condemned!

I particularly …. I don’t know … like is not the right word. I do ‘like’ the cartoon … but I don’t like the subject matter as it does make me angry. Once again ASBO Jesus hits the nail on the head … as Christians maybe we need to be standing up and speaking out more … if we sit back then the vulnerable on the edges of our society will be ‘taken for a ride’ …. and not to a great place either!!

And before people come back and say its all due to the debt … fine … but lets not pretend the measures of this government are hitting us all equally … my family will probably remain fairly ok (well until Tom goes to university!) … but the vulnerable of our society, those that need support but are having benefits cut and services slashed and even legal aid taken from them … they are paying a far greater price.

I feel myself getting angry for justice (and to be honest I still don’t understand Christians that seemingly do not get angered by the poor in society having unfair burdens placed upon them)  and so I think I’ll end  my post there!

a plan for change!

I have just watched the full speech of Ed Milliband to the Labour Party Conference rather than the edited versions that the different branches of the press have exposed us to.

I am impressed by what he says as party leader and find myself excited by the prospect of the labour party once again being in the position to be the visionary party it was when it first came to power and did all those things that we now take for granted which everyone told them were impossible … you know … things like the minimum wage, decreasing cancer patient waiting times from 18 months to 18 weeks, building new schools, saving the NHS ….

Ed is honest – the Labour Party started well but then lost touch with the real person in the street. The party needs to listen again. I’m glad I used my party leader vote well!

You can watch the full speech here on YouTube, it’s been edited into six 10 or so minute slots my newsoogle, which suits me fine for coffee breaks!

how have we got this government?

NB: This is a political questioning post that some of you may wish to avoid as I question how we have arrived at the government that we currently seem to have.

I also want to state here, as it says in my profile, that the views I express here are my own and in no way reflect the cathedral, the diocese or even Christianity – these are my personal views and questions

It intrigues me that Mr Clegg said before the election that the party that came third in the election had no mandate to govern the country. He said this amidst reports, and Labour Party fears, that Labour would come third in the popular vote. At the end of the day, Labour came second in the popular vote and second in the number of seats in the commons. It was, in fact, the Liberal Democrats who came third in both the popular vote and the number of seats in the commons.

Is it just me or is there a certain irony here? The party that came third, the party therefore whose policies were firmly rejected by the country is now able to have MP’s at all levels of government. In addition Liberal Democrat policies, which were also firmly rejected by the voting public, are being brought to the table and will be passed through this government using the alliance majority.

It seems to me that the desperation for power from Cameron has resulted in the adoption of policies that clearly no one voted for. That strikes me as a very poor position to be in – surely, if anything, Cameron should have bitten the bullet, established a minority government and then returned to the polls later to get what would have surely been a majority.

There are already many things about this coalition that concern me – not as a biased Labour supporter but as a member of the voting British public. There are strong talks of saving cuts and democracy and a new breed of politics, but already early signs suggest control and wastage. Two such actions are:

1. The changing of the name of the Department for Schools Children and Families to the Department for Education. The dropping of the link between family life and education is a worry in itself – but at a time when cuts are looming did we really need this added expense of a name change with its associated costs of a new website, new letterheads, business cards etc etc.

2. The attempt to move from a 50% +1 MP to a 55% of MP’s to carry out a vote of no confidence and dissolve parliament. This clearly takes away the constitutional and democratic right of the house to have control under a false guise of stability. This is a clear attempt to override the wishes of MP’s and make it harder to challenge the government – and not just this government … all future governments as well. Cameron justifies this by saying he has made a ‘big surrender’ in giving up his right as PM to call a general election when we all know this was not really a big surrender, more a concession to those Liberal Democrats who no one voted to ahve the authority they re exercising in our political structure.

3. This new politics look to be a massive retrograde step if we look at the cabinet – mainly white, mainly male, very Etonian and Oxbridge. it seems to me that we have merely replaced the deal done in a restaurant with deals done at school and uni.

Not sure if that was a rant … but it’s over! But I would be interested in other’s comments – for example, does anyone else see the irony of the 3rd party having so much influence over our politics?

this is why I will be voting Labour!

gordon’s human!

