UK General Election – No Thanks…

UK General Election – No Thanks…

A Pastoral Letter from the Bishops Conference of Scotland   crucifix with lilies on the General Election

Dear Brothers and Sisters in Christ

On the Seventh of May the people of Scotland will vote in what may be the most unpredictable General Election in generations. While each of us alone will decide whom to vote for, the teachings of the Church can offer us a guide as we attempt to reach an informed judgement that advances the common good.

Casting a vote is both a civic duty and a Christian moral obligation. The huge turnout at last year’s referendum was an exemplary exercise in peaceful and participatory democracy and showed how much the Scottish people care about the future of our country and its wellbeing.  It was also a reminder of the power that every citizen has and the obligation upon us to use our vote. For centuries Christian values underpinned our laws and customs but for Christians today the political complexion of Parliament is secondary to the values and beliefs of those who sit in it. The candidates we send to Parliament go there as our representatives. The values they hold will shape their understanding of what is good for our country.  

Our Parliamentarians must discern priorities in many ethical and moral matters from Welfare to Defence, not to mention our relationship with Europe. Before casting our vote, we have a duty to inform ourselves of the moral values of our candidates.  We should think and pray before we choose, considering especially the following points:

1. Life: The dignity and value of every human being should be at the heart of politics.  The sanctity of human life, protected from its beginning to its natural end, is not a single issue.  It is the fundamental issue. It demands that we proclaim the Gospel of Life in all places and at all times, for if human life is not sacrosanct then no other human right makes any sense at all. Laws which permit abortion, euthanasia and assisted suicide are profoundly unjust.  We do not want to accept the continued existence in our society of such fundamental violations of human rights and we commit ourselves to work peacefully and tirelessly to oppose and to change them.  

2. The Family: Common sense and much research tell us that children do best when they are raised by a mum and dad who are married to each other.  This ideal is not always possible in reality and we applaud and support families who achieve remarkable things in the most difficult of circumstances. In recent years, both the UK and Scottish Parliaments have enacted legislation re-defining marriage. Together with others we argued that marriage is a union uniquely of a man and a woman and feared that legislation allowing for same sex marriage represented an unprecedented threat to the public understanding of marriage and the family. Once again we should encourage our politicians to defend the institution of marriage and the family as the basic unit of society on which so much depends. Pope Francis has also reminded governments not to require poor countries to introduce laws redefining marriage before they can get financial aid, because this is unjust and unfair.

3. The Economy:  The first consideration for any economic policy should be the dignity of the person, not the pursuit of profit. We urge candidates to endorse the living wage campaign, giving people the opportunity to provide for themselves and their families. In these turbulent financial times Pope Francis has been a prophetic voice, warning that economies stripped of ethics trample human dignity. “Unbridled capitalism,” he says, “has given us the logic of profit at any cost, (and) of exploitation without looking at the person.” The existence of so many food banks in our country offers a depressing vindication of the Pope’s warning.

4. Human Freedom: Across the globe, the right to religious freedom and freedom of worship are under threat.  In some countries, Christians are put to death simply for professing faith in Jesus Christ. In this country, an intolerant form of secularism wants to remove religion from the public square, despite recognition in the Universal Declaration of Human Rights. True human dignity involves the freedom to assemble, to worship and to manifest our beliefs openly.  Religious liberty must be non-negotiable in a free society and we should make sure our candidates support it.

5. Peace.  Successive UK Governments have made plans to replace and upgrade our nuclear weapons capacity.  This is despite the considerable costs involved and in the face of persistent moral objections, to say nothing of international agreements we have entered into which commit us to work against the proliferation of such weapons.  While recognising each country’s right to defend itself, the existence of nuclear weapons, and their possible proliferation, continue to represent a grave threat to the human family. Pope Francis reminds us that peace is better fostered by greater equality – not least by fairness towards the poor, refugees and migrants – rather than by increased spending on arms.

