Tuesday, 28 December 2010

Gerald Warner: Weathering the true lies of global warming Newspeak - Scotsman.com News

A really great piece of journalism from Gerald Warner writing in The Scotsman on Boxing day 2010. There is so much cutting and satirical commentary on the now discredited Climate Change lobby it is hard to find a favourite part and you should read the whole article. But if I had to pick one it would be:

“Of the fragile construct of global warming mythology there is hardly a domino left standing. Declining polar bear population? Since 1970 the world population of polar bears has 'declined' from 5,000 to 25,000.”

Isn’t that wonderful? There is also an insight into the bias of the Met Office:

“Last week the Met Office was forced to issue a press release stating it "categorically denies forecasting a 'mild winter' ". In fact, in October, its long-range probability map predicted an 80 per cent probability of warmer than average temperatures from November to January in Scotland. It claimed Scotland, along with Northern Ireland, the eastern half of England and Cornwall, would experience temperatures above the 3.7°C average, more than 2°C higher than last winter.”

And this picture of the so-called melting ice-caps:

“The suggestion of a connection between "man-made" global warming and hurricanes has now been rejected by the scientist who first advanced it, Professor Kerry Emanuel, after further research. Melting ice-caps? When Lewis Pugh tried to paddle a kayak to the "ice-free" North Pole he had to stop 600 miles south of his destination and 100 miles short of where a canoeist had reached a century before. Even the IPCC has been forced to revise its forecasts of rises in sea level dramatically downwards. Global average temperatures reached a peak in 1998 and have been declining since.”

Maybe we should make a New-Year’s Resolution to find the facts and follow the evidence and perhaps insist governments stop wasting our taxes on impractical and unworkable “solutions” to a problem that doesn’t exist according to the man who first suggested it might.

Gerald Warner: Weathering the true lies of global warming Newspeak - Scotsman.com News

Sunday, 26 December 2010

BBC News - Ministers accused of free book funding 'partial U-turn'

Happy Christmas kids. Don’t worry,  we’ll get you later.


Dave and Nick

“The government has been accused of performing a partial U-turn over funding for a charity that gives free books to children.

Booktrust had been told it would lose all £13m funding for its bookgifting programmes in England, but ministers now say funding will continue.”

BBC News - Ministers accused of free book funding 'partial U-turn'

Friday, 24 December 2010

BBC News - Why US exceptionalism is not exceptional

A thoughtful and insightful commentary on American exceptionalism by an American. Worth a read.

“When I moved to London a quarter of a century ago I certainly felt "exceptional". I could see what the problems facing British society were and thought, like many fellow American expats, that we could fix up Britain in about a month with a combination of American pragmatism and work ethic.

Get a written constitution in, abolish the House of Lords, pry the executive function of government out of the legislature - so that the prime minister was more like a president. Then do away with the symbols of the old class system and inherited privilege so that everyone felt that no matter how humble their circumstances at birth, they could become, if not the monarch, at least the prime minister.

Then embrace immigration, refresh the society with incomers who wanted to work hard and better themselves. In other words, make Britain more like America and Bob's your uncle.”

BBC News - Why US exceptionalism is not exceptional

Friday, 3 December 2010

Warning of anarchy if death row Christian woman is pardoned | Christian News on Christian Today

“In the name of Allah, the Beneficent, the Merciful...” Isn’t that how Muslims pray? So where is the benefit, where is the mercy when a rabid crowd seeks bloodthirsty revenge against a woman who is reported to have said something blasphemous? Why is vengeance and not mercy an instinct in Muslims? Why is death and not life the focus of their days? Why is killing and not charity the driving force of their lives?

Why, when some of the richest countries in the world are Muslim oil states, are so many Muslims living in poverty and ignorance, superstitious and driven by a sense of anger and vengefulness? The injustices of their lives are of their own religion and culture’s making so why blame Christians?

If they assuage their blood-lust it will be a momentary relief, for them and for the rest of us who must share this world with them. If they succeed in killing another Christian because of some imagined sleight their lives will be not one iota better. Lives are improved and enriched by the very mercy and charity they eschew with their empty prayers.


Hundreds of Muslims took to the streets of Lahore on Friday to demonstrate their anger as the Pakistani government makes its mind up over whether or not to pardon a Christian woman sentenced to death for blasphemy.

Muslims in the country are outraged at the prospect of Asia Bibi’s death sentence being overturned. According to Agence France Presse, the rally was organised by a subsidiary of Jamaat-ud-Dawa (JuD), a banned charity that the UN believes has terrorist links.

Warning of anarchy if death row Christian woman is pardoned | Christian News on Christian Today

Monday, 22 November 2010

BBC News - Saudi school lessons in UK concern government

This barbaric stuff is being taught to children in the UK. This is what they learn about the world at their mother’s knee, at the mosque and in their schools. Summary, violent solutions to life’s problems and grotesque caricatures of the “other.” Do you think it is just the Jews, just the gay community they despise and demonise?

Even while they benefit from our civilised, Christian-based, liberal democracy they despise our culture and our “Western ways.” A so-called moderate Muslim is one who has been influenced by those ways and a fundamentalist Muslim, who regards the moderate as apostate, is one who has been influenced by the teachings of Islam through schools like this.

“One of the text books asks children to list the "reprehensible" qualities of Jewish people. A text for younger children asks what happens to someone who dies who is not a believer in Islam - the answer given in the text book is "hellfire".

Another text describes the punishment for gay sex as death and states a difference of opinion about whether it should be carried out by stoning, burning with fire or throwing the person over a cliff.

In a book for 14-year-olds, Sharia law and its punishment for theft are explained, including detailed diagrams about how hands and feet of thieves are amputated.”

This is not a radical twisting of Islam – it is Islam. It is not, as the Saudis insist, shocking because it is taken out of context. The acceptable face if Islam we too readily buy into in the UK is out of context and this is Islam. It is ironic that the Saudis, who maintain oversight in these schools, should be anxious to distance themselves from this since they enforce and export Whahhabism, one of the most extreme, fundamentalist expressions of Islam.

BBC News - Saudi school lessons in UK concern government

Saturday, 13 November 2010

Fire brigade cuts Christian references from Remembrance service - Telegraph

I am so sorry that those big, butch brave boys in the Norfolk fire service are so sensitive and tender-hearted that the very idea of religion offends their little sensibilities.

"A fire brigade has removed all religious references from its remembrance service after complaints from staff.

The Church said it was “a big step” to take but the decision was welcomed by the National Secular Society, which said religion had no place in the annual commemorations.

Norfolk’s fire service said it had taken the decision because some staff felt excluded in previous years by the Christian references during Remembrance Day.”

Although, it has to be said, their aversion to religion seems incredibly selective. Isn’t this the same fire service that sent a great big, kissy-kissy “Happy Eid” greeting to Muslims on September 10th?

They eschew the Christian faith that gave us the values for which those we remember fought so bravely and send good wishes to the faith that burns a giant poppy on the stroke of eleven to coincide with the two minutes silence to mark the Armistice. Of course, the National Secular Society is doing its usual high-minded gloating. Does this mindless ingratitude and rank hypocrisy take your breath away? It does mine.

Fire brigade cuts Christian references from Remembrance service - Telegraph

Thursday, 11 November 2010

Proclaiming Jesus from the Roof Tops | Christian Concern

An excellent comment on the increasing restrictions on Christian activity in the UK and the difference between freedom to worship and freedom of religion.

“What kind of freedom of religion do we want to see in the UK? The freedom to worship in private, unseen and behind closed doors - or the freedom to practice and boldly proclaim our faith in public?”

Proclaiming Jesus from the Roof Tops | Christian Concern

Monday, 8 November 2010

BBC News - Cameron hails 'revolutionary' Whitehall data website

Following plans to make the unemployed work at menial tasks for £1 an hour the government is now planning to hand over the auditing of the civil service to – well, you and me. Ironically, it is the unemployed who might be best placed for time to do this job.

Funny, but when I put my cross next to my candidate of choice at the last election I was convinced I was helping to build a government that would do the job. It seems that while they are dead keen that all the people they are planning to put out of work should find a job, even if it is for £1 an hour, they themselves seem curiously workshy.

David Cameron announced a new age of transparency, when ordinary people will be able to check on whether the government is keeping to the pledges it has made. Maybe he should look closer to home. He is already in government with Nick Clegg and the LibDems who have broken almost every pledge they made before the election.

BBC News - Cameron hails 'revolutionary' Whitehall data website

Sunday, 7 November 2010

BBC News - Ministers defend plan to force jobless to do work

Last time the Tories were in power the joke was that they had plans to shorten the dole queues; get people to stand closer together. Is it just like last time? Listen to their rhetoric, they are vilifying the weak and vulnerable, creating unemployment and then blaming people for being out of work; just like last time.

They are dividing us by setting us against each other. Calling working people superfluous backroom staff and making them unemployed in the name of economy then making working people think that those out of work are not workless but work shy; making the able-bodied think the disabled are cheating the system, making every blue-badge holder the object of suspicion; making the unemployed, made so by the Tories, work for nothing more than benefits and expecting them to be grateful to eat today.

Why this sustained and indefensible attack on ordinary people who are the victims  and not the instigators of the current crisis? What is this designed to distract us from? What are they doing behind our backs while we worry about our futures and that of our children? They are putting us all in our place, making us accept their presumed natural right to govern. They are looking after their own and ensuring their own are well provided for. Do you doubt it?

They are creating an educated elite by burdening future graduates with unsustainable levels of debt so that our universities will be filled, not with the gifted who will contribute to the future wealth of the nation, but the privileged who will contribute to the future wealth of the privileged.

