You are here . on the pale blue dot

Blog notes

'Anonymous' comments for publication must include a pseudonym.

They should be on topic and not involve third parties.
If pseudonyms are linked to commercial sites comments will be removed as spam.

Tuesday, 31 January 2012

The fate of the Church of England?

In all conscience, how can feminism supersede Christ's example and the tradition of the Holy Catholic Church? 
Synod has lost its way in making rules contrary to the Apostolic faith.

The ordination of women separates Anglicans from the One Holy Catholic and Apostolic Church.

The Episcopal Church in the United States has been devastated by the innovation.

Is this to be the vision for the Church of England?

Saturday, 28 January 2012


"That's one small step for man, one giant leap for mankind."

After man first set foot on the moon, mankind was left with the historic statement, "That's one small step for man, one giant leap for mankind". Everyone understood that the statement was not intended to exclude women but to encompass all humanity in the technological advancement of mankind which has seen men and women astronauts venture into space, part of a sequence of small steps that led to Kennedy's vision of "landing a man on the Moon and returning him safely to Earth".

Around the same time people in the Anglican church were taking what were represented as small steps, not towards a giant leap for mankind, Christ did that, but in what now can be seen clearly as a secular policy in furtherance of gender politics in the church, a process which is about to destroy the faith of many Christians in the name of feminism, one which already has done for many. In my previous Blog entry I referred to a Guardian article by Andrew Brown. One paragraph continues to rankle:

   "... there will be female bishops, as there are already female priests, and these will be treated exactly the same as male ones – except by the men who don't want to treat them equally and who believe that God has called them to undermine women's authority wherever it appears." [My emphasis.]

What was initially regarded as an honourable position in the Anglican Church, a church which assured traditionalists that they would continue to have a place, has been turned into one of having to suffer accusations of misogyny, prejudice, discrimination and, now, a "a belief that God has called them to undermine women's authority wherever it appears". How crass. God made man and woman in his own image, not hermaphrodites but both male and female, equal, neither superior nor inferior but with different roles in creation. Perhaps Mr Brown doesn't realise that both men and women, male and female, are equally opposed to the ordination of women priests and bishops, woman more vehemently in my experience but more prone to suffer in silence as they do not possess the strident streak exhibited by those who presume to speak for them as implied by the incorrectly named WATCH - Women and the Church. Women's authority does not depend on being a priest or a bishop. In Britain women are rightly employed at all levels in society, but 'authority' in the Anglican Church has become a banner used by people who have sold their souls to secularism in direct contradiction to Christ's example in choosing male Apostles, a tradition handed down in His Apostolic Church from a time when pagan priestesses were common.

The 'small' steps that turned deaconesses into deacons thus permitting their ordination as priests have now become that giant leap for the Church of England with the proposals before Synod to ordain women as successors to the Apostles in defiance of the wider Catholic and Orthodox Churches with whom we share our creed. To brand men and women  who oppose this innovation and whose only desire is to keep the Apostolic faith as 'undermining women's authority' is as absurd as it is offensive.

Wednesday, 25 January 2012

We will all be changed

A further drop in Church of England attendance has been reportedAverage Sunday attendance fell from 944,400 in 2009 to 923,700 the following year, continuing the long-term downward trend. Hardly the result one might have expected after the church decided to make itself more relevant to society by becoming ever more secular.

In an unhelpful Blog article for the Guardian on the prospect of women bishops in the CofE, Andrew Brown writes: "The Church of England's fudge on female bishops is breathtaking". He  concludes with the comment: "It may be possible to fudge questions about the nature of a communion wafer in this way. But I don't think it will do for a matter of employment law." So the Body of Christ can be fudged but Its administration by the sacred ministry is something that should be determined by employment law! No wonder so many churches are for sale with plenty more to come as attendance dwindles.

The theme of this year's Week of Prayer for Christian Unity is 'We will be changed'. From the Churches Together site:

"Change is at the heart of our Christian faith. Saint Paul said that anyone who is in Christ is a new creation, and we are called to live as children in the light. 

The theme for the Week of Prayer for Christian Unity 2012 comes to us from the churches in Poland, who have reflected upon their own experience as a nation, and in particular how, as a nation, they have been changed and transformed by the many upheavals of their history, and sustained by their faith.

