Showing posts with label USA. Show all posts
Showing posts with label USA. Show all posts

Saturday, 6 April 2013

JACKSON MIDDLE SCHOOL - A LESSON FOR US ALL

by Colin Bloom

Yesterday I wrote about why when it comes to religious freedom we should never, ever relax. We should certainly never give in to the aggressive secularists, whether here in the United Kingdom or the United States or elsewhere, we must stand and defend what is ours and reclaim that which has been taken.

Let me give you an example that I came across in the United States last week. It is the sad story of Jackson Middle School, Ohio, where for the past 66 years a portrait of Jesus has been hanging in their entrance hall. 
The picture of Jesus that was
hanging in Jackson Middles School

The portrait didn't belong to the school, but to one of the student clubs. However, some radical and aggressive secularists from the FFRF (Freedom from Religion Foundation) and the ACLU (American Civil Liberties Union) decided to take the school to court for their unconstitutional promotion of religion in a public school. As if there weren't more pressing matters to deal with in American schools...

It is worth noting that between the FFRF and the ACLU they have an annual budget of more than $100m to fight these cases.

Despite nobody complaining, despite it harming nobody, despite this picture hanging there benignly since the 1940's, the School's board took down the picture of Jesus because their insurance company declined to cover litigation expenses.

The school Superintendent said, "At the end of the day, we just couldn't roll the dice with taxpayer money, when you get into these kinds of legal battles, you're not talking about money you can raise with bake sales and car washes. It's not fair to take those resources from our kids' education."

It's often said that when America sneezes the UK catches a cold. I happen to think we are fighting this disease of aggressive secularism together. The time has already come when people need to decide what side of the argument they want to be on. It's not a question of whether we want the debate or not; these well funded organisations are going to be bringing the fight to a school, home or shop near you. 

Jackson Middle School thought it would be teaching lessons to a small community in South Ohio. They can take some small comfort in the knowledge that because of what they've been through there is a lesson for us all.

Tuesday, 2 April 2013

CONSERVATIVES THAT CHANGED THE WORLD - RONALD REAGAN


From time to time, I will be writing about different Conservatives that have changed the world for the better. There are people that are more expert than I on the lives and times of these amazing people, so whilst you won't find an exhaustive biography here, you will find a small, colourful vignette or two from the tapestry of their extraordinary lives. If you have an anecdote, story or picture that you would like me to add, I will be pleased to consider your submissions via the comment section.

by Colin Bloom

Like many people in the UK who are now north of 40 years old, I recall with massive fondness the latex puppetry of Luck and Flaw in the riotous Sunday night comedy Spitting Image. Like all politicians, left or right, Ronald Reagan's every foible was exaggerated to make him a grotesque of comic brilliance. 


Such is my admiration for 'the Gipper' that amongst the Reagan memorabilia in my possession, I have hanging somewhere in Bloom towers my cherished and original 1984 Reagan re-election poster. A piece of political hardware that helped propel my hero to a landslide victory, winning 49 of the 50 States, with 59% of the popular vote. Compare that to Barack Obama, who managed 28 states and 53% and 26 states and 51% in 2008 and 2012 respectively. In fact there hasn't been a President as popular since Richard Nixon's re-election in 1972. Yes, we often forget just how popular Tricky Dicky was during his second term, and I suspect that he may well, in time, find his way into this series before long.

There are many things that set Reagan apart for me, such as his 1987 Berlin Wall speech to Soviet Leader Mikhail Gorbachev to "tear down this wall!" Or the fact that shortly after being shot, (the bullet ending up just an inch from the President's heart), and despite being 70 years young, despite the pain he insisted on walking unaided into the hospital before collapsing in the emergency room. In fact I think it was Reagan who quipped in one the 1984 televised debates that he '...would not be making age an issue in this election, not wanting to exploit for political purposes the youth and inexperience of his opponent.' 

From start to finish Reagan was a consummate performer, from his years as a Hollywood actor, he was a man who knew the power of using his environment to create theatre, to create a narrative out of what he did or how he appeared rather than by just what he said. This was the man who met Gorbachev at a summit in Switzerland on a freezing day, looking tanned and with no overcoat, he bounced down the steps warmly greeted his Russian counterpart who was wearing a thick grey coat and hat and in front of the world's media, he made the younger Russian look like he was the 70 year old and Reagan the spritley 50 year old. Genius.

There is much more to say about the 40th President of the United States, and I'll be posting more in the near future. In the meantime please send me your ideas for other Conservatives that changed the world, and your Ronald Reagan stories.

Monday, 25 March 2013

WHAT DOESN'T KILL BORIS MAKES HIM STRONGER

by Colin Bloom

On the eve of a BBC documentary about Boris's 'Irresistible Rise', the Andrew Marr show's quiet but deadly Eddie Mair tries to eviscerate Boris Johnson, London's brilliant Conservative Mayor. Click here and scroll in about twenty five minutes. 

After asking the Mayor numerous embarrassing questions about things that had happened in his past, Boris tousles his hair and squirms, but like a skilled swordsman he manages to effortlessly parry the embarrassments away. Eddie Mair is no Russell Harty - listeners to BBC Radio 4's PM Programme will know that he's a tough journalist. But then Boris knows that too.

For the past week the documentary about Boris has been trailed by the BBC with snippets here and morsels there. It seems that whenever Boris is mentioned it is always linked to whether he has ambitions to succeed David Cameron as Conservative Party Leader; on this the man himself remains deliciously ambiguous.

Boris knows that there is no vacancy, and a vacancy soon is so infinitesimally unlikely that you might wonder what is going on. Look, the duel is never going to be a head to head against David Cameron, Boris is too smart for that.

Boris knows that in politics what doesn't kill you usually makes you stronger. If you don't believe me, consider how our siblings in the USA select their Presidential candidates, through their brutal Primary system. Frankly, whether it is Barack Obama vs Hilary Clinton, or Mitt Romney v Rick Santorum v Newt Gingrich v Ron Paul, there is nothing about any of these candidates' past that isn't squelched through and amplified to inflict terminal damage. What doesn't kill them, just makes them stronger.

If there are things in Boris's past that might hurt him in the future, the logic follows that it's in his interests to get them out of the way now. By the time he has finished squirming and parrying, he'll be  hoping that he is the strongest candidate from who is left.