A View From Middle England - Conservative with a slight libertarian touch - For Christian charity and traditional belief - Free Enterprise NOT Covert Corporatism

Bishop Mark Lawrence gets accused and abused

Katherine Jefferts Schori likens godly bishop to dictator and mass murderer

Chris Huhne finally faces up to his demons

Former cabinet minister faces jail as he admits guilt of perjury crime

HS2 is high speed to the shops in Sheffield

High speed trains to London but no further! HS2 hits buffers before Europe.

David Cameron sits on EU wall

All things to all EU people - doing the hokey cokey until 2018!

Rotherham by-election gives main parties a kick

Respect for the three main parties decreases as UKIP and others rise

Underemployment now felt by 3 million at least

More workers would like more hours but can't get them

Wife to occupy central role at central bank

New bank governor's wife Diana will speak her mind and blow George's

Bank of England to get Canadian bank chief

George Osborne takes a maple leaf out of Canada's central bank books

UKIP offers a political HS2 for disaffected Tories

UKIP's Nigel Farage reacts to David Cameron's quips

Rotherham Council in Stasi Style Crackdown

Social Services remove children accusing couple of being "UKIP racists"!

Monday, February 11, 2013

Pope Benedict to resign in unexpected announcement

Cardinal Francis Arinze
It is just been announced that Pope Benedict is to resign. This is very unexpected although it does not come as a total surprise as there has been speculation about his health and capacity due to age. He has been a good Pope, especially for traditional Anglican catholics. He understood the patrimony of classical Anglicanism at a time when the ravages of secularism descended on it. He is very minded of ecumenical necessity. He also is unafraid to stand up for the sacraments of the Church, the tradition of the Faith and the social witness of the Gospel.

No doubt much will be said, much will be speculated. One thing that may well happen is that the next pope will come from a country far away from Rome. I welcome this. A pope from Nigeria? Cardinal Francis Arinze is well thought of.

Friday, February 08, 2013

Bishop Mark Lawrence accused and abused - Mrs Jefferts Schori flips her mitre!

Bishop Mark Lawrence
Like a lot of people in the Anglican Communion I have come to realise that Katherine Jefferts Schori, the leading light currently in the Episcopal Church of the USA, is a rather unpleasant woman. Strong words, I know, but being pleasant means giving a sense of happy satisfaction or enjoyment. She does the opposite. I would not mind if she promoted her views with Christian charity and a degree of humility. But she seems incapable of doing so. Her secular agenda is the new gospel and this must at all costs supplant orthodox belief.

It is well known that she is bankrupting the church with lawsuits aimed at throwing traditional priests out of their parishes. Money is like confetti to her. Her new doctrines are not even a straight secularising of the sacraments. She has odd notions about Christ's divinity and the faith of the creeds is something for putting in a museum alongside fossils. But it is her latest outrageous comments that put her beyond the pale.

PB Jefferts Schori went to Charleston recently to inaugurate a new remnant Episcopal diocese. She had fallen out with local bishop Mark Lawrence. In her speech, she accused Bishop Lawrence (but did not mention him by name) of being a petty dictator and a wolf masquerading among the sheep. Is this the sort of language any Christian should utter? No it is not and especially from one purporting to lead.

She said, "I tell you that story because it's indicative of attitudes we've seen here and in many other places. Somebody decides he knows the law, and oversteps whatever authority he may have to dictate the fate of others who may in fact be obeying the law, and often a law for which this local tyrant is not the judge. It's not too far from that kind of attitude to citizens' militias deciding to patrol their towns or the Mexican border for unwelcome visitors. It's not terribly far from the state of mind evidenced in school shootings, or in those who want to arm school children, or the terrorism that takes oil workers hostage."

Think about that. She is saying that the godly Bishop of South Carolina Mark Lawrence is a "local tyrant" and his state of mind is like the "school shooter", Adam Lanza who walked into an elementary school and slaughtered some 23 children in Connecticut.

