Coffee House

Justin Welby pleases both left and right with clever Wonga comments

25 July 2013

6:53 PM

25 July 2013

6:53 PM

Justin Welby is a clever man. His comments about payday loan companies in Total Politics have managed to please both the left and right, which is no mean feat on such a controversial issue. How has he managed to do it? Well, the Archbishop has identified a social problem, of people accessing high-cost credit that they can’t always afford to repay, and offered an intelligent solution, rather than that offered by politicians suffering from dosomethingitis, which is normally to ban stuff they don’t like.

Welby clearly doesn’t like payday loan companies. They do charge high rates of APR, but only on short-term loans, which makes Wonga’s 5,853 per cent APR look a lot worse than it is because the loan isn’t taken out for the year. But debt advice charities worry that many of those who take out the loans cannot pay them back: 28 per cent of loans are rolled over beyond their payback date at least once, according to the OFT. They might be easy to take out, but they aren’t always a good thing for the people who need that cash.

[Alt-Text]


But instead of trying to use the law to ban payday loan companies (when illegal loan sharks already cause a huge amount of misery), Welby wants to use the market. He tells Total Politics that his plan is to compete with Wonga by offering an alternative.

‘A plan for the church to develop credit unions has been floated, with Welby proud that the church is “putting our money where our mouth is” in developing an alternative to payday money-lenders. The plan, he says, is to create “credit unions that are both engaged in their communities and are much more professional – and people have got to know about them.”

‘It will, he adds, be a “decade-long process”, but Welby is ready for the battle with the payday giants. “I’ve met the head of Wonga and I’ve had a very good conversation and I said to him quite bluntly we’re not in the business of trying to legislate you out of existence, we’re trying to compete you out of existence.” He flashes that smile again. “He’s a businessman; he took that well.”’

Credit unions aren’t perfect, it’s true: James Quinn makes some thoughtful points about them here. But the Church of England’s latest plan to offer an alternative to Wonga is an excellent one because it shows an understanding of the value of competition, rather than a belief that state intervention is always the best solution. I wrote about the need for Welby to shift the church’s thinking on the latter in the Telegraph recently. His Total Politics interview shows just how capable the Archbishop is of changing the debate in his own organisation. But it also shows that he can take both sides of the political debate along with him. James recently reported that both Labour and the Tories were thrilled when Welby was selected as Archbishop as they both saw him as someone who could help move public debate in their direction. Today George Osborne, Vince Cable and Stella Creasy have welcomed Welby’s comments, which surely makes him a magician as well as an Archbishop.

Subscribe to The Spectator today for a quality of argument not found in any other publication. Get more Spectator for less – just £12 for 12 issues.


Show comments
  • GregGrimer

    http://www.bbc.co.uk/news/business-24814479

    Thought this was interesting. Niall Wass, CEO of Wonga, argued very well and the one “sob story” that Newsnight managed to dredge up was a woman who lied on both occasions she has obtained a loan by stating she was employed when she was not. That used to be called fraud or ‘obtaining money by deception’. Try fibbing with tax credits, mortgage application or car insurance (because if you tell the truth they won’t deal with you) and see whether there is sympathy for your case.

    That the BBC cannot find a single case where the borrower is not at fault, suggests to me that Wonga, at least, are being very responsible in their lending practices.

  • Ivo Mosley

    Smooth customer, but think again: Justin Welby defends ‘good banks’ (who create money out of nothing,
    then lend it at no risk to themselves to the rich and greedy) then has a go at moneylenders (who lend
    money they actually have, at great risk, to the poor and needy). I wonder where
    Christianity is hiding these days…

  • Ivo Mosley

    Justin Welby defends ‘good banks’ (who create money out of nothing, and then lend it at no risk to the rich and greedy) has a go at moneylenders (who have to get money before they lend it riskily to the poor and needy). Hmm, wonder where Christianity is hiding these days…

  • Jim McAndrew

    Christians Against Poverty
    The Archbishop should look at supporting this existing highly successful organisation
    started in Leeds;
    uses church premises ;
    winner of several awards-e.g.
    “Debt counseller of the year”
    gives practical help and support to help those in debt escape and keep “well budgeted” in the future
    Founded by John Kirkby who says prayer is essential to his success
    Expelled form “Advice UK” an umbrella group for such as Shelter; Age Concern etc bcause his use of prayer was seen as an emotional fee
    see http://www.capuk.org

  • Alex

    I would be happy to see this scheme succeed.
    But if it doesn’t; if it turns out that it is impossible to make these kind of loans at a lower rate than Wonga, I look forward to a clear public apology from Welby to the companies he has criticised.

