Father Ed's Blog

A Catholic priest reflects…

I believe the children are the future


During the six nations tournament a select group of Tunbridge Wells Rugby Club members often guest as players for the Scottish MP’s XV. This year’s coterie are pictured above. None are politicians but two, at least, were Scottish!

The link between the teams is a good friend of mine, Tim McCabe pictured on my left. Tim is one of those  doers in life who cements societies. An organiser and club man heavily involved with the youth section. It is because of this involvement that his catch phrase, which he sings (badly) at every opportunity- (especially when raising funds for the youth)-is “I believe the children are the future…” A sensible man then…


…well most of the time!

It is Tim’s dulcet tones that have been ringing in my ears since the budget was announced. A budget which, again, put profits ahead of family life. Goodbye student grants that enabled poor hard working children to access university without racking up prohibitive debt. Hello the American model of higher education as money making machine with university the preserve of the rich. Perhaps the Tories have forgotten how a simple grocer’s daughter, by benefiting from higher education despite being snubbed by Oxford, not only went on to help invent the Mr Whippy ice-cream but became a famous leader of the party?

Oh and goodbye assistance to families once a third child is born. The fruit of loving mammon more than man. In which one’s bank balance is bizarrely viewed as proof of decency rather than any sense of personal morality. As if poor people, by default, are unable to create loving homes. As if the rich cannot be feckless and vile. Hmmm banking crisis anyone?

Of course the change will be defended by demonising the poor. By implying big families are automatically feckless and irresponsible.  As if only the rich are entitled to children. As if there can be no virtue in poor but loving homes. As if it is the fault of today’s poorer people that many are enslaved by bloated companies themselves are paying no tax at all.

These companies make eye-watering profits but pay out such pathetic salaries that low income families have no option but to rely on the State. That is not a living wage. But heaven forfend we hammer the stingy companies when we can demonise those they enslave….. ordinary folk with little hope of security as they toil on zero hour contracts. It stinks!

It is also profoundly stupid as any grasp of demographics demonstrates. Have the government considered that each child is a potential life time tax payer and that lots of children generates wealth? Can they not ponder Tim’s slogan- that children really are the future in which we should all e enthusiastically invest. Which is why other countries offer generous subsidy and encourage the birth of more than two children. But such human consideration is lost on a generation -across the political spectrum -who have ceased offering principled visions of left and right but seem servile to big business and bloated corporationism. Money first. People second.

In contrast the teaching of the Catholic church has always valued family life and cherished  children. It calls on us to raise up the lowly and help them in life- the Christian vision behind student grants et al. Jesus warned us not to cause little ones to stumble. A verse that places a millstone around the neck of the boomer generation who created this budget. A generation who themselves had so many benefits- healthy student grants, cheap housing and access to good jobs- but who grew wealthy by saddling their own children and grandchildren with debt, who seem intent on removing any sense of subsidy and help. Taxing big business fairly would meet the need. Let us not forget that.

So when will this generation pay something back? The answer seems obvious given that the luxury cruise industry has never been better… whilst those leaving school are struggling to find employment and get a foot on the property ladder. Those who have deconstructed our Christian heritage ever put their own comfort and profits first. I do not have much hope of seeing children put first anytime soon.

Yet supporting big families is sensible. If you doubt that then settle down for a chilling 45 minute documentary which puts it in perspective. Anti-child policies are only ever beneficial in the short term. Long term it is suicidal to attack the family and curtail the natural law. Think again Mr. Osbourn, think again.

Vote Tim McCabe! Let us have politicians in the future relentless in their cry. “I believe the children are the future!”  Without this we are doomed.

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Pope Francis in Ecuador


Papa, papa Francisco!


  1. Sadly, it’s not just the Tories, though.

    I gave my thoughts on Labour to my Union recently – and published them on my blog if you’re interested.

    Perhaps if all Catholics grasped the social teaching of the Church, and talked to, wrote to, and generally badgered their political representatives about it, we could start to make a difference….

    • Admin

      i made a point of saying this problem is true across the political spectrum. This was no party political broadcast I assure you. They all need a hard kick in the pants.

  2. A Reader

    Who is the simple grocer’s daughter who went onto higher education, &c, despite being snubbed by Oxford ? It’s obviously not Margaret Thatcher (Margaret Roberts as was), who went up to Somerville in 1943 to read Chemistry, graduating with second class honours.

    • Admin

      Sorry, the snub came later on when she was refused an honorary doctorate I seem to remember…something like that. I should have taken the time to check my facts…

  3. It was interesting that the Daily Mail (hardly left wing) published a chart today showing who was better or worse off as result of the budget. The poorest lost money, whilst the richest gained the most!

  4. Julie

    I actually felt whatever Chancellor of your Exchequer was in power, they needed to make these cuts, as disruptive as they maybe to families, so that we don’t end up in the same awful situation ad Greece. Therere is only so much money to go round.This is just my personal opinion and I welcome other people’s opinions!