Ian Duncan-Smith, during the Tory conference, was challenged about his plans to withdraw child benefit and he gave a response that I am surprised no one has made more of. “I wish I didn’t have to do it,” he said, “I wish we were elected in 1997. The treasury was awash with money then.”

Indeed, the Labour government inherited a strong exchequer, along with crumbling schools, people dying on hospital waiting lists and on trolleys in hospital corridors, the old were dying from cold in the winter and the young despairing of any hope. When the Tories were last kicked out the country threw a party and the only thing we have to look forward too now is the next party, when the country comes to its senses and throws them out again. Let’s hope we don’t take so long this time to see this lying, cheating rabble of chinless wonders for what they are.

As for the LibDems, well, at least the Tories are true to their nature when they take the country back to the big house, the poorhouse and the tugged forelock. The LibDems declare themselves progressive then betray themselves as Quislings. They should remember that “coalition” only has meaning and significance for LibDems. Everyone knows this is a Tory government and all the talk of coalition won’t change the fact that we have a Tory future until we take back what is ours.

BBC News - Ministers defend plan to force jobless to do work

Thursday, 4 November 2010

Public/Private Enterprise on Speed in Swansea

It’s as neat a piece of public sector/private sector co-operation as you will ever see; PFI on speed – literally. Doing a little business in the city centre this afternoon I parked my car close to the recently opened, £2m Swansea Drugs Project building. It offers a range of essential services on top of the usual substance abuse therapies; a gym, kitchens, crèche, IT suite.

But I noted a service that I believe has not been so widely publicised. Parked neatly outside in an expensive people carrier was the local drug dealer and a couple of heavies, smoking joints and providing those bits and pieces that visitors to the centre might have forgotten, or thought they might do without but...

It is, as I say, as ingenious a piece of enterprise as you will see. Where would you go to sell drugs? Where would you find a lot of addicts in one place? Conversely, where would an addict go to score, or to earn a little extra for the rent this week? Before today, frankly, I wouldn’t have had a clue. I am sure our wise city fathers, when they were discussing how to attract business to the city, didn’t either. But with a record £52.6m being spent in Wales on dealing with substance abuse maybe they should get their fingers out and tax this burgeoning sector.

Either that or police properly this much needed and valuable service so those who take their addictions seriously and are determined to beat them get more than a fair chance to do that.

Drug abuse in England and Wales is the worse in Europe, according to a new survey. Drug-related deaths in Wales are up by 67% and the pain and misery caused by this pernicious trade is apparent on our streets every day. Swansea High Street is almost a no-go area with discarded syringes a common sight, drunken and abusive behaviour and foul language as commonplace. But this is a city-wide problem and a nightmare for descent people going about their daily lives.

I am in favour of whatever works but whatever is being done now clearly doesn’t. Isn’t it time we had a zero tolerance approach to drug abuse? Isn’t it time we stopped telling people they are victims as though drugs creep up on them, mug them and drag them into an alleyway to jack them up? We are the victims, the people whose streets are not safe to walk, whose property is not secure from drug-related crime, whose lives might be at risk and who don’t know any more who can be trusted and where might be safe.

Isn’t it time we set a few examples and dealt a blow to the wicked drug trade? Time we established a few ground rules based on absolutes and certainties. Time justice got meted out alongside these programmes that are in serious danger of becoming an end in themselves. Time we took back our streets, our districts, our city and made them safe again, for ourselves and for the millions of visitors, tourists and students alike, who visit us every year and must wonder sometimes, walking down from High Street station, what on earth they have walked into?

Let’s help by all means but let’s remember that kindness can kill and love must sometimes be tough.

Saturday, 16 October 2010

Blair 'to do God' in debate with Hitchens - News, People - The Independent

Is this perhaps the blind leading the blind? In anticipation of this non-event – Tony Blair v Christopher Hitchens – let me sum up the overblown New Atheists:

Richard Dawkins - “I can explain stuff therefore there is no God”

Derren Brown – “I can pull a rabbit out of a hat therefore there is no God”

Christopher Hitchens and Sam Brown - “Life’s a bitch therefore there’s no God”

As you can see, the intellectual standard in this ongoing circus of non-ideas is mind-numbingly mediocre. But that would explain their popularity with the great unwashed who never want to go to that much trouble in pursuit of the truth.

Blair 'to do God' in debate with Hitchens - News, People - The Independent

Wednesday, 13 October 2010

US physics professor: 'Global warming is the greatest and most successful pseudoscientific fraud I have seen in my long life' – Telegraph Blogs

Is anyone really surprised now the truth about the IPCC and the Great Global Warming Scam is finally coming out? This is a letter of resignation from Harold Lewis is Emeritus Professor of Physics at the University of California, Santa Barbara to Curtis G. Callan Jr, Princeton University, President of the American Physical Society. Below are a couple of highlights but please read the whole thing and understand that we are all being taken for a ride by a scientific world that has been taken over by Green activists, alarmists and moneymen.

The giants no longer walk the earth, and the money flood has become the raison d’être of much physics research, the vital sustenance of much more, and it provides the support for untold numbers of professional jobs. For reasons that will soon become clear my former pride at being an APS Fellow all these years has been turned into shame, and I am forced, with no pleasure at all, to offer you my resignation from the Society.

It is of course, the global warming scam, with the (literally) trillions of dollars driving it, that has corrupted so many scientists, and has carried APS before it like a rogue wave. It is the greatest and most successful pseudoscientific fraud I have seen in my long life as a physicist. Anyone who has the faintest doubt that this is so should force himself to read the ClimateGate documents, which lay it bare. (Montford’s book organizes the facts very well.) I don’t believe that any real physicist, nay scientist, can read that stuff without revulsion. I would almost make that revulsion a definition of the word scientist…

…It was a fraud on a scale I have never seen, and I lack the words to describe its enormity. Effect on the APS position: none. None at all. This is not science; other forces are at work.

You can find the ClimateGate site here I also recommend Christopher Booker’s excellent work of investigative journalism The Real Global Warming Disaster

US physics professor: 'Global warming is the greatest and most successful pseudoscientific fraud I have seen in my long life' – Telegraph Blogs

Thursday, 7 October 2010

Melanie Phillips’s Articles » I think, therefore I’m guilty

I am not her biggest fan but here is a superb commentary on the parlous state of UK society today, where freedom of speech is the preserve only of those approved by the thought police.

“It is difficult to say when, exactly, the priorities of the British police shifted from the prevention of criminal offences towards criminalising people for causing offence. The police have become the thin blue line against the Wrong Opinion. Instead of protecting society against oppression, British police officers have become the agents of oppression…

…if you are a white Christian man upholding traditional family values and expressing a desire to stop immigration and leave the EU, while being sceptical of man-made global warming and believing that Darwinian evolution does not explain the origin of life on earth, Britain is no longer your country.

But don’t worry. Utopia is taking its place. The police are on their way to tell you.”

Melanie Phillips’s Articles » I think, therefore I’m guilty

Friday, 1 October 2010

An Open Letter from the Afghan Christian Community to the Body of Christ Worldwide

Christians in Afghanistan have written an 'Open Letter' to believers around the world calling for help in defending those who are being persecuted for their faith. You can read the letter below and read more about the plight of Afghan Christians here.

"To the Body of Christ:

"This letter is written by the Afghan Christian Community in India which is a small community of 150 Afghan Christian refugees and asylum seekers.

"We left our country because we were sentenced to death on the account of our Christian faith (conversion), as Afghanistan is a Muslim Country, the Afghan Government is an Islamic government, and Islam is the only formal religion of the country, and according to the Constitutional law of the Afghan Islamic Republic, conversion is considered as a big crime, Christian are called pagans and infidels and are sentenced to death by the Afghan Government. Christians are considered criminals. Death penalty is waiting for all those who want to leave the darkness and come to the true light, repent from their sins, and put their faith on the Lord Jesus Christ, who is the Lord and Savior of all human being.

"We believe that you (the Body of Christ) have already heard that some pictures and movies of the Afghan believers (from Delhi and Kabul) were shown by an Afghan Private TV (Noorin TV), this TV channel showed these picture in a especial program (Sarzameen Man), and the Government and people were encouraged and provoked to think about the issue of conversion, to make a stand against it and to take serious and practical measures and actions to destroy Afghan Converted Christians (Sons of God) and those who share the Gospel of Jesus Christ to the Lost.

"The Afghan Parliament, Senate, Religious Council and Islamic Parties and leaders made statements that the Afghan Government has to search, find, arrest, deliver to courts and executes all Afghan Christians, and the Christian NGOs and Organization have to be stopped too. University students protested against Afghan Christians in Kabul and Herat Provinces, and the Afghan Government also made a statement that all Afghan Christians will be arrested and executed, and the Christian NGOs and Organizations which involved with the issues of conversion will be closed.

"Mr. Mujajdi, the Chairman Of Afghan Senate, said that if the Afghan Government does not take serious action, he and other Islamic leaders will call and request the Afghan people to take practical measures to kill all Afghan Christians. President Karzai himself showed his personal interest in this regard and said that all Afghan Christians will be arrested and executed and Christian organizations which are involved with this issue will be stopped. He ordered the Afghan security organs to take serious measures in this regard. The Afghan Home Minister and the Chairman of the Afghan Intelligence told the Afghan Parliament that 4 Afghan Christian individuals and one family have been arrested and they are under investigation, 13 NGOs have been named and suspended, the names of Afghan Christians have been listed, and the Afghan Intelligence agency is trying to arrest them. Two Church organizations have been closed. As we are in contact with our brothers and sisters in Afghanistan, many believers are arrested, our houses are checked by police and intelligence people in Afghanistan, our families and parents (though they are Muslim) are under investigation and even arrested, and all Afghan believers are misplaced."

