From: Richard O’Callaghan, Horsforth, Leeds.
MARK Russell (‘Faith is fine, but what about the policies?’ The Yorkshire Post, April 26) commends David Cameron for speaking out about his Christian faith but says that he cannot see how the policies pursued by his Government square with this.
But I think that this is unfair and ignores the moral impetus behind many of the Government’s policies to help the poorest in our society.
Take education, where the state schools system has long let down children from poor areas, lowering their expectations, retarding their life chances and resulting in this country’s scandalously low levels of social mobility. The principles of greater autonomy, improved accountability and rigour which lie behind the Government’s reforms are transforming the life chances of children and young people as well as dealing with the shortage in school places (225 in Leeds alone) which the previous system was demonstrably unable to address.
Similarly, the welfare reforms are giving benefit claimants the chance of a better life by providing a ladder out of welfare and into work.
For too long, the welfare state has been a spider’s web, entrapping people, rather than a safety net.
Look beyond the hysterics and scare-mongering and you can see that families who have been living in inappropriate temporary accommodation now have the chance of a decent social home (thanks to the erroneously named “bedroom tax”) and, according to the Bank of England, more and more benefit claimants are moving into employment.
In the all-important area of the economy, the good news keeps coming. There are now 1.5m more people in work than in 2010 and more than a million more are projected to be in employment by 2018.
Fundamentally, this country is now paying its way in the world and not indebting future generations.
“The wicked borrow but do not pay back but the righteous give generously” (Psalm 37:21). It’s prosaic but only by putting the economy on a stable footing can we – as individuals through charity and as a country through tax – “give generously” to those who need our help.
There is, therefore, a moral argument for much of what Mr Cameron’s Government is doing.
Ultimately, though, Christianity is about spiritual redemption, not social reform, and that is something which is down to each of us as individuals and the way we decide to use our lives.