6. Evangelisation: The Gospel compels us as a Church and as individual Catholics to engage actively in the world and convert human affairs. Voting in the election is the least a committed Christian can do.  Our politicians enter public service with good hearts and give of their best to build up our lives and our country.  Sadly, however, on serious issues, some politicians who profess a Catholic faith remain silent – or even surrender – in the face of grave ethical injustice.  As Catholics, we can never separate how we act from what we believe without undermining what we believe and damaging who we are. The time has come for a new generation of Catholics to join political parties and to dedicate ourselves to political service in a way that remains faithful to the Gospel of Jesus Christ, laying the foundations for a new Civilization of Love that serves the common good of all, especially the most vulnerable in our society.  

Conclusion: As we prepare to cast our votes, the Bishops invite all of us to pray for our country, our Parliamentary candidates and our fellow citizens.  With our votes we help set the direction of our society for years to come and it is right that we ask for divine assistance that we may be guided in our choices and that our nation may flourish. The Bishops’ Conference of Scotland, The Second Sunday of Easter, 2015. + Philip Tartaglia, President, Archbishop of Glasgow + Joseph Toal, Vice-President, Bishop of Motherwell + Hugh Gilbert, Episcopal Secretary, Bishop of Aberdeen + Leo Cushley, Archbishop of St.Andrews and Edinburgh + Stephen Robson, Bishop of Dunkeld + John Keenan, Bishop of Paisley + William Nolan, Bishop of Galloway V.Rev.Mgr James MacNeil, Diocesan Administrator, Argyll and the Isles   Source To read the letter from the Bishops of England and Wales, click here

Comment:

As I’ve been forced to do in recent years, I will be going into the voting booth on 7 May  to spoil my paper. I hope the ballot paper is a decent size this time, because I write something to the effect that they’re a Godless lot, that I cannot be complicit in evil, that when I find a party which can make life better for us all without undermining and attacking God’s law, then I’ll cast my vote. If there’s room I’ll add that I’m not going to compromise my conscience by voting to line my own pocket, since a healthy bank balance won’t get me into Heaven.  It was quite a squeeze last time!  So, that’s my considered view on the General Election, politicians and their (insert nasty adjective) parties. What’s yours?

Please note: political discussions in Scotland can get very heated, which is why I’ve hesitated before launching this thread.  Like a lot of other folk, probably most, I have strong views on the subject (there’s a hint above!) so allow me to remind everyone of our key in-house rule of no personal remarks of the unpleasant kind. We can tell the difference between banter and nastiness, so let’s have an interesting and intelligent discussion, if for no other reason, than to make the unthinking majority of Catholics who trawl the internet think twice before they cast their vote for parties which have brazenly and without apology, passed evil legislation in defiance of God’s law.  Over to thee…

Comments (203)

  • gabriel syme

    I think this news story highlights just how rotten the political system is in the UK:

    Quasi-Catholic Jim Murphy out campaigning in Glasgow with a transvestite male celebrity, who is dressed in a skirt, heels and full face of make-up.

    They get into an aggressive confrontation with SNP activists and Nicola Sturgeon is later exposed as a liar when she tries to claim the pre-planned aggressive action was nothing to do with her party.

    http://www.dailymail.co.uk/news/article-3067268/Jim-Murphy-Eddie-Izzard-forced-flee-Labour-rally-Glasgow-angry-nationalists-spark-violent-scrum.html

    A welcome reminder of the perversion, lies and total lack of credibility at the heart of our political system.

    May 4, 2015 at 11:19 pm
    • editor

      Gabriel Syme,

      I saw that on the local TV news – Jim Murphy laughing and quite at ease with the transvestite, and thought about the vague and very weak remark in the Bishops’ election statement about the fact that Catholic politicians are not speaking out as they should on the life issues (where they should have put inverted commas around “Catholic” if not prepared to call a spade a spade). So, I wonder what his bishop thinks now, after seeing that TV footage? Or is he, like the rest of the bishops, SO far gone that they think nothing of it. One wonders. One really does.