The letter-writers, "(Afghan Christian Community) along with our other Afghan Christian brothers and sisters who are in Afghanistan" request you to:

"Pray for us and for this critical situation, pray for those who are arrested, and those who are under investigation. Please come together and help your Afghan brothers and sisters in Christ, as we are sentenced to death, we are arrested, we are under investigation, the Afghan Government kills us because we believe on Jesus Christ, we know that we should consider it pure joy when we suffer (James 1: 1 -4), and we are enjoying all suffering all joy. But we also know that faith without deeds is useless (James 2: 14 - 17), and this is the time to raise your voice for your brothers and sisters, for our children, for our old parents, for the execution of thousand Afghan believers. "This is the day that all of us should come together and pray, think, help and raise our voices to the International Community, to put pressure on the Afghan Government to stop killing, persecuting and executing Afghan Christians, to give us freedom of religion, to respect and accept us as Afghan Christians.

"We do not know how the whole world and especially the Global Church is silent and closing their eyes, while thousand of their brothers and sisters (Body of Christ) are in pain, facing life danger and death penalty, and are tortured, persecuted and called criminals because they believe in the Truth.

"We need to wake up, get up and speak up today, and to prove it that we are really in concern, and care for our brothers and sisters in Christ, we should help the persecuted part of the body of Christ, for His Glory. If we really believe that Lord Jesus Christ is God, then, He commands us to love Him and to love our neighbor, if our own brothers and sisters, are in pain and suffering, and we are silent and we ignore them and their suffering, then the question is that do we really obey Lord Jesus' commandment to love Him and our neighbor?"

The letter concludes: "So, dear brothers and sister (the Body of Christ), we (Afghan Christian Community in New Delhi) on behalf of all Afghan Christians request you to support us by your prayers and practical measures, let us tell the Afghan Government that we are not pagans and infidels, we are not criminals because of our Christian faith, and let us tell them not to sentence us to death."

An Open Letter from the Afghan Christian Community to the Body of Christ Worldwide

Saturday, 18 September 2010

Why I am Not a Roman Catholic

With the visit of Pope Benedict to the UK in full swing many issues that have exercised Christians for years are, for a short season, exercising the minds of a wider audience. Beyond the perennial and seemingly endless scandal of child abuse at the hands of Catholic priests, a scandal that goes back a thousand years, questions are being asked about the popularity of this pope,  the relevance of the church and the relationship between Rome and Canterbury.

Religious correspondents and media and newspaper commentators are talking about what divides them and what might bring them closer. As the pope highlights the challenges of militant secularism and urges young people to find fulfilment in the spiritual some are seeing a common cause and asking whether they are now close enough to work together in mission.

Some insist that a bigger threat than any sectarian controversies is modern liberal values against which we should be working alongside Roman Catholics. This makes sense on some levels and there is much to be gained in being co-combatants with Rome against the secularism that is threatening us; but how far down that road might we safely go?

The issues with which the Reformers were concerned were fundamental to biblical faith and we must ask is the gap on these issues now so small as to be unimportant, or are there still significant issues that prevent us embracing across the Lord's Table? For me the issues have always been more fundamental than gay clergy, women priests and church government. It is about the question of whether we are saved by grace alone, through faith alone in Christ alone. Whether he is our sole and sufficient mediator or whether there need be a priestly class to mediate Christ.

Christ Alone, Faith Alone, Grace Alone

Christ Alone

The Catholic and Evangelical understandings of Christ's death and what it achieved are profoundly different. Those who seek common ground with Catholicism fail to address this problem. Yet it is the most important aspect of the New Testament message and it is essential to get it right:

“For what I received I passed on to you as of first importance: that Christ died for our sins according to the Scriptures, that he was buried, that he was raised on the third day according to the Scriptures, and that he appeared to Peter, and then the Twelve...” (1 Co.15:3-5)

What we believe about these things is “of first importance”.

To the Catholic Christ died for “sins” and not for “sinners”.

To the Catholic Christ's death earned a "treasury of merit" on which the believer draws time and again by means of the sacraments to gain forgiveness and purification from sins today. This adds works of merit to Christ's work of Atonement.

To the Evangelical Christ's death was a "once for all" act that won complete salvation "for all who believe", i.e. “sinners”. This is the classic "penal substitution" doctrine denied by Rome.

When Paul writes in 1 Co.15 about Christ dying “for our sins” he is not saying that Christ died for sins and not sinners. He means “for the sake of” our sins, or “because of” our sins. In other words, it is because we are sinners that Christ died. Sin in man was the reason for Christ dying. But in dying Christ died for sinners:

To purchase people – Rev.5:9; 14:4

With his blood – Acts 20:28

Bought at a price – 1 Cor.6:20; 7:23

To ransomed many – Mt.20:28

The picture is of one purchasing, buying and redeeming and not one of simply making grace available on condition of a quid pro quo:

“If justification were through the law, then Christ died for no purposes” (Gal.2:21)

Christ’s death won a complete salvation:

“But when Christ had offered for all time a single sacrifice for sins, he sat down at the right hand of God, waiting from that time until his enemies should be made a footstool for his feet. For by a single offering he has perfected for all time those who are being sanctified” (Heb.10:12-14)

Faith Alone

The Catholic and Evangelical understanding of how we receive salvation are irreconcilably different.

To the Catholic salvation is gained, first, by continually applying to Christ's store of merit and applying Christ's merit to themselves daily. Secondly, this merit is mediated through a priesthood and ritual activity - the sacraments.

"If anyone says that justifying faith is nothing else than confidence in divine mercy, which remits sins for Christ’s sake, or that it is this confidence alone that justifies us, LET HIM BE ANATHEMA" (Council of Trent, Canons Concerning Justification, Canon 12).

To the Evangelical salvation is a gift that is received all at once. To deny faith alone is to deny Christ alone. To add to Christ's work is to subscribe to a profoundly different ecclesiology which includes essential rituals and priesthood mediation.

“Unlike the other high priests, [Christ] does not need to offer sacrifices day after day, first for his own sins, and then for the sins of the people. He sacrificed for their sins once for all when he offered himself” Heb 7:27

Faith alone safeguards the more important Christ alone.

Grace Alone

The Catholic understanding of grace is piecemeal, applied daily in our pilgrimage in order to win a little more salvation each day. This puts the emphasis on the activity and attitude of the believer.

"If anyone says that the justice received is not preserved and also not increased before God through good works, but that those works are merely the fruits and signs of justification obtained, but not the cause of its increase, LET HIM BE ANATHEMA" (Council of Trent, Canons Concerning Justification, Canon 24).

The Evangelical understanding of grace is that it is God's unmerited favour toward the sinner that cannot be accessed via fallen man's activity but through faith alone in Christ alone. This puts the emphasis on the activity and attitude of God.

Grace is:

A State - Therefore, since we have been justified by faith, we have peace with God through our Lord Jesus Christ.

Through him we have also obtained access by faith into this grace in which we stand, and we rejoice in hope of the glory of God (Ro.5:1-2)

A Companion - But by the grace of God I am what I am, and his grace toward me was not in vain. On the contrary, I worked harder than any of them, though it was not I, but the grace of God that is with me (1 Cor.15:10)

Christ’s Work - For the grace of God has appeared, bringing salvation for all people,

training us to renounce ungodliness and worldly passions, and to live self-controlled, upright, and godly lives in the present age, waiting for our blessed hope, the appearing of the glory of our great God and Saviour Jesus Christ (Titus 2:11-13)

God’s Gift - Having gifts that differ according to the grace given to us, let us use them: if prophecy, in proportion to our faith (Ro.12:6)

Catholics have conflated justification and sanctification; the gift of life and the course of life.

The Power of “Believing”

"What must we do to do the works God requires?" Jesus answered:"The work of God is this: to believe in the one he has sent" (John 6:28-29)

To believe”, of course, does not simply mean to give intellectual assent. In the Bible to believe is to put your full trust in. The believer has put his or her full trust in Jesus for salvation.

In John’s gospel he uses the verb “believe” 98 times (Mt.11; Mk.10; Lk.9). John can teach us something about “believing”. We can believe “that” something happened; believe “what” people say, but John uses the verb with the preposition “into”, as in

"For God so loved the world, that he gave his only Son, that whoever believes in him should not perish but have eternal life” (John 3:16)

Paul writes:

But God, being rich in mercy, because of the great love with which he loved us, even when we were dead in our trespasses, made us alive together with Christ--by grace you have been saved--and raised us up with him and seated us with him in the heavenly places in Christ Jesus, so that in the coming ages he might show the immeasurable riches of his grace in kindness toward us in Christ Jesus. For by grace you have been saved through faith. And this is not your own doing; it is the gift of God, not a result of works, so that no one may boast (Eph.2:4-9)

He is saying that our standing before God is such that, in Christ, we are seated in heavenly places. Of course we do have the rest of our lives to go through on this earth. But Christ has paid for our sins and we can now walk in confidence, in him, knowing that we have eternal life, a life that has been won for us by him and that we appropriate by trusting “in” him.

Of course, a gift must be appropriated and this gift is appropriated by believing. The recipient of the gift has put their trust in the giver and the worth of the gift and thereby receives the gift. John 5:24 clearly shows this; Hear, believe and receive eternal life.

