Showing posts with label Politics. Show all posts
Showing posts with label Politics. Show all posts

Thursday, 4 April 2013

AMERICAN PATRIOTS

by Colin Bloom

Recently during a short trip to the US, I met up with some friends, who are also friends of 2012 Republican Presidential Candidate Rick Santorum. They gave me a copy of his latest book, American Patriots - Answering the Call to Freedom.

It is a fantastic read, detailing the lives of some unsung heroes who helped build the architecture of the American Dream. Santorum divides the book into three parts; Life, Love and The Pursuit of Happiness; but he also adds his own essays on each of these three key values. These essays give a real insight into his personal values and worldview; and gives the reader a ringside seat into how this titan of GOP politics boxes clever.

Rick Santorum came deliciously close to getting the GOP Nomination for Presidential Candidate. I hope he runs again, he is young enough and popular enough He certainly has 'Wilberforce' values, and if this book is anything to go by, has got his 2016 campaign off to a great start.

Saturday, 30 March 2013

THE PRIME MINISTER'S EASTER MESSAGE 2013



The Prime Minister David Cameron has sent his best wishes to Christians in the UK and around the world celebrating Easter.

The Prime Minister said:

“I send my best wishes to all those in the United Kingdom and around the world celebrating Easter this year in what is an incredibly exciting time for the Christian faith worldwide.

“This year’s Holy Week and Easter celebrations follow an extraordinary few days for Christians; not only with the enthronement of Justin Welby as our new Archbishop of Canterbury, but also with the election of Pope Francis in Rome.

“In the Bible, Saint Peter reminds us of the hope that comes from new birth through the resurrection of Jesus Christ. As Christians, it also reminds us of Jesus’s legacy of generosity, tolerance, mercy, and forgiveness.

“That legacy lives on in so many Christian charities and churches both at home and abroad. Whether they are meeting the needs of the poor, helping people in trouble, or providing spiritual guidance and support to those in need, faith institutions perform an incredible role to the benefit of our society. As long as I am Prime Minister, they will have the support of this Government.

“With that in mind, I am particularly proud to lead a Government that has kept its promise to invest 0.7 per cent of our gross national income on helping the world’s poorest, and I am grateful that we have been able to partner with both Christian and non-Christian charities to relieve suffering overseas.

“I hope you have a very happy Easter.”

David Cameron

Wednesday, 27 March 2013

ANTIDISESTABLISHMENTARIANISM

by Colin Bloom

Is antidisestablishmentarianism the longest word in the English language? Even if it isn't I doubt I will ever write an article with a one word title this long again.

For the record, I am not an Anglican but I love the Church of England. I've never been an Anglican but I will fight to keep it as our Nation's 'established' church. I am happy to be described as an antidisestablishmentarianist, it should be on my business card.

As a conservative (note little 'c') as well as a Conservative, it is in my instinct to want to keep what is good about our nation. Little 'c' conservatives live by the maxim, don't fix what ain't broke, and there is no argument that has yet persuaded me that our ancient heritage of having an Established church does us any harm. On the contrary, I would argue it is something to be rather proud of, and something that makes us stronger and more settled.

One of the benefits of an Established church of England is that we have Bishops sitting in the House of Lords; called the 'Lords Spiritual' they are made up of the five great 'sees' Canterbury, York, Durham, London and Winchester, followed by the next twenty-one most senior Bishops from across the Country. Whilst it is extremely rare for all twenty-six Bishops to be in the House of Lords at the same time, they are an highly influential and important bloc in the upper house.

The secularists hate the idea of a Lords Spiritual. They froth and foam at the thought that these unelected prelates, that follow some imaginary deity, have privileges that their enlightened ranks don't enjoy. They don't just want an end to the Established church, they also want an end to prayers before Council Meetings, faith schools, prison chaplains and Easter marches of Witness. The secularism agenda is clear, they want disestablishment; they probably wouldn't mind getting rid of the monarchy too. Let's face it, most are anarchists or marxists or both.

Yesterday a veteran of Parliament and I were chatting about this very subject and we concluded that should disestablishment ever get to a vote in the House of Commons, the majority of the Labour Party would probably vote in favour of it, perhaps all but one Liberal Democrat would vote in favour of it and maybe only fifty of the three hundred Conservatives would vote to break the Church and State relationship. It was, we imagined, quite an irony that if such a vote were to take place, the fate of the Bishops in the 'other place' would be precariously balanced in the hands of Conservatives MP's, a group who recently have not been best pleased with the 'tone' from the Lords Spiritual.

As I said at the beginning, I love it the way it is, and I want our Bishops to be free to speak their mind and be free to vote as their conscience leads them, their strength is their independence. Long may they enjoy the freedom to speak their minds as God leads them in the Upper House.

However, and it is a very hesitant and gentle however, the Bishops might want to work a little harder at keeping their friends and making new ones in the House of Commons and with the general populous. With great fear and trepidation I would venture that they might want to reflect on articles like this in the Daily Mail regarding Iain Duncan Smith's welfare reforms (extremely popular with the voters we hear). 

It's my hope that in four hundred years time the UK will still have a Lords Spiritual, an Established church and free thinking, independent, God fearing bench* of Bishops. I just hope we don't have to vote on it soon.

*the collective noun for Bishops really is 'bench'.