      May 5, 2015 at 9:50 am
  • crofterlady

    I’ve read the Christian Institute Election Briefing 2015 and found it very helpful. UKIP definitely comes out on tops for me. It can be downloaded here:

    http://www.christian.org.uk/election/

    May 5, 2015 at 3:43 pm
    • Nicky

      Crofterlady,

      The Christian Institute is not a Catholic organisation. I would have thought the link posted by Petrus showing that UKIP are not opposed to the gay lifestyle would have been enough to put any Catholic off them
      http://www.gaystarnews.com/article/nigel-farage-ukip-not-anti-gay040515-0

      Also, their manifesto promise to support families in all their “diversity” – the signal words for same sex couples with adopted or IVF children.

      I’ve read all the posts on this discussion and I cannot believe that any Catholic would vote for any of the Parties on offer, unless they are only deciding on personal issues, such as which one is likely to make the take-home pay better.

      May 5, 2015 at 4:34 pm
      • Athanasius

        Nicky,

        See my comments above re “the double effect” treated of by St. Thomas Aquinas and St. Thomas A Kempis.

        Crofterlady,

        UKIP is certainly not ideal from the Catholic point of view, but there is a real chance that it will seek to restrict the greater evils being proposed by the other parties. It’s all we have to work with, so let’s try to restrict the evil if we can’t eradicate it. That’s the principle of “double effect”.

        May 5, 2015 at 6:40 pm
      • Michaela

        Athanasius,

        The law of double effect is not as straightforward as you think, because it doesn’t apply to cases if there is a good way of achieving the same end, without doing something that is bad – i.e. voting for a party that is not standing up for true morality in public and private life, marriage, abortion, homosexual issues etc.

        So, IMHO, if we can get the same result by spoiling our vote (i.e. sending a clear message that we will not vote for those who are not standing up for true morality) as we might get by voting for a minority party that might try to influence government on one thing or other, then that is perfectly justifiable and IMHO a more Catholic decision than to vote for the minority parties which will go along with the status quo in most things.

        It’s very important not to confuse the law of double effect with doing evil so that good may come of it. That is always forbidden to Catholics.

        May 5, 2015 at 7:38 pm
      • Athanasius

        Michaela,

        I am not confusing the law of double effect, I quoted St. Thomas in the case of choosing the lesser of evils when all choices available are morally evil. The greater good is not to be had by spoiling votes as this just allows evil to continue to thrive. If there was clear evidence to show that spoiling votes changes party policies, then yes, that course of action may well constitute the greater good. In the absence of any such evidence, however, we have to conclude that spoiling votes is not an option open to us.

        Remember, our actions for the good in cases like this must carry some hope of success, otherwise we are not permitted to apply them.

        You are absolutely right to state that Catholics are never permitted to do evil that good may come of it, but that is a completely different proposition to choosing the lesser of evils when all the alternatives are greater evils. It’s a matter of prudence and wise judgement.

        It’s also worth mentioning that we are not permitted to choose the lesser of evils unless the good that may result outweighs the evil.

        In the case of UKIP we may say that they are just like all the other parties in this country; they do not oppose abortion, homosexuality, etc. Sad to say, these evils are now so well entrenched in legislation that there is no human hope of seeing them repealed any time soon, barring a miracle.

        However, the good UKIP proposes is to outlaw abortions on the basis of an unborn child’s sex. It also plans to outlaw sex ed for very young children, to uphold the rights of Christian conscience and to help Britain exit the EU, from whence much evil legislation originates. For the most part, the other parties have little or no appetite to do any of these things. Quite the opposite, in fact.

        So what do we do? Do we stand cursing the darkness or do we grasp on to those little rays of light that promise to at least restrict greater evils from spreading unchecked? For me it’s a no brainer.

        May 5, 2015 at 10:19 pm
      • Petrus

        Athanasius I do see what you are saying. However, didn’t you say at the start of this thread that you have indeed spoiled your ballot paper in the past?  So, is this view that we should “vote for the lesser evil” a new position?