Of course works follow, but they follow, they don't lead to salvation. The person whose works have worth is the saved person. The unsaved may work and work but to no avail because they have not trusted. They have refused the gift by the very act of trying to prove worthy of it!

For the wages of sin is death, but the free gift of God is eternal life in Christ Jesus our Lord (Ro.6:23)

Sin pays wages! Eternal life, on the other hand, is a free gift "in Christ Jesus our Lord" What does that mean, "in Christ Jesus our Lord"? It means that those are in him who have put their trust in him. If you put any trust at all in anything you can do by way of works then you are, by definition, not in him but in yourself; because that is what you have trusted in.

The Australian theologian Leon Morris called the following the most important paragraph in history:

But now the righteousness of God has been manifested apart from the law, although the Law and the Prophets bear witness to it-- the righteousness of God through faith in Jesus Christ for all who believe.

For there is no distinction: for all have sinned and fall short of the glory of God, and are justified by his grace as a gift, through the redemption that is in Christ Jesus, whom God put forward as a propitiation by his blood, to be received by faith. This was to show God's righteousness, because in his divine forbearance he had passed over former sins.

It was to show his righteousness at the present time, so that he might be just and the justifier of the one who has faith in Jesus. Then what becomes of our boasting? It is excluded. By what kind of law? By a law of works? No, but by the law of faith.

For we hold that one is justified by faith apart from works of the law (Romans 3:21-28)

Catholicity has been described as a local community with a world-wide vision; the people of God, gathered around the word of God, ready to do the will of God. Catholic, in this sense, is not a structure, or church order, but a description of God’s people, the universal church. It is not a divide between laity and clergy but a fellowship of all prepared to work the works of God. It is a means of mediation only in that it mediates God’s grace to a fallen world, not insisting it is the way but humbly pointing to the One who is the way so others may come too and know salvation by grace alone, through faith alone, in Christ alone.

Sunday, 12 September 2010

BBC News - Stephen Hawking: God did not create Universe


There is no place for God in theories on the creation of the Universe, Professor Stephen Hawking has said.

He had previously argued belief in a creator was not incompatible with science but in a new book, he concludes the Big Bang was an inevitable consequence of the laws of physics.

The Grand Design, part serialised in the Times, says there is no need to invoke God to set the Universe going.

"Spontaneous creation is the reason there is something," he concluded.

It is interesting that Prof. Hawking’s attitude to religion is highlighted in reports on his new book because he is as convinced that the physical sciences have made philosophy just as redundant. The emphasis on religion reflects perhaps the current rabid drive on the part of the neo-atheists to rid the world of believers. But philosophers?

It depends on how you define philosophy I suppose but if philosophy is thinking about how we think about the world then he has just made a philosophical statement and needs the context of philosophy in which to make it and to give it meaning; ergo, philosophy is not redundant.

With regards God, he has made the familiar mistake of assuming that the more science can discover the less need have we for God to explain this world. This is an argument directed at a particular view of God popular in certain fundamentalist circles but fails completely to address what the Bible has to say. It addresses the infamous “God of the gaps” error but not the God of the Bible.

While it is popularly believed (believed, now there’s a loaded term) that the more we have of science and reason the less our need of God, the biblical view is the more we have of science and reason the more we fulfil the creation mandate. In the creation account man is commanded to have dominion over the earth, to replenish it and fill it (Gen.1:28)

This has been interpreted by some as licence to exploit but this is quite wrong. Man’s dominion was to bring glory to the God who made everything and, acting as steward over God’s creation, he was to care for the world. What we see today as exploitation is the fruit of the fall when man’s “dominion” was diminished and lost but…

Hamlet declared, “What a piece of work is man…in apprehension how like a god!” Never a truer word was spoken. Not that man is, or will become a god, but that man was made with godlike qualities, what Christians call God’s communicable attributes. Those attributes of God that, in his wisdom and grace, he has shared with us, his creatures.

An expression of those attributes, albeit marred by sin, is still seen in mankind’s concern for and curiosity about our world. A steward of God’s world, far from being ignorant of his or her charge and duty, is industrious in learning and growing in knowledge of this world. Hence science, far from making God redundant, is, even unknowingly, obeying a godlike instinct to know, understand and responsibly steward the creation.

A Christian has no need to fear science and should rejoice in the knowledge that, even when some in the scientific community are determined to dismiss God, yet they fulfil God’s purposes and will in the end, like everyone else, see God either as their saving Father or as their judge.

BBC News - Stephen Hawking: God did not create Universe

Thursday, 9 September 2010

The Giant Islam Sleeps Lightly

The world’s attention is focussed on pastor Terry Jones in Florida who has declared his avowed intent to burn copies of the Koran on this, the anniversary of the 9/11 atrocities in New York. It is sobering to think that a very little man, who leads a small and failing congregation of no more than fifty people - people who may be as small-minded, mean-spirited and contemptible as himself – can command such attention. In the world of the Internet and instant news, however, it seems almost inevitable.

But let’s not run away with the idea that this one man’s actions are as newsworthy as the press and media coverage he is getting might suggest. It is the fear, the very real fear of the reaction of the Islamic world that has brought this petty act to the fore.

There is no substantial support for what this man plans to do; it has been roundly condemned by political and religious leaders around the world; Christian voices, Orthodox, Catholic and Protestant, have been raised loudly denouncing this pointless act; all my Christian friends condemn him outright, indeed my American Christian friends condemn him. In light of which any reasonable person would mentally place Pastor Jones in the “wacky but what can you do” category and get on with their lives; not so Muslims.

In the Muslim world this act is defined as “A ferocious attack on Islam and Muslims” (al-Jazeera); There is talk of an uncontrollable Muslim response (al-Alam TV, Iran); there has been talk of “bloody wars and reprisals” (al-Quds al-Arabi newspaper); there are calls for the criminal court in the Hague to get involved (Qatari al-Watan newspaper) and the Jakarta Globe declared the American authorities “powerless” to stop the burning of the Muslim Holy Book.

Perhaps this last is an indication that not everyone understands the true nature and cost of democracy, that democracy means even the foolish can walk the streets without let or hindrance. You can read a digest of responses from the Arab world on the BBC US and Canada news site

Hysteria seems to define the character of Muslims brought up in those parts of the world we have come to identify as “Muslim countries”, although it is clear that it is as much underlying cultural influences as it is Islamic teaching that is to blame for such hysteria. Such cultural characteristics are exploited however by religious leaders and people are easily whipped up into a frenzy of vengeful and quite irrational and disproportionate expressions of rage. It sometimes seems like a population of petulant children who would be manageable if they didn’t have access to devastating weaponry that their temperament predisposes them to use without discrimination and on the slightest pretext.

It leads one to ask why, if Islam is such an important and positive cultural influence, so many of its adherents seem incapable of proportionate responses or reasoned reflection. Why they haven’t learned from this “great world religion” those values so characteristic of that other Middle Eastern religion, Christianity. Values so eloquently defined by Paul in his letter to Christians in the province of Galatia:

“The fruit of the Spirit is love, joy, peace, patience, kindness, godliness, faithfulness, gentleness and self-control” (Gal.5:22)

It also raises the troubling question of how far the liberal democracies of the West, founded squarely on Christian principles of equity and freedom, can go down the road of appeasement and still keep its citizens safe. It is all well and good to beware we don’t wake the sleeping giant lest we provoke dreadful consequences, but if it takes one insignificant pastor of a church of just fifty people in Florida to evoke such responses as we have seen this week we urgently need a counter-response that declares loud and clear, “thus far and no further.” The truth is the giant Islam sleeps lightly and in that sleep continues to dream of conquest and subjugation.

The much misunderstood and misrepresented crusades of nine-hundred years ago were, contrary to popular belief, not an incursion into “Muslim territory” but an eleventh hour response by the political powers of Europe to a ferocious Muslim incursion that had swept out of the Arabian peninsula, across the Levant and North Africa with devastating effect. It had already arrived in the islands of the Mediterranean and settled in Southern Spain. Surely we can’t allow things to go so far and cost so much again.

But maybe by the time we sit down to count the cost of protecting our freedoms and values, the cost of appeasement, it will be found to be costly beyond our means. Then we will treat for peace and discover that Islam is no more gracious in victory than she is tempered and proportionate in response to slights and meaningless provocations.

Tuesday, 7 September 2010

The crimewave that shames the world - Robert Fisk, Commentators - The Independent

This is a must-read. The inimitable Robert Fisk, author of Pity the Nation and The Great War for Civilisation, has just ended a ten month investigation into honour killings around the world and today in the Independent Newspaper starts a four part report on his findings.

“It is a tragedy, a horror, a crime against humanity. The details of the murders – of the women beheaded, burned to death, stoned to death, stabbed, electrocuted, strangled and buried alive for the "honour" of their families – are as barbaric as they are shameful. Many women's groups in the Middle East and South-west Asia suspect the victims are at least four times the United Nations' latest world figure of around 5,000 deaths a year. Most of the victims are young, many are teenagers, slaughtered under a vile tradition that goes back hundreds of years but which now spans half the globe.

A 10-month investigation by The Independent in Jordan, Pakistan, Egypt, Gaza and the West Bank has unearthed terrifying details of murder most foul. Men are also killed for "honour" and, despite its identification by journalists as a largely Muslim practice, Christian and Hindu communities have stooped to the same crimes. Indeed, the "honour" (or ird) of families, communities and tribes transcends religion and human mercy. But voluntary women's groups, human rights organisations, Amnesty International and news archives suggest that the slaughter of the innocent for "dishonouring" their families is increasing by the year.

