Jesus vs George

April 8, 2012 2:20 pm

The Sunday Trading (London Olympic Games and Paralympic Games) Bill has had its first reading in the House of Lords on March 28th. The second reading is scheduled for April 24th and the government hopes that it will be passed and receive Royal Assent at the beginning of May.

When the policy was announced George Osborne said that “there might be lessons to be learnt.” He’s a clever man, George. There’s an election in a couple of years and a few hours extra trading every week for the next two years wouldn’t do the numbers any harm.

Memorably, this was the issue on which Thatcher was handed her only Parliamentary defeat – and that by a strange alliance of traditionalist Tories and the Labour Party, often behind Liberal MP David Alton. They joined a campaign which included the churches, unions and – let’s not forget – a good number of small businesses. In the event of Osborne et al pushing for permanent deregulation, would this alliance be reassembled? It’s certainly more difficult to imagine now. Uneasy relationships with the Unions makes it hard to see Labour taking up ‘a workers’ cause’ with gusto, especially in cases which are seen to be against the interests of the broader public.

More importantly, Party sentiment is ever more socially liberal. It is fairly obvious that there are millions of people who do shop on Sunday, so on exactly what basis should they be prevented from doing so? Well, there are lots of un-religious reasons – for instance, it’s one of the few times when local corner/convenience stores hold any conceivable advantage over the big supermarkets. Even so, it feels authoritarian. Given the sharpness of the debate on gay marriage, there will be plenty of members who will be nervous about joining a campaign tinged with religious rhetoric – just another chance for the churches to try and dictate what people should and shouldn’t be doing, only this time with Labour’s help?

Since it’s Easter, it’s worth reflecting on the fact that Jesus was actually rather lax on the issue of the observance of the Jewish Sabbath. The Gospels have him scandalising his contemporaries by performing healings, or allowing his disciples to pick ears of corn. In Hebrew, Sabbath simply means ‘stop’ – it is a practice founded on the view that on the seventh day of creation God did exactly that, and human beings should do likewise. After one of these Sabbath day controversies, Jesus insisted “My Father is always at his work to this very day.” The Jewish Sabbath (Saturday) and the ‘Lord’s Day’ (Sunday – preferred by Christians because of the day of Jesus’ resurrection) are actually quite different things. The one acknowledges God and humanity at rest, the other celebrates that God is at work.

So, from a religious point of view, what’s the problem? It’s still oddly embarrassing when you run into one of your co-religionists in ASDA after the service, but nothing more (unless you happen to be reading this in the Western Isles). The issue is actually more complex than that, and in my mind is a symbolic debate for Labour, similar to the proposal last year to sell off England’s forests. It’s about the limits of the market, and the raison d’être of the party in the 21st century.

Fifty years ago, the normative experience of a Labour supporter was that of a worker-citizen. The Labour Party existed, in alliance with the unions, to defend his or her interests. Resistance of the market meant placing limits on the amount of work that the economy could demand, and ensure that the worker received a fair share of the profits generated. Now, the normative experience is of a consumer-citizen. The logic of the financial-sector-led, post-industrial economy is not primarily that most people should be engaged in as much productive work as possible, but rather that they should consume as many goods and services, by borrowing if necessary. Industrial output is reported with less pathos than the number of barbecues bought during a major football tournament, or sales of unwanted gifts at Christmas. In this economy, there is precious little ‘rest’ (Sabbath in the Jewish sense) or time for celebration (Sabbath in the Christian sense). There’s only work and ‘leisure’ which, at best, is becoming synonymous with being entertained and, at worst, disappearing underneath the wall to wall task of consumption.

When Christians worry vaguely about ‘consumerism’, it is these changes to which they are sensitive. Generally, I think that life before de-regulation of Sunday trading was both a little harder (if a moderate level of inconvenience can be called hard), but better. I can remember a time when there was absolutely no prospect of ending up in a supermarket, which for a child was not at all unhappy. But this is not a Monty Python-esque ‘back in my day’ argument. The question at play is, in the face of market logic and the idolisation of choice, does Labour offer any account of the good life?

So, there’s still the task of offering a voice for the hundreds of thousands of shop workers who’ll be obliged to work longer hours. We’re not talking about Christians, though even they have had little success when they have sought in the courts to be allowed not to work on Sundays. Rather, this is about ‘hard working families’, which all political parties claim rhetorically to support. In straightened times, one tangible benefit they could be afforded is the possibility of a shared day off.

But then there’s the task of relieving the consumer, or at least acknowledging that people are not simply or only consumers, and therein imagining that there are other economic options. It’s the consumption-led growth model that has been the problem, and to persist with it surely offers no solution. There’s only so much money to be squeezed out of stagnant wage packets in a stagnant economy. Or perhaps George wants to force the public back into the arms of cheap and not-so-cheap credit? If that’s what higher consumer confidence means, who needs it?

It’s de rigueur to frown on any attempt to ‘restrict choice’ – mainly because choice is treated as the highest good, even above the freedom which it points to. An alliance against deregulation of Sunday trading would not be alliance of those who want to constrain choice, but of those who think that the markets might impose limits on freedoms, and thus should be regulated.

Or as Jesus would say to George, “the economy is made for people, not people for the economy”.

  • SamanthaBrick

    Surely puns about Gideon’s bible are needed here?