  • starfish

    Already unravelling see guido. Church invests in wonga what a plank.basic fact checking. BTW is this intellectual colossus in charge? What a joke. Looking forward to the next wonga advert perhaps they could have a doddering cleric?

  • Curnonsky

    And if the debtors don’t pay up will Welby send around a couple of beefy vicars to collect? If his business sense is so keen why doesn’t he pause before proposing that his Church (zero commercial acumen) will step in an out-compete an experienced adversary such as Wonga? Fools rush in…

  • Ian Walker

    Fairly sure that Jesus overturned the tables of the moneylenders, not set up his own stall……

  • judyk113

    Personally, I think he’s shown he’s a fool. Yeah, sure, people are going to queue at their local church to be lent money by earnest people like him cos it’s cheaper than Wonga. He just doesn’t understand why people use Wonga. Which is because it’s easy-tech, stylish, easy and no morality comes with it. Had Archbishop Welby noticed that that’s exactly why plastic credit cards totally broke down the barriers against borrowing?

    I looked at this story this morning and thought–how did Cameron manage to appoint another wet liberal fool? He sounds as if he should be working for Len McCluskey rather than the Church of England.

    And the thing is, he seems completely unaware of how many millions of miles he is from the life priorities and the outlook of people who use Wonga. Which I don’t. But I do use credit cards.

    What will he do next? Launch Church of England cut price weight watchers clubs to help solve the national obesity problem?

    I still remember the Bishop of London’s sermon at Baroness Thatcher’s funeral. I found it inspiring and fascinating. And I’m not even a Christian. That’s what the country needs. Spiritual inspiration and uplift, not the financial equivalent of bring and buy sales in dusty church halls and moral whingeing about popular financial tools that are there because people like using them.

    So he’s going to put Wonga out of business, is he? Good luck with that. They must love the publicity, by the way. And look at their adverts. They had the answers to him even before he opened his mouth.

    • Noa

      Well said.

    • Makroon

      On the other hand, every blagger and con-man in the country must be licking their lips at the prospect of turning over COE Easy Ackers.com

  • starfish

    Sorry. The church going into banking? This is a good thing? Perhaps while they are at it they’re could release some of the vast tracts of land they own for ‘affordable housing’. I don’t understand the vitriol aimed at wonga. They are completely up front about the proposition they offer and clients are not forced to make a commitment. Perhaps their critics want completely unregulated credit companies to fill the gap left by the so-called professional banks

    • judyk113

      Wonga are an absolutely favourite target of Labour, after the banks and the evil Tories

  • Troika21

    Thank you, Ms Hardman, for being the only journalist I’ve seen so far make the point that the APR on payday loans is skewed because of how it’s calculated.

    I support Welby in this, Credit Unions also encourage saving, (a typical condition for getting a loan from them) as well. Looks like the Church was right to pick a man with business experience.

  • Michael990

    I’m sure the fellow is well meaning, but I really don’t know how he held down an industrial job for any length of time. One suspects his connections helped. I lost all respect for any of his thoughts or opinions when he declared his proud ability to ‘speak in tongues’. I have always assumed that this must be something similiar to Dennis Price’s magnificent portrayal of the Bishop of Matabeleland speaking ‘Zulu’ in Kind Hearts and Coronets, when he is in conversation with Alec Guiness…

  • anyfool

    Has this Welby idiot forgotten what happened to church finances the last time they tried speculating in the eighties, millions lost and hundreds of churches closed, not to mention the shredding of stipends and pensions.

    • HookesLaw

      Apparently the Cof E invest in Wonga.

  • Theodoxia

    Well I suppose that a church that has given up on the gospel has to find some other topic on which to pontificate.

    • David Lindsay

      A raw nerve really has been touched, hasn’t it?