Iraqi Kurds, Palestinians in Jordan, Pakistan and Turkey appear to be the worst offenders but media freedoms in these countries may over-compensate for the secrecy which surrounds "honour" killings in Egypt – which untruthfully claims there are none – and other Middle East nations in the Gulf and the Levant. But honour crimes long ago spread to Britain, Belgium, Russia and Canada and many other nations. Security authorities and courts across much of the Middle East have connived in reducing or abrogating prison sentences for the family murder of women, often classifying them as suicides to prevent prosecutions.”

The crimewave that shames the world - Robert Fisk, Commentators - The Independent

Friday, 3 September 2010

Homosexual activist speaks at ‘Christian’ festival - CCFON.org - Christian Concern For Our Nation

I know that Peter Tatchell is not every gay person but he is representative of a large tract of gay people, a gay icon and leading spokesman for the gay cause; hence his appearance at the Greenbelt Festival. When are the liberal-minded, naive Christian fellow-travellers of the gay agenda going to learn that this is not simply about a man preferring to have sexual relations with a man instead of with a woman. It is about the liberalising of sexual practices in general, the licensing of perversion, the promotion of promiscuity and the destruction of those standards that have made ours a civilised, Christian and stable society.

“Mr. Tatchell is well known for his view that the age of consent should be lowered to 14 for homosexuals. On his website he states that if children under 14 have consensual sex, and if there is no greater than a three year age differential, there should not be a prosecution.

Mr. Tatchell is also a strong advocate of pornography which he believes is good for people. In his book “Safer Sexy: The Guide to Gay Sex Safely” he writes approvingly of sadomasochism, bondage, infidelity, orgies and public cruising for sex.”

Greenbelt has always been controversial, seen by many as a Christian version of Glastonbury with its alternative agenda, but they now seem to have lost any connection they had with their Christian identity and will disappoint many many of its fans while confirming the worse fears of their critics.

Homosexual activist speaks at ‘Christian’ festival - CCFON.org - Christian Concern For Our Nation

Thursday, 26 August 2010

Court case won't just look at Mormon polygamists; Muslims under scrunity too - Winnipeg Free Press


A court case to determine whether Canada's polygamy laws violate religious protection might have been sparked by a fundamentalist Mormon sect in southeastern British Columbia, but the legal challenge will also examine rarely discussed polygamous practices among North America's Muslims.

Interesting to note that there is wide agreement among experts that women in polygamous marriages “had greater frequency and severity of a variety of psychiatric symptoms, decreased marital satisfaction, and lower self-esteem.” and that “more often than not, the practice is a harmful one.”

As one might expect, and certainly from the records of early Mormon polygamy, it is usually about power and the attitude of men towards their wives in this arrangement is abusive.

Court case won't just look at Mormon polygamists; Muslims under scrunity too - Winnipeg Free Press

Sunday, 8 August 2010

Romance Is Not Dead – Quite.

The Song of Songs compares love to “a rose of Sharon, a lily of the valleys. Like a Lily among thorns…”

Shakespeare compares his love to a summer’s day, declaring, “Thou art more more lovely and temperate.”

Robby Burns declares his love to be “like a red, red rose that’s newly sprung in June…like the melody that’s sweetly sung in tune.”

This week Robby Williams married and is reported to have compared his love to “a Swiss Army penknife because she can do everything.”

Its nice to know romance isn’t dead, though troubling to see her lingering on life support.

Saturday, 31 July 2010

Ian Huntley’s Occupational Hazard

I admit this story got my hackles up. When you have taken two innocent young girls and murdered them you should count yourself lucky that you are still alive, have a room and a bed and three square meals a day, let alone doctors, psychiatrists, counsellors, recreations…  When even the worse of the criminal classes are so disgusted with what you have done that one of them takes a pop at you, then surely that is an occupational hazard and goes with the territory.

I am no flog ‘em and hang ‘em merchant and I do believe in rehabilitation but I wonder sometimes at the rights the worse of us enjoy that the rest of us can’t have. The one that always gets me is when someone has been prosecuted, tried and judged guilty of some terrible crime but fails to appear in court for sentencing. They refuse to come. Refuse to come!? They have forfeited any right to refuse and should be dragged kicking and screaming if necessary to face the full wrath of the society they have offended and should count their blessings that all they must face is the stern verdict of a judge and not the wrath of the mob.

Surely the first step to rehabilitation is facing what you have done. These days, if someone is caught standing over the body, with a gun in one hand, a blade in the other and a bottle of poison in their pocket they plead not guilty and, if found guilty, launch an appeal straight away, demanding a reduced sentence if not acquittal. “Fair cop guv’”? Not a chance these days.


BBC News - Soham killer Huntley 'should not sue' over jail attack

Friday, 30 July 2010

Editorial – Kay Parris: Glimpses of metanoia

An excellent and thought-provoking comment by Kay Parris in the new online Reform magazine. Maybe it is the cult of personality that explains how we ended up with this dreadful chimera of a government that my daughter-in-law calls "The ConDemnation."

Editorial – Kay Parris: Glimpses of metanoia

Saturday, 24 July 2010

Religious Liberty Monitoring: USA: not immune from Western religious liberty trends

 “The principal religious liberty trend of the multicultural West is that religious liberty is disappearing as the traditionally Judeo-Christian culture's Biblical foundations are being excavated. The excavation is integral to the social engineering/renovation project underway aimed at producing a 'post-Christian' culture. Unfortunately, most Christians do not comprehend the implications of this phenomenal strategic shift, and likely will not until the new social order has been consolidated and direct persecution starts to impact them personally.

Christians in the West are losing the right to criticise non-Christian (minority) religions (particularly Islam) and witness to non-Christians (particularly Muslims). They are also losing the right to conscientiously object to new social norms being imposed upon them essentially at the behest of radical feminist and Gay Lesbian Bisexual Transgender (GLBT) lobby groups.”

This quote is from an excellent commentary on the threat to religious liberty posed by post-Christian, liberal social norms. The non-thinking nonsense in the two stories illustrating the piece is breathtaking. Its a long blog but, I think, well worth taking time to read.

One of my favourite quotes is from George Orwell who wrote,“Liberty is the right to tell people what they don’t want to hear.”  This , as the blog illustrates, is being taken from us in the truly meaningless name of multiculturalism and tolerance. Some Christians are being taken in by this message, mainly because “tolerance” seems so right somehow, so typical of what Jesus would do. They need to remember that this same Jesus declared, “I am the way and the truth and the life, no one comes to the Father except through me” (Jn. 14:6) Let’s define a couple of terms that are frequently abused today and bring them back to their true and original meaning, the meaning they had before the liberals got hold of them:

TOLERANCE: My dictionary gives the definition of an allowable variation from a standard dimension. In the liberal world there is no standard dimension and every worldview, philosophy and “lifestyle choice” is equally right.  Tolerance, according to my dictionary, means indulgence of beliefs or practices different from one’s own. One who is tolerant is said to be practicing forbearance, to be enduring something. The language of tolerance then is endurance, forbearance, indulgence, allowance. To tolerate something is not to give it approval but to indulge it, to endure it for the greater good. Liberals would have us treat the words “tolerance” and “approval” as synonyms and fiercely condemn anyone who isn’t “tolerant” by this definition.

Democratic principles demand that, while I disagree profoundly with the tenets and practices of Islam, I am willing to endure its presence in a democratic society. I am not, however, bound to like, appreciate or approve of Islam and I am certainly not bound to welcome the  colonisation of Western societies by Muslims with the attendant cultivation of Muslim principles and ideas.

PHOBIA: A phobia is defined as an exaggerated and illogical fear. Common phobias include fear of spiders, the dark, flying, indoors, outdoors etc. It does seem irrational for a grown person to fear a common house spider, or to fear going outdoors, but plenty of people do and many seek help to overcome them. This word has become almost meaningless as people are encouraged to think of those who disagree with them as phobic. The previous paragraph would, in the eyes of many, identify me as “Islamophobic.” I also adhere to the biblical view that homosexual practice is wrong in the eyes of God and this, to many, makes me “Homophobic”.

Of course, the old way of presenting the same idea is by dubbing people “anti” this, that or the other. Critics of Mormonism are dubbed “anti-Mormon”, of the Roman Church as “anti-Catholic” etc. In those days it was easier to see that these tags were often ways of avoiding the issues and dismissing the critic by naming and blaming. In those days fewer people got away with it.

Things have changed however and the liberal lobby has such a grip on society that people indifferent to faith issues don’t just tut in disapproval when they hear people declaring strongly held beliefs contra to the beliefs of others. These days, to hold strong beliefs, no matter how tolerant one is prepared to be towards others, is to risk vilification and possibly prosecution. Because you are allowed to be anything in the brave new world – as long as it is liberal and adheres to the new dictionary definitions prescribed by liberals.

Some Christians fail to see that, while democratic principles, tolerance, liberty and freedom are precious, nevertheless, our first loyalty is to the God of the Bible. I note that many who enjoy this new way of looking at the world move away, very quickly, from Scripture and instead embrace the values of fallen man. If freedom and tolerance mean immorality, compromise, idol worship and worldliness then we had better get back to the true definitions of those terms. More urgently, we had better get back to God’s Word. Click on the link to read the Religious Liberty Monitor review.

Religious Liberty Monitoring: USA: not immune from Western religious liberty trends

Friday, 23 July 2010

Something for the Weekend: Plaid MEP, Jill Evans heralds Historic day for Welsh language in the European Parliament (From Western Telegraph)

The language of heaven is finally accepted in the European Parliament as Plaid Cymru (Party of Wales) MEP Jill Evans delivers a seminar on language policy in her native tongue. Mrs Evans insists that the EU could develop a better relationship with its citizens by using the languages people actually speak.