        Sent from my Samsung device

        May 5, 2015 at 10:26 pm
      • Athanasius

        Petrus,

        Yes, I have spoiled my ballot paper in the past and that’s why I can testify that it’s a fruitless business. Experience is a great teacher, so I read up a little on Catholic ethics and morality in these matters and it changed my opinion.

        It seems we are obliged to do our civic duty and vote for the greater good. Where there is no possibility of success in a perceived greater good, such as spoiling ballot papers, we are forbidden to follow that course and must instead choose the option that is most likely to restrict evil. It’s difficult for all of us in these days of aggressive atheism, so we can only do what we can in good conscience before God. Our good intentions before God is everything.

        May 5, 2015 at 10:48 pm
      • Petrus

        Athanasius Thank you for that answer.  What should one do when faced with no clear “lesser evil”? There is no UKIP candidate in my constituency.  There’s only Labour, Conservative, SNP and Lib Dem.  The SNP and Conservative candidate would vote to lower the limit for abortion and vote against euthanasia.   Should I choose between them?

        Sent from my Samsung device

        May 5, 2015 at 11:42 pm
      • Athanasius

        Petrus,

        No, you should not choose between the two candidates you mention because their respective parties are intent on pushing through those evils regardless. So that would definitely be a bad choice.

        We are not really interested in what individual candidates say or think on moral subjects. Our concern is really with the parties and their respective party lines. Since you have no UKIP vote open to you then the greater good in your case is definitely to spoil your vote. UKIP is the only party in Britain that proposes to us the lesser of evils. All the mainstream parties are more or less agreed that the evils must not only continue but increase. A spoiled vote will certainly not halt that process but it’s all you have, unfortunately, so go for it.

        May 6, 2015 at 8:13 pm
      • editor

        Athanasius,

        Depends what you mean by “spoilt”.

        I never go in and just destroy the paper. I always write something to explain why I cannot vote. There’s not much space but with care and preparation, it is perfectly possible to put, as I will be writing on Thursday, something to the concise effect that

        Named Person / SS “Marriage” / abortion / LGBT “rights” – reasons why I cannot vote for any candidate. And this in honour of Christ who must be King of every nation, according to Catholic Social Teaching.

        That, or a shortened version of it, is how I will “spoil” my paper. Nothing “fruitless” about it, if you consider it with the eyes of Faith.

        Earlier today I was chatting to a priest about this and put your argument about applying the Law of Double Effect, asking him if I am wrong to think that the above message on ballot papers, thus “spoiling” them, would be regarded as an alternative which would make the Law of Double Effect inadmissible. He said that it definitely would – that is a very clear alternative that gets the Christian message across. Imagine if the politicians were faced with hundreds of such messages. “Fruitless”? You kidding?

        It’s because Catholics are simply accepting the evil in which successive governments have steeped us all, that they are able to continue pushing the boundaries of evil further and further out.

        As I say, however, if your conscience dictates that you must vote for a party, that not to do so would be offensive to God, then you must do that. That’s how conscience works, remember. There’s no obligation to act if our conscience does not dictate.

        My conscience dictates that I must not only play no part in perpetuating evil, but I must use the only available means to enlighten the candidates as to why I cannot vote for any of them. I just hope they have good black pens at the voting station, so that nobody who reads my message is in any doubt of why I am refusing my vote to all and any of the parties on offer.

        Petrus,

        Excellent question which throws into sharp relief, the danger of choosing the “lesser evil” in this context.

        May 6, 2015 at 12:41 am
    • Nicky

      Crofterlady,

      May I ask what it is that makes UKIP “come out on tops” for you?

      May 5, 2015 at 4:36 pm
      • crofterlady

        Nicky, on pages 32 and 33 of the linked Christian Institute brief some of UKIP’s policies are set out. Most of them are acceptable to christians except the obvious anathema of Abortion, GM babies, Prostitution, etc.

