Outspoken liberal priest The Reverend Canon Giles Fraser has used his weekly Guardian column to denigrate the “neoliberal right” for championing the free movement of capital around the world while opposing the free movement of people, a position which he claims is contradictory.
But Canon Fraser has made it clear in the past that he supports the free movement of people while opposing free movement of capital, which, according to his definition, must equally be contradictory.
“Every day, trillions of dollars are economic migrants, crossing boundaries as if they didn’t exist, pouring in and out of countries looking for the most economically advantageous place to be”, he laments, before concluding “this free movement of capital is how the nation state is dissolving.”
The Canon has spoken at length in the past about his love for tax, which he describes as “good”, and of tax collectors, who in his mind are “heroes of democracy”.
“Going right back to the Bible, tax collectors have long been seen as villains,” the Canon, who is currently the parish priest of St Mary’s, Newington, concedes. But, like the Bible’s views on so many topics (such as homosexuality), he deems that its teaching on tax collectors is “now twaddle.”
“So forget the Bible,” he exhorts. “Tax collectors are now heroes: they keep us faithful to democratic promises we have made to each other.”
Starbucks and tax avoidance. http://t.co/k4GOdPbv RT to shame them.
— Giles Fraser (@giles_fraser) October 16, 2012
He returns to this theme in his latest column, writing: “Big companies like AstraZeneca are able to pay next to no tax in the UK because they just transport their profits to a low-tax regime in another country. Indeed, some countries, pathetically prostrating themselves before the gods of finance, exist for little other than this purpose.”
Presumably he is thinking of countries such as Switzerland, which the OECD has found “ranks above the average in subjective well-being, jobs and earnings income and wealth, health status, social connections, environmental quality, education and skills, and personal security,” thanks to the willingness of the Swiss people to prostrate themselves before the gods of finance.
Nonetheless, he continues: “the situation we find ourselves in is that money is free to travel as it pleases but people are not.
“Which is why the neoliberal right in Britain has utterly contradictory instincts over Europe – they want the free trade bit but they don’t want the free people bit. And they scare us with how the free movement of people threatens our national identity but refuse to face the fact that the free movement of capital can be seen as doing exactly the same. They talk a good game about the importance of freedom: but it’s one rule for capital and another for people.”
It is a position that the Canon also finds himself in, for while he opposes the free movement of capital around the world, he fully supports the free movement of people, apparently blind to the potential of mass migration to dissolve nation states.
In early September, at the height of the migrant crisis he called on politicians to “let the refugees in, every last one.”
The “biblical answer to the “how many can we take?” question,” he insists is “Every single last one.
“Let’s dig up the greenbelt, create new cities, turn our Downton Abbeys into flats and church halls into temporary dormitories, and reclaim all those empty penthouses being used as nothing more than investment vehicles,” he cried.
Moreover, of politicians who invoke Christian morals but refuse to throw open our borders he says: “if our politicians don’t like the basic principles, then they shouldn’t claim the Christian mantle in the first place.”
This from a man who believes some of the Bible at least is “twaddle”. The Canon may wish to open his Bible and heed the words of Isaiah.