"Currently Welsh enjoys a semi-official status after a long hard campaign. It is now my goal to use this historic day to push for Welsh to be a fully recognised EU language" she said.

The EU translates documents and speeches into 23 “official languages.” At its inception the official languages of the EU were Dutch, French, German and Italian but as it has grown more languages have been included, such as Danish, English and Irish (added 1973), Greek (1981), Portuguese and Spanish (1986) and Finnish and Swedish (1995).

The first thing that often comes to people’s minds when the subject is raised is the cost and, of course, this has to be a consideration. The argument is often put that most people speak English, certainly everyone in Wales does, so what exactly is the point? The argument is made that if we stick with a few languages that most people speak then why go to such trouble and expense just to please people?

“Just the Facts Ma’am”

This famous line attributed (incorrectly) to Sgt. Joe Friday of the Dragnet police drama perhaps epitomises the spirit of a world that puts a high premium on data,  facts and efficiency, a world imprisoned by literalistic ways of thinking. In such a world the ability to convey “just the facts” seems paramount. But he world is about a lot more than simple facts, and language conveys more than facts, it conveys culture, heritage, custom and creates identity and belonging. As the Welsh anthem has it:

Mae hen wlad fy nhadau yn annwyl i mi,
Gwlad beirdd a chantorion, enwogion o fri;
Ei gwrol ryfelwyr, gwladgarwyr tra mâd,
Dros ryddid collasant eu gwaed.

(Cytgan - Chorus)

Gwlad, gwlad, pleidiol wyf i'm gwlad.
Tra môr yn fur i'r bur hoff bau,
O bydded i'r hen iaith barhau.

Don’t try it at home, you’ll only hurt yourself. The following is one translation of the whole song:

The land of my fathers is dear to me,
Old land where the minstrels are honoured and free;
Its warring defenders so gallant and brave,
For freedom their life's blood they gave.

Home, home, true am I to home,
While seas secure the land so pure,
O may the old language endure.

Old land of the mountains, the Eden of bards,
Each gorge and each valley a loveliness guards;
Through love of my country, charmed voices will be
Its streams, and its rivers, to me.

Though foemen have trampled my land 'neath their feet,
The language of Cambria still knows no retreat;
The muse is not vanquished by traitor's fell hand,
Nor silenced the harp of my land.

Who Are You?

What is the harp, the bard, Eisteddfodau (Welsh cultural festival), valley and mountain, choir and chapel, coal mine and slate quarry, Welsh Rugby, Welsh history and politics to one not Welsh? In the same way, each culture claims its own distinguishing features, its foods and customs, its traditions and festivals, its habits of mind and action and its language in which all these are expressed in a way not entirely possible in translation.

This is important, not just because the culture, heritage and identity of 611,000 Welsh speakers in Wales are represented in the European Parliament but because if we don’t know who we are, don’t have a clear idea of our identity we risk losing it.

Civitas is the Institute for the Study of Civil Society and in a recent report claimed that new hate crime legislation is preventing free speech and singling out alleged crimes by white Christians. A foreword to its report ‘A New Inquisition: religious persecution in Britain today’ argues that prosecutors and police are interpreting laws in favour of ethnic and religious minorities.  The report calls for a public enquiry into whether religion-based groups in the criminal justice system are driving a campaign of bias against the majority population defined as ‘white’ or ‘Christian’.

In a week when the despicable Nick Griffin was barred at the last minute from a Buckingham Palace official party and is making capital of the fact, complaining on the basis that he represents 1million voters in the UK, it is well to remember that if the majority population feels under attack the fault lies as much with ourselves as anyone. If we see richness and colour in others’ cultures but not our own, if we are unsure about our place as a people in the market of world cultures and if we too easily concede to others who have strong cultural identities then it lies with us to stop blaming those others, rediscover who we are and be proud of our heritage and values. Maybe this weekend we could think about who we are and what it really means to us.

Monday, 19 July 2010

BBC News - David Cameron launches Tories' 'big society' plan


Speaking to the BBC before the speech, Mr Cameron rejected suggestions that the plans [for a big society]were "cover" for substantial cuts in public services in many areas as the government tries to cut the deficit.

"It is not a cover for anything," he told BBC One's Breakfast. "This would be a great agenda whether we were having to cut public spending or whether we were increasing public spending.

"This is not about trying to save money, it is about trying to have a bigger, better society."

Margaret Thatcher told us that there is no such thing as society, meaning of course that there is no autonomous entity called society to catch you if you fall and we all have to take responsibility. Now David Cameron tells us that there is little else but society, meaning – well the same thing really.  They are two sides of the same coin.

It was worrying to hear him tell Phil Redmond that he got his “Big Society” idea from watching Grange Hill. What I want to know is, if we are all going to take more responsibility for things and government is going to do less, will we pay less in taxes, moving the resources as well as the task to the big society, or will we pay the same or more in taxes leaving the weak to go to the wall – Social Darwinism which has always been a key Tory philosophy?

BBC News - David Cameron launches Tories' 'big society' plan

Friday, 16 July 2010

Something For The Weekend

When I first saw the headline “Christians Complain about EastEnders” I thought perhaps some group of culturally savvy Christians had had enough, made a stand and demanded this poor excuse for a TV drama be taken off our TV screens. But no, this country’s taste for low end, badly-written, poorly acted and depressingly repetitive kitchen sink drama is nowhere near being satiated.

I remember when these programmes were interesting portrayals of lives lived out on the gritty streets of Northern towns, or farming communities in the Dales. But I haven’t watched one since Ena Sharples got buried under the railway viaduct and everyone in the snug of the Rover’s Return commiserated with Ena’s best friend, Minnie Caldwell, buying her milk stouts and lending a shoulder to cry on.

These days, soaps are a grotesque parody of themselves as they present increasingly implausible plots in a breakneck race to top the previous week’s plot with ever-more improbably complicated relationships and more incredible cliff-hangers to keep an increasingly credulous public on the edge their seats awaiting the next excruciating episode. Anyone who followed Jimmy McGovern’s groundbreaking drama, The Street, in recent times will surely have been spoiled for this sort of pap served up three times a week, the opiate of the people.

No, the complaint is about the portrayal of a Pentecostal pastor who turns out to be your typical neighbourhood wacky Christian wife murderer. It is a negative portrayal, they insist, and wonder if the BBC would have portrayed a Muslim cleric in such a bad light. I see what they mean, of course, but it isn’t as if this is a departure from the norm when it comes to portraying Christians in TV dramas. And isn’t this “you wouldn’t do it to Muslims” lark wearing a bit thin. It’s true enough but it is a tired old argument that everyone knows is true but it falls on deaf ears.

The aforementioned Ena Sharples, if I recall, was the caretaker of the local mission hall back in the ‘60s, and she was a right busybody, criticising the lifestyles of other inhabitants of Coronation Street and telling them to “think on.” A popular ploy for drama writers is to make the vicar gay (I think that was EastEnders too), or a woman in a comedy role – the vicar of Dibley, a limp and overwhelmed by it all liberal, as in the latest TV comedy “Rev”, or a hellfire and damnation, Pope-hating, Presbyterian with a Northern Irish accent (you couldn’t make it up)

What concerns me, however, is not how Christians are portrayed on television. After all, dramas revolve around conflict, that is built on character flaws and the bible is chock full of those, and comedy is founded on an oblique look at the ridiculous, and how can that happen if the vicar isn’t somehow funny, intentionally or otherwise. No, what bothers me is that Christians watch EastEnders. I think people who watch these things can distinguish between a dramatised portrayal of the clergy and the local pastor in their street. But what will they think of the faith when Christians show themselves so unimaginative in their choice of entertainment? Like sin, poor taste is something you expect from the world but, surely Christians need to aim much higher.

Wednesday, 14 July 2010

I’m Glad You Asked…

I am at an age when I am increasingly dependent on the wonders of modern medicine to keep me upright and functioning. “It comes to us all” is what they say and it certainly hasn’t given my house a miss, although there are times when I wish it had. As part of my drug-dependent regime I take a glass of water to bed every night and take my two final pills of the day.

Every Tuesday evening I have the thrilling task of emptying the bins around the house and putting out the rubbish, recycling etc. and when it comes to my bedtime routine, I reach for two tablets from the strip at my bedside and, would you believe it, they are the last two in the strip, every fortnight the last two in the box and so I throw the strip in the bin. Now call me fussy but it offends my fastidious nature that a bin so recently emptied should so soon begin to fill.

How can this be? What is going on that every Tuesday I should suffer this frustration? That strip, that box could have been out on the pavement with the rest of the rubbish waiting to be picked up early next morning. It is one of those things that irks you each time it happens but you just as quickly forget about it and get on with your life (I think I ought to say that my wife thinks I’m more than a little unhinged to worry about this, but she doesn’t throw an empty strip into a bin she has just emptied – or have I missed something here?)

This week I decided to get to the bottom of this mystery, sat down with a strip of tablets, a calendar and a calculator and figured it out. (I lied about the calculator actually and only put it in for dramatic effect. Also, I did have a calendar but in my head. I don’t want people to get the impression I can’t count and don’t know what day it is) There are fourteen tablets on a strip and two strips in a box. I take two tablets every night, start a strip on a Wednesday and, therefore, come-to-my-last-two-tablets-the-following-Tuesday-evening and the last two in the box every other Tuesday. The sense of relief, I can’t tell you! (I know, I ought to get out more)

Its with not a little pride I can tell you that I broke the cycle last night – today being Wednesday and the day the rubbish is collected. When I emptied the bin in my bedroom I took the two remaining pills, placed them on the bedside cabinet, and threw said strip, and the box as it happens, into the rubbish to be taken away. Oh, the sense of triumph! Tomorrow the WORLD!

