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Saturday, 28 May 2011

Balls up

Photograph: Ian Nicholson/PA

Ed Balls is up for it and rightly so. In answer to Ms Shoesmith's triumph at the Court of Appeal he said, "I judged, on the basis of that independent report [which 'catalogued catastrophic management failures on such a devastating scale'] - and on the advice of departmental officials and lawyers - that the right and responsible course of action was for me to use my statutory powers to remove the director of children's services from her position with immediate effect."

Good for him. A procedural cock-up that gets people off the hook has to be seen in the context of the endless procedural cock-ups that led to the death of a defenceless child, supposedly under the care of the Haringey Council who paid their Director of Social Services £133,000 a year to do the job. Procedure did little to protect baby Peter Connelly despite receiving 60 visits from social workers, police and doctors in the last eight weeks of his life. A failure in procedure should not reward failure. 

Thursday, 26 May 2011

Religious tolerance in modern Britain

(Source Metroploitan Police)

These Muslim thugs have been convicted after pleading guilty to GBH with intent after  battering a Religious Education teacher in the name of their God because he was not a Muslim. This did not take place in an Islamic State but in England.

British Christian MP David Simpson has raised his concern over the treatment of Christians in the United Kingdom and around the world in a debate in the House of Commons this week.

Is anyone listening?

Tuesday, 24 May 2011

'The Beast'

The US Presidential limo offers all the security that is available but "the best laid plans of mice and men often go awry" as was evidenced when 'the beast' fell foul of US security getting stuck while crawling a over a security speed hump at their Embassy in Dublin.

After the initial shock, bystanders saw the funny side of the incident but there is more to come with the 'three point turn' in Downing Street. Some interesting gestures from the guy doing the guiding!

Monday, 23 May 2011

Coptic warning

From Voice of the Copts, a salutary warning directed at Germany but equally relevant to all who fear the demise of Christianity in Muslim countries as already witnessed by the Copts in Egypt.

"We are all in this together." (16)

Curtains Mr Fix-it?

Saturday, 21 May 2011

The Tracy Emin of horticulture?

Believe it or not, this is the skeleton of a garden feature at the Chelsea Flower Show which runs from 24 - 28 May 2011 and for which tickets are already sold out. Yes, the Chelsea Flower Show which is becoming ever more bizarre. I have never been but I know people who have. Reports convince me that armchair viewing is far preferable. Apparently, unless you are in the Royal party the chances of a good view amidst the hoards of visitors is strictly limited.

One feature that will be partially visible is Diarmuid Gavin's flying garden which has to be a worse joke than the previous worst Irish horticultural joke, ie, when a man shouts from the upstairs window to the man laying the turf, "Green side up!". It seems that Diarmuid Gavin is trying to be to horticulture what Tracey Emin is to art. At least Tracey Emin is down to earth!

Wednesday, 18 May 2011

Clegg the Loser?

Photograph: Leon Neal/PA

One would have thought that the Deputy Prime Minister, Nick Clegg, had had enough battering but he was back in the stocks yesterday with a draft bill to reform the House of Lords and was immediately attacked from both sides of both Houses as the Aunt Sally of the coalition. 

Ignoring voter apathy and the lack of enthusiasm for the Alternative Vote system, more elections are proposed with a different alternative voting system which, as critics have pointed out, if carried through would provide a second elected chamber which would not necessarily be in sympathy with the view of the Commons. The purpose of 'the other place' is to provide the opportunity for scrutiny and amendment by eminent men and women drawing on their experience and wisdom rather than party dogma. If it works, why change it?

One wonders if Nick Clegg is being set up.

Tuesday, 17 May 2011

Queen and Pawn

The visit of Her Majesty the Queen to the Republic of Ireland is a gesture that should cement improved relations with our nearest neighbour but a small minority of people in Ireland see Her Majesty simply as a pawn in their political game. Queen Elizabeth II is a remarkable woman. A model of duty and service in an age when courtesy and good manners are regarded as outdated. Dwelling in the past, the protesters should recognise that far more unites us than divides us; indeed, many of us share mixed ancestry. The level of security imposed for the Royal visit is a sad reflection on the motivation of the few who seem unable to differentiate between the Head of State and politics. The estimated £26 million security cost resulting from their ignorance and petty squabbles will be passed on to the majority who simply want to live in peace, restore prosperity and enjoy the spectacle of a Royal visit that could do much for the Irish economy.

Monday, 16 May 2011

Friday, 13 May 2011

Modern Britain

'Great' Britain? - Alas, no longer according to the Lonely Planet company.  Overpriced and lacking in quality. No surprise there for the seasoned traveller!

Arriving back in Britain from the delights of foreign venues, many travellers have a reality check when returning to their congested, litter-strewn country where inhospitable people frequently lack any consideration but for themselves. While high prices for inadequate services have been highlighted by Lonely Planet, the shock of driving again on Britain's roads has been highlighted by government proposals to give motorists who, eg, tailgate, undertake or cut up other drivers, on-the-spot fines but it is difficult to see how that is going to be effective when the police are more noticeable for their absence. 

