Tuesday, 17 November 2020

Boris on Scotland

You will remember how Jeremy Corbyn came along and dismembered Scottish Labour with his attitude to devolution. To me it is no surprise at all that Boris Johnson did the same yesterday with his ill judged comments about devolution. This morning on R4 it was left to wise old Malcolm Rifkind to try to make some sense of it all. However so far no-one has tackled the elephant in the room. It is BREXIT. Guy Opperman had me telling the citizens of Hawick in 2014 that the only way to stay in the EU was to stay in the British Union. I am never going to forget that, as two years later that was swept down the pan. Support for EU membership, admiration for Sturgeon's government style, these remain strong and now with the crucial independence vote coming next May, the SNP have been handed a silver salver. Westminster Tories and Islington Socialites are incapable of understanding Scotland will be the mantra. I will level: the sooner Boris is gone the better. He is an utter disaster. He cannot manage social distancing in his own home, told to isolate, he opens his mouth on devolution! I am not keen on Scottish independence but Scotland is quite entitled to say our settled will was to remain in the EU and the UK government has to square that or else the UK becomes a footnote in history. It is a difficult one to square as is a Border in the Irish Sea and there are now only a few weeks in the world wide pandemic in which to do it. If we crash out to no deal on Jan 1st the resultant chaos will ensure a SNP walk over in May. Independence could easily follow even if I candidly feel it will not become a bed of economical roses. I also do feel that to insist on a referendum in 2021 when we are still reeling from Covid is rather beneath the belt. All Britons Take note, what happens between us and the EU in the next few short weeks will really affect whether you have one united union of nations to be proud of or not.

Saturday, 13 June 2020

Monuments and the Queen

Emma Soames ""We've come to this place where history is viewed only entirely through the prism of the present," she told BBC Radio 4's Today programme. " Much of me has done my best to avoid talking about the rascist controversies. I am certain George Floyd died unjustly. But I am very uncomfortable about much that has happened in the middle of a pandemic lately. Yet to argue about this, easily takes one into a corner one does not want to be in. Do not think I have not thought and prayed about it much. So hear my best offering. At the root of all this lies man's readiness to bully other people. We just love it. I hated school for this reason, dammed near suicidally. I hated workplace bullies, I found my Lady and we have tried to build our little bit of heaven on earth. On all this I hate bullies, I am clearly with George Floyd but what if rioting and civil protest, taking over precincts in Seattle itself looks like bullying? How do we get out of this? I am offering this answer. We recognise that the ultimate bully, the one who started it all is God the creator (because I will not accept the Genesis account and that because man did not consciously fault but faulted into consciousness (I am with Auden, that profound bisexual poet of the 20th c (courting controvery at several levels there))). Auden learnt that, and says so bluntly, in our Pennine backyard. So grant to me any God who created this world must bear some responsibility for the bullying. What should we do in this moment? Surely logic says in the mood of our moment, anything that speaks of God must be torn down. We must not remember we believed. Justice can only be served by removal. Destroy the churches and temples! What does that remind you of? It reminds me of what happened in England after the reformation and in the Commonwealth. Is that the world you wish to be in because we could be quite near creating it in all this monument bashing? Alternatively you might want to read the Gospel stories again and see if some saving paradox is present? So give me a protest in Whitehall today or the Queen's ceremonies at Windsor and I will be with her. A most remarkable woman of faith. https://www.bbc.co.uk/news/uk-53033550

Tuesday, 28 January 2020

House of Bishops

I have just listened to R4 Thought for the Day. More often than not its announcement jumps me out of bed to switch the radio off. Today was the Revd. Giles Fraser and he rightly ripped into last week's House of Bishops report on Civil Partnerships. His most telling comment that the church blesses warships but will not accept that people can choose to love each other and value person before gender. Despite Jesus clearly valuing person before gender and the whole idea of "One God in three persons, holy and blessed Trinity" getting on for being two thousand years old. This week I have encountered a dear friend who is very much exercised by this dinosaur like mentality. I know many broad minded ministers and I know others who would struggle to welcome a gay couple into church and communion. This is such a pathetic dispute but at its heart lies the idea of authority and whether a book tops the spirit. Jesus never promised a book but promised the Spirit. In my view whether you believe in a seven day creation and possibly even more importantly did pain enter the world before or after the fall will colour what you make of gay relationships. I am with Auden "Man faulted into consciousness". Are you with science or not? Genesis does matter. It is wrong, wrong scientifically (about creation and about death), wrong morally, wrong in its treatment of women. Unless you are willing to confront that and be clear, then the pain will continue and the Churches will be left to the fanatics who do not welcome people and are full of fear and judgement. Sad that when what the world needs is to know that grace and love can be tops. And that God could take responsibility by being incarnate of the Virgin Mary.

