February 24, 2013
‘Jesus, apparently, could not ‘End Child Poverty’, but fear not, it can be done…’
…thanks to an alliance of the Bath and North Somerset District Council, the Chartered Society of Physiotherapists and the Fire Brigades Union.
The Bishop might also reflect upon whether our society’s response to the poor can be fairly characterised as ‘scandalous’ when it is prepared to build a £400,000 house for a claimant who has never worked, given birth to 11 children, and is apparently able to maintain more than one car and a horse.
Brother Ivo might agree there is a scandal in there somewhere. But is the Bishop absolutely sure that it is a scandal of Dickensian mean-spiritedness? (…)
The campaign defines poverty via a politically-conceived mathematical formula: if a child lives in a household in which the income is less than 60% of the median income (currently £26,000 in the UK), that child becomes automatically and absolutely statistically defined as ‘living in poverty’.
But if that average income rises, so does that 60% threshold for poverty. (…)
Conversely, it follows that no improvement in living standards per se can change the fact that the lower 40 centiles will always be defined as ‘poor’. Make everyone three times richer and you have done nothing to end poverty. All that has been actually achieved by the adoption of such a definition of poverty is that language and objectivity has been devalued. Those who opposed changing the definition of marriage might usefully exercise caution about moving the word ‘poverty’ from its age-old meaning equating with destitution. It is as linguistically dishonest as the Labour politician who reputedly declared that his party would not be satisfied until everyone was on ‘above average wages’.
Today, the “poor” are the “rich” Jesus warned you about.