The Church of England cannot look across the water and say "it is nothing to do with us" because Schori has her supporters here too. They will use and abuse the system to grind down the faithfull until their secular agenda is fully stamped on the church. The "programme" is led by David Cameron, who displays flashes of arrogance when crossed or quizzed on it. Already such errant priests as Giles Fraser are plotting to defy the law. With regard to homosexual unions, he says “I certainly wouldn’t do it covertly but if someone asks me I will phone someone up who has done these services and say ‘how much can I get away with?’. There are a lot of my friends who seem to get away with quite a bit in this.” From his own lips he is known. Is "getting away with it" the kind of talk parishioners should hear?

This secularising of the church is as if a giant cuckoo has emerged in the nest of the Christian Faith. Just plucking its feathers won't do much good. The cuckoo should find a nest of its own!

Monday, February 04, 2013

Chris Huhne quits as MP after pleading guilty to penalty points swap

Chris Huhne faces reality at last
Chris Huhne has pleaded guilty to perverting the course of justice by asking his ex-wife to take speeding points for him. Almost simultaneously he quit politics and will stand down as Liberal Democrat MP for Eastleigh. A by-election will now take place. This is not a contest I think either the Conservatives or the Liberal Democrats will relish. This is a golden opportunity for UKIP to provide a real alternative to the schemers and the schmoozers of the political elite.

Today was the day that Huhne and his ex-wife Vicky Pryce were due to be tried by a jury. Instead of twelve of his fellow citizens hearing evidence, Huhne changed his plea and admitted the charge, which relates to a speeding fine issued in March 2003. The judge, Mr Justice Sweeney, told Huhne he should “have no illusions whatsoever” about the type of sentence he is likely to receive. The maximum penalty for the offence is life imprisonment, so now he is facing the real likelihood of a jail sentence after admitting this crime, which has for centuries been seen by the English judiciary as second only to murder.

Why or why do our politicians do such crazy things? Chris Huhne won't be the last to be reckless with his political life. That Huhne had and has considerable skills there is no doubt. However, like a lot of prominent persons he was and is arrogant and arrogance can lead to deception and wrongdoing. He kept up the pretence for several years. He is now to be known as a liar, a cheat and a man almost prepared to defy the justice system in order to protect his name.

Our politicians are supposed to be honourable. Being honourable does not mean being holier than thou, but it does mean setting an example. The two are not the same. The public cannot stand being deceived. This country is relatively tolerant and accepts quite a lot, but cheating in high office is just not on.

The best Chris Huhne can now do is to say sorry. First to his family, then to his constituents and then to his former cabinet colleagues. Saying sorry does not right the crime but it will be his first step towards being a better person.

Monday, January 28, 2013

Three new European routes for Birmingham Airport

On the day that the government announces where HS2 is going or not going, Birmingham Airport unveils three new routes to European cities. Airline bmi regional will be flying to - Gothenburg, Lyon and Toulouse. Now HS2 could be going to the two French cities but it peters out in London in order for the trudge and the trek to begin.

If I wanted to go to Lyon from Birmingham I'd be tempted to go with bmi regional instead of having two high speed train train journeys and a low speed London sightseeing session in between!

HS2 northern rail route announced

HS2 going north or south or somewhere
The government has announced where the northern rail route of the HS2 high speed railway will go. The £32bn rail project will have running northwards from Birmingham five stops. These are Manchester, Manchester Airport, Toton near Nottingham, Sheffield and Leeds. The Sheffield one will apparently be happily sitting next to the Meadowhall Shopping Centre. If Manchester Airport gets a stop whats the point of Heathrow getting bigger? George Osborne sees this HS2 extension as the "engine for growth in the north and the midlands" but that depends on who is going to use it. And that is where the consultations seem to lead us nowhere. The government talks about creating jobs as if there is some kind of permanence to these jobs. I get the impression that government policy (regardless of party) is always a case of the tail wagging the dog with these grandiose schemes. The tail here is the construction industry keen to do something new. So HS2 is a fantastic bankroller for them. But is just building things for the sake of it a good enough reason? Simon Burns, the transport minister, waxes on today about jobs and the need for this and that and joining up the cities, etc, etc. But is this going to be just a drain on the North for those wanting to get to the South more quickly? I don't know because I can't get to find those "facts". It just appears to be some nebulous concept for "jobs" and "growth" so the country's economy can be given a boost. That's not a good enough reason for carving into the countryside.

