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Many would agree with Sir Hilary

Fr Leslie Lett

Many would agree with Sir Hilary

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It cannot be a good thing for a church (and its clergy) to be “in bed” with a political party, any political party. However, the prophetic voice of the church will necessarily have deep political implications.

This is so because the prophetic voice must always be in defence of, and in solidarity with the poor, and because it must always promote the prophetic vision of a just society, without which, The Bible warns, the people will surely perish.

With approximately 80 per cent of the students at university coming from poor working-class families, and with the sudden and drastic plummeting of their numbers, we must surely agree with Sir Hilary Beckles that the introduction of fees by the Government is an “assault” on the poor, especially poor working-class women. (The Nation, April 8) 

This assault on the poor is not simply a matter of “no money”. To realise this you only have to read the report of the Accountant General, the articles by Dr Clyde Mascoll (a philosophically grounded economist who is more than a mere “technician”),  and to remember the disingenuous ambassadorial statement that sought to elevate paying fees to a high moral principle by declaring that “it is the best thing that could ever happen”, and to recognise that many of our leaders see “free education”, not as part of the very foundation of the common good of our society, but as merely a ladder that they can kick down whenever they feel enough people have climbed it.

I am sure there are many of us

 who would agree with Sir Hilary: “My greatest fear is not so much the recession . . . [but] it is the increasing poverty of thought – this is the greatest threat of all.”  Yes, it is the increasing, apparently unstoppable, poverty of thought that is so frightening.

– Fr Leslie Lett