George Bernard Shaw, Hillaire Belloc and GK Chesterton

Samples from the Book

On retirement and pensions:
Unless George Osbourne manages to win Switzerland in a game of cards, this entire area will need root and branch reform. But the prevailing wisdom seems to be that because wild unaffordable promises have been made to previous generations, they have to be made to future ones. Its only fair. The latest initiative has been the raising of the retirement age by a single year, which is like pouring the contents of a kettle on a coming glacier. The crushing doom continues to advance.

On politics:
Politics is, or should be, about standing up and making a case for a political ideology. It should be a quest to persuade the people that your way of thinking is a better way than theirs. And that you should be elected to enact those policies, rather than someone elses. And if you cant persuade them, sit down. Its not your turn. So, what should happen is something along these lines:
Would-be MP: I believe in devolving powers to an ultralocal level, which would give us greater community and accountability! Yes, it would mean regional variation, but isnt that the case across the world in general? Isnt a locally-run world a better one? Vote for me! 
Listener: No! I want a centrally-planned economy with no regional variation. Pipe down. Im voting for the other guy. 
Would-be MP: Oh, well thats what I believe. Are you sure I cant persuade you to devolve power to local communities? 
Listener: Not really. We are quite fixed on having a centrally- planned economy. No offence. 
Would-be MP: None taken. Ill go. 
Listener: Yup. Okay then. Ask Mrs Wilson for a cup of tea. Im sure theres some left in the pot. 
Would-be MP: Decent of you. Well, bye, then.  
But when you abandon the concept of conviction, what actually happens, regardless of party, is this:
Would-be MP: I want you to vote for me, because I listen to your views! 
Listener: Well, we want a centrally-planned economy.
Would-be MP: Hey! Me too! Spooky. Vote for me. 
Listener: Oh. What if Id said I believe that bull-fights should be held in Trafalgar Square and that the NHS should be scrapped? 
Would-be MP: Id have agreed with that too. The important thing is that Im the guy that listens and does what you say. 
Listener: Well, hang on. Youre not really adding anything to this. 
Would-be MP: Oh, come come. Im great. I have a family. Im not corrupt and Ive been successful in business, but not so much that you want to hate me. So you should vote for me. Seriously. Because Britain will be better as long as Im in charge. 
Listener: So what will you do when you get into power? 
Would-be MP: All that stuff you said. And other stuff. Not sure. Ill probably ask you again. Is that okay?
Listener: Sounds perfect. Hooray for democracy.
Its horrible. Were stuck in a vicious feedback-loop of politicians trying to sell prejudice and pragmatism back to their own people, because everyones afraid of saying what they actually think. The contest between the parties is not who has the best policies, but who has the most accurately calibrated focus groups.

The problem with being on the Right... is perpetually trying to put ones point across without sounding mean.

On the church:
Maybe the church can deliver a hope thats outside of ourselves, a contentment based on something shared rather than something selfish a society saved rather than self-improved.’ 

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