        I know the Christian Institute is not Catholic (although it does have Catholic members), but it seems to be the only professional organisation taking on this evil government. They have helped countless christians who were being victimised (“gay” cake row for example) and they are presently appealing the Named Person legislation. There are no bishops doing that, shame on them.

        On the matter of voting: we all have a right to our opinion and I happen to believe that a country gets the government it deserve. So, I concur with Athanasius, Leprechaun et al.

        May 5, 2015 at 5:42 pm
      • Michaela

        Crofterlady,

        Do you think people should be legally forced to vote and nobody permitted to spoil their papers? That’s the attitude I sense here on this blog, that “democracy” means doing what you’re told and voting even if it goes against your conscience.

        May 5, 2015 at 7:45 pm
      • crofterlady

        Actually, I agree with you. People should vote as they wish and no, I don’t think voting should be compulsory. And yes, people should be able to spoil their vote if they so wish. Hopefully, we are not yet in a police state.

        May 5, 2015 at 8:09 pm
  • editor

    Well, folks, the deed is done. I’ve been to the polling station and I wrote, from memory, the following on my ballot paper – I’d have written more but I was afraid the officials would think I was a terrorist and phone the cops!

    “Named Person, same-sex marriage, abortion, are some of the reasons why I cannot vote for any party. Catholic Social Teaching requires that Christ be the head of every nation under heaven, and this nation has kicked Him out. Can’t vote for any of you for this reason.”

    I think that, from memory, is almost verbatim what I wrote. I’d have written more (amazed at how much space there was on the paper, between margins and gaps in between names of candidates) but, as I say, I thought they might think I was a terrorist up to something and send for the cops!

    I did have a good chat outside with an SNP activist and she actually agreed that the Named Person legislation was of concern. She also nodded when I told her that watching dear ole Nicola on the TV the other night telling two women in the audience to wait behind and she would speak to them about the problems they had raised during the debate sickened me, since I’ve written to her twice [about abortion] and got no reply.

    In all these weeks of campaigning not one of the key moral issues has been raised by any member of any audience, whether on the TV debates or radio phone-in shows, which I only hear when driving, or I’d have phoned in myself.

    And when I stumbled across a TV debate the other night, between the Northern Ireland candidates, tuning in just as they were discussing same-sex “marriage”, I was appalled that only the Protestant DUP was remotely opposed to it, and even he went down the “I’m / we’re not ‘anti-gay'” road of appeasement.

    Let me say this loud and clear. If it’s “anti-gay” to be opposed to disordered and immoral sexual behaviour, whether it be committed by paedophiles or same-sex pairs, then I’m “anti-gay”. With pink ribbons on and carrying a rainbow flag.

    We need to stop being bullied into silence or complicity thus permitting this evil to go without comment or criticism. Sticks and stones, remember… Sticks and stones…

    May 7, 2015 at 5:40 pm
    • Alex F

      Well it looks like there is a possibility that the DUP might be in coalition in the next UK government. So they’ll push to abolish gay marriage and abortion… Oh yes, and Catholicism.

      May 8, 2015 at 2:00 am
      • editor

        Alex,

        As you will know by now, it’s going to be more of the same, thanks to the UK voting system. I will say nothing because this is one of those occasions when it’s true to say that if one can’t say something good about someone (in this case David Cameron & the rest of the Cons – pun deliberate!) say nothing 😀

        I’ll close this thread now, urging us all to pray for the future of the UK, that it’s not quite as dire as I imagine!

        Thanks to all who contributed to this lively discussion.

        God bless

        May 8, 2015 at 9:36 am
  • editor

    Leprechaun has just emailed to say he wished to comment on the outcome of the General Election and so I have re-opened the thread. As I explained to Leprechaun’s expression of surprise that I had closed it down so quickly, I presumed everyone else is as fed up with the whole thing as I am myself. Obviously not!

    Thus I’ve re-opened the thread and will close late tonight, midnight or close to midnight, so please have your say as soon as possible, if you wish to comment.

