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Thursday, 30 June 2011

Physicians heal thyselves!


Ex-criminal lawyer and banker Francis Maude gave his practised smooth performance again on breakfast TV this morning as the public sector continues to be the government's whipping boy, or more likely girl these days, taking the blame for the spectacular failures of the private sector. Another MP and ex- minister paints a different picture here

The 'Millie Dowler' trial brought into sharp reality the role of the defence lawyer but fairness was thrown out of the window in the public sector pensions row when Danny Alexander announced the result of discussions with the unions while they were still taking place.

It was no surprise in this morning's interview that Mr Maude neatly side-stepped a question about MPs' rhodium plated pensions but then he is adept at avoiding tricky issues. 

Wednesday, 29 June 2011

Child grooming

Details emerging about the extent of child grooming in this country are being accompanied by warnings not to jump to any conclusions about ethnicity just because one in five men accused of grooming under-age girls for sex is Asian.

Demographic figures show that 'British Asians' account for only 4% of the population, including around 1.8% Indians, many of whom prefer to be counted separately on account of their diversity. That leaves those of Pakistani origin at just 1.3%.

Peter Davies, head of 
the Child Exploitation and Online Protection Centre (Ceop) "will say that the research does not show that child grooming can be associated with any particular ethnic group" because "the data is so patchy that the perpetrators' ethnicity was marked as unknown in about 40% of cases". Patchy it may be but it is hard to see how people will not draw their own conclusions on the basis of these figures. Even if we assume that all the remaining 40% were white, that still leaves a hugely disproportionate level of offenders from the Asian community. Earlier this year Jack Straw was vilified for suggesting that there was a specific problem of young Pakistani men targeting white girls because they regarded them as "easy meat". The latest figures suggest he had a point.

Tuesday, 28 June 2011

Protest march against Blasphemy Law on 2nd July 2011

I spotted this protest on the 'A Reluctant Sinner' blog. The plight of Christians in Pakistan is dreadful. Recalling the sacrifice of Shabbaz Bhatti the event deserves as much publicity as possible. 

'Googling' the event under 'News' came up with only two entries. One from Independent Catholic News, the other from 'Aid to the Church in Need'. 

No doubt the Church of England is busy navel gazing on what they would regard as more important, secular matters, eg, here and here

A report of the march from the Pakistan Christian Post can be found here.

Saturday, 25 June 2011

In one ear and out the other?

"We've gone direct to the British people - some Labour supporters, others not.
And a lot of it wasn't easy listening.
People were blunt with us.
You've all heard it.
Because week in week out, you are out there on the doorsteps.
Talking to people about their concerns.
You know they were livid about the banks.
Worried about the squeeze on their incomes.
Frustrated that their concerns on immigration were not addressed.
Angry when they thought some could work, but didn't.
And you know we lost trust, including because of what happened in Iraq.
We must prevent this happening again.
And you know it's not just about policy, it's about the way we do politics too.
A party created by working people for working people lost touch with them.
We need to be honest about the way we operated as a party.
Because only by being honest can we rebuild.
We need to confront some hard truths.
And if we ever doubt why we need to do this, if you find what I say today difficult, think of the people in your communities suffering today as a result of this Conservative-led Government.
These truths may be uncomfortable for us; but life is more uncomfortable for the people we serve suffering under this Government.
It's not their fault; it's ours that we lost the last election.
We owe it to them not to shy away from any of the difficult changes we need to make."

- Extracted from Ed Miliband's National Policy Forum speech published in the New Statesman.

Time will tell!

Thursday, 23 June 2011


The verdict of 'Innocent' following the trial of Geert Wilders is welcome news not just for Christians alarmed by the threat posed to Christianity and other non-Muslim faiths by the spread of Islam but for free speech in general.

The public prosecutor said that in Holland it is forbidden to offend groups of people and to incite discrimination and hatred. It would be an odd world if only Muslims were allowed to say what they like and discriminate against other religions.

Wednesday, 22 June 2011

Cameron accepts Thatcher's advice

Not the grocer's but a grocer's daughter, the then plain Mrs Thatcher offered some advice to her opponents, "You turn if you want to, the lady is not for turning".

Mr Cameron clearly took that hilariously received advice to heart. Today we have yet another U-turn as the Government reprieves the BBC World Service. And sensibly so!