Tuesday, 26 March 2013

IF YOU WANT TO GO FAST GO ALONE, IF YOU WANT TO GO FAR, GO TOGETHER

by Colin Bloom

After watching Sebastian Vettel's terrible, selfish behaviour at this weekend's Malaysian Formula One GP I was reminded of the old African proverb that goes something like, 'if you want to go fast go alone, if you want to go far, go together.

For the tiny minority of readers who don't watch 200mph advertising hoardings go round and round and round in circles allow me to quickly explain what happened. In only the second race of a nineteen race season, the three time World Champion and Red Bull driver Sebastian Vettel defied his team orders by overtaking his team mate Mark Webber who was then in first place. It was an outstanding, audacious and quite spectacular piece of wheel to wheel racing, and against anyone but his team mate, would have got all the headlines for the right reasons.

The problem for Vettel is that now in the eyes of most F1 fans, and certainly his team and probably every other driver, he is seen as a self centred, ill disciplined, get-ahead-at-all-costs maverick. Team orders are there because team owners know that even in the fastest sport on the planet, it's more than just how quickly you can go, it's about how far you can go quickly. This weekend has damaged Vettel and Red Bull; his behaviour has spoiled an otherwise great team result and left the Champion's boss on the horns of a raging red bull dilemma.

The shenanigans of what happened in Malaysia made me think about some LibLabCon Parliamentarians from the circa 2010 intake into both Houses. Boy are they in a hurry; in their indecent haste to make a name for themselves or to climb onto the Government payroll or Shadow equivalent, they seem to be forgetting themselves and those around them. They seem to have disregarded their team mates and the team orders, and their get-ahead-at-all-costs maverick behaviour just creates bitterness and enemies. These arrivistes have all the appearance of going fast; but they also look like they are going alone, given the tough trade that is politics, I fear they'll be ill equipped to maintain life at its current pace.

So whether it's in the fast moving world of motor-sport, or the more important work of being a Parliamentarian, remember that if you want to go fast go alone, if you want to go far, go together.

Friday, 22 March 2013

I LOVE CHAIRS THAT DON'T STACK


I love chairs that don't stack. Chairs that stack however, worry me.

There is something sinister, Orwellian, North Korean about chairs are identical to each other. Laid out in formation, metronomic in their sameness, they judge your imperfect orthodoxy. They mock your quirks, and with their mass produced tubular steel legs they want to crush your character.

I love chairs that don't stack. I want to be in a political party where the chairs don't  stack and I want to be in a church where the chairs don't stack either.

It was my grandmother who told me that in polite company one should never discuss religion or politics. If she's watching me now, she is probably spinning like one of her dusty '78 gramophone records*. My world is filled with both, and it's usually what I spend most of my time talking about - trying to build closer links between the Christian faith and politics and vice versa. To me at least the reason is simple; it's because I think God's best invention for society was the church, and democracy is the least worst way to run a nation. So in my mind, if these two great ideas don't have a healthy relationship - then we all suffer.

Society is made up of chairs of different shapes and colours. Some are comfortable and well upholstered and some are skinny nasty scratchy plastic. Some are made from wood and others brushed aluminium; the point I have been forced to realise is that political parties will be stronger and the church will be healthier when we realise our genius is in our differences.   

I love chairs that don't stack.

*for readers born after 1985, before the invention of  iTunes, before Spotify, before even Compact Discs, before Sony Walkmans, before 8 track cassettes  before the 12" EP - music was played on these black vinyl discs called gramophone records - or records for short.

Sunday, 17 March 2013

WHY I WRITE...

by Colin Bloom

One of my favourite writers is Eric Arthur Blair; known by his more famous pen name George Orwell. For me his 1940's books Animal Farm and Nineteen Eighty-Four remain penetrating and sagacious examples of the power of words.

Ironically, I first read both books in 1984 and every Easter I re-read both novels with increasing enthusiasm. Why? Because without fail I learn something new and am reminded again of why I hold many of my political ideologies. I think people like me should read these books as warnings; sadly it feels like too many people of influence must be reading them as guide books. In my musings to come, I daresay these points will be revisited.

Over the years I have given away so many copies of Animal Farm and Nineteen Eighty-Four that I have taken to buying up second-hand copies from charity shops. Knowing that with all the fervency of an end-times preacher, they will be pressed into the hands of some unsuspecting dinner guest, relative or window cleaner with the exhortation to "Read this! The end is nigh!"

Last year a friend suggested that I flirt with breaking the duopsony of my Easter reading trysts and add Orwell's 1946 book of essays 'Why I Write'. This literary beauty immediately caught my eye, seduced me, and is now beckoning me into her chamber for a second time. Time to musk up...

So as I start my own journey into inking my fingers some more, I wanted to set down the six rules that Orwell gives in Why I Write with the hope that I can stick with his advice.

  1. Never use a metaphor, simile or other figure of speech which you are used to seeing in print.
  2. Never use a long word where a short one will do.
  3. If it is possible to cut a word out, always cut it out.
  4. Never use the passive where you can use the active.
  5. Never use a foreign phrase, a scientific word or a jargon word if you can think of an everyday English equivalent.
  6. Break any of these rules sooner than say anything outright barbarous.

Obviously the views expressed on this blog are my own, they might not always accord with organisations I work with or friends and loved ones that I break bread with. But so far as it depends on me, I will try and live at peace with everyone.

Feedback and comments are welcome and encouraged, but this is my blog, so I will remove anything I think is unhelpful.