Change is also at the heart of the ecumenical movement. When we pray for the unity of the church we are praying that the churches that we know and which are so familiar to us will change as they conform more closely to Christ. This is an exciting vision, but also a challenging one. Furthermore, when we pray for this transforming unity we are also praying for change in the world."

The upheavals in the Anglican church may have brought joy to some but for the church it has been a disaster with litigation and arguments about the nature of the priesthood, gay and lesbian ordination and same sex marriage which no doubt is now regarded as acceptable on the grounds that there is 'no theological objection', the Anglican justification for female ordination. These changes have had a wholly negative impact on the church when our aim should be unity with the Roman Catholic church from which we have become separated and the Orthodox Church.

If women in England and Wales are to be ordained bishops because of secular employment laws, then 'we will all be changed'. We will be changed but in the wrong direction, choosing Protestantism rather than the ancient churches of Rome and Orthodoxy, the Holy Catholic and Apostolic Church of our baptism, driving us further than ever from church unity. As Synod members prepare to vote, they should not be influenced by secular employment laws but follow Christ's example and listen to His prayer that we all may be one.

Monday, 23 January 2012

“There is no place for you in this church.”

The Very Rev Jeremy Winston
 Dean Of Monmouth Sept to Nov 2011

Not as they would have intended but nevertheless they have had their way. The purple-obsessedmean-spirited women who, not content with being ordained into the sacred ministry, complained bitterly about the appointment of a traditionalist, Canon Jeremy Winston, to the post of Dean of Monmouth. Another has been appointed in his place, one who, according to reports, shares the view that traditionalists can take what is offered or leave the church. Fr Jeremy was regarded as unacceptable despite his manifest talents because he did not accept the fashionable view that the priesthood can be re-defined by committee. So here was a priest who stood head and shoulders above many, including the Bench of Bishops, who had been told: “There is no place for you in this church” as if it were their church, a church that has become dominated by those who delude themselves into thinking that after 2,000 years, they know the mind of God better than Jesus Christ.

Dean Jeremy was held in such high esteem outside the church hierarchy that the Service of Thanksgiving held on Saturday (January 21) in St Mary's Priory Church, Abergavenny, witnessed a congregation in excess of 800 led by the Lord Lieutenant of Gwent representing HRH The Prince of Wales. (Prince Charles had twice visited St Mary's to open projects initiated by Fr Jeremy when Vicar.) Attendance was limited only by space with every nook and cranny of the Priory Church occupied, as was Fr Jeremy's funeral service in St Woolos Cathedral where the congregation overflowed into chapels and outside, with a broadcast link to St Mary's in Abergavenny.

How often have we heard that the talents of women should not be overlooked as justification for them standing at the altar in persona Christi yet Fr Jeremy's obvious talents had been ignored until it became clear to all but the blinkered and prejudiced that he was without doubt the best candidate to be appointed Dean of Monmouth following the departure to St Helena of the now Bishop Richard Fenwick. In addition to his many pastoral and personal gifts which were frequently referred to at the Service of Thanksgiving for his life [in the link go to January 21, 2012], Fr Jeremy held many Appointments, some of which appeared in the Order of Service:
  • Regional Chaplain to the Order of St John
  • Chairman of the Standing Liturgical Advisory Commission
  • Past Chairman of the Gwent Medical Ethics Board
  • Past Chairman of the Additional Curates Society
  • Governor of several schools, often acting as Chairman
  • Chairman of Father Ignatius Memorial trust
  • Member of the Executive Committee of the Friends of Friendless Churches,
  • Long-standing member and chairman of the Governing Body of the Church in Wales
 Listening to the many moving tributes to Fr Jeremy, those on the Bench of Bishops present must have sat rather uncomfortably since they are 'of one mind' on the ordination of women, ie, their Archbishop's. Bishop David Thomas was the last and only bishop appointed to care for traditionalists. The position was dropped following his retirement with unforeseen consequences for the planned ordination of women to the episcopate. Bishop David and Lord Rowe-Beddoe referred directly to the issue. In his tribute Bishop David said, "I for one shall never forget his courage in proposing and championing the so-called ‘Kirk-Winston amendment’ to the draft legislation on women in the episcopate in 2008." Lord Rowe-Beddoe went further. He said, "As a staunch traditionalist, Jeremy was appointed to a small panel of the Governing Body which drafted a Bill for the appointment of women bishops in 2009. His amendment, which called for the reappointment of a provincial assistant bishop, was defeated. It has been widely acknowledged that the defeat of this amendment contributed greatly to the defeat of the Bill itself at that time. He was always unfailingly courteous to those who did not share his views, even when some told him that “there is no place for you in this church”.