Tuesday, 21 June 2011

Positive intentionality and the C of E

Confused? Join the club. Googling "positive intentionality" throws up many images, including the Buddha shown above. Reading The Guardian online presents a more specific clue: "Church of England report calls for affirmative action on race".

The report produced ahead of the General Synod in York next month says that the Church of England needs to "embrace affirmative action to increase the number of priests from ethnic minorities and the number of non-white parishioners, both of which lag changes in the wider population." The key recommendation to address the racial imbalance is to introduce 'positive intentionality' – recognising there are 'missing faces and missing voices and actively seeking ways to enable them to be seen and heard'.

Probity prevents me from repeating the words of a traditional rugby song recalled from my youth which drew attention to various differences in colour and appearance but seriously, are so many people falling over themselves to be priests to require positive discrimination? Only a few weeks ago the Church in Wales begged people to write a postcard responding to the call if they, or anyone else they knew, would consider a career in the Church in Wales!

As numbers dwindle following the church's business approach to faith I would have thought any increase in congregations would be welcomed, ethnically diverse or otherwise, but for vocations to be determined by quota seems plain stupid.

The listening party at work

The latest retreat

Monday, 20 June 2011

Another screw in the Anglican coffin

The slow death of the Anglican church looks set to continue. While the role of bishops and priests becomes ever further divorced from traditional religious reality congregations continue to haemorrhage. 

Despite earlier pleas for restraint from Rowan Williams, Archbishop of Canterbury, after the Bishop Gene Robinson affair, Canon Mary Glasspool was elected a bishop in Los Angeles while being in an openly long standing lesbian relationship. 'Restraint' is now turning to farce as synodical Christians seek additional ways of bending Christianity to their will rather than the will of the church Universal. 

Politically correct these decisions may be, but what is more important, the kingdom of God or personal desire? Christians should not discriminate against lesbian and gay people but that view is becoming one-sided. What consenting adults do in private is their own affair  but those Anglicans who try to remain faithful to the tradition of the Universal church rather than synodical debate are increasingly marginalised. 

Christina Rees, introduced by the BBC as "a senior member of the Synod", describes the latest move as "a very controversial issue still in the Church of England". Formerly the leading light in WATCH, Ms Rees was probably the right person to consult about controversy since she and her chums have done their level best to silence those who do not share their parochial view of the Universal church. They have sought to exclude anyone who is not a sympathiser of trendy, worldly desires. It will be interesting to see if they can find it in their hearts to accommodate all in the church, even those who don't share their view of the kingdom of heaven, by voting for appropriate episcopal oversight for traditionalists when/if the opportunity arises.

Friday, 17 June 2011

Water Aid's Loo Queue

It may be raining where you are but water shortages this year are causing considerable difficulties for farmers in parts of England yet they still have access to water for drinking and sanitation. As illustrated above, 40% of the world's population do not have access to adequate sanitation.

Water Aid and its partners 'use practical solutions to provide safe water, effective sanitation and hygiene education to the world’s poorest people'. They also seek to influence policy at national and international levels. Currently they are seeking 30,000 signatures for their petition to the UK Government 'to help lift 100 million people out of water and sanitation poverty by 2015'. 

Residents in the UK are being asked to show solidarity with the millions of people who will be waiting a lifetime before they have a toilet. If you are prepared to help the world's poorest people you can sign the petition here - by 7 July please.

Thursday, 16 June 2011

Carry on nursing

Newspapers are reporting today that nurses have been banned from wearing outfits showing “excessive cleavage” or too much leg. Coming on top of constant reports of poor hygiene among nurses and medical staff one has to ask what has gone wrong with the nursing profession. 

I confess that I found Susan Stephen sufficiently attractive in her regulation uniform without showing what was underneath but in my day, mystery had its own attraction. In my more advanced years I can also see that Joan Hickson, in her pre-Miss Marple days, had something about her in her starched apron and lace cap! Showing "excessive cleavage" would have been impossible in those regulation uniforms and the sight "too much leg" would certainly have been counter-balanced by the regulation black shoes nurses were obliged to wear. 

From 2013 nurses will need a degree in a move that is is "aimed at improving patient care". What absolute twaddle. That is an insult to the older generation of nurses who entered the profession with a vocation to nurse and care for the sick. I have not spoken to one State Registered Nurse who trained on the ward who thinks patient care has improved since the system was changed. More stories like this appear inevitable unless nurses carry on nursing as they used to.