    May 8, 2015 at 2:34 pm
  • leprechaun

    Thank you Madame Editor,

    I wanted the opportunity to offer thanks in the public domain to St. George and St. Andrew that the SNP were not able to hold the balance of power in the upcoming Parliament.

    I wonder how the Government will fare, and how the schemers behind the scenes will fare, with the arrival of the year 2017 and any surprises it may hold, and which will occur less than half way through the five year term of office.

    They can propose all the laws they want to propose, but let us not forget that they cannot burp louder than thunder, and it will be God who disposes.

    Pursue personal sanctity – the salvation of each of us depends upon it.

    May 8, 2015 at 2:58 pm
  • catholicconvert1

    Comment removed. This is a Catholic blog – if you cannot express yourself as a Catholic should then say nothing.

    May 8, 2015 at 5:45 pm
    • Petrus

      Catholic Convert, Wow calm down! That kind of incoherent bluster does no one any good.  I’m not a fan of the SNP.   Far from it.  What I can say is that SNP MP’S always abstain on English only issues.  It does help to do some research.

      Sent from my Samsung device

      May 8, 2015 at 5:54 pm
  • editor

    CC & Petrus,

    I’m no fan of the SNP either (or any other party for that matter, least of all the one with around 20 millionaires in the cabinet telling the rest of us that we need to stock up at the nearest food bank) but what I do object to – and remember, I voted NO in the independence referendum – what I do object is the same people who insisted we ought to stay in the UK and speak out for the whole of the UK, now complaining because there are a sizeable number of MPs from Scotland ready to do just that.

    Suggests insincerity, to say the least.

    May 8, 2015 at 6:03 pm
    • Petrus

      Editor I’ve never really understood the issue about the millionaires in the cabinet.  If someone is a millionaire it is a sign of their determination and ingenuity.  Exactly the kind of people we should want in the cabinet.  It’s worth remembering that Wee Nicola , the champion of the patrons of the foodbanks, is the highest paid politician in Britain.  I do wonder how many people are really forced to head to foodbanks.  I’ve known people to attend foodbanks in order to save their money for a flat screen TV.   The poor really never have had it so good.

      Sent from my Samsung device

      May 8, 2015 at 6:15 pm
      • editor

        Petrus,

        Your closing remark is outrageous and very offensive to the several people I know who are literally living from hand to mouth. You astonish and profoundly disappoint me.

        I don’t have to go to a food bank, thank God, but I do know genuinely poor people who are struggling to get by, and I’m talking about both people in work and people on benefits. And I frankly detest the mentality that is reflected in your “flat screen TV remark”. I used to know a Consultant Surgeon who argued that nobody on benefits should have any pleasures whatsoever. If they can afford a drink and a smoke, he said, their benefits should be withdrawn. This from a man who had “Skiver” for his middle name. Your comment is an extension of that same mean-spirited mentality – with due respect. A friend once told me that she would give money to some of her needy relatives but she thought they might waste it. That’s a dreadful attitude and reminds me of the priest who told me that he gave money to a poor beggar who regularly asked him for help because the Gospel injunction didn’t say “as long as you did it to one of these the least of my brethren, once you checked out that they weren’t going to waste the food, drink, shekels, then you did it to me.” The true spirit of charity gives money and allows the person to make up their own mind how to spend it, answering, as they will and as will all of us, for our actions. And for the record, I totally disagree that we should want millionaires governing us, unless on a voluntary basis. If they’re millionaires, they don’t need an MPs pay.

        You may not have a problem with a bunch of millionaires telling us that we have to take cuts in benefits (including my disabled friend) but I most certainly do and I am horrified beyond words that the callous Conservatives have been returned to power.

        As for “wee Nicola” – I think I have made it abundantly clear on this (and other) threads that I have absolutely no time for any politicians. I think they’re all out to line their own pockets. Every last one of them. Without exception.

