Thursday, December 29, 2011

The idea of a memorial for the St Paul’s protest plumbs new depths – even for the C of E, says James Delingpole.

Maybe they could commission it from Tracey Emin, this “memorial tent” they’re thinking of putting on permanent display inside St Paul’s Cathedral in honour of the Occupy protesters. Or, if that sounds too obvious, maybe they could get Jake and Dinos Chapman to do a diorama of 10,000 bankers having their arms and legs ripped off in ironic homage to Goya’s Disasters of War. Or how about a gigantic, jewel-encrusted dog-on-a-rope from Damian Hirst? Or an installation by Chris Offili of dirty needles, condoms and unsold copies of the Socialist Worker sitting on a pile of elephant poo?

Whatever they decide on, this much is clear: something must be done to honour the defiance, tenacity and heroic soap-shunning of the protesters who’ve spent the past few weeks camped outside St Paul’s. We learn this from no less an authority than the Bishop of London himself, speaking on Christmas Day as he presented some of the protesters with a big box of chocolates: “The canons have been very imaginative and consulting with the protesters about how to leave a legacy of the protests. We are looking for ways of honouring what has been said when the camp moves on.”

Thus Dr Richard Chartres, third most senior clergyman in the Church of England (after the Archbishops of Canterbury and York), doing a bravura impression of Peter Simple’s barmily progressive Bishop of Bevindon, Dr Spacely-Trellis. The only giveaway is that Chartres forgot to slip in the phrase “in a very real sense”. Otherwise, the impression would have been note perfect.

What’s particularly depressing about this episode is that Chartres is supposedly one of the Church’s more traditional senior clerics. If this is the line the Church’s reactionary old school is taking, imagine what insanities its more progressive elements are yearning to impose on us. Presumably they won’t really feel that justice has been done until St Paul’s has been razed to the ground and replaced by a permanent Anti-Capitalist Peace Camp.

As Time magazine claimed, 2011 may have been the Year of the Protester. But it was also the Year When The Church Of England Lost The Plot Completely. All the signs were there in October when, instead of seeking immediately to evict the rabble that had forced St Paul’s to close for longer than it did even during the Blitz, the Church instead decided to cosy up to the protesters and “feel their pain” – and thus prolong the occupation. But even by the modern C of E’s dismally inept standards, the Bishop of London’s yuletide surrender-monkey offering really does plumb stygian new depths of abject inanity.

Does the Bishop of London seriously imagine that Sir Christopher Wren’s masterpiece will be enhanced or edified by erecting a permanent memorial to a motiveless bully mob of Leftist agitators? Has it not occurred to him how oddly this might sit in a church which houses the tombs of Lord Nelson and the Duke of Wellington, men whose service to the nation consisted of rather more than snarling slogans for three months? Is he not aware that St Paul’s purpose is not merely to act as a political playground for the smelly, activist few, but as a historical monument to be enjoyed by the many?

Probably Dr Chartres is aware of all these things, for he is not stupid. Also – as I noted when he presided over my daughter’s confirmation last year – he is capable of addressing the numinous with deep conviction and authority. But, unfortunately, he happens to be part of an organisation that has long since lost its original raison d’être. Today’s vibrant, forward-looking, ecumenical Church of England has much more to do with diversity outreach, climate change, grievance nurturing and banker bashing than it does with religious worship.

It’s this lack of genuine religious conviction, I’m sure, which explains why the C of E has got itself into such a muddle over the occupation of St Paul’s (and the occupation of Bristol Cathedral where the protesters are replacing tents with wooden structures so that they can stay all winter).

Had it stopped to consider for a moment, the Church could have found plenty of Biblical authority not to endorse the Occupy protest movement. It could, for example, have pointed out that though Jesus drove the money-lenders out of the Temple, this was because of his objection to the commercialisation of the house of God rather than because of a principled rejection of all forms of capitalism.

And true though it may be that it is easier for a camel to pass through the eye of a needle than it is for a rich man to enter the Kingdom of Heaven, Jesus had none of that inverted snobbery you find in the Occupy movement or the C of E. As the tales of Jairus and his daughter, Zacchaeus the tax collector, and the Centurion’s servant all indicate, Jesus was just as comfortable doing outreach work among the rich and powerful as he was among the poor and needy. But to understand all this would involve a certain familiarity with the New Testament. And I’m not sure that the C of E bothers overmuch with that old-fashioned stuff these days.


Archbishop of Canterbury blasted for comparing rioters and bankers as politicians urge him to focus on religion

A minister hit out at the Archbishop of Canterbury yesterday for comparing City bankers to the rioters who tore apart Britain’s cities over the summer. Coalition trade and investment minister Lord Green of Hurstpierpoint, who is also an ordained minister in the Church of England, said bankers had changed their attitudes since the crash of 2008.

His comments come as a growing chorus of leading politicians urge the Archbishop to concentrate on spiritual matters and leave the politics to them.

Dr Rowan Williams raised eyebrows on Sunday by saying the rioters were no worse than the bankers and that ‘bonds of trust’ had broken throughout society.

In his Christmas sermon, he said: ‘Whether it is an urban rioter mindlessly burning down a small shop that serves his community, or a speculator turning his back on the question of who bears the ultimate cost for his acquisitive adventures in the virtual reality of today’s financial world, the picture is of atoms spinning apart in the dark.’

