this country have died off or seen sense and changed their ways. I can see the former happening before the latter. However I digress, the purpose of this post is not to list the individual ways that the Thatcher/Raegan partnership screwed us in the arse and left us to clear up the mess.
How can an organisation who pays no tax have the barefaced nerve to stand up in public and tell the bankers they must pay more? While I agree the bankers should pay their share, – as should those in the top 1% – if the Church really cares about the economic welfare of the United Kingdom, they will stop trying to differ attention away from their own coffers and start paying their share as well. What adds insult to injury is the fact that Mr Ken Costa – the man placed in charge of a committee, the St Paul’s Initiative which was established by the Church and is aimed at re-building ‘links’ between the Church and the financial sector – is a former bank chairman. While arguing against stiffer regulation of banks he went onto say that “a culture of honesty, integrity, truthfulness and responsibility” cannot be regulated into existence and that harsher banking regulations were not the solution to the economic crisis. Tell that to the people who lost job sand homes, pensions and savings after others gambled with the economy and lost. Tell it to those people who were loaned money which the banks knew they couldn’t afford to repay but were issued them anyway because the debts were sold on for a short-term profit. While it is largely the borrower’s responsibility not to borrow what they cannot pay back, lenders also have a duty not to loan to people they know cannot repay them. The banks have already proven they cannot be trusted to act honourably without regulations so we (the 99%) feel justified in our demands that they are not only strongly regulated but the bankers who caused the mess are investigated, prosecuted, and barred from ever working in those senior positions again. It’s the expenses scandal all over again except politicians actually ARE being held accountable.
Mr Cost has apparently warned the Church against publicly attacking the financial sector as it risks a repeat of the row cause by their report twenty-five years ago. I hardly think it is his place to comment because based on his remarks that a flourishing banking sector is “essential to any successful economy”, he has a long way to go because thanks to his ilk, the banks are far from flourishing. ‘Record profits’ (from where?) and bonuses aside, they still owe the tax-payer back for the handouts they so readily accepted nearly three years ago. I’m sure our banks wouldn’t accept “I’m not making that payment this month because I need to give my kids a massive rise on their pocket-money for which they do nothing but clear up their own mess” and a reason for not paying our bills. How many of us have ever been given a bonus at work for rectifying a problem we caused? One other thing, just WHY is he a former bank chairman?
Religion should be kept out of politics FULL STOP. The Church is not qualified and definitely not invited to make any decisions on our behalf and their so-called degrees in theology are worth less than nothing. ‘Dr’ Sentamu (Archbishop of York) has commented that the wage gap between executives and those on the metaphorical shop floor were creating a social gulf and eroding the cohesion of society. Really? How long has it taken him to work that one out? Let me emphasise, a tax-exempt organisation has no business declaring that (or which) private individuals pay more in tax. The Archbishop of Canterbury seems equally free with his uninvited opinions on taxes. The cynic in me is telling me that Mr (I refuse to call him Dr) Williams is merely jumping on the publicity from Occupy LSX in order to boost the public image of the church. Giles Fraser, who quit his post as the canon chancellor of St Paul’s, blames a reliance on technology for dehumanising the values of the City. It’s not technology that dehumanised and devalued the lower paid staff (partly by replacing the adjective ‘personnel’ with the impersonal catch-all of ‘human resources’): people were quite capable of doing that by themselves. The attitude which measures how well a company does based on how much its shareholders make pre-dates the technology being blamed by quite some time. It is not the ‘market’ which is to blame, but the people running it.
The Church has no business getting involved in these protests and making a bloody awful situation worse. We need to stand firm now lest we risk letting our financial sector slip into the hands of tyrants who are answerable only to themselves….AGAIN.