  • the viceroy’s gin

    I wonder, lass, do you really think the honorables of any stripe actually care about whatever this grinning cleric is jabbering on about here? They don’t. They only care that the zombie banks of Londonistan are being propped up. That is their only care. If they can get muppets like you Speccie teenagers to provide distraction by jabbering on about the grinning cleric’s jabberings, so much the better. It gives the banksters cover, as they suck the life out of the zombie banks, which receive 0.25% plasma transfusions from government printing presses, so as to keep the undead banks artificially animated somehow, so as to facilitate more bankster feedings, and so on, and so on, and…

    Meanwhile, you Speccie teenagers love you some grinning cleric photographs…

  • Noa

    If he’s ‘going to put his money where his mouth is’ on money lending, can we then look forward to a similar initiative on gambling? Let’s then extend the Nave activities to supermarket sales.
    This seems to be a classic example of ‘mission creep’, except that the Church no longer sells Christianity successfully or with any conviction.
    Still, if it pays for the roof repair….

    • In2minds

      Archbishop Justin Welby – “mission creep”, what an excellent description of the man!

    • Colin

      I think you’re spot on. He should work out what Christianity is first, when he’s sorted that out, maybe then he can take a run at driving perfectly legal enterprises out of business.

  • http://www.brandaware.co.uk/ Paddy Briggs

    Lets be clear about this. This issue has been around for years and the Government has done NOTHING about it. Any fule knows that something is very fishy indeed when at a time of historically low interest rates sharks charge rates thousands ( yes thousands) of times greater than the rates at which they can borrow. The fact that the loan periods are short is completely irrelevant. The interest rate still applies. And it is beyond usury – it is fraud. Stella Creasy has been excellent but has anyone in Government done a thing in response to her efforts? The Wongas of this world plough some of their ill-gotten gains into extensive advertising and sponsorship – multimedia promotional budgets which reach the poor and vulnerable. Newcastle United have the Wonga name on their shirts – no surprise there. Area of deprivation so money “well spent” no doubt.

    Welby may shame the Government into action but don’t bet your house on it! The CofE does not have the financial resources or the expertise to take these parasites on. Government does – particularly through its ownership of all or part of some banks. There is a need for short term loans for those struggling to make ends meet. Government should use RBS (maybe through NatWest) to set up a loan operation which charges fair interest rates which cover the higher risk and operational costs but which don’t rip the poor and vulnerable off. This is not a Left or Right issue – it is one that we should be united about. If Welby’s initiative does this we will owe him a debt – of gratitude.

    • Count Dooku

      It’s not the govt’s business to ban consensual transactions between able adults. Why do lefties always turn to the govt? They don’t have your interests at heart!

      • Colonel Mustard

        Which doesn’t really allow for desperation through no fault on the one hand and cynical greed on the other. Many work hard but struggle to make ends meet in rip-off Britain whilst the mechanisms for squeezing them dry, many of them of dubious morality, proliferate – from banks to councils and including the government who tax inventively to support the bloated state.

        • Count Dooku

          At the heart of your issue is alway govt. From energy, rail, housing, credit, petrol, alcohol etc. All the sectors that you see price rises are either heavily regulated or taxed.
          When was the last time you saw people complain of the cost of their clothes? Or phone, cable tv, car, computer, furniture, Internet etc despite massive increases in quality. The one thing these sectors have in common is little govt involvement.

      • Noa

        To its eternal damnation he Labour government provided the ideal conditions for cheap commercial credit, widespread gambling, alcohol and drug liberalisation; so treating its core support base as milch cow for increased GDP at the expense of social stability and heedless of the eternal boom ever turning to bust.
        Inso far as the AoC’s action may force the government to kick the relevant useless Quangos from their respective torpers his initiative is both good and Christian. However, as Christ did not establish the moneylenders in the Temple, but threw them out, my feeling is that this will not, ultimately address the CofE core problem, the national loss of its authority because of its own lack of faith.

        • Count Dooku

          As an agnostic atheist I’m not particularly bothered by the Church’s spiritual rationale for doing this, I’m more concerned about the welfare of the destitute. It their scheme works, more grease to their holy elbows! Voluntary transactions are ALWAYS best.
          Funny that the Beeb are now reporting that the CoE invests in Wonga via their huge investment trust though.