An interesting account from the Telegraph here. Some of the comments are as good if not better than the article in highlighting the problems faced. 

Wednesday, 15 June 2011

Atrocities against Christians

As the Archbishop of Canterbury, Dr Rowan Williams, draws attention to atrocities against Christians in the Middle East, closer to home we have yet more cases of white girls being groomed for sex by predominately Asian gangs who display Islamic rather than Christian values.

Those who regard the perfect man as one who had sex with a nine-year old girl and encouraged the beheading of prisoners may see this as normal but to complain that they are victims of Islamophobia because civilised people do not approve of such barbaric behaviour would be laughable were it not so serious.

Tuesday, 14 June 2011

Vicars and tarts

An internet search will reveal that 'Vicars and Tarts' party costumes are still readily available despite no longer knowing which is the vicar! For many it was all a bit of innocent funThe Vicars and Tarts party illustrated above was a refined affair but not all such parties had a happy endingI have not been to a Vicars and Tarts party :( but had I been, dressed as a tart, at my age I would have had no option but to play it for laughs as a pantomime dame. 

But "All this laughing turns to crying", my mother-in-law used to say. This is amply demonstrated by the images of the new SlutWalk craze. As Eve strives ever more to be Adam the edges of who is who and what is what have become blurred. The body as the 'temple of the Holy Spirit' is a concept that few recognise today. 

The sexulisation of children is abhorrent but opinions on how to deal with the problem differ. Fathers are naturally protective of their daughters and do not want to see them exploited. Gratuitous provocativeness is unacceptable and is not something to be instilled at an early age. In adulthood the problem has become absurd with semi-naked, drunken women out for a good time often revealing far more than may have been intended. While there is no excuse for treating women as sex objects they should be sensitive to the art of being provocative keeping it where intended, not parading it on the streets. If they think it another victory for feminism they are mistaken. To play the tart is one thing, to parade oneself as a slut is an entirely different ball game.

Saturday, 11 June 2011


 1When the day of Pentecost had come, they were all together in one place. 2And suddenly there came from heaven a noise like a violent rushing wind, and it filled the whole house where they were sitting. 3And there appeared to them tongues as of fire distributing themselves, and they rested on each one of them. 4And they were all filled with the Holy Spirit and began to speak with other tongues, as the Spirit was giving them utterance.
      5Now there were Jews living in Jerusalem, devout men from every nation under heaven. 6And when this sound occurred, the crowd came together, and were bewildered because each one of them was hearing them speak in his own language. 7They were amazed and astonished, saying, “Why, are not all these who are speaking Galileans? 8“And how is it that we each hear them in our own language to which we were born? 9“Parthians and Medes and Elamites, and residents of Mesopotamia, Judea and Cappadocia, Pontus and Asia, 10Phrygia and Pamphylia, Egypt and the districts of Libya around Cyrene, and visitors from Rome, both Jews and proselytes, 11Cretans and Arabs—we hear them in our own tongues speaking of the mighty deeds of God.” 12And they all continued in amazement and great perplexity, saying to one another, “What does this mean?” 13But others were mocking and saying, “They are full of sweet wine.”
Peter’s Sermon
      14But Peter, taking his stand with the eleven, raised his voice and declared to them: “Men of Judea and all you who live in Jerusalem, let this be known to you and give heed to my words. 15“For these men are not drunk, as you suppose, for it is only the third hour of the day; 16but this is what was spoken of through the prophet Joel:
         And they shall prophesy.

The pen is mightier than the sword.

Tuesday, 7 June 2011

Anti-Muslim hatred!


In the run-up to the announcement of a new 'Prevent' strategy, predictable outrage has been expressed about measures described as 'anti-Muslim hatred' by Nabil Ahmed of the Federation of Student Islamic Societies in a discussion on Newsnight yesterday evening [starting at point 16.11 into the programme]. In his introduction Jeremy Paxman said that there is a delicate balance between protecting individuals and alienating an entire community if mistakes are made. In other words, softly, softly with an ideology that has at its heart, the sentiments expressed above and below:

In February the Prime Minister posed some questions over the funding of Muslim groups: "Do they believe in universal human rights, including for women and other faiths; equality of all before the law; democracy and the right of people to elect their own government; and, do they encourage integration or separation?" The answer to these questions, and to many others, is contained in the film from which the quotations are taken. Islam means submission. Islamists are not interested in the democratic human rights of other religions or equality before the law. This is the price of not submitting:

Those who refuse to believe it should read this. A Google search provides ample evidence of the barbarism of the 'religion of peace' - I would advise against watching the sickening video. If the alternative to 'alienating an entire community' is acceptance of a religious ideology that has no time for non-Muslims and which not only tolerates but has violence at its heart, then so be it.