        However, this is exactly the conversation I didn’t want to have so I think we should leave it there, if you don’t mind, and agree that we need to pray very hard for the entire UK, as it’s not a group of nations that is pleasing to God. Quite the reverse.

        May 8, 2015 at 6:52 pm
      • Petrus

        Editor I feel I must respond because you have gone off at the deep end.  I don’t doubt there are genuinely poor people who need support. Absolutely.  I also think that cutting benefits to the disabled is abhorrent.  Totally agree.  No arguments there.  However, the tax payers should not be funding those who want an easy life. There are plenty of them including those in my own family. My cousins benefited from a Labour scheme to fund single mothers.   They received a thousand pounds to buy white goods.  One cousin bought them white goods from John Lewis but then when she was caught committing benefit fraud, she moved in with her mother and abandoned the house and the white goods. Another cousin boasted about getting her shopping from a food bank so she could save up her benefits and attend a concert in London.  I’m sorry but this is not right.  I’ve seen young children sleeping on a mattress on wooden floors because the parents use their benefits to fund their flat screen TV and designer track suits.  I can’t stand this and I absolutely object to being hauled over the coals by you for protesting against it.   So, whilst I fully support a welfare state for those who need it – the elderly, the disabled, single mothers who are “single” through no fault of their own, I fully support the reform and, if necessary, the cuts to the welfare state that will prevent abuse.  The previous government didn’t cut in the right places.  I’m no fan of how they implemented their cuts, but cuts are required. There is nothing unchristian in that.  I am a taxpayer.  Those who abuse the system treat people like me like a doormat.  It’s not Christian to be a doormat.

        Sent from my Samsung device

        May 8, 2015 at 7:10 pm
      • Petrus

        I should also say that perhaps you should look at the tax bill of those millionaires. Their tax bill, along with mine, is bank rolling the gravy train that the “poor” and the immigrants are living off (whilst they watch their flat screen tellies and attend their pop concerts).

        Sent from my Samsung device

        May 8, 2015 at 7:18 pm
      • Fidelis

        Petrus,

        “If someone is a millionaire it is a sign of their determination and ingenuity”

        I think it’s more likely a sign that they come from a well-heeled family!

        Nobody would mind millionaires being in the cabinet if they didn’t say that “we’re all in it together” meaning the austerity, when that’s obviously not the case.

        It’s a pity about your family being benefit cheats because that is not my experience. White goods means washing machines, fridges, that sort of essential appliances and I know someone who had to get them and she only applied after struggling to get second hand ones after saving hard, and then they broke down, showing her it was a false economy. I know a good few people on benefits and they all hate the stigma. I was telling one of them about your comments and she said they would go to a food bank only she feels too ashamed. She said she sometimes has only a few pounds to spend on food for her family of three and buys the cheapest of everything.

        Your mention of your tax bill, like the millionaires, bank rolling the gravy train, so I presume you are lucky enough to have a good job and a good pay. Have some pity for those not so lucky.

        I’d be interested to know where you think the cuts should come as you say they are required. I disagree with that, I think people have been brainwashed into thinking cuts are required, because cutting welfare has proved to be making more people poor, and it’s a pity to punish them for the sake of the few that you have met in your own family who have really abused the system.

        Can I ask you this as well. If you were on benefits, genuinely poor, and struggling to find work or genuinely disabled, would you think it is OK for you to take out an HP agreement to buy a flat screen TV?

        If not, do you prefer the American system where people are given food vouchers so they can only buy food?

        I hope you don’t think I’ve gone off the deep end, but I share editor’s dislike of the way benefits are always the first port of call for cuts and there’s stories about the minority of cheats. What about the majority who are genuinely in need? In the name of cutting down on the minority of cheats, the majority of genuine claimants usually suffer because the government takes the opportunity to tighten the belt further. I cannot believe that the English have returned David Cameron to power. I really can’t. What were they thinking, I can only guess. However, things will now get worse for the poor, that is for sure.