          • Noa

            And your very point highlights the CofE’s basic dilemma in this matter. It’s responsibilities are spiritual, not temporal.

            • mattwardman

              >It’s responsibilities are spiritual, not temporal.

              Nope. Both.

              Go for “spirituality only” and you end up as Gnostics or a closed community.

              • Noa

                A belief in Christianity, spirituality and moral guidance derived from it must surely the the primary responsibility of the Church.
                I expect a priest to cover such matters in his sermon and then to rovide moral guideline for their delivery in practice. do we really want them to ccnclude their sermons with an adertisement for the CofE’s own Wonga or Betfair?

    • HookesLaw

      Pompous hand wringing rubbish. And what does the govt do if the people who it lends to default?
      You are happy the government prying into your credit worthiness? I doubt the usual suspect will be.

      Why not urge your favourite socialist co-op bank to make these loans? Ha – I seem to remember it was lefty Democrat inspired sub prime loans which started this whole mess off. You have no idea how dumB you are do you?

      • Colonel Mustard

        You think the government doesn’t already pry into your credit worthiness if it wants to? Naive.

        Good, decent idea suggested by Mr Briggs. If Cameron and Co., are eager to determine what adults may look at and fantasise about they ought to be able to lend money at competitive rates via the banks we supposedly own.

        • HookesLaw

          The govt pries into our credit worthiness? Well,if it floats your boat.
          I am scratching my head as to wonder why – even if you were involved in income tax fraud.
          The point at issue of course is that if the govt were to offer loans – it would have to look into your credit worthiness. Based on your prejudice I’m surprised this wicked govt have not been offering this service for decades.

          The govt is not intending to determine what fantasies you wish to indulge in. The basis of your speculations are… well, fantasy.

          • Colonel Mustard

            If you say so but the government is already offering loans through Help to Buy . . .

            And they can pretty much pry into everything given the revelations from the USA.

      • GregGrimer

        Some lefty Credit Union in Oakland California already tried lending to this PayDay loan demographic and lost millions.

        There is a reason Wonga, and their competitors, charge what they do. It’s called risk, transaction costs and default rates. And there is competition also bringing the price of these loans down. Check out vivus.co.uk who lend at around 800% APR, they are a new kid on the block, large Latvian run company operating worldwide.

        Wonga are not a monopoly and the careful way they have run their business has made them profitable. Other firms with higher default rates have gone bust.

        • mattwardman

          There’s no reason why somebpdy competent couldn’t get it right, of course.

  • David Lindsay

    Not a good day for the Loony Right think tank circuit, which pretends to be conservative when it could not possibly be less so.

    Fresh after the Archbishop of York’s strong endorsement of the Living Wage, the Archbishop of Canterbury endorses credit unions, the most Old Labour institutions imaginable and of which most writers on the Loony Right papers have probably never heard.

    Meanwhile, the Pope, whose predecessors invented the very concept of the Living Wage, strongly denounces drug legalisation. No “what the market wants, the market must have” from him.

    • HookesLaw

      There is no law against credit unions.
      http://www.findyourcreditunion.co.uk/home
      Isn’t there something called the Co-op bank?

      Why did Labour allow Wonga to be formed? Isn’t there something called ‘banking regulation’?

      Watch your step as you dismount your high horse.

      • David Lindsay

        The Blair Government is nothing to do with the Labour Party. Blair is the Labour Heath, utterly disowned.

        • HookesLaw

          Hilarious.

          • David Lindsay

            A fact. Blair’s name is now booed at Labour Party Conferences in full view of the television cameras.

            • BullDancer

              And nowhere man Brown is never mentioned and after he is defeated in 2015, Miliband will also become yesterday’s man. What a pathetic inheritance for a once noble party. The last of note was the Wilson and he was as bent as the current lot. At least we had the greatest of them all, Winston and Maggie, and I would put even the hapless Major ahead of any Labour PM ever.

              • David Lindsay

                It is psephologically impossible for you to win in 2015. I told everyone on here that that was the case before the 2010 Election, but they wouldn’t have it. I was right, though. And I am again. Anyone who cannot see it, cannot add up. It is as simple as that.

                • BullDancer

                  There is a well documented psychological condition for inadequates like you who have a pathological need to have the last word. Well, after the 2015 election you may be cured as you will have nothing to say. The conservatives will win and you will lose. Out.

