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Wednesday, 24 July 2013 00:00

Archbishops out of touch

Archbishops, eh? Stand around waiting for them to say something and then two come along at once.

Within 24 hours of each other we have seen two aspects of the contradictory Church of England.

Archbishop of York John Sentamu condemning the abuses of the capitalist system at the same time as his boss the Archbishop of Canterbury bemoans the "lynch mob" attitude against bankers following their collapse of the financial system - only to be bailed out with hundreds of billions of our cash.

The church hierarchy historically has been a pillar of Establishment control over ordinary people, while at the grass roots there have been and remain some fantastic examples of socialism in action.

By defendingthe cosseted City types who have paved the way for growing poverty for the rest of us, forced through by our uber-Tory government, it seems that former oil exec Archbishop Welby takes his lead firmly from the church's traditional role.

At the same time Archbishop Sentamu, who may be congratulated for speaking out on economic injustice, cannot find it within himself to love his whole flock.

Sentamu is on the conservative wing in social terms, openly opposing homosexuality, while Welby, who has at least spoken against homophobia, has placed himself on the Tory wing when it comes to economic justice.

These two top Christian clerics go a long way towards explaining why the Anglican establishment has lost the iron grip it once wielded over people's lives.

Out in the cold

Age UK's report on the dire state of elderly people living in rural communities sadly comes as no surprise.

What's more shocking than the lack of country bus services, which were axed following deregulation, rising heating bills, which have shot up since privatisation, and limited health and social care, which face an even greater squeeze due to government-ordered council cuts and NHS "efficiency" savings, is the fact that older people are among those told to "share the pain" by the rest of the media.

Their crime, apparently, is having qualified for a pension that retrospectively looks generous given the downward pressure on working people who now face absolute poverty later in life.

Equally shocking is the relative silence elsewhere in the political arena when it comes to this blatant exercise in divide and rule between young and old, working and retired.

We all get old and deserve dignity and a well-earned rest when we do. While Labour's at least put forward a proposal for a national care service, this is only part of the problem.

Decent public transport, fair energy prices and proper integrated health and social care can only come when the profit motive is banished outright.

Rather than running around scared of their own shadows for fear of a right-wing media backlash, Labour should be going into the next election with practical solutions that do what they say on the tin - and confront the obvious failure of policies over the past 30 years.

It ain't rocket science.

Posh baby

Around 2,000 babies are born in Britain every day. Each and every one deserves an equal start in life.

The fawning over the impending arrival of the latest Windsor progeny - which will not be reported beyond these three sentences in the Morning Star - is a reminder of precisely how far we have to go to ensure that this is the case.

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