1990s >> 1996 >> no-1098-february-1996

Sting in the Tail: The C of E and reality

The C of E and reality
A Church of England vicar in Hertfordshire caused uproar by telling children “that neither Santa Claus nor the Tooth Fairy was real” (Independent, 18 December).

The Rev’s job is safe, though, because his flock has forgiven him.

  “And there was support for him from the Right Rev David Jenkins, the controversial former Bishop of Durham who, writing in today’s Independent, agrees that the teachings of Christianity would benefit from the separation of fairytale from reality.”

Would it really? If all the fairytales about life after death, heaven and hell, virgin births, devils, angels, holy ghosts, etc. were separated from the teachings of Christianity what would be left?

AWL backs a loser
Like fleas on a dog, would-be Bolsheviks have for over fifty years been hanging onto the Labour Party.

The latest group is the Alliance for Workers Liberty (AWL) which is totally obsessed with Labour which it sees, despite that party’s anti-working class history, as being worthy of support because they can “win significant support for socialist ideas inside the party”. What they mean by “socialist ideas” may be gauged from their approval of the misnamed Socialist Campaign Group of Labour MP’s.

At election times the AWL actively works for Labour to the farcical extent of delivering into working-class homes literature full of ideas and policies which they themselves condemn!

Of course, Tony Blair is their arch-villain and is denounced as a “grinning idiot”. Perhaps he is grinning because he is thinking “How can I lose when even opponents will be working and voting for me? With enemies like these, who needs friends?”

Shouldn’t each AWL member be asking themselves just who is the idiot there?

Circumstances alter attitudes
Francis Lee and Alan Ball, chairman and manager of Manchester City FC, have been complaining about “over-paid”, under-talented stars” (Manchester Evening News, 16 December).

Said Lee, “We are talking about people with Frank Sinatra’s tastes and Frank Spencer’s voice”, while Ball yearned for the days when managers could “hit players in the pocket” by dropping them.

So top players, and it is only those at the top, are taking advantage of a favourable market, but Lee and Ball must know that British football’s biggest stars were paid a pittance until the abolition of the maximum wage, and they should remember how short players’ careers can be, so why shouldn’t they cash in while they can?

Anyway, football’s chairmen and managers were saying much the same about players when Lee and Ball were in their prime in the 60s and 70s, but did that stop the pair going for the best possible deals they could get?

“Dearer” means “cheaper”
For years the package holiday industry has been increasing and then decreasing the prices and the number of holidays in its brochures in futile attempts to anticipate the market.

Last summer’s heatwave helped make 1995 a disaster, and the industry engaged in a ruinous price-war which sent profits into a tailspin. To avoid a repeat of this, the industry’s giants, Thomson’s, Airtours and First Choice, have cut summer ’96 holidays by 10 percent and upped brochure prices by around 17 percent.

First Choice’s chief executive Francis Baron claimed that this means the industry is “set for a bumper year”, but advance bookings are 30 percent down on 12 months ago, and in a desperate move to drum up business the big three have announced discounts bigger than the price increases!

Yet another price-war is underway, and the package holiday industry remains a prime example of the anarchy of the market in action.

A ducal visit
Those sanctimonious old Tories who prate on about “Victorian values” must have been touched by the Duke of Westminster’s proposed Xmas visit to the Liverpool as reported in the Observer (24 December).

The Duke, reported to have a £2 billion fortune, will take his wife and two eldest daughters from his Eaton Hall estate near Chester to visit drug addicts on the streets of Liverpool.

It is not only backwoods Tories who are impressed by this. Dr Sue Ruben of Liverpool’s Drug Service also applauds the visit:

“Many of my clients have very low self-esteem and anything that gives them a sense of worth, even a short visit by a Duke, is worthwhile.”

How a visit by one of the richest men in Britain will give a “sense of worth” to desperate workers living in hostels is beyond our comprehension. A “sense of rage” should be nearer the mark.

Causes of war
Socialists are forever pointing out that all modern wars are fought over markets, trade routes, military bases and other economic concerns. Defenders of capitalism, on the other hand, like to imagine that wars are fought over ideologies like, freedom, democracy, self-determination and other high-sounding ideals.

Radovan Karadzic, leader of the Bosnian Serbs, commenting on the recent “peace” deal is quoted in the Independent on Sunday (31 December) as saying:

  “I can say we achieved half our goal— we have half of Bosnia, more than 40 cities and some good land.”

Well, who has got it right? The socialists or the defenders of capitalism? And how much of a “peace” deal is it, when half of Bosnia is only half of Karadzic’s goal?