                • David Lindsay

                  We are already out. Did no one tell you?

                  You cannot cope with anyone who can answer back because neither you nor your daddy can sack or evict us. In a word, you are a Tory. Well, an awful lot of Tories are going to be sacked and evicted in 2015.

                  It is pathetic to see you still abusing Gordon Brown, which was what you did in lieu of having any policies in 2010, thereby failing to win an overall majority 18 years, an entire generation of voters, after you had last managed one. Brown is unlikely even to contest the next Election. But you have no other material. Nor have you the Lib Dem vote to fall back on.

                • BullDancer

                  I won’t respond again but I think you should seek help as you are quite obviously delusional and unwell. It must be because some of us know of your failed political ambitions, have tried your poorly written, unreadable book, and we all laugh at you while still feeling sorry for you. Poor, poor boy.

                • David Lindsay

                  You cannot cope with anyone who can answer back because neither you nor your daddy can sack or evict us.

                  In a word, you are a Tory. Well, an awful lot of Tories are going to be sacked and evicted in 2015.

                  I guarantee that you have never read either of my books. Your kind won’t have books in the house.

                • Nicholas chuzzlewit

                  You are really setting yourself up to look a total fool in 2015. Has it ever occurred to you that most Brits do not believe that an inexperienced geek and his coterie of economic incompetents and imbeciles do not represent the answer to all their hopes? No it has not because you are a totalitarian fantasist and delusional idiot.

                • BullDancer

                  The idiot Lindsay is swivel-eyed loon if ever there was one. A pathetic, needy, desperate oaf and a good example of the left’s plight.

                • HookesLaw

                  Labours lead is tumbling.

                • Showusyertitz

                  The paths of error are various and infinite, you are a gnostic and I claim my 5 smakers.

                • Colonel Mustard

                  If Labour do win in 2015 it will be by gerrymandering, postal votes and imported votes and disastrous for this country. I hope that they do though because the country needs to implode in order for those responsible to get what is coming to them and which is so long overdue.

                • David Lindsay

                  If Labour do win in 2015 it will be by gerrymandering, postal votes and imported votes

                  No,that has nothing to do with it. Try doing even the most basic research.

                  The Tories have not won an overall majority in a generation. There are grown-up reasons for that, and they still obtain.

                • Colonel Mustard

                  It has everything to do with it. The percentage swing needed for a Conservative victory simply exceeds that needed for a Labour win – as any fule know.

                  http://www.electoralcalculus.co.uk/boundaries2013.html

                  I prefer to do my research in places other than the Fabian Society and David Lindsay’s Big Book of Geordie Labour Nostalgia and (Very) Partisan Political Theory thanks. The majority in parliament, unfortunately for your theory, has little do with the actual voting intentions of the English people.

                  In the 2005 Election Labour won 157 more seats than the Tories for a bare 3% more votes. In 2010 the Tories won 48 more seats than Labour for 7% more votes. With the boundary reforms now blocked by Labour and the Lib Dems the Tories would have been one seat short of an overall majority rather than 19 seats.The system is rotten and favours Labour – even before postal voting scams and imported voters are considered. Which allows tribalists like you to make misleading claims about the political preferences of the English, which are Conservative in the majority – still.

            • Colonel Mustard

              Which just goes to show how devious, dissembling, two-faced, duplicitous, treacherous and manipulative that party is. A party of lies, lying and liars.

              • David Lindsay

                Really? When do the Tories ever mention the Major Government? Cameron was up to his eyeballs in that. This is his second ruination of the British economy. No wonder that his party never mentions his first.

                • Colonel Mustard

                  But Major doesn’t get booed at Tory party conferences and the Conservative party do not promote a line that Major’s government “was nothing to do with the Conservative party”.

                  Try as you might you cannot divorce responsibility for Blair’s regime from the Labour party.

                  The more you argue this by comparison to the Tories the more it reveals how subjective partisan tribalists like you dissemble. The attempt by the Labour party to airbrush the 1997-2010 regimes from their collective responsibility, given the personalities involved who are still very active in shadow cabinet, is an incredible act of cynicism and duplicity, but perfectly consistent with their behaviour in or out of office.