It would be a fitting tribute to Fr Jeremy if those who think that traditionalists have no place in the church reap their reward and see Synod and the Governing Body now bury the move that will separate us from the One, Holy, Catholic and Apostolic Church.

Sunday, 22 January 2012

The "Religion of Peace" (2)
Photo: Reuters

The latest estimate of deaths resulting from bombings by Islamists in Nigeria has risen to 162. Where is the condemnation from Muslims who keep telling us that Islam is a religion of peace. Where are the voices which are quick to cry "Islamophobia!" at every opportunity in furtherance of their Islamist ideology? For those who have taken the trouble to check Islamist claims rather than accept them at face value it is clear that the 'religion of peace' means that there will be "peace" when Islam prevails, that is, on their terms only. Check it out on video here, or here for a more comprehensive explanation, and read about peace, the 'Christmas spirit and Islam' here.

Friday, 20 January 2012

The Promised Land - for some.

Sayida Khaliif, wife of Saeed Khaliif, at the £2m house she shares with members of her Somalian family
Sayida Khaliif, wife of Saeed Khaliif,
at the £2m house she shares with members of her Somalian family

This morning I awoke to the news that benefits are being claimed by 371,000 migrants. The Mail Online filled in some details including the case of the Khaliif family. According to the article, Somali asylum seeker Saeed  Khaliif was given a £2million home in one of the country’s most exclusive neighbourhoods at the taxpayer’s expense. No wonder Sayida Khaliif has a smile on her face. A few days ago we received the news that radical cleric Abu Qatada won his appeal at the European Court of Human Rights against deportation from the UK. According to another Mail Online article, this preacher of hate is reported to be living  in West London "off state benefits said to total £1,000 a month – including £70 a week for a bad back".

Only yesterday I listened to a number of accounts of hardship and the difficulties of obtaining assistance. The first, a young man who is incapacitated to the extent that his mother has been completing the forms demanded by the state, not once but three times in a procedure that appears designed to avoid payment. His mother said that had she not intervened her son would have starved. Towards the end of her life a frail but independent lady in her 90's was struggling to survive with the aid of local authority assistance limited to 10 mins a visit yet migrants who have paid no contributions appear able to receive benefits without difficulty. How can "people from Romania and Bulgaria [be] claiming benefits by claiming to be self-employed because they sold the Big Issue newspaper"? During the trial in 2010 of a migrant gang who defrauded the country of £450,000 the barrister for one of the defendants said: 'It is not a sophisticated fraud in any way, shape or form. The reality is this country is known as "Benefits Britain". This defendant cannot be held responsible for that.'

After Christmas I heard of a dodge which sounded a little far fetched. A farmer friend had taken pity on an East European and given him work. He left for home in Europe for the holiday period perfectly healthy but instead of returning for work he sent a note asking for confirmation that he had broken his leg, apparently enabling him to claim sick pay from this country while living back home in Europe.  Perhaps not so far fetched after all!

All this comes on top of unemployment figures at a 17 year high of 2.69 million which makes it all the more outrageous that "official figures show that up to 90 percent of new jobs created in Britain over the past decade have gone to foreign-born workers while levels of unemployment have risen". 'Great Britain' has become 'Benefits Britain', the Promised Land for immigrants where human rights can be enjoyed by all but innocent victims and a better life can be enjoyed provided no contribution has been towards it. 

What a mess!

Wednesday, 18 January 2012

Unemployment: Conman and Dobin to the rescue?

Conman and his faithful companion Dobin who is often taken for a ride

Devoid of any policies to create growth and employment for a lost generation, the government media machine is rumoured to be looking to heroes of yesteryear such as the Lone Ranger and Tonto, Batman and Robin, Etc., to re-produce some up-to-date fantasy features such as the old comedy, The Trickle Down Effect, in which the rich were handsomely rewarded on the premise that wealth would trickle down to the masses, well some of them. For the results of that policy look around. 

