More religious leaders attack New Labour’s worship of the super-rich

Strong words from Church of England bishops on New Labour’s devotion to the neoliberal agenda pioneered by the Tories under Thatcher and Major.

Clearly, many people expected Brown to be more moderate than Blair with regards to serving the oligarchy.

Blair was more vocally religious – in reality neither part of “Christian socialist” could be truthfully applied to him.

Brown however has a religious background so it’s no wonder that a great many people of faith expected him to practice self-criticism rather than defend the legacy of Thatcher, Major, and Blair.

From The Morning Star:

Bishops: New Labour is morally corrupt
(Sunday 28 December 2008)

FURIOUS bishops delivered a damning assessment of new Labour’s record in power on Sunday, branding the government “morally corrupt.”

Five senior figures from the Church of England warned that Britain was suffering from family breakdown, an addiction to debt and a growing gap between rich and poor.

The bishops of Durham, Winchester, Manchester, Carlisle and Hulme accused ministers of squandering their opportunity to transform society and pursuing “scandalous” policies.

The interventions, in separate interviews, followed the Archbishop of Canterbury’s extraordinary public attack on new Labour last week.

Rowan Williams said that Gordon Brown’s plans to spend more in order to tackle the recession were like an “addict returning to the drug” and suggested that the economy had been going in the wrong direction for decades.

Bishop of Durham Tom Wright berated ministers for not doing enough to help the poor since 1997.

“Labour made a lot of promises, but a lot of them have vanished into thin air,” he said.

“We have not seen a raising of aspirations in the last 13 years, but, instead, there is a sense of hopelessness.

“While the rich have got richer, the poor have got poorer. When a big bank or car company goes bankrupt, it gets bailed out, but no-one seems to be bailing out the ordinary people who are losing their jobs and seeing their savings diminished.”

Bishop of Manchester Nigel McCulloch bashed new Labour for encouraging people to get further into debt.

“The government has acted scandalously. This is not just an economic issue but a moral one. It’s about what we value,” he said.

“The government believes that money can answer all of the problems and has encouraged greed and a love of money that the Bible says is the root of all evil.

“It’s morally corrupt because it encourages people to get into a lifestyle of believing they can always get what they want.”

Bishop McCulloch said that the government was guilty of pursuing the same policies championed by Margaret Thatcher.

“Both administrations have been beguiled by money. It’s ironic that, under a Labour government, we have the poor feeling they have been betrayed and the gap is getting ever greater.

“Any government of integrity would have exercised restraint, but this has been sadly lacking.”

Church leaders in Christmas criticism of “free” market

Credit is due to Cardinal Cormac Murphy-O’Connor, leader of the Roman Catholic Church in England and Wales:

“Christianity neither condemns nor canonises the market economy – it may be an essential element in the conduct of human affairs.

“But we have to remember that it is a system governed by people, not some blind force like gravity.

“Those who operate the market have an obligation to act in ways that promote the common good, not just in ways that promote the interests of certain groups.”

Admitting he was “no expert” in economics, he said he was unable to “ignore the damaging consequences of volatile financial markets” on his fellow human beings.

The Cardinal is clearly not an expert, as he freely admits, but his sincere comments are welcome.

To stop the deepening economic crisis and ensure it is not repeated, we need to extend democratic control into the economy, empowering workers to make decisions within and between enterprises. This means an reversal of privatisation, and a proliferation of worker co-operatives in place of joint-stock corporations. it is apparent to people that the super-rich have no morality, and they must give up their power over our economy.

And credit is due to Archbishop Rowan Williams, leader of the Church of England, who has also been critical of the market madness. He urged solidarity with victims of the recession in his Christmas message:

“In the months ahead it will mean in our own country asking repeatedly what is asked of us locally to care for those who bear the heaviest burdens in the wake of our economic crisis – without waiting for the magical solution, let alone the return of the good times.”