A good many years ago, through a fairly random set of circumstances, I was in the strange position of being able to overhear the Pope conversing with a group of Cardinals. Not in a private way or anything, but in a forum where they got to share their thoughts and he got to nod knowingly. Most of the speakers were in foreign, of course, and my understanding was poor. However one spoke in English; and in my opinion he spoke out of his ass. The world must be set to rights, the rich are blighters, the sentiment was straight out of the rampant SWP playbook. It was not, to my mind, the area of focus that a leading churchman should have been concerned about at that time, nor did it strike me as being particularly wise.
In entirely unrelated news, some NIrish dude who lives in Scotland has come out with similar nonsense.
In a BBC Scotland interview, he [Cardinal Keith O’Brien] said: “My message to David Cameron, as the head of our government, is to seriously think again about this Robin Hood tax, the tax to help the poor by taking a little bit from the rich.
“The poor have suffered tremendously from the financial disasters of recent years and nothing, really, has been done by the very rich people to help them.
He is, of course, absolutely right. Honest. He’s not talking out of his ass; he’s not talking about class warfare and outright theft; he’s not ignoring the simple facts about the sheer amount of money that the rich pay in tax; he’s not parroting the standard line about the rich not pulling their weight while ignoring the Robin Hood taxes which already exist (high stamp duty – paid exclusively by the rich; death duties which only the rich pay; the 45% tax rate which is added to by NI to take real tax rates over 56%).
Oh wait, he is doing all those things. Which, I suppose, means he must be wrong…