The last major feature, Squeeze the Public Sector, was based on the notion that by adding massive numbers of public sector employees to the dole queue, thus reducing the tax intake and paying more in benefits, the private sector would have far greater numbers to recruit from the enlarged pool of the unemployed. Alas this scenario was also one of make-believe because the private sector has done its own thing with less money around to stimulate the economy.

With the Prime Minister again declaring the latest unemployment figures 'disappointing',  it will be the task of Conman and Dobin to inject another feel-good factor, building on the make-believe world inhabited by the Employment Minister, Chris Grayling, who, not being unemployed himself, manages to sound extremely positive about the situation explaining that the figures are 'much more complex than the headlines suggest', a great comfort to the long term unemployed.

Monday, 16 January 2012

The two faces of Islam


Spot the difference

The picture on the left shows what is left of another burnt-out church, this one in Zanzibar. Just one of many atrocities against Christians carried out in over 50 countries around the world with little or no comment let alone condemnation. 

The second picture is of a Mosque in Woking, Surrey, built in 1889, the first mosque to be built in the UK and Northern Europe. When Conservative Home reported on Saudi Arabia's funding of Islamism in 2006 there were thought to be around 1,600 mosques in Britain. Clicking on 'All towns' in this link now shows 1993 mosques, a 25% increase. Sunderland lists two, Sunderland Masjid and Masjid ibn Taymeeyahwith capacities of 345 and 195 respectively, 'including women' with the note, "The five times daily salaah in congregation in the masjid is enjoined on men, not on women. Women's salaah is expected to be discreet and private and therefore performed at home. About 72% of UK masjids make some provision for women, but many of these do so by allocating space only when specially asked for. Larger purpose-built masjids often have a gallery over the main masjid room, part or all of which is for women's use. (Excerpt from our book, Islam and Muslims in Britain - A Guide.)"

"The former, Millfield Mosque, also know as the Mosque of Sunderland, is illegal. Sunderland City Council has already agreed to sell the disused vehicle depot in St Mark’s Road, Millfield, which is hoped to provide a replacement for the “illegal” mosque operating further up the road. Many residents are furious at the plans, with one claiming Millfield will “end up being Mosquefield” and the council has received 623 letters of objection and a petition bearing 1,462 signatures." All part of the democratic process? Not at all. This is the customary cry of 'Islamophobia!' designed to silence protesters along with critics of the Islamification of Britain and beyond.

Why do we tolerate the Islamification of our country when there are ample reports worldwide which plainly illustrate the Islamic agenda resulting in death and destruction? All mosque building in the UK should be banned at least until there is clear evidence that Muslims accord to Christians and others  the same freedoms they demand for themselves.

Update - Report from Iraq: In a country that used to be home to around five million Christians, only 200,000 remain today. Many have fled north to the relative safety of Kurdistan, while others have left the country altogether. [17/01/12]

From today's Guardian [16/01/12], 'Sharia law compatible with human rights, argues leading barrister'. Googling 'sharia law sentences' will find plenty of examples to challenge this; there just two here and here

The Guardian article ends with the 'Top five sharia myths', the first about amputation claiming that 'Of the world's 50 or so Muslim-majority states, only about half a dozen allow for amputations'. Oh good show, that's OK then - unless your country is one of the half a dozen. Similarly, 'Stoning is mentioned in the Qur'an' with a nuanced  denial that victims can contemplate while rocks of just the right size are enthusiastically hurled by those without sin. Again, 'Capital punishment for apostasy is mentioned by the Qur'an' - The Qur'an repeatedly warns believers who abandon their faith that they will have to account to God in the afterlife, but it does not provide for their punishment on earth. It was hadiths that later served to justify the death penalty. So that's OK too, death under hadith not the Qur'an.

I shall not comment on each but I can't ignore 'That suicide bombing is permissible under sharia law' with a duplicitous denial . Go to position 29 on this link for a detailed explanation of this deception. It explains that suicide bombers are regarded as martyrs dying for their cause and earning themselves a place in paradise. Better still, if you haven't already done so, watch the whole video. If you would rather take the article on trust, you should at least watch this video to understand the two faces of Islam.