Ryanair will still compete for customers
I don't hear of joining this HS2 up with the Eurostar anytime soon. In fact, according to the STOP HS2 site, it's on a back burner with the gas gone out. Now if this high speed train DID link up with the continent I would probably say it was all worthwhile. But a fast ride to London and then a trek and a trudge to the Eurostar trains is totally hopeless as a supporting argument. Ryanair would soon have adverts showing people in the rain. I and my family could be in one because we've suffered the wind and rain getting down to Eurostar, only to meet the Schengen Checkers (for a eurosceptic, this must be the worst opt-out we've ever signed up to!). So, I'm not against high speed rail as such, just this mistaken project which high speeds people between London and the North without any vision of a connection in London. Will Manchester ever link up with Munich? Will Birmingham meet up with Berlin? If we are not careful it will end up like the wretched M6 Toll Road which vehicles try desperately to avoid. This means Midland Expressway, the company running the road, loses millions each year. And it has not done much to ease congestion. In fact, Thomas Fanning, the CEO of Midland Expressway said in July 2011 “The fall in daily traffic on the M6 Toll also reflects improved travel conditions on the competing M6 following completion of an additional section of hard shoulder running between junction eight and 10 in March of this year." So if the West Coast Line is brought up to scratch it will be a similar case of competition. Plus there will still be competition from the low cost airlines. Why go on a journey with two high speed bits and a tedious low speed bit in London when a cheeky Irishman can get you there quicker and cheaper even if he gets you riled in the meantime? My hunch is that if we get this HS2 people will avoid the high prices and go on the "ordinary" trains. So HS2 will struggle to be profitable and the debate will drag on well into the next century. And eventually the trains will get old and internally tatty, like the Eurostar trains.

Wednesday, January 23, 2013

False hopes, false dawns in David Cameron's EU paradise

"A referendum not today, not tomorrow, but in 2018, but...."
David Cameron is promising some jam today, a bit more in a few years time and a sticky dose of the stuff by 2018 in a referendum to decide whether Britain stays in or out of the European Union. Again, this is Humpty Dumpty stuff. Alice is getting annoyed with Dave as he keeps telling her things he wants to say in a way he wants to say them. Every time Alice thinks she understands Dave has shifted down the wall a bit and tells her she misunderstood him completely.

So the gist of all this is that the Coalition government (with carping LibDems) will beaver away at getting enabling legislation passed so that, if the Conservatives are elected on a landslide, Dave can have his referendum laws in place in order to press the voting button and we all decide. On the basis, of course, that we have a renegotiated deal with a new treaty that gives us a new relationship with or without other partners in the existing European Union. Phew! Can't wait.

It does not make much sense to me. Unless he knows something we don't, the EU bosses are going to tell him to take a jump. They do not want to renegotiate. They cannot stand the idea that their political union is errant in any way. So what is he going to get changed? Surely we need to know his shopping list? Can't vote for Dave in 2015 without knowing that. Also do we believe him in this sort of high wire talk he is doing. He gives the impression he is blackmailing the EU by saying we want to stay in but with changes. So if they don't do the changes, he then suggests we negotiate our way out. Or that is what I think he is saying.

Boris Johnson has jumped up to say, "David Cameron is bang on. What most sensible people want is to belong to the single market but to lop off the irritating excrescences of the European Union. We now have a chance to get a great new deal for Britain - that will put the UK at the heart of European trade but that will also allow us to think globally." What sort of chance, Boris? Not one coming from Herman van Rumpuy. He doesn't do chances. And he's very frustrated (Dave's own word today) with Britain.

So the thing is we are going to have five years of haggling and harassing. Cameron believes a referendum today is a false choice. I believe he is offering us a false dawn and possibly a false sunset.

Friday, December 07, 2012

Gay marriage in church after all - Cameron U-turns!

David Cameron is to go back on his word and try to foist the idea of homosexual unions onto the Christian Church. No doubt this is all part of his programme, which appears to be a heady mixture of secular themes and religious liberalism. Nothing much to do with sacramental belief.