Life can be like that. Something troubles you but not enough for you to actually give it serious thought. But each time it arises this bothersome and unresolved issue winds you up. For a lot of people questions of faith can be like that. Something is reported on the news, or happens locally, and someone asks, “If there is a God why…” Someone close to us dies and for a moment we feel prompted to ask some of the bigger questions, the “God that’s not fair!” questions. But then life presses in on us and soon the questions are laid aside for another day.

I’m Glad You Asked…

When I am asked such questions, sometimes quite challenging questions I can find it a struggle to answer, not because I don’t have an answer, but because I don’t have a neat, glib sound-bite answer to do justice to what is often a very good question. I want to say, “I’m glad you asked. Can you set aside some hours to talk about this?” And, of course, people are busy and very reluctant to commit the time, afraid perhaps of what they might be drawn into.

But, just like my puzzle over tablets and bin day, sometimes you just have to stop and give it some serious thought. Just as I sat down with a calculator, a calendar and blister strip (OK, there wasn’t a calculator, but you get my meaning) so you, if your questions are serious, must sit down with a Bible, a Christian friend and maybe a good book or study guide if you are going to get real answers.

I often ask people if they are readers because many people are not these days, which is a great pity for all sorts of reasons. If they are, or at least are open-minded enough, I suggest they go and browse around their local Christian bookshop. They would be amazed, I insist, at how many of life’s questions, how many big issues are addressed in Christian books, journals and magazines and how determined, serious-minded Christians are to understand the world. A Christian bookshop is just that, i.e. a bookshop. It isn’t a “truth shop” where all issues are answered definitively and where dogma is sold by the pound but a bookshop where people with different views are represented and ideas are presented to get explored, tried and tested.

Why don’t you come to church? I ask them and, as they give a wary look, explain that churches hold courses where these questions are addressed and answers are sought. Sermons inform as well as challenge, enthuse and convict. Why not come and listen to a few? Why not come over for a coffee and spend an hour or two talking about things, maybe make a start on the journey of discovery that begins with the kind of questions you are asking? Because the big questions are not destinations but departure points and you have to be prepared for the journey of discovery that leads to the answers. Otherwise, why ask?

Be as wary as you like, sit near the door at church, tell the bookseller you’re “just looking” but don’t put it off any longer. Make a move, get a Bible, ask a trusted Christian friend, put that best seller down, good as it is, and pick up a Christian book that looks like it might be interesting, informative and helpful. Come over for a chat some time and lets talk about God and what’s fair and not fair, and what’s it all about, and why you want to do the right thing but so often find yourself doing the wrong thing, and what happens when you die, and does evolution disprove God, and…well you get the picture. Give it time, and effort and you might be surprised what answers come if you just ask.

Here are some books I have personally found very helpful:

  1. A Fresh Start, by John Chapman and published by Matthias Media tackles some of life’s fundamental questions.
  2. God That’s Not Fair, by Dick Dowsett, published by OM, addresses some of the really hard questions people ask
  3. Six Modern Myths, by Philip Sampson, and published by IVP, is a look at six popular myths about the church in history and society, from Galileo to Environmentalism
  4. Knowing God and Knowing Christianity, by JI Packer and published by Hodder and Staughton and Eagle respectively are excellent insights into the God of the Bible and the faith of a Christian
  5. Why I am a Christian, by John Stott and published by IVP is a refreshing insight into one man’s reasons for embracing the Christian Faith.
  6. The Puzzle of God, by Peter Vardy and published by Harper Collins is a more philosophical look at the subject
  7. You Can’t be Serious, by Michael Green and published by Monarch is a serious look at 12 reasons for avoiding Jesus
  8. At the Heart of the Universe, by Peter Jensen and published by IVP is a close look at what Christians believe about God, man and the purpose at the heart of the universe
  9. There is a God, by Anthony Flew and published by Harper Collins is, in the words of the author, an account of “How the world’s most notorious atheist changed his mind”
  10. Simply Christianity, by John Dickson and published by Matthias Media, is a reading of Luke’s Gospel with simple but challenging commentary designed to discover what is simply Christianity when all the extraneous stuff is stripped away.

There must be something there that caught your attention and made you think it might be worth turning off the TV and curling up with a cup of tea and a book. If you do take up the challenge to do more than ask the questions, more than dismiss God with a wave of your hand as you walk away still bemused, let me know. Write to me and we can have a chat about it. I always like to chat about my faith and hear what others have discovered on the journey. Your here until you go so you may as well make the best of it. Who knows but that it might turn out better and more meaningful than you ever dreamed or imagined?

Sunday, 4 July 2010

Italy appeals against ban on school crucifixes - Telegraph

Why are so many non-believers such miserable nuisance neighbours? They have a real dog-in-the-manger attitude to religion. Not happy to have God in their own lives they are determined that no one else should either. I hear people sometimes say, “Don’t push your religion down my throat!” I feel like saying, “Don’t push your secular, neo-Darwin, aimless and nihilistic word-view down MY throat!”

Freedom of religion does not mean freedom from religion. If you want freedom from religion you will have to find another planet to inhabit because this world is filled with believers of one kind or another. It colours our lives, informs our society and, when it comes to Christianity, it is the foundation of the very schools from which you want to remove all signs of it. Talk about biting the hand that feeds you.

Italy appeals against ban on school crucifixes - Telegraph

Exclusive: The Breathless Celts

With the new Condem alliance threatening cuts of between 25% and 40% across the board and in all departments this column can exclusively reveal how the regions, and especially the peripheral, Celtic nations of the UK will carry the brunt of those cuts.

A  leaked document today reveals that the North of England will be closed from Friday to Monday, while the Midlands will close early on Tuesdays and Fridays. Regions further south will remain open, but will see a ban on every mode of transport except walking and piggy backs. Residents across the UK are encouraged to go to bed early, especially as the days get shorter, to save on electricity. The Home Counties are under review, although there are no plans for any such radical money-saving measures because that’s where David Cameron lives.

But in a move that some commentators say makes Margaret Thatcher look like a socialist citizens of Scotland, Wales and Northern Ireland are being asked to hold their breath when there is an ‘R’ in the month. The leaked document reveals the government’s concern that there isn’t enough air to go around after MPs have debated the issue. Other ideas for making such savings include restricting women to only breathing out, an idea that was rejected when someone pointed out that most women can talk breathing in, a feat of multitasking considered vital to the nation.

A member of the Welsh Assembly, when asked to comment, said that policies were still under consideration and everyone was holding their breath in anticipation of official announcements. “After all”, she observed, “we might need the practice.”

Sunday, 27 June 2010

BBC News - Duncan Smith considers incentives to relocate jobless

“Unemployed people living in council homes could be offered incentives to move to areas where there are jobs, the work and pensions secretary has said.”
It was only going to be a matter of time but even I am surprised at how quickly this Condem government has come around to Norman Tebbit’s way of thinking. And this old recidivist Tory policy has been dusted off and wheeled out by the acceptable face of Ian Duncan Smith (left). They have already started thinking of the disabled as benefit cheats and the old as retiring too early, now they are talking about the working population as work shy and feckless people who need to be encouraged to “get on your bike” and move across the country to find work. Their disdain for “the great unwashed” is palpable, shameful and all-too-typical.

And where are these jobs for which people should mount their bikes and ride? They are depending on the private sector taking up the slack but have absolutely no control over that and so no guarantee of a jobs market to which bikes may be confidently ridden.They have plans to savagely cut back on public services, throwing hundreds of thousands of people out of their jobs, swelling further the ranks of the unemployed and shrinking considerably the amount of money people have to spend.

With millions more unemployed, belts being tightened and significantly less money to spend in the country what on earth reason for hope can the private sector have in the prospects for growth and expansion? Why should they invest in a country that has more and more people out of work and less and less money to spend? In a shrinking market and a growing liability? But of course the next step in this grand design (Oh, the plan, the plan) is to get rid of the minimum wage so that those nice people at the CBI can bank on a growing population of slave labour.

I am reminded of that verse in Exodus which declares that “there arose a new king over Egypt, that did not know Joseph.” That king’s policies led to slavery for Israel. In the same way it might be said that a king arose in Downing Street about which this new generation knew nothing; but they will soon learn, they will soon learn. Welcome to the 1980’s, a place of individual wealth and collective poverty, of blaming the poor and celebrating the wealthy, of social Darwinism, a meritocracy in which only the strong survive.
BBC News - Duncan Smith considers incentives to relocate jobless

Friday, 25 June 2010

BBC News - 'No foetal pain before 24 weeks'


“There is no new evidence to show foetuses feel pain in the womb before 24 weeks, and so no reason to challenge the abortion limit, UK doctors say.

The Royal College of Obstetricians and Gynaecologists' review said foetuses are "undeveloped and sedated".

Brain connections are not fully formed, and the environment of the womb creates a state of induced sleep, like unconsciousness, they add.”

One expert explained that this latest research says nothing about the ethics of abortion. It simply tells doctors whether the foetus feels pain when aborted. If the findings went the other way then the doctor could anaesthetise the foetus before aborting it.

So let me see if I understand this. If it can’t feel the pain of its demise then its alright to kill it. By this logic if it is anaesthetised, in “a state of induced sleep”, in other words the nerves are prevented from sending signals to the brain cortex, then it can be killed – whatever it is. Old for example, disabled, unwanted, inconvenient, the list seems endless.