Saturday, 14 January 2012

The bizarre world of the Church in Wales

When Canon Jeremy Winston was appointed Dean of Monmouth transferring his many undoubted talents to the Cathedral Church of St Woolos in Newport, many people in Wales and beyond were heartened that one of their brightest stars had, at last, received belated recognition, perhaps even opening a new chapter in the life of the Church in Wales. That joy was to be short-lived. Fr Jeremy's untimely death was a cruel blow. With the appointment of the new Dean, announced yesterday, comes another severe blow while it will be music to the ears of their Archbishop. Perhaps the Bishop of Monmouth is making amends for previously appointing a traditionalist to one of the top positions in the Church in Wales when preferment of those who do not toe the line is out of the question!

The official announcement looks straight forward enough - ignoring the implication in the Bishop's comments that former Deans may not have been up to scratch ("I was conscious that people were asking for a Dean who would make the Cathedral a place of prayer, welcome and pilgrimage so that it is truly the Mother Church of the Diocese") - but the Bishop's delight in welcoming to his diocese "someone with Fr Lister’s gifts and personality" may not be shared by the very people who were delighted by Fr Jeremy's appointment.

Following a link provided in the LNYD blog, at first there appeared to be an error but reading on,  two comments under the blog entry were made abundantly clear when I read the following from he who is to be the new Dean of Monmouth: 

"But, having voted for the Archbishops' disastrous compromise (torpedoeing) ammendment, be aware that the Synod is likely to throw out any Code of Practice which undermines the episcopal integrity and authority of women which you and your male colleagues enjoy.
The game is up for those who would seek to stay and at the same time wreck the forward movement of the Church of England. Their bluff has been called by Rome. It now needs to be called by Canterbury.

Posted by: Lister Tonge on Wednesday, 14 July 2010 at 10:39pm BST"

With such credentials one wonders why the dear leader of the Church in Wales hadn't already spotted him. His uncompromising comments epitomise the sentiments I questioned in an earlier entry. Meanwhile in the Church of England the Archbishops are "keen to ensure the Church of England remains a broad church 'in which conscientious difference of theological judgement is fully respected' and 'do not want would-be priests to be discriminated against if they oppose the ordination of women'." How bizarre then that the Church in Wales continues policies contrary to those of its sister church across the border with whom clergy are inter-changeable as witnessed by the new appointment.   

Friday, 13 January 2012

The Church of England Lunch Party

The Church of England has announced plans for the big lunch party in association with the Queen's Diamond Jubilee celebrations. From the Church Times:

Churches are being encour­aged to take their trestle tables and tea urns out to the street and to host a “Big Jubilee Lunch” on the after­noon of Sunday 3 June. Dr Rachel Jordan, national ad­viser for mission and evangelism, said that churches could be “known as places that hosted and helped to catalyse the biggest party the nation has ever had. . . . It’s a simple idea, and it doesn’t take much resourcing.” 

This initiative comes in tandem with 'The Big Jubilee Thank You' plan when letters sent to Her majesty from each diocese will give people the opportunity to add their own comments. The three big thanks are:

Thank you for your Majesty’s faithful witness to the Christian faith.
Thank you for your Majesty’s gracious leadership as Supreme Governor of our Church.
Thank you for your Majesty’s devoted service to our nation over the past 60 years.

After the Queen's appointment of a traditionalist chaplain, signatories may wish to add an appropriate apology for the church's departure from the traditional Christian faith:

Sorry, your Majesty, that the Church into which you were born does not now follow your faithful witness to the Christian faith having moved with the times rather than followed your example of devoted service and leadership.

Personally I would have hoped that the church Her Majesty and I were born into would be remembered for something other than 'a simple idea' of the biggest lunch the nation has ever had; real mission and evangelism based on our traditional Christian faith perhaps?

