Tuesday, 22 December 2009

Stealing yourself for a better Christmas

The Church of England used to be a religious order that preached the Ten Commandments and obedience of the law. However, in this mad and topsy-turvy world it was only a matter of time before the church flung off its cloak of respectability and got down with the masses to make itself more appealing. Not content with introducing guitars and tambourines into services, along with speaking in tongues and politically correct prayers, the church is now throwing away the Ten Commandments by encouraging people to steal.

All that nonsense about theft really is out of date in this modern and more liberal world. Don’t believe me? It’s true. Rev Tim Jones from North Yorkshire has advised his more hard-up parishioners to pop out for a bit of five-fingered discount should they find themselves a bit short this Christmas. No… really! Father Tim thinks it’s okay for his parishioners to shoplift as an alternative to mugging, prostitution and burglary. Presumably he hasn’t got round to endorsing those three felonies yet.

Father Tim tempered his comments by saying: “I would ask that they do not steal from small family businesses but from large national businesses, knowing that the costs are ultimately passed on to the rest of us in the form of higher prices. I would ask them not to take any more than they need, for any longer than they need.” Jolly nice of Tim, don’t you think?

Actually, the good father is no stranger to controversy and is rather adept at manipulating the news agenda so he can have Telegraph and Mail readers foaming at the mouth. Last year Father Tim took direct action against Playboy stationery products aimed at children. When he spotted the stationery carrying Playboy's bunny logo on the shelves at his local Stationery Box store, next to Winnie-the-Pooh and Mickey Mouse products, he took it upon himself to clear the shelves. I suppose that’s the modern equivalent of turning over the moneychangers’ tables at the temple.

However, those killjoys at the North Yorkshire police have gone and misinterpreted Tim’s advice on shoplifting by taking a pretty dim view of the whole affair. Still, it’s nice to see the police actually upholding the law for a change… who says miracles don’t happen at Christmas?


  1. you're a bit of a bellend really aren't you.
    I thought this was a blog about hospital food not the ramblings of a wannabe Littlejohn. I mean honestly who really cares about this story

  2. And a merry Xmas to you too!

  3. It's my blog and those are my views. If you don't like it then there are plenty of other blogs you can read. It keeps me amused and gives me something to do. I've always blogged about other issues as well as NHS food. At least allow me to express myself as I see fit. We're not quite living in a police state and free speech still exists. I don't understand why Guardian readers get so steamed up when someone has the temerity to disagree with the established view of the chattering classes.

  4. You are quite right, it is your blog and you can say what you like. But I find so often that these kinds of stories are illresearched, biased and pandering to what the newspapers think their readership want to hear and and so increase sales.

    It looks like the declining sales of papers like the express shows that this model is ceasing to function.

    I don't read the Guardian and get my news from a number of sources. This however is not news. It's also not about food.

    So I'm gonna unsubcribe now and leave you to it. Enjoyed your food posts but this is no longer for me.

    Sorry for calling you a bellend. a hot head on a cold day.

    your santa post though. I mean come on...

  5. I'm pleased to say I am no longer in a position to post photos of hospital food. However, I love the stories of the madness that is sweeping our country. Some of them are occasionally ill-researched but that applies to many news outlets... I should now, I've been a jobbing journalist most of my life. However, let's not forget that blogs are about opinion and that will always be skewed.

  6. I still very much enjoy your blog and hearing how you're getting on. Your posts often lead to interesting discussion where many of us may disagree with each other with good humour.

    I'm afraid I had to look up bellend in the dictionary on my Mac. It took me to Wikipedia where I was treated to a photograph, just in case I was in any doubt!

    The reverend in the story above, in his advice to steal only from larger businesses is ignoring the fact that shoplifting from stores has consequences for staff whose job it is to look after stock. It is not a "victimless" crime. And yes, this is madness!

  7. Blimey TM - good news that samhill (as in what the? I assume) has unsubscribed. You could easily be vegetating and thinking only of yourself and your health but instead you are seeking out and finding issues that need a wider audience. I for one still read your blog daily as it is both interesting and informative. Hope he never visits my blog, most of what I have to say is trifling and self-obsessed LOL

  8. I love reading your blog, and find it interesting to see what opinions are around the world on the issues you blog about.

    Keep up the good work !!

    Also, recovery from institutionalisation is important for your mind as well as your body, so keep the grey cells working :)

  9. Hmmm I think the pot is calling the kettle black ;)

    Keep up the good work ET.

    I hope you and Mrs ET are having a good time, not long till the Best day of the year (it is the best as it is my birthday ;)

    I wish we could rid the net of morons (I encounter them all over the place, usually on Tech site where they are asking you to do their homework / assignments)

    I would like to get back to the UK one day :)


    Kat from Perth.

  10. Keep it up XTM, lots of use love your blog and I have been known to have the occasional rant also.

    Anyone publicly inciting people to shoplift should be questioned by police in my opinion. I have just lost my job and Christmas is going to be a low-cost affair but not necessarily worse because of it.