    • Dave Postles

       Or fundamentalist economics – Osborne Again Neo-liberalism

  • Brumanuensis

    I can’t help but feel that this is exactly the sort of issue that ought to be devolved to local authorities. In the Western Isles they’ll say no and elsewhere yes. Personally I’m agnostic – no pun intended – and I can’t really say that it makes commercial or popular logic to reserve Sunday as a day of restricted hours. There are better ways of persuading people to value rest and tranquility, and the extra hours wouldn’t hurt workers looking to earn a bit more.

    Incidentally, my local Tesco switched a fortnight ago to standard hours on a Sunday. Can anyone explain this?

    • ovaljason

      All to do with shop square footage. My big Tesco has restricted hours on Sunday  But it’s okay as the 6 (six, count them) Tesco Metros within 1 mile of my house are open all day.

      “In 1994 the Government introduced the Sunday Trading Act, which enabled large shops (over 280 sq m/3, 000 square foot) to open up the purpose of serving retail customers for up to 6 continual hours on Sunday, between 10am and 6pm in England and Wales. Small shops (under 280 sq m) have no restrictions on opening.”

      • Brumanuensis

        That’s what I thought, but given that it’s a Tesco Metro and didn’t look to have more than 280 sq m of area, I’m surprised the restrictions were previously in place. Hmm.

  • GuyM

    If people want to work on Sundays then let them

    If people want to shop on Sundays then let them

    If people want to go to church on Sundays then let them

    If people want to eat large roast dinners, drink a couple of beers and fall asleep on the sofa in front of a good film on Sundayds then let them.

    In other words let people make their own minds up and stop trying to force people into moral choices just because one group or another like them over other choices.

    I am heartily sick to death of do-gooders, socialists, community-leaders and all the other self advertising bores who think they have a superior view of what people should or should not do with their lives.

    • John Ruddy

      But what about people who dont want to work on Sundays?

      What about those small shopkeepers whose livelihoods are affected by the big stores opening?

      • JoeDM

        I hate working on Mondays, but I have to !

      • GuyM

        I see, so big stores shouldn’t be allowed to open as the public are too stupid in that they might chose to shop in them?

        How about we force all those big stores to shut completely, then the small shopkeepers would be happy?

        Or maybe allow free competition and let people shop where they want to without political interference?

        If you work in an industry that has had weekend and Sunday working for decades you can only wonder at the squeals of lefties over Sunday hours.

    • AlanGiles

      The problem is, it is not just the people who “want to work on Sundays” that have to do so.

      My next door neighbour is on a zero hours contract with Tesco and if she is called in on a Sunday she is bound to go.

      Quite recently I was talking to an Asda employee, and he told me that their work rota is made up so that they have to work on a Saturday or Sunday – they don’t get the option of one day over the other, it is what is on the rota that monthg. Of course, the WalMart “family” doesn’t encourage dissent – or unions.

      If it was a genuinely free choice that is OK but the fact is, given the highest unemployment rates for 17 years and over-large companies flexing their muscles, they hold the whip hand.

      • http://twitter.com/gonzozzz dave stone

        ” the fact is, given the highest unemployment rates for 17 years and over-large companies flexing their muscles, they hold the whip hand.”

        That’s the reality of life in Cameron’s Britain. According to the National Institute of Economic and Social Research the economy only managed growth of 0.1% in the first three months of the year. And on the radio this morning recession is predicted for the second quarter – because of bank holidays!

        The Tories have gifted us the most fragile economy in living memory – a sneeze would probably result in 5,000 being thrown out of work.

        • GuyM

          0.1% growth compared to recession under Brown?

          With the pre 2010 election growth only based upon a pre-election splurge of money that even Labour admitted couldn’t be continued post election.

          Basically Brown tried to buy the 2010 election by covering up the state of affairs with a give away of state spending that left everyone worse off a year or two later.

          • http://twitter.com/gonzozzz dave stone

            Come, come now Guy, I know you live in a fantasy world but, please, endeavour to maintain some semblance of reality, at least while communicating with others.

            Time to give up on your trumpeting of the virtue of failed neo-liberal economics and your attempts to prevent opposition with a flimsy assemblage of staw-men.

            The writing is on the wall, read the facts and weep, old chum.

            http://socialisteconomicbulletin.blogspot.co.uk/2012/01/incredible-shrinking-uk-economy.html 

          • GuyM

            Socialism hasn’t a hope in hell Dave.

            The current economic problems will in time pass, perhaps faster, perhaps slower than forecast, but they will pass and life will go on in the capitalist model we live in.

            There is no desire for a high tax high spend redistributive state and the killer factor for your ideas is the global market and free labour movement.

            Any country starting up a proper socialist system would see the brightest and most talented jump ship pretty quick along with a lot of investment capital.

            If my wife and I are able to chose where we can work, why would we stay in a high tax socialist economy where personal rewards are minimal?

            That’s the reality you socialists face, socialism will only “work” when everyone is bound to the same collective fate, something that the world in the 21st century ensures isn’t enforceable.

          • http://twitter.com/gonzozzz dave stone

            Thanks for proving my point: flimsy straw man: “socialism”.

          • TomFairfax

             So George Osborne’s re-introduction of QE is the sign of a desperate man, or one who got it wrong and is now trying to make amends?

