What the foodbank debate tells us

Stephen_Timms_portrait.jpgBy Stephen Timms MP, Chair of Christians on the Left

 

The debate about foodbanks exposes the dark secret at the heart of this government: they just don't care.

Asked about the growth of foodbanks, David Cameron always gives the same reply: that demand for foodbanks went up tenfold under Labour. He is implying that things are no worse now than before the election.

The facts, however, tell a different story. One of the reasons the extraordinary Trussell Trust has proved so irksome to government is that it keeps meticulous statistics. And it refuses to suppress them.

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Ed Miliband sends a message of thanks to Christians in the UK

Ed Miliband today sent a message of thanks to Churches and Christian agencies in the UK.

In it, he commends the work being done by faith groups around the nation in foodbanks, with the homeless, disadvantaged and vulnerable. He went on to mention climate change, international development and social justice.  You can see the message here:

 

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Biblical reflection on Christians on the Left

Christians on the Left: Parliamentary Launch Reflection

Tuesday 5th November 2013

 

COTL_Cross.pngActs 11:19-26
19 Now those who had been scattered by the persecution that broke out when Stephen was killed travelled as far as Phoenicia, Cyprus and Antioch, spreading the word only among Jews. 20 Some of them, however, men from Cyprus and 

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A post-liberal political economy for Labour

 A Post-Liberal Political Economy for Labour*

Blue Labour, Catholic Social Thought and the ‘Civil Economy’ Alternative

 

 ‘Ever since the Thatcher era, British politics has been defined by forms of economic and social liberalism. The right won the argument for the former and the left the argument for the latter, or so it is said. Yet in the post-crash era, this ideological settlement is beginning to fracture. 

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They came expecting fireworks

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Christians on the Left, the new name for the Christian Socialist Movement, was formally launched in a packed room at the Houses of Parliament on November 5th.  

It was quite a night to be in that famous old building.  Drawing inspiration from the most famous anti-parliamentary activism of all time, an anarchist demonstration was noisily protesting in Whitehall and Parliament Square at the same time.  Numerous fireworks, aimed in the direction of Parliament, emerged from the sea of Guido Fawkes masks and exploded colourfully in the night sky around Big Ben.   

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No room at the inn - the bedroom tax up close and personal


Andy_Flannagan_Shoot0108.jpgFor the last four years my wife Jen and I have been trying to help build community on our council block in South London. It has been a long road, but a fantastic one. 

As part of our desire to actually DWELL in our block rather than just use it as a base, we knew we would need some rhythms to stop us sliding into box-set selfishness. We were inspired by an incredible bunch of folks we met in Australia called ‘Urban Neighbours of Hope’ (www.unoh.org) who have a rhythm whereby every week they eat a meal at some point with some folks in their immediate locality. We thought we probably won’t manage once a week, but we could manage once a fortnight. 

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Will Hutton speaks to Christians on the Left

While Christians on the Left were at conference, we had the good fortune to be able to interview Will Hutton after he spoke at one of our events. He spoke about the banking sector and the financial disaster of 2008. Is now the perfect time to rethink how the whole system works? He also spoke specifically on the financial transaction tax. It's a fascinating video and well worth watching! 

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You pay to play the game

Chapter 5 of Nehemiah is an uneasy read for city bankers. The prophet-turned-whistleblower Nehemiah hears complaints from poor borrowers and immediately takes action: gathering citizens together, he publicly challenges the moneylenders, demanding that they pay back in full the interest they have extorted from their “own people”. The poor argue that the moneylenders are “of the same flesh and blood as the rest of our people”, and “our children are as good as theirs”. But the bankers had forgotten who they were lending to: they had forgotten their brothers and sisters, fellow humans under the same God.
 
Today’s financial industry is not dissimilar:

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Now is the time for Christians on the Left

jonKuhrt.jpgNext week, the Christian Socialist Movement will officially launch its name: Christians on the Left.   

This is a very significant step in the story of Christian influence on the left-wing of British politics.  The history of Christian Socialism is a rich and deep tradition which had a massive influence in shaping the Labour movement.  Rather than a departure from this tradition, this name change is in keeping with it.  It enables the movement to move with the times and communicate in a way people can connect with.  Christians on the Left offers a great opportunity to deepen and sustain a faith-inspired commitment to social justice in UK politics.

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Still Christian, Still Socialist - But Starting Where The Voters Are

The Christian Socialist Movement is about to change its name.  In a postal ballot over the summer, members voted overwhelmingly to change the name to ‘Christians on the Left’.  The vote follows an almost unanimous endorsement at our COTL_Cross.pngAGM and over a year of consultation and debate.  The outcome of this extensive democratic process is a name change that is good not only for the Christian Socialist Movement (CSM) but also for the Labour Party.

Christian Socialism is a noble tradition within the Labour Party and it predates it.  We can date the origins back to at least 1848.  The driving force of Christian Socialism is a belief in equality; that we are all made in the image of God. Inspired by faith in Jesus Christ and by his example, Christian Socialists aim to relate to each other in that light, knowing we are of equal worth.  From this flows a strong and active commitment to social justice and the alleviation of poverty.  Christian Socialism came about because church people, active in their communities, realised that charity was only one part of the solution to inequality.  Political change was required.  Christian Socialists have pushed for government action to promote social and economic change to move us closer to a more equal society.

 

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