What next, Archbishop?

Lewesians have been mixing religion and politics for centuries, so I’d be interested to know what they thought of Dr Rowan Williams’s New Statesman editorial. His main beef was that coalition reforms lacked democratic legitimacy. Conscious of the baleful brevity fascists, I shall crack straight on, with my suggestions for the Archbishop’s next outing.

Let’s start by identifying what we like least. A 2009 YouGov Poll asked the question what would you most like to cut, (people were allowed to pick up to three). Top of the un-pops, was ‘payments to international bodies eg the UN and EU’, with 72 percent. As points of comparison, child benefit got 7 percent, police 3 percent, schools 2 percent.

Now, what with the IMF bail out fund, the £8bn if Greece defaults, and the £5bn already committed in loan guarantees to Latvia and Hungary, the British taxpayer could lose a total of £23bn saving the euro.

Remember, as YouGov reported this year, 47 percent actually want Britain to leave the EU altogether compared to 33 percent who want to stay in. Democratic deficit anyone?

In at number two, in the same poll, came ‘overseas aid’ with 67 percent. In fact we are increasing overseas aid to 0.7 percent of GDP (£12bn.) by 2013. This colossal sum is greater than the entire Home Office Budget including that spent on policing. It makes us the largest per capita lady bountifuls in the G8.

When we are navigating, with justifiable nervousness, between the Scylla of low aggregate demand and the Charbydis of losing market confidence, it is economic self harm beyond sane comprehension.

Under the Labour government, 5.2 million foreign immigrants arrived in the UK while 2 million left. In 2010, YouGov polled 83 percent of people who wanted to see a cap on immigration. Some 80 percent wanted to see more illegal immigrants deported. Countless surveys showed with wonderful clarity that this policy was loathed and yet it went on for years.

Plenty for the Bish to get his teeth into next time then. I look forward to it.

The third least-liked spending, by the way, was ‘Environmental’, but I’m out of time, so I’ll leave that unmandated elitist imposition to Dr Williams.

Paul Newman,