            Of course despite George’s promise to reduce the deficit to nothing, it’s now him who is not going to get even the structural deficit down inthis parliament, and has presided over the National Debt topping a billion.

            Meanwhile those Republican’s who bitterly opposed Obama duplicating Gordon Brown’s policies are now whinging because the growth is only leading to the creation of over a 100 thousand jobs a month.

            Prof David Blanchflower (he who always wanted interest rate increases and against QE when on the Bank of England committee) stated categorically that George Osborne’s experiment is demonstrably a failure.

            Seems economics Professors can admit they were wrong but no one who supports hari kiri coalition economics.

          • http://twitter.com/gonzozzz dave stone

            The continued adherence to the failed economic policies mirrors the continued presence in Afghanistan. Both have the same cause: inept, vainglorious politicians who would rather save face than save the economy or save lives.

          • GuyM

            I agree, we should have simply destroyed the Taliban, from the air if needed and not tried to occupy.

            I’m a great fan for a simple message to unpleasant states, we won’t try to invade you but we will bomb you back to the stone age if need be.

            I’d like to see how the Iranian leadership would cope with having its military and state police assets worn down heavily through the ability to precision bomb them over many months.

            The USA has the ability to win any conventional military conflict it gets into, but it struggles (as everyone does) with counter insurgency and assymetric warfare. So the simplest solution is not to get into nation building.

            Revert back to the old gunboat diplomacy tactic… some tinpot dictator or mullah gets a bit uppity? Go and place for example the US 5th Fleet close by and run a few training scenarios with regional allies.

            This is much how the UK and France dealt with Libya and it worked very well. Boots on the ground are only needed if the ground is to be held, not if the aim is to denude the military assets or ability to fight of an adversary.

            THat’s why the two UK aircraft carriers are so important. Force projection ought to be the main doctrine of the UK military, along with counter- terrorism, in the 21st century.

            Or talk softly and carry a big stick, the big stick being the ability to smash military assets from air and remotely via drones and missiles.

          • GuyM

            The simple fact is Brown tried to bribe the electorate pre 2010.

            Are you saying Darling was wrong when he forecast “cuts worse than Thatcher”?

            As for the rest of it, I’m more thatn happy with dficit reduction if my mortgage rate is kept very low. The biggest tax cut in history is how Osborne’s success at keeping interest rates down shold be seen.

            But Tom, your political side has but one solution for everything, spend more money. Just spend spend spend your way into oblivion.

            You started spending more than you had in receipts in 2002, you’d have us continue like that year after year through the entire economic cycle (despite Keynes saying clearly not to do so) irresepctive of the fact the next generation or two will have to pay for the profligacy of your parties financial mismanagement.

            At some point maybe some of you on the left might learn to live within your means, but I doubt it.

          • TomFairfax

            I’ll grant GB’s persistent extention of the ‘economic cycle’ was an accident waiting to happen, but in the end he was outdone by the banking sector in incompetence.

            The problem Guy is that even George Osborne isn’t doing what you claim to want.

            The difference between him and Alistair Darlinghas become merely the priority for cuts for each department, not the scale, or total.

            The biggest gap in the Treasury is the one between hiw actions and words. The words unfortunately killed business and consumer confidence.

            George has been dragged shouting and screaming back into the real world, albeit one he doesn’t care for, whereas you still wallow in the fantasy one reserved for the pub bore where you can comment without fear of actually having to make the decision, or be found wanting when it turns out to be wrong.

            Little George is a learner, albeit quite a slow one.

            Much as you may hate to comtemplate it, your views on economics have more in common with Karl Marx and Ricardo than the modern world.

            It might be worth you actually stating what you’d want George to concentrate on so that we can see where else you’d fail to fit into the modern Conservative and Unionist Party.

            I do recall you mentioning something about leading your university’s Young Conservatives. Hopefully nothing connected with the grown up Conservative Party’s execution of that grouping.

          • GuyM

            Nope I had nothing to do with the extinction of the YCs, which weren’t anything to do with Universities either by the way.

            The university group I ran was part of the CCF (Conservative Collegiate Forum), which came about after the FCS (Federation of Conservative Students) was closed a few years before me due to right wing nutters.

            It all morphed into Conservative Future with YC and CCF joining.

            The YCs were shut down in part due to number decline but also due to national internal politics as YC constituency chairmen had automatic positions on constituency governing bodies, which the old greybeards and blue rinses of the time didn’t like that level of power being given away to the youth organisation.

            So it was nothing to do with a problem with the YCs and everything to do with Tory party politics at constituency level.

            In terms of economic policy, I’d cut much harder than Osborne is doing. There you are I’ve nailed my colours ot the mast so to speak.

            But welfare, cut red tape, cut tax, cut tax avoidance.

          • TomFairfax

            That’s interesting re: keeping students off constituency party  governing bodies. I’m with the grey beards on that one!

            Economically no surprise.

            I take it then that the current cuts in red tape which amount to 5p saving per company you’d view as disapointing as well.

          • GuyM

            You’re mistaking students and YCs again.

            YCs were Tories up to the age of 30, the majority 21-30 i.e. after having left university.

            The YCs had one position on each constituency committee, with each committee 5 or 6 strong at least.