Monday, 9 January 2012

Mean-minded gender politics v. traditional Anglican faith

Readers may have observed that I find it difficult to be 'slow to anger' where the Anglican church is concerned today. What makes me particularly angry is the complete absence of compassion for men and women in the church who, in common with the majority of Christians, simply want to practice their religion in accordance with tradition, something that should be a human right. I have witnessed and valued women's ministry for its dedication in many areas of church life but much has now changed setting one against another. I didn't see the need for Deaconesses to become Deacons any more than actresses needed to became actors or heroines to became heroes but whereas actors and heroes of either sex were equal in pursuit of their ambitions, so called equality in the church meant something different, a change in our understanding of the priesthood using faith as a vehicle for gender politics. 

Women deacons became priests on the dubious pretext that there was no biblical objection and the assertion that there was little difference between deacon and priest other than the utterance of a few words (such regard for the sacred ministry!). Now it is the 'stained glass ceiling' that has to be shattered in the guise of equality. Such is the success of this secular based campaign that even some opponents of the ordination of women express sympathy for their position, one which has been manipulated to appear one of prejudice. If they succeed in their goal the next step will be parity which is the aim of Women and the Church (WATCH). Only when we have a woman Archbishop will cries of injustice be allowed to fade.

The appointment of women bishops shatters the tradition of the Universal Church of which Anglicanism has been part. In England, 2012 sees the culmination of a process of deception and lies using false promises to achieve this objective. In Wales their Archbishop is determined to reintroduce the measure in 2012, ignoring the earlier defeat on the basis that the Holy Spirit is only at work when the Archbishop finds the result favourable. Out of spite he went on to deny traditionalists acceptable pastoral and sacramental care by imposing oversight by a bench of bishops none of whom shows any sympathy towards traditionalists. The Church of England has been more tolerant in consecrating replacement PEVs but what of the future given the intransigence of members of Synod, particularly the hard edged women of WATCH and GRAS?

I have to accept that not everyone shares a traditional understanding of the sacred ministry but I cannot understand why, as Christians, new Anglicans would want to deny traditionalists the opportunity to continue to practise their religion as they have done well before many of the new breed of Anglicans entered the church. While some traditionalists may be able to look to the Ordinariate or possibly to the Western Rite of Orthodoxy many will find themselves in the wilderness as their own church adopts a take it or leave it approach, carefully crafted to offer only something known to be unacceptable on the basis that anything else would imply that women would be seen as second class bishops. I was particularly saddened over Christmas to receive a card from a very devout lady with a message that she had had enough and given up going to church. Like many disenchanted souls before her, she had been receiving the sacrament regularly before many of the new breed of Anglicans were born. Does people's faith count for nothing in the gender politics that now obsess our church? 

In my previous entry I again highlighted the plight of traditionalist Anglicans in the Episcopal church of the United States and the road to ruin the liberalised Episcopal church there has embarked upon. There is another report here which well illustrates what happens when liberalism replaces the traditional faith of the church. Our once tolerant, broad church should look again to the faith of the Universal church and end its obsession with gender politics while there is still Anglican church in which to hold the office of bishop.

Friday, 6 January 2012

Archbishop's heretical mentor

" 'WOMEN have an important role to play in leading the Church in Wales', Archbishop Barry Morgan has said ahead of its governing body’s examination of the issue next year. Speaking to the Western Mail, Dr Morgan said he was holding on to the hope that the church will accept women bishops before he steps down. Proposals to enable women to enter the episcopate were backed in 2008 by bishops and laity in the governing body but failed by three votes to win the necessary two-thirds majority among clergy. A new vote will not be taken in April but the subject will be examined in detail." [Dec 26 2011]

Perhaps he is unfortunate in his choice of friends but the latest report in Virtue Online is a devastating critique of Presiding Bishop Jefferts Schori's ministry with the headline - 'Violent Images for God: She Describes the Son of God as a Hell's Angel "Gang Leader" and "Party Animal". Her lack of concern for all American Anglicans as well as for the wider Anglican Communion comes from her own deformed image of God. Everyone in the Episcopal Church and indeed the Anglican Communion has suffered because of her confused thinking.'

" 'WOMEN should be represented at all levels of the church', the most powerful Anglican in the US has said during a visit to Wales. A familiar ring but there's more: 'There has been remarkable women’s leadership throughout the church’s history. The apostle to the apostles, Mary Magdalene, who reports the resurrection for the first time, is a remarkable witness to women’s leadership in the early church. It’s clear that many of the early church communities were sheltered and led and supported by women. The church has elected to forget that in many instances" [Jul 2010]. Step up PB Jefferts Schori, the new Mary Magdalene, showing the church the way. In the Episcopal Church of the US it looks like the road to ruin. 