The Home Secretary, Theresa May, says that It may be "too easy for Muslim extremists to form groups on campuses 'without anyone knowing' " and that "the Government would cut funding to any Islamic group that espoused extremist views" but tackling 'extremists' does not get to the heart of the problem of jihad, cultural or otherwise, which seeks to create a Muslim world. As details of the new 'Prevent' strategy emerge, that is the central question which needs to be addressed if we are to avoid more of this.

Thursday, 2 June 2011

“I am the way, and the truth, and the life. "

Sharing Tables event in Shotton, Flintshire

A group of Christians and Muslims have shared a meal to show "solidarity" in an area that has seen protests about plans for an Islamic cultural centre.

Meanwhile, in Milan, Italy,

No illusions there!

With the best of intentions many Christians in this country are blind to the threat of Islam. Islamists are trying every trick in the book to dominate the world. There is only one way to the Father. We forget it at our peril.


Read Voice Of The Copts and their suffering under Islam. Why do we pander to this alien ideology that would see our demise? We must be mad.

Wednesday, 1 June 2011

Ministry and Calling Sunday (June 5)

Then I heard the voice of the Lord saying, “Whom shall I send? And who will go for us?”
And I said, “Here am I. Send me!” [Isaiah 6:8]

Err.... not quite. A Church in Wales Press Release tells us that postcards will be handed around churches across Wales next Sunday as "part of a major drive to help find more vicars". June 5 has been designated Ministry and Calling Sunday when people will be invited to "think about whether they, or anyone else they know, should consider a career in the Church in Wales [my emphasis] and write a postcard responding to the call". A 'career'! That says much about the downfall of the Anglican church. No sacred ministry, just another job in the work place, obsessed with equality of opportunity and the political correctness of secularism rather than faith, mystery and otherness.

You can read an interesting Blog item 'The shrinking Church of England' here. Elsewhere in the WhyChurch Blog there are some useful graphs including the one copied below which shows the UK at the bottom of the pile for churchgoing way back in 2002:

The Church in Wales highlights the problem they face in Wales when the Bishop of St Asaph, Gregory Cameron, says “We are facing a growing need to find more ministers, with nearly a third of our clergy (166) currently serving due to retire in the next five years." This problem is illustrated in the following 2005 chart which shows ageing congregations with declining attendances:


Traditionally vocations were found among congregations but no longer. As a BBC web site puts it, "many of those attending [church] are of the older generations, with statistics showing that few 15 to 30 year olds go to church." Some see this as a result of the church becoming feminised. As more girls and women occupy chancels and sanctuaries, boys and young men have taken to football and other pursuits. Ordination lists frequently include candidates, predominately female, in the upper age brackets. The traditional pool of youngsters has dried up and no longer provides the vocations needed. Instead procedures are put in place to recruit mainly women for a career as social workers in vestments.

The ordination of women has not halted the decline. Many worshippers have ceased churchgoing because of it while others have looked elsewhere in the universal church to worship according to conscience, something the Church of England Synod and Church in Wales stubbornly refuse to recognise. In Wales clergy are urged to "poke, tweet and blog" while an 'independent group' examines aspects of the Church – its leadership, structures and use of resources - giving the impression that the administrators have been called in.

The Church in Wales may be already doomed as a separate entity but what of the Church of England? Is it too late to stop the decline? The ordination of women has to be seen in the context of the wider church and moves towards unity in East and West with the Anglican church being left behind. I do not share the view that women should be allowed to be bishops because they have been allowed to become priests. Two wrongs do not make a right. Figures published in the Telegraph last October suggested a hardening against reforms and liberal bishops. As the issue of women bishops is debated around the country churchgoers would do well to look to Wales to see what has become of the church there under the leadership of His Darkness and, barring a miracle, its demise.