            That to my mind was quite reasonable and it meant views of younger members was taken into account.

            On the other question, the red tape cuts aren’t going nearly far enough.

      • http://www.facebook.com/profile.php?id=697126564 Paul Halsall

        When did these  “zero hour contracts”  come in?

        Please don’t tell me under new Labour?

        When Labour get’s power again it should ban such abominations.

        [And also, since we are on a Biblical theme here, Labour should promise to close down all the usurious pay day loan companies and make them pay back the money they have extorted from the poor.]

        • AlanGiles

          I honestly don’t know Paul, but I did ask my neighbour how long she had been on one, and she told me it was “about 2 years” – so (sadly) -probably.

        • treborc

           Totally agree with those annoying pay day loans on TV, but Labour were asked to do something about it, said they would then forgot.

          They banned door steps loan sharks but allowed  them to go on TV offering loans at 27000% RPI.

          But I suspect a few quid in the right direction would see  labour slink away by saying they fill a gap in the loans market, as they did with McDonald’s, saying no more fast food outlets nears schools, £30 million donation to grass roots sports and it was dumped.

          • AlanGiles

            ” McDonald’s, saying no more fast food outlets nears schools, £30 million donation to grass roots sports and it was dumped. ”

            I find it amusing in a sickening way to see they are the official fast food merchants for the 2012 Olympics. I can just imagine all those swimmers and athletes munching burgers after every warm-up.

            But of course this great “honour” has allowed them to produce the most vainglorious advertising campaign – you would think they had the goodness of the Red Cross and every other philanthropic organisation in the world. 

          • treborc

            But of course money  will get you into the Labour club, and if your  struggling with a poor degree why not do an apprenticeship of burger turning.

            Money makes the Governments work

          • http://twitter.com/gonzozzz dave stone

            “an apprenticeship of burger turning.”

            In 2009 McDonald were the UK’s largest apprenticeship provider… * Now shelf-stacking apprenticeships have taken the lead**.

            Here’s to Britain’s hi-tech industrial future…

            *http://news.bbc.co.uk/1/hi/education/7815481.stm
            **http://www.morrisons.co.uk/corporate/Media-centre/Corporate-news/Morrisons-become-largest-provider-of-apprenticeships-in-the-UK/

          • Dave Postles

            Pay-day loans.  Beecroft, who was commissioned by the unlamented Hilton, is associated with Wonga.  He recommended the evisceration of employees’ rights.  It looks like Osborne will push for that policy too.

      • GuyM

        If you accept a job in retail then you accept the nature of that business.

        Apply for a role at an organisation that is open 7 days a week and I can’t see that you can be upset if you get work over the 7 days.

        My first job in the leisure industry and all the undergrads applying for jobs over the summer were asked at interview if they accepted having to work Saturdays and Sunday shifts. We did, it was part of the industry and we got on with it.

        I really have no time for those who take jobs in retail, leisure and catering then moan about the realities of those industries.

        Companies employ people, of course they “hold the whip” hand, it’s their money for wages. There is only a rebalancing of power the higher up you go, but that’s the same with any organisation including public sector ones.

        Do you see NHS staff refusing to work weekends? Do hospitals shut down? Certainly I’m aware A&E deaths rise at weekends so maybe the NHS needs to change as well.

        • jaime taurosangastre candelas

          Guy,

          technical point.  Death rises can be associated with weekends, but tend not to occur on the weekend itself (i.e. death is delayed by a few days, thus occurring midweek).  There is a correlation for day of admission but not day of death: +11% for Saturdays and +14% for Sundays.  You also need to understand that in many hospitals instead of being admitted direct to specialist wards (normal Monday-Friday practice), weekend admissions are via A&E and then to the specialist wards.  That single fact allows the Daily Mail to claim that A&E death rates are higher at the weekend, even if death actually occurs on Tuesday in a different department.

          There are any number of reasons for this, all down in the statistical detail and many somewhat controversial between different groups of professional staff.  I am in the camp that believes that whatever the underlying condition A&E and our sister department of MAU are better placed to monitor and react to general conditions, even if we do not have the staff or training to treat conditions specialists do.

          In layman terms, try to fall ill on a weekday when you will go straight to the specialist department, rather than on a weekend when you will probably be processed through A&E.  In A&E you will be cared for by someone who is like a ninja at keeping you alive, but has no knowledge or ability to treat your underlying condition.  For that, you need to wait until the specialist is available on Monday.

          However, various parts of the NHS are certainly considering moving consultant staff in specialist departments to a 7 day working pattern.  That will interrupt their golf, I imagine.  It will mean no change for A&E.

          • GuyM

            Thanks for the information there Jaime, it makes perfect sense and is very useful from a professional capacity as well (shall say no more).

            The Daily Mail ought to be firebombed as far as I’m concerned anyway, this just reinforces that point.

          • jaime taurosangastre candelas

            @ Guy,

            I’m not sure how I have helped you in your professional sphere as I thought you worked in IT and insurance, but if it is useful, here is one of the studies.  Please note that I cannot vouch for this, and only the internal NHS statistics are official and I both cannot nor would not link to them.  However, they tell much the same story.  http://jrsm.rsmjournals.com/content/early/2012/02/01/jrsm.2012.120009.full.pdf+html

            Thinking a little deeper, one of the causes of these statistical findings is how very basic events are recorded on “the system”.  We tend to record events based on admission date, and admitting department.  So if someone is admitted through A&E on a Saturday, and then dies on Wednesday in cardiology, it will be recorded as an A&E death and probably also reported as a weekend death.  It does not bother me much, but for some it is important.  