Nick Page has an interesting and thought out blog on the ‘bigot’ incident here.
Not going to say too much more – yes it was wrong, but he apologised.
How many of us have said things in the heat of the moment which we have later regretted?

Fundamentalism an embarrasment to me as a Christian

Following the stuff I wrote on April 1st it seems Lord Carey is in the news again …. for once I seem to be agreeing with Ruth Gledhill who writes for the times.
I think the article and video sum up pretty much how many Christians in this country feel today – I really do hope people don’t listen to people like Lord Carey (who is entitled to his view) and somehow feel all Christians feel and think like him.

Election time … but I don’t understand!

So … election time is upon us and many will be wondering why, a whole week on, I have not made any comment. That is partly because I have been reflecting on the whole election stuff and my views (which are well known to many of you) and it has been an interesting time. My reflections, which will become clearer below, have challenged me to seek to understand the other side of some arguments that are bouncing around in the worldwide church at the moment as well. For me it has been quite  challenging time in seeing things from the other side of the arguments of sexuality and women bishops in particular. I believe sexuality should not make any difference and look forward to seeing women bishops, but I am aware there are other Christians who see things very differently.

It is clear to us all that at election times in the UK we all see things differently. I will speak bluntly (but please hear me out before you jump to the bottom of the page to make a comment telling me I am wrong). I truly believe that as a Christian there is no other option but to vote Labour. I seriously cannot see or understand how any Christian can vote Tory. I know I am only talking about two parties here – but realistically we all know that Number 10 will be occupied by either Gordon Brown or David Cameron in a few weeks time.

I think it is our duty as Christians to support all, with a particular preference for the poor and marginalised, and I can only see the Labour Party being the political party that is interested in doing that. I am totally convinced a Conservative government would make things worse for the marginisled and poor of our country and so I cannot ever entertain the thought of myself voting such – even if that would mean I was voting for policies that were not particularly in my interest. I believe the Tory party to be totally disinterested in the poor and marginilsed of this nation. I read scripture and feel to vote Tory goes massively against how I interpret the living out of gospel values. For me, as a Christian, voting Tory is so so wrong!

And yet ….. I know lots of Christians who will be voting Tory. These people are not just names or acquaintances but are people I value, love and respect. Most of them I have counted as close friends for the best part of 20 years. For the last decade I have been drinking with some of these friends before footy games in the Conservative Club in Gillingham High Street – but I still cannot see, and I do not understand, how they combine their faith with their voting intention – but I know that they do and that they do so with integrity.

I know these friends take their Christian faith just as seriously as I do; they will pray as I will and they are voting in the way that they believe God is calling them to vote. I don’t understand how, and if I am totally honest I don’t even like it; but I can, and do, accept it. And before you point it out; I am fully  aware that there are lots of Christians very active in all three main parties within Christian-political organisations like Christian Socialist Movement (CSM), Conservative Christian Fellowship (CCF )and Liberal Democrat Christian Forum (LDCF) which can all be found via the Christians in Politics website. No one party has more Christians than any other and I guess that simply confuses me in light of the strong convictions I outline above.

So … why the ramble …. well I think election time offers an important reflection time for all of us. Within Christian politics strong views can be held by individuals but those strong views do not result in cold stand offs where fellowship, communion and love cannot be shared. Those strong political views do not stop MP’s being friends and nor do they stop me spending time with good friends of different political persuasions. But … with doctrine disagreements this is exactly what seems to be happening.

Christians can believe different things and still be Christians. Election time highlights that fact quite profoundly and I believe if people took this on board in the current church scene then opposing viewpoints could be held together.

My Tory friends do not see me as any less of a Christian because I have a different political view to them. I do not see them as any less of a Christian because they have completely different views to me. If this can be the case in political beliefs, can it not also be the same for doctrinal beliefs? Surely we need to realise that none of us have the monopoly on truth or being correct – we all have shaded of it and it is when we combine that a fuller, more accurate, picture is achieved! Well …. that’s my thought anyway!

By the way I have seen some Chritians talking about not voting. That is ridiculous – please consider carefully and vote for someone …. if you are thinking of NOT voting then you should watch this little video where each of the leaders of the main three parties addresses Christians after an introduction by Archbishop John Sentamu. Please … whatever … use that vote!