For people at the sharp end, the poorest and those most dependent on public services, it sometimes feels as if the Coalition has spent the last four years steadily unpicking the very fabric of our society. For a long time this process has been under-reported by the media, but gradually the results are becoming impossible to ignore.
Every day the gap between real life experience of the economy, and the version of events offered by the government and mainstream media, seems to get wider. It is surely only a matter of time before somebody tells us we have never had it so good.
‘It looks as if the end could be very near.’ This was the emotional response of Canon Andrew White, the Vicar of Baghdad this morning, when asked about the prospects for Christianity in Iraq. He was at pains to stress that Christians and Muslims in Iraq have lived and worked together peacefully for centuries: it is terrorism, not Islam that is the problem.
Has George Osborne completely forgotten the banking crisis, or has it just slipped his mind? In an interview on Radio 4 this morning he spoke of his excitement at the new products the financial services industry may invent to sell to people who will soon get access to their pension pots.
Giles Fraser recently wrote that "assisted dying is the final triumph of market capitalism" and concluded, "When the moral history of the 21st century comes to be written, I predict we will look back with horror at how the word choice became a sort of cuckoo in the nest, driving out all other values…The moral language of the supermarket has become the only moral currency that is accepted."
People campaigning for the abolition of the Work Capability Assessment have often quoted figures from the Department for Work and Pensions which state that between January 2011 and November 2011, 10,600 sick and disabled people died within six weeks of their benefit claim ending.
As the Secretary of State for Work and Pensions insists that all is well at the DWP, Universal Credit is on track, and attitudes towards disabled people have improved, an independent report this week delivered a damning verdict on how the DWP itself treats sick and disabled people.
This summer almost a thousand people will be ordained as deacons or priests in the Church of England. It is a season of celebration, but for many who look to the Church to be a beacon of justice and compassion, events at Westminster Abbey yesterday left them feeling extremely disappointed.