                  They are the party of lies, lying and liars.

            • Makroon

              Ha-ha, whereas Brown, Balls and Red, who lost the only election they really fought, get cheered to the rafters.
              Very weird.

          • BullDancer

            Mad as a box of waltzing mice.

        • Colonel Mustard

          Ha! That’s a good one, even for you. Most of the current shadow front bench were actively engaged in Blair’s conspiracy against the English people, conniving, supporting and exploiting, while the rest of the Labour party were mostly on the bandwagon, infiltrating and subverting society. They can try to disown the “Blair Government” as much as they like but they were as thick as thieves with it (an appropriate turn of phrase) and didn’t protest much at the time.

          • David Lindsay

            Thatcher and most or (I’d have to check) all of her early Cabinets were Ministers under Heath. Usually, as in her own case, Cabinet Ministers. She herself was in the Cabinet on every day that he was Prime Minister.

            • Colonel Mustard

              Which is entirely irrelevant since Heath was never “disowned” in the way the current Labour leadership are trying to distance themselves from and obliterate the party credentials of the man they happily rode into town with not so very long ago. Heath was disliked and has been condemned but no Conservative as far as I know has ever tried to suggest that Heath’s government, however wet and ineffective, was “nothing to do with” the Conservative party.

              Your revisionist gambit is incredible.

              • David Lindsay

                Heath was never “disowned” in the way the current Labour leadership are trying to distance themselves from and obliterate the party credentials of [Blair]

                What? Have you ever read Coffee House?

                I doubt that Blair is still a party member, anyway.

                • Colonel Mustard

                  Condemned, vilified, abused but not disowned in the Soviet meaning you apply to Blair. This was the important bit, which your reply did not address:-

                  “…no Conservative as far as I know has ever tried to suggest that Heath’s government, however wet and ineffective, was “nothing to do with” the Conservative party”

                  I have never know a political creed so able to delude itself as well everyone else. The Labour party really is quite bonkers about that. The party of lies, lying and liars who even lie about themselves.

                • David Lindsay

                  Every Conservative whom I have ever met has taken it as a given that Heath’s Government was “nothing to do with” the Conservative Party.

                  Even though, far from being “wet”, it was really quite right-wing.

                • Colonel Mustard

                  Really? Strange how any critical assessment of the Labour party always ends up being about the wicked Tories.

                  You lost it five comments ago.

    • BullDancer

      The Coop has done so well of course you economically illiterate, self-serving numpty.

      • David Lindsay

        The problem with the Co-op bank was that it is not a co-operative. It just happens to be owned by the Co-op Group (which is) as the sole shareholder.

        You now have absolutely everyone against you, as of today. That is what happens when your system collapses but you still send the bill to everyone else. You are evil. Archbishops and Popes tend not to like evil.

        • BullDancer

          Now paranoia to add to inadequacy. I suggest a more amenable forum such as LabourLost or the Beano.

          • anyfool

            He is slowly going mad because just a couple of months ago he was in cloud cuckoo land about a Labour majority in the hundreds.
            How quickly things change, even Ukip backer Wheeler has a bet on a Tory majority, something I put money on two years ago.

            • BullDancer

              You are quite right. The labour trolls are in action everywhere lately – if it’s not Crosby, it’s the growth is false etc. Poor bastards will all have heart attacks when Cameron wins in 2015.

              • David Lindsay

                Arithmetically impossible. Nothing to worry about there.

                • BullDancer

                  Desperate stuff from a deluded fool. Another cretin who thinks Coulson is important compared to the corruption of the Blair/Brown/Mandelson ineptocracy. Keep taking the tablets matey while we continue laughing at your failures to engage.

                • David Lindsay

                  No one from those years (which have nothing to do with the present Labour Party) is about to stand trial. Coulson is.

                  The true character of Rebekah Brooks’s relationship with David Cameron will also come out in court.

                  Britain will not have seen the like in living memory.

                  But even if none of that were happening, it would still be mathematically impossible for the Tories to win the next General Election.

                • BullDancer

                  Comedian and a desperately bad one at that. Keep wishing on a star Dorothy.

                • anyfool

                  This man has truly lost it, if it turned out that Cameron was giving the ginger minger one, it would reflect better on him than his current obsessions.

