Saturday, 15 September 2018

Working for or against Justin ?

I have to ask the question because after the Archbishop of Canterbury  (ABC) spoke out against the loan company WONGA in the Summer of 2014 it transpired that the Church of England held shares in it. We were told then that the Ethical Investment Advisory Group were going to tighten things up to prevent any such embarrassment (although recall reading a paper which claimed the CofE might still be getting money from military, tobacco and other 'approved' investments).

Seems that Justin and others have differing ideas about what's 'ethical' - especially after his robust (and in my view 'spot on') speech to the Annual Conference of the Trades Union Congress (TUC) in which he denounced Amazon (and other companies) for their lax morality as made apparent by their corporate greed and the oppressive stance taken against their workforces.

“When vast companies like Amazon and other online traders — the new industries — can get away with paying almost nothing in tax, there is something wrong with the tax system!”
How good it is to find the man at the top of the CofE getting stuck in and preaching it as it should be preached, for after all, the Bible tells us that, "The love of money is surely the root of all kinds of evil." (1 Tim 6.10)

It was quoted that last year's tax bill for Amazon was £1.7M (against a profit of £72.4M) - that's about 2.4% if my maths head is working: About a tenth of the basic tax rate for low end earners!

So applause for Justin as he draws our attention to the naughtiness of Amazon. But before the applause dies down there's a  small voice crying out, "There's one small problem!"

No, it's not an Old Testament prophet  - it's the voice of someone who has noticed that the CofE has shares in Amazon and so Amazon's amazing profits produce dividends which end up in the very self-same organisation's coffers that the man drawing attention to them is leading.

Once again we have a massive case of apparent hypocrisy - the left-hand not knowing what the right-hand is doing (which at least is biblical) - or an indication that the investment people and the ABC  are singing from different song sheets!

A news item reporting on this matter claimed that the CofE had 'massive' investments (that's a few million to you and me) in Amazon. So once again the CofE, and Justin, is given a badge emblazoned with the word 'hypocrite' flashing brightly on it.

Now I don't think he is - so this is sad, but then again the various horrible bits of reporting of sexual abuse and other stuff that has pinned the badge on the CofE, former ABCs, Justin himself and bishops just too many times of late. Is it any wonder that the CofE stock is so low with so many people? Or any surprise that the young people apparently struggle to find anything credible in us (the CofE)?

I am certain that the Christian message has lost none of its integrity or attraction.

I feel fairly certain that Justin is a good bloke with a lack of support from some.

But I am also certain that we cannot keep shooting ourselves in the foot with the covering up of wrong, the shooting of the wounded the CofE has wounded, the making of a (correct) stand only to find that the CofE is in bed with the people Justin is denouncing.

I know we need to get good returns from investments held - that's how things get paid for - but it seems that those who invest are doing their job according to the financial world's standards and not Justin's (or God's)?

Time to get the man at the top and the people in the banking chambers in agreement and while they're at it, perhaps they could have a word with those who have dealt so wrongly with the victims of abuse and other excesses too.

Then Just can speak with assurance and authority when he sticks his head above the parapets!

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