    I'm a goody-goody on a limited budget and I do object to paying higher prices to subsidise shoplifters.

    Father Tim could have been constructive by mentioning organisations such as Freecycle, which are free to join and have an environmental benefit as well.


  11. I agree, I'm still enjoying your blog. Though I am concerned that you are a tad grumpy and in need of a good 'feel good' Christmas story--not prefabbed ones like "the Christmas Orange" or such (though they do warm the cockles of the heart).
    I searched for a local one and couldn't find one online. Yet. I did find one about a six year old boy in New Jersey who made 1,000 stuffed bears to give away. He asked his father if everyone in the world had a stuffed bear and his dad said no. This kid, Justin, decided to make a 1000 of them. I guess he frequented his local "Build-a-Bear" shop often so he did them there. http://www.goodnewsgazette.net/

    There is a article about the PC of how to greet people this season. It is more in support of your PC views [and mine which is probably why I still read your blog-great minds think a like :o)] http://calgary.ctv.ca/servlet/an/local/CTVNews/20091221/CGY_Greeting_Holiday_091221/20091221/?hub=CalgaryHome

    Merry Christmas and to all a good day/night (it's morning here in Calgary)

    Libby (alas it snowed and now -15C--though still warmer than the last week or so)

  12. Sorry but Samhill gets my vote and I'm off too. Have a merry Christmas - or maybe you telegraph readers don't do that.

    sue a rabid guardian reader

  13. How about John Lewis in High Wycombe (Bucks) doing a 'sleepover' for stranded customers? That's a good news story!

  14. That's a lovely story. I'd expect nothing less of John Lewis.

  15. Sue of the Guardian.



  16. you keep up the good work - i'm still chuckling over health and safety. This vicar has obviously not read his bible recently where it quite clearly states that you shall not steal. Instead of inciting people to steal,and getting a criminal record, maybe he should follow the example of the salvation army. All throughout the year, all around the world reaching out to those who are most vulnerable and in need - God's word in action. Helping people to help themselves, not to take what is not theirs - theft is theft whether from a large or small shop. Merry christmas!!!

  17. "Only three vicars allowed in this shop at any one time."

  18. I found this really interesting as it is certainly not the standard line taken by your average Vicar. Obviously there was more to it.

    His adress was refering to people in the worst dire of situations this Christmas and it was part of an message advising people to survive best that they can without hurting anyone. He was trying to move people away from the temptation to burgle/rob/suicide/prostitution to make it through.

    He was not at all suggesting it was a good thing, and he wasnt recommending someone steal an Ipod from the nearest department store. I got the impression he was talking about the loaf of bread to stop the family starving situation.

    Im not saying I agree or disagree. Im just putting forward that the tone of what he was suggesting is quite different to what was presented in the various media pieces, or at least the ones I read when looking around.

  19. Samhill and Sue up a tree. k.i.s.s.i.n.g. as the childish song goes.

    XTM, I also read your blog daily as you always find articles that interest us all I think.

    Just read the Dail Mail on line about the P.C brigade changing the words on well known hymns because of gender, the UK has gone mad.

    Tonight on Arab satellite channel, Aljezera, it is an all English news broadcasting station, some vegetarian reported that the `New Scientist Journal` , have positive findings that a domestic dog and cat have a bigger carbon footprint than a 4x4.

    Also the pet food industry needs looking into as they have an even bigger problem with the carbon footprint.

    My hubby reckons that governments will use this excuse to tax every household on keeping pets soon, like the old dog license...

    I made a salad sandwitch for the cat when he came in, the nurse at the Medi Care Centre said the lazerations from the disgruntled cat will heal in three weeks.!!

    Hope you are feeling better today XTM.


  20. I completely agree with the second-last Anonymous (at 21:14). I think the 'news' has completely blown this story out of proportion.

  21. Stealing, taking of something that does not belong to you, is wrong.

    No matter which way anyone looks at the wording on the report , it is still wrong to take what does not belong to you.

    The religious bigots, have been trying to influence people and conform them since decades. I could go into the history of it all but cannot be bothered.

    We are all born of free will, we have choices in life, tools to survive, paths to choose from. Then you get the likes of religion trying to influence you, and now it is the PC brigade.

    Religion should take a step back and not try to influence us, not interfere in politics and not try to control us through guilt.

    There is no positive proof that any characters in the bible existed. Religion was invented to control the masses.

    Greeks had mythical Gods, the wrath of Zeus would smite them down if they did not adhere to certain laws. Is there any proof Zeus existed or any other God or demon ?

    Religion has caused so much controversy and wars through time, now you get this arsewipe priest spewing out his opinions, congregation twisting the words, reporters twisting the words even more and the end result is people with nothing better to do than believe what he says.

    I bet his church will be packed to the hilt this Sunday, good publicity stunt, and more hard earned cash in the collection plate to the richest land owners...... The church.

    Sorry XTM.... I went off on one.


  22. Whether your blog is about hospital food or stealing from big store or Santa Claus' image in the cockeyed opinion of a stupid Dr Grills, I'm enjoying the banter.