            As you work on the IT side, I think you will appreciate that “the database” makes these sorts of reports, and does not really reflect what goes on in reality.

          • Peter Barnard

            Good link there, Jaime (Journal of Royal Society of Medicine).

            One of the points made was that the phenomenon described
            (increased risk of death within 30 days following a weekend admission) is
            common to many health systems across the world.

            I don’t recall (although I may be wrong) this being pointed
            out by the usual brigade of NHS-bashers – all that was remarked was, “Don’t
            fall ill at the weekend ,” with the implication that this was yet another NHS
            inadequacy.

             

          • GuyM

            One of those rare occasions I agree with you.

            An organisation the size of the NHS will inevitably have facts and figures that taken out of context can produce very bad PR.

            That there are some happy to dissemble in order to make a political point about the NHS, whether pro or anti, just shows how disreputable politics is in reality.

          • GuyM

            I’ve never worked in insurance Jaime.

            I work across sectors in data, information, intelligence and analytics. I also worked for Connecting for Health, an organisation recently involved in pushing BI and Health Informatics development across NHS trusts.

            My experience of “official” NHS stats is that they are horribly inaccurate in places and riddled with errors (as shown by a news story today on 25,000 “pregnant” men in NHS stats)

            I’m currently mulling over interesting career options that are relevant to this area (as I intend to leave my current role), so the sort of information you provide is a useful anecdote.

    • Steven Macari

      So dose Osborne and the big retail outlets have a superior view.  Anyway I don’t see what is wrong with do-gooders they are much better than do-badders.  Wasn’t Jesus a do-gooder? 

      • GuyM

        What’s wrong with do-gooders?

        Their opinion that they know best and rather than ensure they do that “best” for their own families and leave it at that, they then go and force their views on a whole load of people who really would like nothing more than for them to pss off.

        Some of the people in retail (I know this from my time at JLP) are quite happy working at weekends, especially the childless ones as it gives them days off in the week.

        If everyone still is able to get a 2 day block off each week and weekend working is voluntary for those who undertake it, then I really can’t see the problem with letting people make their own minds up without do-gooders of CoE evangalists forcing decisions on to us.

        I started work behind a bar and silver service at large events as an undergraduate. That included weekend work each and every week and I was happy with it because that means more money and tips. There are industries, notably leisure and hotcat for whom weekend working is just normal practice and the staff there adapted long ago to managing days working over 7 days.

        Let people make their own choices.

        • Steven Macari

          Leisure and retail also has a very high turnover in staff and a lot of work in this area is temporary.  People work their because they need money and the job is available.  

          TBH I think the so called do-gooders have been in retreat for the past 30 odd years and society has been let loose with selfish, rude and anti social attitudes that do need reversing.  If I want to help change this and I’m called a do-gooder then so what. 

          • GuyM

            Whereas I believe I am perfectly capable of making my own mind up what I decide to do and do not need lectures from “do-gooders” as to how I spend my time, income or social capital.

            You are entitled to regard yourself as a do-gooder if you wish, but you are not entitled to force your view onto others when they would rather that you left them alone.

          • AlanGiles

            “but you are not entitled to force your view onto others when they would rather that you left them alone.”

            At last Guy you have got it!. I think if a vote was taken the readers LL would have exactly that opinion about your constant misanthropic and slfish views which you insist on inflicting on as ull day long.

          • GuyM

            LL by definition is set up to debate differing views.
            However no one is able to force views on anyone else. Not least by the two simple facts of:

            1 Views here are not political policies to be imposed upon electorates, they are no more than ephemeral ideas floating about.

            2 Over the web, the control is in the hands of the reader. You, as everyone else, has the ability to control what you read, including which commentators you look at.

            As I’ve asked before, do you also have trouble with the channel change or off button on your tv remote?

            However, once again I find your hypocrisy most amusing. I’m sure the many Blairites in the Labour party would rather not have your rude, aggressive and insulting opinions on certain Blairite politicians constantly aired on LL.

            And yet you go on and on and on about Blair and Purnell and………….. on and on and on.

          • AlanGiles

            It’s supposed to be a site for people on the left, Guy (and in the opinion of many people on the left Purnell and Blair were   right wing old farts like your goodself).

            I don’t think most of us want to hear about your fantasy life, be it as a professional footballer, captain of industry or a would be Lord Snooty looking down his nose at the rest of us.

            You have repeated to exhuastion your views on the working class, young people,  socialists,  unionists etc and each repitition seems to come along with another set of your ridiculous boasts.

          • TomFairfax

             To be honest Alan, Guy is the best advert for voting ‘anything but Conservative’ I can think of. It’s a good job he isn’t influential or the Tories would have been beating a path to his door years ago to ask him to desist.

            Guy is the one party, one vote candidate.

            But I have a warped sense of humour and it amuses me occasionally how much difficulty he causes others trying to pin him down. He also comes out with some gems.

            You might as well insult a stature.