  5. Bill

    I don’t know where to start with this…….

    Where do the SNP stand on “children as the future”. Or UKIP? Or Libs? I couldn’t find Fr Ed on my voting paper last May. Greens if you happen to be in Brighton?
    Fallon in Sevenoaks as a Catholic candidate? He had some anti gay marriage literature. But he’s defence secretary so has the keys to the deterrent so that’s no good obv. Mrs Thatcher in 2015? Can’t vote for her. Prime Minister seems to be a family man…… But not Osborne? What about Boris.

    Etc etc.

    I get the idea – but what’s the message – don’t vote?

    • Admin

      Put pressure on your MPs and get involved in politics to change the agenda, maybe?

  6. Cate

    Thank you Fr. for this post. From a feckless Mother of 7.

  7. Harry

    As Bill says, I don’t know where to start with this, my feeling is that you should have paused a while before typing.
    “A budget which, again, put profits ahead of family life.” in what way, who specifically is profiting at the expense of families?
    “Oh and goodbye assistance to families once a third child is born” Why should you expect the State to keep you children? Surely it’s up to you to live within your means? This certainly was the political stance of the ‘grocer’s daughter’ and when I was growing up. Don’t forget that it is still possible for wealthy couples to receive child benefit.
    “one’s bank balance is bizarrely viewed as proof of decency rather than any sense of personal morality. ” There are ‘decent’ people irrespective of their bank balance, I simply just don’t understand the point you are trying to make.
    “As if poor people, by default, are unable to create loving homes. As if the rich cannot be feckless and vile. Hmmm banking crisis anyone?”
    Come on you have no basis to make these statements, where was this in the Budget?

    “A verse that places a millstone around the neck of the boomer generation who created this budget. A generation who themselves had so many benefits- healthy student grants, cheap housing and access to good jobs- but who grew wealthy by saddling their own children and grandchildren with debt, who seem intent on removing any sense of subsidy and help. Taxing big business fairly would meet the need. Let us not forget that.”
    I was born in 1946 – ergo one of the boomer generation – this comment is frankly insulting, Have I really ’caused a little one to stumble’? I didn’t create the budget and Osborne is certainly not a ‘boomer’. I just don’t know what to say to you, I started working between school and college,had a job every summer vac, my parents also worked hard to support me, I’ve paid tax for over 40 years and every penny I have was earned – what’s you answer to this? By the way I’m still paying income tax and council tax, don’t own my own home – but I’m a ‘wealthy pensioner’ as they say. My one state benefit is a bus pass. I don’t have any children or grandchildren but if I had, I wouldn’t have ‘saddled them with debt’.
    “So when will this generation pay something back? The answer seems obvious given that the luxury cruise industry has never been better… ”
    Take a reality check – I’ve been on one cruise – 25 years ago, when I was working. You’ve been watching too many Viking ads. Very few of us are like the ideal couple (still in their 50’s) seen cruising down the Rhine. The truth is that governments have been taking our money, remember apart from income tax, there is/was ‘National Insurance’, and spending it on something else, what about the little note left by the wealthy left Blairites ( Blair was a socialist who managed to amass around £12 million when in office) – which David Cameron used to help win the last election. You seem to have it in for my generation – how do the ‘boomers’ in Tunbridge Wells react to you view of them?
    You’re simply guilty of unthinking stereotyping.

    • Admin

      Obviously there will be all sorts of individual cases within a generation. But taken as a whole the hand over from one generation to another has been shocking. 50 years ago America’s main employer was GM and the average wage (in todays money) being earned within it was $35 per hour. Today it is Walmart and the average wage is $9 …. but don’t take my word for it. Take it from one of that generation..


      • Harry

        I don’t wish to prolong this, but I do object to your stereotyping of a generation. You say that that there will be all sorts of individual cases within a generation – quite so, we’re all individuals in every generation and my experience growing up in the post war years was not uncommon. Yes we benefited from the establishment of the NHS and free education, the latter was a much needed policy to fill the skill shortages left by WWII with its lost generation, the 1950’s was a very grim time of post war economic recovery with none of the wide range of consumer goods available that we have now and basic food stuffs rationed. Don’t forget too that expectations are much higher now than then, an almost universal expectation to go on to Uni and to benefit from a much more sophisticated and expensive health service with very high ‘management’ overheads. I’ve read Beckett’s article, no doubt a precis of his book “What did the Baby Boomers Ever Do For Us?”. Doubtless he too took advantage of what was on offer in the late 40’s onwards. He is one individual with his opinion and not as you seem to imply a spokesman for our generation. I do believe that the real blame belongs to our political classes, I think you said a while back that it was becoming difficult to distinguish one party from another. All their policies are directed towards the group that they feel has the most voting power and are only loosely based on their original political philosophy, this is at present the ‘boomers’, but who will it be next when we’re not around? – Probably sent off to a clinic in Switzerlad to do the decent thing.

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