Arriving at Heathrow without ongoing transport can be a thoroughly depressing experience especially waiting for a coach on a cold winter's night in the wind-tunnel designated as the waiting room while arriving by ferry in Dover is akin to being classified as cargo. Although motorway services have shown improvements above other facilities, generally using public toilets is often a thoroughly unpleasant experience especially on older railway stations and better avoided if at all possible. 

After travelling abroad, often in pristine conditions, it is back to the filth. Many regard Britain's roads as their dustbin while town centres taken over at night by drunken revellers are an experience to be avoided. 

If we carry on like this, who will want to come to modern Britain apart from economic migrants?

Tuesday, 10 May 2011

The listening party?

Watching yesterday's debate on the future of the NHS it was hard to detect any hint that the Government had heeded the misgivings of professionals bar those they choose to listen to for the advice they wish to hear. 

Watching David Willett's performance on TV this morning he seemed unable to to give a straight answer to any of the questions put to him but it looks clear that education may be going the same way as health care. If you can afford it, you can have it. Otherwise it is a lottery. 

Like naughty children, they listen when they have to then carry on as before until brought up with a severe jolt. They didn't get one after last Thursday's votes but their cockiness may yet be their undoing when it really counts. The privileged remain so, the desperately poor get help while the people in the middle continue to bear the brunt. For how long will that be tolerated? 

Monday, 9 May 2011

Is to question this, Islamophobia?

Twelve dead, over 180 injured and God knows how many Bibles burnt. The hypocrisy is mind blowing. Have you checked what barnabasfund is doing to save Christianity?

Friday, 6 May 2011

For Christ's sake

Unlike Islam, when Christianity receives a bad press most people shrug their shoulders but the barnabasfund is doing what all Christians should be doing, standing up for Christ. Some pay the ultimate price but for the majority of us it should be sufficient to admit to being Christian and defend the faith.

Operation Nehemiah is at the forefront of barnabasfund operations defending Christians and Christianity with various campaigns. One of these is their petition against the Islamisation of our food. Halal products are now routinely sold without the knowledge of consumers. Supermarkets have become complicit in this outrageous practice. Recently I asked for Welsh lamb in the knowledge that most imported lamb is now halal. The butcher falsely claimed that halal 'only meant a blessing' when what it really means is that the animal is bled to death while conscious listening to a cry that 'Allah is great' because of a belief that the animal was 'unclean'. A second butcher told me that even the Welsh lamb was now halal!

I do not wish to minimise unnecessary suffering caused to animals but for Christians there is also an important religious point. There is only one God, the God of the Bible who tells us that it is not what goes into the body that is unclean but what comes out. The problem for non-Muslims is that halal has to be properly certified for which there is a fee. The cost of this procedure is included in the price and part of what we pay is used for the benefit of Islam to the detriment of Christianity.

More visible than unlabelled food are the increasing numbers of Islamic centres and mosques built bigger and better than other places of worship with calls to prayer that imprint a Muslim identity on neighbourhoods. These often draw in worshippers from afar until Islamification is complete. In church schools facilities are being provided for Muslims to cleanse themselves before prayer at the expense of providing facilities for all with the implicit validation of a culture that believes non-Muslims to be inferior and unclean. There are many other issues such as the rising Muslim population due to immigration and higher birth rates.

If you are one of the Christians who simple shrugs his/her shoulders or yawns having been conned into believing the myth of Islamophobia, then go to the barnabasfund website shop and order Dr Patrick Sookhdeo's "Slippery Slope - The Islamificaion of the UK". It costs only 50p incl p&p. You will be amazed. Better still, order a few for others to read, add a donation and get involved, not just for you own but for Christ's sake.

Wednesday, 4 May 2011

Do you smell a rat?

Voters are lurching one way or the other over which system, AV or FPTP, is better for the country rather than simply considering which system is 'fairer'. Politicians I respect have come down on both sides, as do the arguments. To take the easy way out is not to abstain but simply let things be and vote 'No' but that is beginning to have a bit of a whiff about it.

There are increasing accusations of untruths and unfair funding. Despite being a free vote, it has been revealed that the 'No' campaign has been funded mainly by Tory party donors and that the 'No' campaign has received 100% support from the Conservative party, the party that is already set to gain from boundary changes. So a 'No' vote could result in the unfair possibility of one party dominance, possibly with a minority vote which would serve no-one's best interests. 

Some voters have already lost sight of what the referendum is all about using the campaign simply to attack the Deputy Prime Minister over what they regard as broken promises yet there are reports that the Prime Minister has broken his promise to Nick Clegg that he would not campaign vigorously for a 'No' vote as part of the coalition deal.

The Jenkins Report suggested a change from the first past the post system back in 1998 but the Conservative response was to pledge a fight against any moves to reform. While the Labour party is split on the issue the party most likely to benefit must be the Liberal Democrats who for years have suffered badly form disproportionate representation based on the number of votes received.

To vote 'No' on the basis of perceived experience of the coalition goes against expert opinion so in fairness the vote should be 'Yes'.