          • AlanGiles

            You probably have a point, Tom :-)

          • http://twitter.com/gonzozzz dave stone

            The best response is to use his posts as a spring board for your own views – no need to response to them in detail, if at all.

            I hardly ever bother reading them – they’re all the same, if you’ve read one you’ve read them all – just note one or two key words and away you go!

          • GuyM

            Much like yours and other contributors.

            Basically your argument is:

            Public sector good

            Private sector / capitalism bad

            Tax more

            Spend more

            Bigger  welfarism

            NHS brings tears of joy to my eyes

            and drone on in the same way

          • AlanGiles

            I am wondering if he is going to join in our Round the Horne discussion. He could be the musical interlude in the middle – with a track from their new LP “Pinky and Perky Live At Smithfields” it’s  The Frazer Hayes Four! :-)

          • GuyM

            I’m nothing to do with the Tories, so they have no control over me at all.

            I have a general plague on all your houses in terms of national politics. The Tories though are the closest more often than not to where I think politics should be.

            As to the rest of the comment, I can only thank you, as I also take great amusement at watching certain holier than thou left wing commentators twisting in righteous anger over my posts.

          • TomFairfax

            Happy to oblige in this instance.

          • GuyM

            I think you need to look at the “about us” bit on the site.

            It says clearly what LL believes at it’s core, but that the site acts as an OPEN DEBATE on those issues.

            The site is not described anymore as one for people on the left.

            Take it up with Mark if you don’t like it.

            I’d also suggest a whole lot of Labour supporters don’t agree with you on Blair and Purnell, so maybe you should go start a hard left site on your own?

          • AlanGiles

            Well, luckilly Purnell and Blair are now defunct. Blair wouldn’t get out of bed for the money Labour could now offer him, and if Purnell ever considers coming back into Parliament I hope his would be constituents will remember his dishonesty in claiming for non-existant cleaning bills, and for disloyalty in resigning from Cabinet a few hours before the close of the 2009 EU elections – not before tipping off News International in advance.

            We don’t need or want to re-employ shady characters like him.

          • http://twitter.com/gonzozzz dave stone

            “Purnell and Blair are now defunct”

            But their followers within the party (PLP in particular) have considerable influence.

            The oddest, if not perverse, aspect of their thinking is the intention to accept the Cameron/Osborne narrative just as it is becoming obviously discredited!

          • AlanGiles

            True, Dave, but I think this is what will do for them in the end.  Also today, the ghost of Jack Straw rears it’s ugly head with the news his office obliged Libya with a rendition, despite previous denials. On the World At One the normally prolix Jack had “nothing further to say” – if only!.

            I don’t want to sound complacent but give the Blairites enough rope and they will hang themselves.

        • AlanGiles

          What’s wrong with do-gooders?Their opinion that they know best “That’s a bit rich coming from the ever-constant LL poster who tries to give the impression he knows all there is to know about every subject under the sun, and does it all day every day. Pots and kettles, Guy.

          • GuyM

            Ahh but I don’t know best and the mark of knowing more as you get older is the realistion of actually how little you truly know.

            In fact I’m quite clear that my only interest is ensuring a little as possible interference in freedoms is caused by socialists.

            So low tax, small state, libertarian (to a certain extent), low redistribution, low red tape is my “opinion”.

            Do-gooders being the catch all of those wishing to impose their orthodoxy on all of us.

            More than happy if all you wacky socialist want to get together Alan, hand all your assets over voluntarily and live on a commune growing turnips and living in tents. That’s fine, it’s your free choice.

            I take issue with your eternal bleatings about how we’ve all got to be concerned for your pet socio-demographics and be willing to sacrifice for them. No thanks.

          • AlanGiles

            Guy the fact is you have no sympathy or affinity with the left and your consatnt repitition of your hostility and (using your own word) “hatred” of socialism, you have no place on this site.

            You don’t have to come here to be insulted – why don’t you go where you used to go before LL came along to lighten your dull, aimless, pointless, dismal, redundant days.

          • GuyM

            I don’t feel insulted by you Alan, to be insulted you have to regard the views of the person trying to insult as in some way even slightly valid, meaningful or important.

            As I see you as nothing more than a sheep bleating about the failed ideology of socialism, at war even with large trats of his own party, I actually feel pity for you.

            You insults are nothing more than further railing against a system that you can do nothing about.

            I pity you.

          • AlanGiles

            The problem for you Guy, is that I am not the only one who thinks you are a sick joke – I think several LL posters see you as a fantasist, a fraud, a big-mouthed no nothing with delusions of granduer and a selfish little twerp with snobbery slapped on thick with a trowel.

            Better to be a sheep than a polecat – save your “pity”

          • GuyM

            I’d fully expect to have many LL posters anti me.

            Given I am quite clear in my antipathy for all things “socialists” and also very comfortable being in the position I am in life I’d imagine I stand for many things people like yourself get worked up about.

            As for “fantasist”, I’ve yet to tell one single lie about my background or state of affairs. If I was prepared to provide information to verify you’d see so quite clearly. But given your predisposition as a stalker and also the hassle other posters like Jaime have received when trying to veryfy his real life position I don’t feel inclined.

            You really can’t spend your time attacking the various groups you do Alan and not expect the opposite in return. If your pet groups are detested by some then its well deserved in my opinion and people like yourself actually reinforce those feelings.

