Dissemblance and dissolution

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The stone walls built from the Abbey pulled down in the dissolution



Britain’s most famous advert was produced by Ridley Scott for Hovis, it put my town Shaftesbury on the map for many people. A fake Hovis loaf still sits at the top of Gold Hill


up which the young lad pushes the bakers bike and at the bottom of the hill is Folly Cottage.

Folly cottage

Shaftesbury is full of such dissemblance. As reported yesterday, its parish of Cann and Melbury is patronised by St Rumbold a 3 day  child who came out of the womb preaching and the town’s fortune in the Middle Ages centred on it having the bones of St Edward King and Martyr. St Edward was sanctified by being murdered by his mother aged 9 and his bones transported from Corfe to Shaftesbury to protect them from Viking raids.

So you can see Shaftesbury as a town that has built its reputation on dissemblance. That brass band that plays over the advert ensured that Hovis was as popular up north as it was for those down south who identified with the West Country voice over.

Art is seen by some as dissemblance and others a way of seeing things another way -Ridley Scott’s way or the way of Medieval Ecclesiastics.

David Hockney, in a fine documentary on BBC2 last night talked of painting water as an opportunity to see what appears on the surface or what is going on beneath and “painting water” is a good metaphor for his art.

Alan Higham, who seems to delight in my epithet “evergreen moaner”, picked up on the part of the blog yesterday “beneath the surface”

While everyone has been going on about pension freedoms, people in the public sector have been continuing to accrue guaranteed benefits at a rate that those who pay their wages and pensions cannot afford. Yesterday, I gave as an example, Dorset County Council’s failure to build a bypass around Melbury Abbas, something that could was proposed 20 years ago. Now – the main road into the village is impassable and the Stour valley looks to de disrupted for years.

The drain on public finances of paying disproportionate pensions to those who control public finances is a scandal that far outweighs “annuity mis-selling”. It is plain misleading, to suppose that this problem doesn’t exist.

I guess that up until the dissolution of the monasteries, ordinary people in Britain put up with the stuff and nonsense of 3 day olds giving sermons and 9 year olds being sanctified for being murdered. I suppose that Ridley Scott’s career was made by pretending that Gold Hill and Hovis were the answers to a country riven by post-war blues.

But the monasteries were dissolved and the wall along Gold Hill is largely made of the stones taken from the dissolved Shaftesbury Abbey. The bones of St Edward King and Martyr now languish in a Maltese Bank Vault (still on sale to any branch of the true church prepared to suspend disbelief).

At some point, someone, Michael Johnson maybe, will be able to explain to ordinary people and extraordinary politicians, that having guaranteed pensions for those who Govern and workplace savings plans for those that don’t is about as tenable as the system of indulgences that supported 16th century monasticism.

They discovered this in Canada and have started moving to a fairer system using CDC. I suspect that at some time, incidents like the closure of Dinah’s Hollow in Melbury will convince us that Government pensions have to change and change properly. We wouldn’t want them dissolved.



For a great program on the LGPS which appeared on radio four this Sunday (March 15th) click here . the program features contributions from favourites on this blog including Michael Johnson and Dr Chris Sier as well as some not so favourite contributions.

About henry tapper

Founder of the Pension PlayPen,, partner of Stella, father of Olly . I am the Pension Plowman
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