    I've got a blog called The Book Craze, but it's about anything but books... actually it's about me going out and buying them from all over the place while I tell about my day. Sometimes, my posts on this blog aren't about books, but doesn't matter, it's enjoyed anyway; as I enjoy yours.

    Keep up the good work. :D

  23. I've never commented, but I thought this might be a good time to pop in and tell you I enjoy your blog very much, especially after reading the first comment.

    I'm from Canada and saw your blog months ago on Yahoo about the hospital food and have been coming back ever since. I enjoy the (non-food) posts very much. I'm English by birth and I share your blogs with my mum who hasn't seemed to find any interest in this "internet thingy".

    Thanks for keeping it up!

  24. Nice one, Ness! Keep on keeping on. As for everyone else, thanks for your kind words. Writing opinion is a lonely job. Some years ago I used to write a regular newspaper column, and the majority of my readers seemed to really enjoy the robust nature of the views but a few oddbods would write in (usually in green Biro on lined paper) and would moan about my apparent wickedness which they claimed was on a par with Hitler. Fortunately I managed to put my ear plugs in and carry on regardless. I'll try to do the same this time :-)

  25. Ness.... Ouch, a tax on pets!
    Can they then also be tax-deductible as they provide unconditional love, snuggly warmth, companionship, fun, education and healing benefits as testified by XTM. Maybe not all at the same time but...
    With three cats, three degus, one snake and umpteen fish I should be onto a winner.


  26. Bloody hell, the vicar was not condoning stealing!! If you read his sermon, which is and has been since the start of this stupid blow-up available in full on the internet, you'll be able to read exactly what he said, rather than just reading the key words the papers have printed.

    And Ness, give me one example of a company/TV channel/radio show/advertisement that doesn't try to influence you. People go on and on about the "church" but fail to recognise or get half as angry about the plethora of everyday things that try to influence us too. Do you seriously expect a priest not to express his opinions? Geez!

  27. Here's a follow-up article from the Father himself:


  28. XTM.....I was just thinking... Ok Ok I know it is a dangerous thing to do these days but....... Since all this madness is going on, the P.C brigade, the ministry for arsewipe ideas and the quango`s who still get paid for thinking up at least 5 ideas a day to pee people off, while fiddling expenses and of course taking the coloured stickers off a Rubik`s cube to get the annoying puzzle right.....

    Well... we all love the latest P.C brigade crazy idea`s reports, I mean , sad as I am here in Crete, I eagerly look forward to a report of the next crazy rule, law or idiot stick idea.

    You have to admire the people who come up with crazy law`s and idea`s, they are the only entertainment we can look forward to these days..!

    Anyway, as I was saying, I was thinking , it would be a good idea if you did a permanant thread on all these stupid law`s , and reports of stupid ideas, same as you did with hospital food thread on your blog,, well it is interesting what the papers report and who the F, wit is that designed a ludicrous idea and set it in motion.

    I find all these F,wits coming up with new ideas to confuse the country may be secret Monty Python fans..?


  29. Ness,

    Of course stealing is wrong, no one has at all suggested it is'nt. The Vicar addressed that.

    However the Vicar also had a shot at addressing reality as well.

    People in dire circumstances will try and survive. It is common that part of that attempt to survive may be taking something that doesn't belong to you. That is not a new thing.

    Being born of free will, and having made whatever choices, and taken whatever path that they have is often not taken into account before the point where they break the law. In other words, reflecting on how they got into that position is often lower on the list of immediate needs, and is therefore not dealt with first. Should their situation become dire enough, there is a chance they will act outside the law.

    There after follows a very interesting discussion on taking responsiblity for your actions of course.

    I read the rest of your post on your opinion of religion with interest but don't really have an opinion on it either way. I was interested in what the Vicar had to say simply because he is attempting to address a difficult problem. My interpretation on his personal approach was that should people find themselves in a situation where they will act outside the law, then they should try and do it with the minimal amount of damage.

  30. What the majority do not realise is , that not only is stealing immoral but the amount of stealing , petty theft or shop lifting from small buisnesses to large conglomarate companies, the prices of consumer goods rises due to theft.

    We , the honest shoppers then have to pay high prices for goods.

    Run down places of worship, or closed due to lack of attendance from a flock of disheartened worshipers, should be Government backed with funds to renovate them and turn them into hostels, soup kitchens, Y.M.C.A`s or anything that would be of benefit for the needy.Also animal shelters.

    These people of the cloth ,are quick enough to get involved in politics, which do not concern them, they should concern themselves with helping the needy and from the heart.



  31. Well,well Poms are still stealing loaves of bread.Is this a ploy to be sent to the colonies,notably Aus?Our economy is in good shape,our charities are charitable All year round.No snow in the north,but we do get cyclones and fires,which would give the poms an excuse to whine.Our southern states produce the best and only acceptable wine.
    I like your blog-I first heard about it on an ABC radio program.I also worked as a nurse for 40 years so know about the "?food".
    Happy New Year to you and your family from the antipodes-no lomger a colony.