Oh, brave new world that has such people in it.

BBC News - 'No foetal pain before 24 weeks'

Wednesday, 23 June 2010

Brave New World

I don't usually do political comment but I have been catching some of the budget debate in the Commons after the ConDem Alliance emergency budget. I can't let this moment pass without offering my heartfelt condolences to all those who voted for the fair-minded, progressive, metrosexual, Europhile champions of minorities, the LibDems only to wake up to the nightmare of a totally macroeconomics driven, right wing, minority bashing, homophobic, slash and burn Tory budget. I have one proverbial piece of advice for you. Fool me once, shame on you. Fool me twice, shame on me. Now you have seen that the Liberal party only flies a flag of convenience and is more than happy to negotiate principles for power you know better next time.

I think perhaps the country might resist the temptation to toy with proportional representation now they have seen what happens when their favourite cuddly politicians take power. It has been a lot like watching the film Gremlins. One minute you just want to run up to nice Nick Clegg and shake his hand, the next Calamity Clegg is doing monstrous things to your job, your public services and your bank balance. Take it from me, if it isn't nailed down they will have it off you before you can say "redundant and homeless" - unless your a city banker of course.

Friday, 21 May 2010

BBC News - 'Artificial life' breakthrough announced by scientists


Scientists in the US have succeeded in developing the first synthetic living cell.

The researchers constructed a bacterium's "genetic software" and transplanted it into a host cell.

The resulting microbe then looked and behaved like the species "dictated" by the synthetic DNA.

This reminds me of the story of a group of scientists who, after years of work, finally produced a human being. They realised in their moment of triumph that someone had to take on the onerous job of telling God that he was redundant. No one was keen to do it and so they drew straws and the one who got the short straw got the task.

God listened patiently as this man explained that, in light of recent scientific advancements, God was now surplus to requirements. Then God said, “Alright, I see your point. Lets have a contest.”

“What sort of contest?” asked the scientist.

“Well”, said God, “You make a human being and I make a human being and whoever makes the better model gets the job while the other retires.”

“Alright”, said the scientist as he stooped down to take up a handful of soil.

“What are you doing?” asked God.

“I’m collecting up some of the basic building blocks of life” the scientist replied.

“Oh, no”, God said, “That’s cheating. You go and get your own dirt.”


No doubt there will be those who will worry about this latest development and, certainly, there are serious ethical issues to be considered. However it should be remembered that this synthetic living cell, while its creation is an incredible achievement, hasn’t actually been “created.” The genetic information pre-existed, as did the host cell, and what science has done is effectively copy the former and put it into the structure of the latter. No mean feat I am sure but nowhere near the actual act or process of “creation” as described in the Bible.

It is rather like typing this blog post. These words were already there, the computer on which I am typing already existed and, although I like to think there is some originality in my creating this post, the ideas were already out there. What I have done is take all these pre-existing factors and ordered them such that they express my thoughts. The worrying thing about this development is not that science is somehow making God redundant but that humans are doing these things without any reference to God. But then we have been doing this for some time now and on the whole the world is a worse place for it. As the writer of Ecclesiastes wrote, “There is nothing new under the sun.”

BBC News - 'Artificial life' breakthrough announced by scientists

Friday, 7 May 2010

Christian preacher arrested by homosexual police officer for saying that homosexuality is a sin - CCFON.org - Christian Concern For Our Nation

Gays in uniform are now taking the law into their own hands. It is not enough that they are legal, they have to make anyone and everyone who disagrees with them illegal. They as fascist as any right-wing movement that defames and condemns them. Mail on Sunday columnist Peter Hitchens wrote:

‘The Public Order Act of 1986 was not meant to permit the arrest of Christian preachers in English towns for quoting from the Bible.  But it has.  The Civil Partnerships Act 2004 was not meant to force public servants to approve of homosexuality.  But it has.

‘The Sexual Offences Act of 1967 was not meant to lead to a state of affairs where it is increasingly dangerous to say anything critical about homosexuality.  But it did.

‘And the laws of Britain, being entirely based upon the Christian Bible, were not meant to be used by a sneering judge to declare that Christianity had no higher status in this ancient Christian civilisation than Islam, Buddhism or Hinduism.

‘But it has come to that this week,’ he wrote.

‘We have travelled in almost no time from repression, through a brief moment of mutual tolerance, to a new repression.  And at the same time, the freedom of Christians to follow their beliefs in workplaces is under aggressive attack.’

Christian preacher arrested by homosexual police officer for saying that homosexuality is a sin - CCFON.org - Christian Concern For Our Nation

Tuesday, 4 May 2010

Religious Liberty Monitoring: PERSECUTION, whatever that is.

A thoughtful and intelligent blog on the nature of persecution asking whether we are being “persecuted” in the UK. Elizabeth Kendal’s Religious Liberty Monitoring blog is well worth the time to visit.

“When it comes to showing what we believe about the Lordship of the Risen Christ, I advocate that the Church stop wasting time appealing to "Pharaoh" (Exodus 5:15) and instead, look to the Lord, our crowing glory, for the "strength to turn back the battle at the gate" (Isaiah 28:5-6).”

Religious Liberty Monitoring: PERSECUTION, whatever that is.

Thursday, 29 April 2010

Life on Mars and PC Tact

“My name is Sam Tyler. I had an accident and I woke up in 1973. Am I mad, or in a comma, or back in time?” So says the voice of Sam Tyler, a 21st Century police officer, over the opening credits of the hit BBC TV drama series Life on Mars, first broadcast in January 2006. It ran to two series and was such a phenomenon it was followed up by another series, Ashes to Ashes, featuring another character, Alex Drake, this time thrown back to 1983 as the result of being shot in the line of duty.

Both meet the same characters “back then” and both suffer culture shock as they have to adapt not just to the more primitive policing methods but the customs and idiom of those very different times. Both series are packed with politically incorrect dialogue and assumptions as we follow the very un-PC Detective Inspector Gene Hunt and his team  in their efforts to keep the streets safe.

You can sympathise with the main characters’ impatience with and attempts at correcting unreformed police officers who call a deaf boy a “spastic”, who regard WPCs as being there to make the tea and be leered at, who make gags at the expense of black people and homosexuals and who regard criminals as deserving of “a good kicking.” Thank goodness for most of us the world isn’t like that anymore. But is it any better?

If roles were reversed and DI Gene Hunt were to wake up in 2010 how would he faire? Of course, he wouldn’t last five minutes because in that time he would have broken just about every anti-discrimination law in the country, not to mention health and safety. But what would he think of a world where a question from a pensioner about immigration becomes an international news story?

Where we allow our society to be slowly colonised by Muslims at the same time as we are at war with Muslim countries and Muslims are becoming suicide bombers on our streets – and we are not even allowed to talk about it for fear of being labelled Islamophobic?

What would he think of the proliferation of mosques across the country when young Muslims are being radicalised in some of those same mosques? Of the rise in popularity of the BNP and the real and frankly frightening prospect of Nick Griffin getting a seat in the British parliament and all because no one else is prepared to talk about the problems of immigration and he cashes in on that fact?

What would Gene Hunt make of a Britain where our libel laws are so wacky that “libel tourism” has become a major problem and Eastern European as well as other criminals, businessmen and politicians are flocking to our shores to sue investigative journalists who are getting too close to the facts? Where a journalist is guilty until proven innocent? Where foreign criminals are enslaving girls and running them as sex slaves in our towns and streets?

What would he make of a country where broadcast news is no longer news but tittle-tattle and gossip. Where the cult of celebrity puts no-talent nobodies on the front pages of our newspapers? Where news broadcasters do pieces to camera while the main event goes on behind them because they believe their comment and opinion is more valuable than those of the people who actually run the country, its businesses and services?

What would Gene Hunt think of a country where we are policed at a distance by cameras and are now the most scrutinised society after China and Russia? Where teachers run the real risk of being physically attacked, maligned on social networking sites, accused of abuse and little or nothing to be done because we are currently in the grip of the cult of the child? Where having a baby is regarded by some as a career move and others as an occupational hazard? Where aborting a baby is considered so inconsequential that it is possible to do it in your lunch break, like going for a dump?

How would he faire in this brave new world where we are all so PC, not because it makes for a better world but because of some misplaced guilt over our patriarchal history of empire that makes us feel we have to be the world’s social worker and “understand” how hard it must be having been our victims? Where we are actually implicated in charges of torture along with our “special friends” and war allies? Where right and wrong are defined not by agreed standards of decency and morality but by who has the money to sue you if you don’t toe the line they draw and dare you to cross, those who cry, “its our world now so have a care how you walk in it or we will have you for dinner!”

There have always been problems and each generation must find its own way to deal with them but the one “solution” that must be avoided like the jaws of hell is the one that insists, like Basil Fawltey, “Don’t mention the war (or immigration, or abortion, or over-surveillance, or Islamification)!” If we can’t express our views, share our fears and hopes, declare our convictions and speak our minds without fear of retribution and the PC brigade then we are storing up problems that may explode in a reaction of violence that we neither want nor can fully realise until it is too late.

George Orwell said, “Liberty is the freedom to tell people what they don’t want to hear.” That liberty is in real danger in Britain and while we are all arguing terms on what terms we can use in public discourse and private conversation there are those with a very different agenda planning our future and that of our children. Maybe we need a Gene Hunt to share with us some well overdue home truths and perhaps it doesn’t matter too much in what terms as long as we face them.

Yes, it is a different world and in some ways the changes are welcome, but is it really a better world? I don’t think so.