Friday, 10 April 2009

Another close second for British National Party

Source: The British Democracy Forum

The BNP came second in the Manchester City Council (Moston Ward) election on the 9th April, polling 23% of the vote and beating the Liberal Democrats and Conservative Party. This is the first time they have stood in this ward.

Labour 1,353, 38.7% (-10.8%)
British National Party 815 (23.3%)
Liberal Democrat 696, 19.9% (+ 7.2%)
Conservative 558, 16.0% (-13.9%)
Green Party 74, 2.1% (-5.7%)

See their earlier results for this year here.

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Thursday, 9 April 2009

Are boys naturally violent?

You don’t have to thrust a plastic gun into the hand of a toddler to teach him about violence. He is perfectly capable of fashioning, and deploying, his own weapons from the stuff around him. Branches become swords, remote controls are transformed into death sabres, saucepan lids are magicked into trusty shields.

In fact, a toddler intent on waging war, often against an invisible enemy, is an awe-inspiring vision of energy, resourcefulness, creativity and imagination. And yet, to my reckoning, such behaviour is in danger of becoming pathologised. Several mothers at my daughter’s school have stopped going to the local playground because the play has become a bit rough. This includes waving broken branches around (“it could poke someone in the eye”), tearing around at high speed (“someone could get knocked over”) and shouting at younger children (“bullying”).

When a parent explained this to me, I returned an analysis of the situation: yes, there is one boy in this gang of terrors that might have behavioural problems, but they are just young boys letting off steam after a day in the classroom. Boys are a bit more rough and tumble than our girls, I shrugged, and we can always intervene if things go awry.

I might as well have admitted to having had Pol Pot over for dinner. Read more
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Wednesday, 8 April 2009

UK Launch of Fellowship of Confessing Anglicans



THE launch in the UK and Ireland of the Fellowship of Confessing Anglicans (FCA), an orthodox Anglican movement for mission at global and local level, is to take place on July 6 in London.

The Fellowship is the outworking of last year’s GAFCON conference in Jerusalem, at which 1200 delegates signed up to the Jerusalem Statement. Those attending Gafcon 2008 represented some 40 million Anglicans world-wide, 70% of the total active membership of 55 million.

The launch event, entitled ‘Be Faithful! – Confessing Anglicans in Global and Local Mission’ will be held at Westminster Central Hall from 10.30am-5.30pm. The aim is to encourage and envision Anglicans who are committed to the orthodox teachings of the Anglican Church and who are passionate about global and local mission. It will be the first of regular ‘fellowship’ events both in the UK and across the world.

Speakers at the July 6 gathering, where around 2,300 bishops, clergy and laity are expected, will include contributors from across the Anglican Communion, including Bishops Keith Ackerman (President of Forward in Faith North America), Wallace Benn (Bishop of Lewes), John Broadhurst (Chairman of Forward in Faith UK) and Michael Nazir-Ali, Dr Chik Kaw Tan plus Archbishop Peter Jensen (secretary of the Fellowship of Confessing Anglicans They, and others yet to be announced, will also lead gatherings in London churches on Sunday July 5th. the day before the launch.

Tony Blair tells the Pope: you're wrong on homosexuality

Tony Blair has challenged the “entrenched” attitudes of the Pope on homosexuality, and argued that it is time for him to “rethink” his views.

Speaking to the gay magazine Attitude, the former Prime Minister, himself now a Roman Catholic, said that he wanted to urge religious figures everywhere to reinterpret their religious texts to see them as metaphorical, not literal, and suggested that in time this would make all religious groups accept gay people as equals.

Asked about the Pope’s stance, Mr Blair blamed generational differences and said: “We need an attitude of mind where rethinking and the concept of evolving attitudes becomes part of the discipline with which you approach your religious faith.” Read more
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Tuesday, 7 April 2009

I’ve yet to encounter a child who was born truly evil

In my work I have yet to encounter a child who was “evil” — born bad. Rather, children behave badly because of what has been put into them and how they have been brought up. Violence is frequently the result of other violent acts.

Children often experience violence in their lives and, while the source of that violence is usually a child’s parents or carers — last year, for example, more than 60 per cent of children murdered in this country were killed by their parents — child-on-child violence remains common.

As a result, children are often very astute about managing threats of violence and this is one reason we have seen younger and younger children prepared to carry knives.

Feeling that the “adult world” fails to take their fears and anxieties seriously, children turn to each other to sort out problems and, sadly, this often ends in tragedy. Read more
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Sunday, 5 April 2009

Bishop of Rochester: Ignore our Christian values and the nation will drift apart

Ed: I am reminded of the words of Leo Amery in the House of Commons on 2 September 1939, when Arthur Greenwood stood up to speak for the Labour Party following Neville Chamberlain, and Amery called across the floor to him, 'Speak for England, Arthur!', implying Chamberlain had not. Who, now Rochester is going, will 'speak for England'?

I have resigned as Bishop of Rochester after nearly 15 years. During that time, I have watched the nation drift further and further away from its Christian moorings. Instead of the spiritual and moral framework provided by the Judaeo-Christian tradition, we have been led to expect, and even to celebrate, mere diversity. Not surprisingly, this has had the result of loosening the ties of law, customs and values, and led to a gradual loss of identity and of cohesiveness. Every society, for its wellbeing, needs the social capital of common values and the recognition of certain virtues which contribute to personal and social flourishing. Our ideas about the sacredness of the human person at every stage of life, of equality and natural rights and, therefore, of freedom, have demonstrably arisen from the tradition rooted in the Bible.

Different faiths and traditions will not necessarily produce the values and virtues which have been so prominent in the history of this country. It is quite wrong to presume that they will, as Gordon Brown appeared to do last week in his speech calling for "value-based" rules at St Paul's Cathedral. Some faiths may emphasise social solidarity more than personal freedom, others publicly enforce piety over a nurturing of the interior life and yet others stress honour and shame rather than humility, service and sacrifice. It may be, of course, that there is a useful overlap among these traditions in terms of values by which to live. It may also be that people of different faiths can "own" many of the values produced by a Christian framework in this nation, but this cannot take place in a vacuum.

One of the surprising aspects of what you could call our values vacuum is the historical amnesia which is so prevalent today – or, rather, a selective sort of amnesia. The perfectly virtuous pages of history, such as Magna Carta, the campaign to abolish the slave trade and, later, slavery itself, the easing of conditions of labour for men, women and children and the introduction of universal education, which all took place under the inspiration of the Christian faith, are forgotten or ignored. Instead of which we get large doses of guilt along with an emphasis on our involvement in the slave trade, religious and ethnic persecution, exploitative colonialism and other wrongs which certainly need repentance. But repentance for past wrongs without the celebration of what has been good has deprived people of a common vision by which to live and a strong basis for the future. Read more
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