            I’d rather be the polecate than a sheep personally.

          • AlanGiles

            Perhaps polecat was an unfortunate choice of word. Perhaps I should have said “skunk”

            You dislike socialists yet you keep coming on a left of centre website to say so. I dislike Conservatives but I don’t go on to Conservative Home or the Telegraph  to keep repeating it.

            As to whether what you write about yourself is true or not, we all are entitled to have our own opinion on that score.

          • GuyM

            It’s a website by its own definition running “open debate”.

            I’m part of that open debate. If you only want to debate with those who agree with you, then you have the option of only responding to those people. So I don’t see your problem.

            As to what you believe it is indeed your choice, fortunately those in the know regarding things I’ve done and do would realise it would be very hard for me to make some of what I say up. But you enjoy the comfort of your opinions no the matter as you will.

          • Steven Macari

            You mention the CofE being do-gooders but to many they are not.  Take the issue of gays.  They want to be fully involved in society without discrimination and want to marry and I guess gay Christians would like to have their marriage in  a church before God but the Church, whether CofE or Catholic are mostly against the idea.  Now are the do-gooders in the Church or with the people who want gay marriage to be law?

          • GuyM

            I have no problem with gay marriage per se, but I do believe religions should be free to decide what they allow in their own churches.

            It’s a difference of opinion and one that requires both sides to respect the other.

            Personally I have no problem with the CoE or the Catholics not wanting gay marriage ratified by their churches.

            Equally though, I would have a problem with either the CoE or Catholic church seeking to dictate to society about what gay couples can or can not do regarding marriage outside of the narrow confines of their own religious structures.

            Either way, go-gooders are really not my sort of people. By that you understand  I don’t mean those who “do good” in a quiet and non aggressive selling type way, but mean those who not only seek to do their own version of “good” but seek to coerce or force others to their viewpoints as well.

            For instance, I have no problem with the local CoE Church advertising it’s activities in the local media. I do however have a problem with in your face evangelical moralising, whether that be through CoE wings or the door to door pushiness of groups like the Jehovas.

          • Steven Macari

            I think  a lot of people find in your face evangelical moralising quite intimidating and I personally don’t find them do-gooders but antagonistic haters who cause more harm than good.  

            In my village we are having the spring clean where some local people who do a lot of good for the village arrange for kids to help pick up litter.  These are do-gooders, they are doing good by clearing up other peoples mess but people shouldn’t throw rubbish on the floor in the first place and if these people ask why they throw litter on the ground they are usually resorted to abuse or a shrug of the shoulders. 

          • GuyM

            In the case you give I’d take the side of the little cleaners very strongly and support some hefty fines for those throwing rubbish on the floor.

            But then I view the majority of humanity to be pretty dumb at best and stuck in the narrow confines of their own existence.

            My problem with “litter cleaners” would be if they apply moral pressure to others to help them even if they are not culprits. Time is precious and I’d rather make my own choices what to do with it than be morally pressured by others.

  • Tristan Price-Williams

    No laws restricting trading on Sundays in Scotland, although in the Western Isles it probably wouldn’t be a great idea.

    Elsewhere we have 24/7 shopping in Tesco and Asda. Stores shut only on Xmas day, Boxing day and New Year’s day.

  • Mark Myword

    In the 1950’s – which I remember very well, nothing happened on Sunday. Not only were shops very restricted, there was no paid-for sport or other leisure activities, no theatres, cinema in the late evening only, no fish and chips (the only take away), very restricted pub hours, all public amenities were closed: swimming baths, bowling greens, tennis courts, even the childrens swings, roundabouts and slides were chained up. Now Sunday is a much better day.  Many people work on Sunday – the leisure industries are full of Sunday workers: theme parks, restaurants, pubs, swimming baths, zoos.  It has never been clear to me why a theme park can open unrestricted on Sunday but a Garden Centre cannot. Life styles are changing, and eventually Shops will have unrestricted opening to acknowledge that.

    • http://twitter.com/gonzozzz dave stone

      “nothing happened on Sunday”

      The only relief from the insufferable boredom was provided by those who caused it: the church.

      • Mark Myword

        Yes insufferable boredom; sunday lunchtime on the BBC light programme; ‘Two way family favourites’,  followed by the ‘ Billy Cotton Band Show’ (which always started with him shouting ‘wakey-wakey’ because the entire nation was asleep), followed by Hancox Half Hour (in which, in one episode, he moaned about the tedium of Sunday), followed by a concert of light music on gramophone records, followed by a talk about the incidence of the tse-tse fly in East Africa. My grandchildren think I make this up!! 

        • JoeDM

          Agh…. My childhood Sundays flashing before me. So dreadfully dull. Who wants to go back to that !!!

        • AlanGiles

          Ah but between 1965-1968 there was “Round The Horne” as well (dare I say Julian and Sandy were the prototype of Blair and Mandelson?). And who can forget – much as they might like to – Sing Something Simple which continued on it’s mournful way from 1958 to the death of it’s creator just a few years ago – four singers and an accordionist in search of a tune – if music be the food of love, that was the syrup of figs. You might remember that they used to sing a little flat: that’s because where they came  from they were not allowed anything sharp.

          And in the evening “Your Hundred Best Tunes” non stop 52 weeks a year for fifty years plus.