Now we are to be engaged in a second front, whereby the outside world, hostile to Christian doctrine, sees this issue as a means to get even with those they disagree with. David Cameron lives in a fantasy world if he thinks that "gay marriage" in church will somehow be an edifying prospect before God. A Christian marriage cherishes the union of a man and a woman. Is Cameron thinking that two people of the same sex can say "With my body I thee worship, etc, etc" and make it appear sacramentally sound. The theology is warped. The thinking unsound.

George Carey, when Archbishop of Canterbury, suggested that there were two integrities in the Church of England, after the ordination of women was started. Now he and the pro-female ordination side, spurred on by Cameron, wish to see the traditional integrity disappear. Is this the second front of attack? He probably has thought it through like all the other things he has thought through. The devil will definitely be in the detail of this proposal.

Monday, December 03, 2012

On Church and State and all that

Jeremy Paxman in his book The English : A Portrait of a People sums up the attitude of the English to the church as "they were not in any meaningful sense religious, the Church of England being a political invention which had elevated being 'a good chap' to something akin to canonization. On the occasions when bureaucracy demanded they admit an allegiance, they could write 'C of E' in the box and know they wouldn't be bothered by demands that they attend church or give all they had to the poor". Paxman once spoke to a Bishop of Oxford and asked about what one needed to believe to be a member of the church and he replied, with a slight look of bafflement on his face, that it was an intriguing question, as if it had not occurred to him before. Ralf Dahredorf said of religion in his adoptive country that 'a falling out with the Pope is not the same as a true Reformation'.

All this allows the modern English to have a say in church matters without having much regard to doctrine. It also allows the modern cleric to adapt according to the fancies of local folk without taking things too seriously. Faith in many churches has turned into a form of entertainment-cum-self-help-cum-social-services. Vast screens portray easy to read power point presentations with the notion that God can help the individual present. Not much mention of what the individual can do for God.

So it is little wonder confusion reigned supreme in the days after the synod vote. David Cameron got his ten pence worth in, followed by Tony Baldry leading the charge of vituperation against those that were once promised an "honoured place". Ann Widdecombe has an excellent piece in the Daily Express (which I have just noticed on account of not normally going in that newspaper's direction!). It reads -

THE vote on women bishops was sufficiently narrow to have gone either way and the hierarchy who are now bemoaning the outcome have only themselves to blame, having utterly failed to reassure dissenters that there would still be room for them in the Anglican Church. Oh, there were plenty of warm words, vague promises and sketchy arrangements but no detailed code of practice. That was quite enough to have made the difference precisely because some of those who opposed the 1992 decision to ordain women find they have been marginalised.

I received a letter last week from an ordinary C of E worshipper, who is theologically opposed to women priests but who has stayed loyal to his rural church despite the presence of a woman vicar. He hasn’t stomped off to another church but instead asked if from time to time communion could be given by one of the male retired assistant clergy.

And has anyone taken that seriously?

Nope. The bishop says go to another church, regardless of what that costs and the difficulty of travel. The rural dean does not reply. The Archbishop of Canterbury’s office says go to the rural dean. So though their mitres bob up and down with indignation can they really wonder that waverers did not feel like taking the risk at the synod vote and relying on empty words?

It is instructive that the Prime Minister saw fit to rebuke the church for the decision of its synod. That should provide a clear warning of how seriously we may regard government promises on gay marriage.

Ministers insist that the churches will be protected but the PM regularly states what he thinks the churches should do so why will he go out of his way to protect them when they disagree with him?

Furthermore Mr Cameron voted for regulations that have obliged Roman Catholic adoption agencies to close, despite their looking after some of the hardest-to-place children, in the full knowledge that this would happen.

So if he is happy with no exemption for the church on homosexual adoption why would he preserve one on homosexual marriage?

It is actions not words that count.

That is why some members of the synod did not trust the assurances of the bishops and why we should not trust ministers on gay marriage. 

I find I concur with every word. Plus it was hard not to think that the Archbishop of Canterbury had been rather more zealous in his promotion of the Enough Waiting campaign and not enough in honouring the promises made to traditional believers. The Bishop of Ebbsfleet has a very good, measured response to the Measure!