        May 8, 2015 at 7:49 pm
      • Petrus

        What I sense here is that there is a tribal, West of Scotland, hatred of Conservatives.  Now, I didn’t vote Conservative, but I don’t automatically go off at the deep end because we have a Conservative majority.   Listen,  we can all recount stories of people we know who are on benefits, myself included.  There’s obviously cases of real need and thank God we have the welfare state to provide for them.  I wouldnt give food vouchers.  What I would do is issue a prepaid visa card.  There would be no stigma.  However, these cards could only be used for essentials.  Regarding the white goods, surely it wouldn’t be too difficult to have a scheme where the government could recycle and service second hand machines? I tell you this, my washing machine broke down on Christmas Eve and despite having a decent job I couldn’t afford to go out and just buy another.   I had to rely on family for a short term loan.  However, my unmarried, single, unemployed cousin could easily just phone up and have her washing machine, which coming from John Lewis on the government tab is probably better than mine,  fixed or replaced.  I think there’s a number of unmarried couples, including single mothers, who are very competent at playing the system. Perhaps this is a place to explore cuts and restore some sort of deterrent for having babies outside of marriage.    My final point is this.  There are jobs out there.  There’s no need for anyone to be unemployed long term.  Low paid jobs are better than no jobs.

        Sent from my Samsung device

        Editor: I found this in the moderation queue for some reason after closing down the thread. There is no “tribal” hatred of Conservatives, at least not from me and I couldn’t detect any hatred in Fidelis’ post either. For myself, I certainly have a hatred of the injustice which arises out of their nasty attacks on the poor, and the mentality which would condemn people to low paid jobs rather than insist on fair wages by employers, yes, but please do not make accusations that you cannot substantiate. I am cynical about all politicians for very good reason, not just the Conservatives, although I’ve yet to meet a poor one.

        Now, I am letting this through as it will go into place at whatever point you responded (I suspect after Fidelis) but the thread remains closed and my resolve not to have political discussions again is now set in stone. Please do not attempt to continue this divisive discussion on any other thread. All and any such comments will be deleted as soon as I see them. That’s what they call “fair warning.”

        May 8, 2015 at 8:06 pm
      • editor

        Fidelis,

        “White goods means washing machines, fridges, that sort of essential appliances.”

        Thanks for that – I’ve never heard the term before. I feel very sad when the minority (as you rightly point out) of cheats are used to denounce the majority of people claiming benefits, who are people in genuine need. In my view, if people know of real cheats, they should ring the authorities (you don’t even need to give your name, as far as I know – real Communist tactic!) and let them get to the truth of it. That beats branding – or appearing to brand – everyone on benefits as being scroungers.

        Anyway, I’m going to have to close the thread down now, because I did, as I threatened, sit up half the night watching the results coming in and now I need to catch up with my beauty sleep. Say nothing 😀

        May 8, 2015 at 9:41 pm
  • pew catholic

    Regarding the election results, I’m deeply concerned that Scotland is now a one-party state. I keep remembering that the Nazis started out by being democratically elected, and while I certainly don’t see Nicola Sturgeon as another Hitler, there is a disturbing element of violence among SNP supporters, as shown when they recently brought Jim Murphy’s campaign event to a halt. Already I feel the need to keep quiet about my non-SNP views.

    Balance is needed in politics, and I hope a reasonably strong opposition party, of whatever hue, emerges soon.

    May 8, 2015 at 8:10 pm
    • Petrus

      That’s a very good point.  I echo the editor’s comment that lots of prayers are needed. 

      Sent from my Samsung device

      May 8, 2015 at 8:12 pm
    • editor

      Pew Catholic

      You don’t see Nicola Sturgeon as “another Hitler”? Really?

      Well, there’s a gap in politics now with no Labour Party in Scotland, so maybe you can get to work and provide us with an alternative for next time. You’ve got five years. Ready, steady, GO!

      N O T I C E . . .

      I am now closing the thread down (for a second time today!)

      Let’s pray very hard for the future of the UK. It’s about all we can do, now!

      May 8, 2015 at 9:44 pm

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