          A great line from the Hancock show you mention Hancock complaining about Hattie jaques cooking “I thought my mother was a bad cook – but at least her gravy used to move about a bit – yours just sort of lies there and sets”

          – That’s the goodness in it –

          Hancock: “That’s the half a pound of flour you put in it”

          • Dave Postles

            Round the Horne – did we listen to it?  Many times, many, many times.

          • AlanGiles

            Dave – you remember Lady Counterblast (nee’ Beatrice Clissold) as well?

            And how about Dame Celia Molestrangler and ageing juvenille Binkie Huckerback?

            “I know”
            “I know you know”
            “I know you know I know”
            “Yes – I know”.

            These bittersweet moments of gay, carefree  whimsical careless rapture mean more to me than life itself!

          • Dave Postles

             Mark & Alan
            We could solve all these issues with one simple retort: ‘Well, I think the answer lies in the soil …’!!!

          • AlanGiles

            Arthur Fallowfield!. Actually Dave that was Beyond Our Ken, but if you remember he was morphed into J. Peasemould Gruntfuttock, who got more furtive every week. I remember on one occassion he complained to Mr Horne that he was making mock against “a minority group of which I am an esteemed member”. When asked what that group that was he replied “Dirty Old Men!. I am a dirty old man of many years standing – and crouching at the keyhole, and speaking as a dirty old man, Mr Horne, it hurt’s me”

            To which the ever practical Mr Horne replied “Well – if it hurts you – give it up!”
            :-)
            happy days!

          • Dave Postles

             Question: was Cliff Michelmore ever gallant enough to come to the defence of Judith Chalmers?  I leave you with that interrogative.

          • AlanGiles

            Mr Gruntfuttock’s main fantasy “I’d like you to give me the private telephone number of Judith Chalmers, who I’d like to get my ‘ands on!”

          • Mark Myword

            But only if Buttercup Gruntfuttock allowed. Reviving all this stuff has done my head in – I keep think the Chancellor is called Gideon Goatnadgerer.

          • AlanGiles

            And as he “did” religion last week Cameron might be the Reverand Un seemly Dogposture (“when I recall those events of 1895 I can scarce supress a shudder…”)

          • Mark Myword

            Kenneth Horne – a comic genius who looked like a severe bank manager! But, as you say, even in the late sixties on Sundays we were still faced with Cliff Adams and ‘Sing something simple’. It was the pirate ship broadcasters who eventually woke BBC radio up to the modern world with the introduction of  Radios 1, 2, 3, and 4, and later local radio.

          • AlanGiles

            Kenneth Horne was just a total natural with his timing – after his sudden death (at the age of only 62) the BBC was left with the problem that they had the scripts for the 1969 series of RTH (which had due to start recording a week or so after his death), so they were adapted and a new series called “Stop Messing About” used them, with Kenneth Williams taking the lead role and the series announcer Douglas Smith doing the Kenneth Horne lines. Of course, it didn’t work. He was a unique talent and despite the Establishment look was a very easy going man. I remember (he must have been one of the very few who could have got away with it) the series writer Barry Took once said that the BBC was inundated with letters from Mrs Whitehouse and her mob complaining about the “suggestive” sketches and between them they wrote and broadcast a rebuke to them on one of the shows which said “A small number of killjoys complain about the double entendres in RTH. All I can say is filth is in the eye of the beholder, and you can make a double meaning out of almost anything….. if you know how”

          • Mark Myword

            I have just been laughing again – its all in the eye of the beholder!! But I must get in a good word for another comic genius: Kenneth Williams. Besides Julian and Sandy (and als0 a good word for Hugh Paddick), what about Rambling Syd Rumpo? Bona!!!

          • AlanGiles

            Well, hello my dearios. Yes another great comic talent and I discovered a year or so ago that Brian Paddick one of the other candidates (Lib Dem) in the London Mayoral election was a nephew of Hugh Paddick!.

            Sing Somewthing Simple BTW outlasted the pirates. It ended only eight or ten years ago with the death of Cliff Adams.  Apart from RTH I hated Sundays and when I was younger I always thought I would die on a Sunday – in the afternoon while Adams and co were mournfully intoning “Moonlight & Roses” or some other onion ballad!

          • Mark Myword

            On a serious note – and thinking back, I wonder if Round the Horne, and Julian and Sandy in particular, helped the cause of acceptance of gay rights? 

          • AlanGiles

            Again Barry Took discussed this once, and he said (paraphrasing) that the fact you could have these two outrageous characters accepted so to speak by an Establishment figure like Kenneth Horne, saying things like (when they were a law firm practising as ‘Bona Law’) “we have a criminal practice that take up most of our time” (pre 1967), and the majority of the audience were not offended probably helped  with acceptance generally, though as social mores were changing by the late 60s that may have been incidental.

            They also implied, of course, that “Mr ‘Orne” was well aware of their proclivities and even, like them, was a member of the “Marine Commando Club, Paddington”). Of course in the very last episode in 1968 we discovered they were married. This was meant to be their swansong since Marty Feldman and Barry Took were not going to write the 1969 series, but strangely in “Stop Messing About” the characters were bought back but as a different pair each week (for example as a couple of secret agents “Oh, hello I am 006 and this is my opposite number 600″).

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