Women in dog collars have done nothing to advance Christ's kingdom on earth as churches continue to empty. If the PB Jefferts Schori's Episcopal Church is an example of what is to come we may as well give up now.

Happy Epiphany!

Archbishop of Canterbury Rowan Williams raises an eyebrow over the actions of his American flock. Report here.

Thursday, 5 January 2012

How to live, not how to die

"You matter because you are you.

You matter to the last moment
 of your life,
and we will do all we can, 
not only to help you die peacefully, 
but also to live until you die."

Dame Cicely Saunders

Long before she consented to become my wife, Mrs Briton worked in the Royal Marsden hospital. As we have experienced the trials of life she has told me many times how she admired the life and work of the late Cicely Saunders and that it was unnecessary for people to die in pain. She says: "There was a time when dying patients were put at the end of a ward, almost 'out of the way'. A patients death was regarded as failure on the part of the medical team. Thankfully and largely due to the wonderful Dame Cicely Saunders, times have changed. What she managed to do in her life was remarkable, she had her share of tragedy too but her deep Christian faith helped her continue her great work. She saw that while the body weakens so the spirit often becomes stronger. She wanted the dying to be cared for in physical and spiritual ways, pain needed to be managed and in fact she was instrumental in administering pain relief before severe pain took hold, therefore patients were kept comfortable and even alert; dying was not the taboo it had become. The hospice movement exists thanks to her. Talk of euthanasia would be unnecessary with proper palliative care."

I share this with readers not because I have any expertise but because I have witnessed the results of Dame Cicely's work in cancer care. The Commission on Assisted Dying has had to address wider problems associated with distressing incurable diseases but however well intentioned, the emphasis should be on assisted living, not assisted dying. People don't have to be ill to want to die in Britain today. Horrific reports about care of the elderly all too frequently highlight the misery of living, sometimes without illness but simply out of frailty with no-one to care for them. Whatever the so-called safeguards, it is a small step to seeing someone's life as worthless when proper care would transform their lives. Dame Cicely had a vision, one of CARE. Assisted living is what is required, not assisted dying. 

Monday, 2 January 2012

Alan Turing's stamp of approval and petition for a pardon.

Alan Turing
Alan Turing (1912 - 1954)

One of the greatest tragedies of all time is the avoidable death and consequent early loss to civilization of Alan Turing, the master codebreaker and visionary responsible for the computing technology we have today. The most gifted man of his generation, regarded by some amongst the most gifted in the history of the world, he committed suicide after being punished by the state for his homosexuality despite everything he had done to help win WW2, saving millions of lives in the process and giving birth to the computer age.

In November last year, Channel 4 broadcast a moving TV documentary drama which I hope will be repeated for the benefit of anyone who missed it. Today the Guardian has details of stamps to be issued by the Royal Mail in February illustrating ten prominent people in their 'Britons of Distinction' series. Alan Turing is among them.

In 2009 Gordon Brown issued an unequivocal apology to Alan Turing, saying the country owed him a huge debt but that is not enough. He deserves a pardon.
 An e-petition has been been raised with a closing date of 23/11/2012. You can sign it here - but only because Alan Turing made it possible!

Sunday, 1 January 2012

New Years Honours farce

Paul Ruddock

While most people in this country and others are still licking wounds our bankers inflicted, one of the beneficiaries of our nation's downfall has been honoured with a knighthood. Personally I don't give a toss how much charitable work he or other undeserving recipients may have done. Most can well afford it far better than Mr and Mrs Average and pensioners who give regularly to charities and see philanthropy as its own reward. Even if Paul Ruddock were the most deserving name on the New Years Honours list in philanthropic terms, what sort of message does it send to people who have lost their savings and see their standard of living continuing to fall with many shivering because they cannot afford the cost of fuel? Thousands of people have lost their jobs, many their homes too, and a generation see no prospect of employment or a home of their own. That is their legacy from people who continue to reward themselves while the rest suffer. Why should we honour them too?

Happy New Year!   


"David Cameron pledges end to city excess." - Ha ha ha ha ha ha ha!