Monday, 30 December 2019

Climate change New Year 2020

The Apocalypse is now. Whether you are in Idlib or the suburbs of Sydney. In Prudhoe it is a beautiful quiet morning and unseasonably warm for sure. In Australia it is our flaming June and it certainly is. There is months more to go. Australian institutions have been notably reluctant to recognise climate change. Just weeks ago they helped mess up the latest intergovernmental climate change conference. This I am certain of and so is the retiring BoE governor. Face up to the reality of the massive change needed in all our lives or we will quite likely burn. A dry summer in Prudhoe surrounded by its beautiful woodlands? That is what is happening to people just like you and me whether in Greece, California or Australia. This is a stark situation and I am amazed that many people will want to start New Year with a fireworks display? The thing is we have to listen to the Scientists and along the way the hearts of Putin, Trump et al have to change. But that is the rub, the hearts of all of us have to change. We need redemption. Recent political processes in Great Britain show the nastiness that lies in the human heart. Honest genuine patriotism can very easily be slid into warped hate filled nationalism. Nationalism will get the world nowhere in the face of where we are near headed. The miracle that is needed is a miracle of the heart and I would commend Jesus Christ and his Gospel and his presence today in the Holy Spirit as a power worth bending the knee too. My daughter gave me for Christmas a beautiful brand new apology for the Christian faith by Alister McGrath. And that reminded me of another book we have, all in the links below. I am an industrial archaeologist who sells out of date bus timetables married to a lovely librarian. Both of us work very hard in developing better public transport which will be essential going forward and where in the last 30 years investment (real betterment not like for like replacement) in North East England has been next to non existent. The famous industrial historian and founder of railway preservation L T C Rolt wrote one of the earliest green books - High Horse Riderless and I read it decades ago. Have a wonderful New Year Holiday and gear up for huge change in 2020!

Friday, 17 May 2019

Mrs May will resign

This became inevitable the moment she really announced she would go. Has there ever been a longer lame duck PM in our history? Ever since she lost the 2017 election and then had a monumental defeat last autumn. Each of the those moments would have been perfect to say I am not in the right job. And she certainly is not because any of networking, compromising, gladhanding skils she certainly does not have and the situation certainly needs them. It seems very likely that the elections next week will be more bloody noses. The only question is will the centre or the far right scent victory? She apparently thinks this will scare Labour and the Tories into voting for what most seem to think is a deal in which we say goodbye to sovereignty handing it and our trade deals to the EU. Is that likely? Will the parting gift at the moment of resignation be "Oh, you are going, we will vote on the fourth go for your plan"? New faces are needed either to make a real Brexit work or to tell the nation, "you know what, you were uttely misled, we cannot do this and if we do you can say goodbye to heavy industry" (heard about British Steel this week?). Sense would say a general election or new referendum will take place and that we will learn from the Irish. Sense however in British politics has been lacking since probably 2014/15? https://www.bbc.co.uk/news/uk-politics-48304867

Monday, 6 May 2019

UN Climate Change report

I feel something should be said about climate change, so much in the news recently. But what? I do not feel I have anything systematic to say. Just a series of questions and points which may add up to something. I cannot say that the UN report or the extinction rebellion protesters have enthused me. Jamming up London's public transport certainly did not. I do not deny the reality of man made global warming. I am very taken by the thought that the world population has doubled since 1970. That cannot be remotely sustainable. For the UK my preference is a population at about the 60 million level and it should be a society which is very self sustaining and biased towards quality public transport. It is no sweat to me to ground flight. But think how many Kenyans or Egyptians would be upset by that? Will airships becomes the answer? I live in rural England and Scotland, a modern clean diesel car seems inescapable until battery power is really tops. And think of the rare metals that go into those batteries. I don't mind imported meat drying up especially from North America. But do I want to live without corned beef? And I certainly really enjoy eating Galloway beef and the other excellent options with no food miles on them that you can enjoy from Northumberland and South West Scotland. It does seem to me that the real action if change is to happen is in South America, the Trophics, Sub Saharan Africa and the Sea. Eliminating plastic from the sea is a no brainer. But telling people not to have babies is not popular. The Chinese tried to and gave up? Should they have given up? I am very relieved we only have had one child yet the animal reaction is to go forth and procreate. Sex needs to be realigned as primarily for pleasure. Many religious groups including Catholicism would struggle with the new message: the world is overfull. Malthus the priest is someone we have to listen to. Go to https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Thomas_Robert_Malthus

Wednesday, 10 April 2019

Not left..........................................

I think (deliberately think rather than being certain) we will be participating in the EU elections on 23rd May. Donald Tusk is quite directly asking Britain to change its mind. How many Brits vote and how they vote is likely to be crucial going forward. I certainly will vote.

If it is news to you, the UK has been invited to stay "in" if it wants until Halloween to get things sorted! For May it is simple, that time will be used to get you to vote for the deal she has had on the table all along. However short of a miracle this will require Labour co-operation and in turn does anyone see that happening without a Custom's Union on the table?

The Custom's Union at one level makes enormous sense but it still leaves the UK handing control of large areas of its economy (the 5th largest soon to be 6th after India) to the EU without any influence against the present where we are equal partners in deciding matters. I think you have to have a huge amount of self confidence to wish to be in competition with one of the strongest cartels the world has ever seen instead of being a player shaping it.

So I think mature reflection comes back to being better off in rather than out, that is the achievement everything the post referendum period has shown us that after all, we are better off in. If you agree get to those elections.

Then there is Mrs May. She seems as happy as larry, she thinks it is right to carry on as leader for as long as the neverendingBrexit endures. She is the only guarantor of the delivery of Brexit. What a load of balloney. So much of where we are comes down to her leadership. If I was a Tory party member I would be pressing for her immediate removal forthwith. There is now time for a leadership election. I have argued for her departure for weeks or is it months despite accepting her deal for leaving is the only deal available. I stick by that: May must go.