Niall Cooper: The missing election issues
As I write, the outcome of the general election is far from clear. So, if a Green/SNP/Plaid Cymru coalition sweeps to power on a joint pledge to abolish inequality within 100 days, you can safely ignore everything below. Failing that…
Have you been turned on or turned off by the general election campaign? Has it hit your buttons, or did you press the off button on the TV and radio, and stop reading the papers weeks ago?
Even before the election campaign proper got started, the Churches were simultaneously under attack and praised for speaking out in favour of the “common good”. “Get your noses out of politics!” was the familiar refrain from some quarters. But in the words of Archbishop John Sentamu: “For Jesus, the head of Caesar may be on the coin, but all things belong to God. So giving must be first to the Lord and Caesar may get what God permits Caesar to take! To suggest that some areas of life are off-limits for the Almighty is at best ignorant and at worst heretical.” That said, there do still seem to be some topics which remain heretical even for Churches to discuss.
I am always interested in the issues that don’t appear in election debates, and the questions which politicians choose not to ask. Take, for example, the issue of welfare. We’re all too aware that the benefits bill is said to be “out of control”. Politicians and newspapers have been telling us this for years. But who would have known that almost half of the “benefits bill” actually goes to pensioners, and that unemployment benefits spent on the so called “shirkers” account for less than 2.5 pence in every pound of welfare spending?..
This is an extract from the May 2015 edition of Reform.