                • David Lindsay

                  Well, we shall soon find out.

                • BullDancer

                  I agree. Better to have had Grant Ross’s wife than be godfather to Murdoch’s spawn, but lefties only see evil (even where none exists) in the right while ignoring the terrible crimes of their own. Employing a dodgy PR man is seen as a greater crime than starting a war on a pack of lies that killed hundreds of thousands of innocents and endangered the west for a generation. Go figure.

                • David Lindsay

                  I remember what we were called by your lot for opposing that war at the time. No fewer than two people who screamed down all such criticism as treasonable and anti-Semitic (the words used, among others) are now Spectator bloggers.

                • BullDancer

                  From Dr Coach Love
                  Do you know someone who must have the last word? No matter the subject, they say one more thing, regardless of what you say. Sometimes they are argumentative, but often they simply will not let a topic end. Why not drop it and do everyone else a favor? Enough is enough!

                  Many children want to have the last word, of course, but here are eight types of adults who may always seem to need the last word. These are people who are:

                  know-it-alls
                  dense
                  stubborn
                  intoxicated
                  excited
                  always needing to be right
                  consensus-driven
                  conversation hogs
                  The most important thing to remember when handling a “last worder” is that the last word has no value in itself. When you accept this, you will experience less annoyance and a reduced temptation to battle over the last word.

                  So how do you escape the trap of an annoying “last word” conversationalist? Frequently, you can be blindsided. You may not realize the conversation is continuing aimlessly because you are speaking to a person who must have the last word. But when you finally get the drift, openly volunteer to let them have the last word and then shut your trap.

                  Yes, that’s right – give them the last word. You may discover they will not continue, beyond a “no thanks.” Here are three examples of what you might say:

                  “We’ve been talking about this for while and I’m done talking about it. Is there anything else you want to throw in before we stop talking about it/I stop listening?”
                  “Look, we are going in circles and I’d like to talk about [another topic]. Your last thoughts before we move on?”
                  “I certainly understand what you are saying and we just have different opinions. I’d like to leave it at that. But is there one last thing you’d like to add before we drop it?”
                  Naturally, statements like these will not gracefully end the conversation or change the subject under all situations and with everybody. Depending on who the person is, you might bluntly excuse yourself indicating that you will return when the conversation changes topic. And, of course, you can always grit your teeth, smile, and nod until the speaker wears out.

                  If you’ve identified yourself as a last worder, have you gotten the hint and will you reform?

                • David Lindsay

                  Perhaps you have come to the wrong site? Perhaps this whole format is not really appropriate to you? Go back to that corner of the pub which everyone avoids because you are in it.

                • Colonel Mustard

                  You cannot possibly know that and the comment demeans you. Not all pubs are full of the local Geordie Labour party contingent.

                • Nicholas chuzzlewit

                  You seem to believe that it is a healthy state of affairs for it to be mathematically impossible for the Conservatives to win the next election. I know that in reality it is simply the warped desires of a rabid totalitarian and has no basis in fact but you should not be pedalling such tripe on a site frequented by democrats. Has it ever occurred to you that the British public might not believe that an imbecilic, inexperienced geek like Ed Milliband is not the answer to all their problems?

                • David Lindsay

                  It makes no difference whether I think that it is a healthy or an unhealthy state of affairs. It is just a fact. Labour will have a job to win outright. But the Tories cannot do it. That is just the way that it is.

                • Colonel Mustard

                  We’ll see. We have the Euro elections and the Scottish independence referendum to go before that. Much could change. Quite startling that one who subscribes to the Fabian’s “progressive” agenda is so rooted in political stability and predictable outcomes.

                • HookesLaw

                  ‘Arithmetically?’
                  You may wish to claim it is psephologically impossible but it is eminently mathematically possible for the Conservatives to win 20 seats needed to gain a majority.

                  There was an economy that had contracted by 7.2% on election day and an economy mired in a debt fuelled pre election boom.

                  The endless fantasy from all sides on here is tiresome.

  • Count Dooku

    There’s nothing left wing about Welby’s plan so I’m surprised reactionary Labour is pleased.
    I will be extremely happy if this is the direction the CoE is going. Rather than whining and begging for state handouts they should be highlighting that very Protestant tradition of graft and thrift.

Close