But the Government hit back yesterday, with Lord Green saying: ‘I think a lot has changed since 2008 actually, and I think there has been a lot of soul-searching in the financial services industry, quite rightly too. ‘There are clearly a lot of current challenges but at the level we are talking about has there been an attitudinal change? Yes, I think there has.’

Lord Green, a former chairman of HSBC, said the Government would need to remain ‘watchful’ to stop ‘backsliding’ by the City. But he said it was wrong to single out the financial services industry for criticism.

He said: ‘It is important not to treat banking like some special mysterious art, banking is a business and all businesses face this question – what is your contribution to human welfare and to the common good.’

Lord Green’s case was bolstered yesterday by figures from the independent Centre for Economics and Business Research, which showed the City bonus pool has been cut by 40 per cent since the crisis of 2008. During the last Labour parliament the pool averaged £9billion. Under the Coalition, the average for the last two years has been £5.5billion. The average bonus paid has gone from £9,053 to £5,465.

Lord Green’s intervention pitches the Coalition into a fresh conflict with the Church of England. It comes just days after Prime Minister David Cameron launched a veiled attack on Dr Williams’s forays into politics.

In a highly personal speech on religion, he called on the Archbishop to lead a revival of Bible values in Britain rather than focus on politics. He said he was content for Dr Williams to make political statements, but warned him he should not be surprised if the politicians hit back.

The Archbishop has repeatedly spoken out about the Coalition’s austerity programme, accusing the Government of peddling ‘radical policies for which no one voted’ –– despite polls showing the public supports the cuts.


The BBC’s Sorry Journalism

Tibor R. Machan

The BBC recently published the following in a report about the Republican primary contest in Iowa: “Correspondents say a Ron Paul victory in Iowa would be a major embarrassment to the Republican party as many of his views are seen as too libertarian and isolationist. Mr. Paul would order a $1 trillion (£641bn) spending cut, eliminating a number of government agencies, including the Department of Education. He also proposes returning the dollar to a gold standard and cutting all foreign aid, including to Israel….”

“At a recent campaign stop in Iowa a breast cancer survivor began crying after he told her insurance companies should not have to cover those who are already sick, Reuters news agency reports….”

This passage is worth some attention if only because those of us who have sympathies toward Representative Paul’s libertarian politics should not duck out when opponents target him for criticism, be it fair or not. Let me start with the last bit, the treatment of a crying breast cancer survivor as a kind of “gotcha” device versus Paul. (And incidentally, who are those correspondents who say that Paul’s “victory would be a major embarrassment to the Republican party”? Let’s have some names her, some attributions, by BBC!)

Now we all have hopes and wishes that people will be helpful to and supportive of us, especially when we suffer from maladies or hazardous conditions we had no role in bringing about. Casualties of acts of nature do often deserve our sympathy and even help, unless they have been negligent in taking precautionary measures, such as saving up for health insurance. Even in cases when one has been negligent, often others overlook this and tend to be considerate beyond the call of duty, as it were.

Representative Paul and other libertarians are often first in line with offering private support to such people. The citizens of the US are often first in lending a hand to those who have been hit with natural disasters, like a tsunami or earthquake, and the essence of generosity is precisely that, offering private support and aid to those in need.

What Paul and libertarians in general object to is the coerced support given to those in need by governments are expropriate resources from the citizenry, take a sizable chunk of it for administrative expenses, and distribute the funds according to the lights of the politicians and bureaucrats. This kind of forcible distribution of others’ money is what libertarians are against as a matter of principle and Ron Paul is no exception. This does not at all make him or libertarians callous, heartless, cruel or anything of the kind, however much many claim this about them, ones to whom it seems to come very naturally to confiscate other people’s resources and do with it as they think they should. (I explain this in some detail in my book, Generosity, Virtue in Civil Society [1998].)

As to the cuts supported by Ron Paul, I would urge those who are going to give the matter some thought to consider, once again, that these cuts are an effort to eliminate or at least reduce the forcible taking by some people of the resources that belong to others and to which they have no right whatever. All charitable, helpful acts must be voluntary otherwise they have no moral merit whatsoever. Yes, there are some spurious arguments claiming that out good behavior may, indeed must, be imposed upon us by wiser and more virtuous people than we are but it is just a ruse. No one can make other people moral except by example!

This also applied to foreign aid, be it to Israel or Mongolia. People abroad aren’t entitled to the property of Americans or anyone else who has not voluntarily given it to them. Israel is no exception!

Unfortunately this line of thinking is rarely if every presented to readers in an accurate way so they could consider it without bias. Instead journalists have a dogmatic commitment to the coercion involved in government support for the needy, failing to even mention that kind of thinking summarized above and making it appear that those who do share it are monsters.

Lost of people also mistakenly identify the coercive taking of people resources with Robin Hoodism but in fact Robin Hood took back from the tax takers what they forcibly took for the those whom they victimized. The proper approach to seeing people in need is to mount a serious, voluntary effort to secure support for them, starting with one’s own, not to advocate taking from them what belongs to them and what only they have the rightful authority to give away.

Now in a messy world it is very difficult to be principled and trying to be usually brings on the charge of being an ideologue, a blind adherent to simplistic ideas. But in fact it shows integrity, nothing less! And it is time that politicians show some of it because without integrity the game is up anyway–trust, honesty, responsibility and all such virtue go out the window, never mind simple, honest generosity.


Political correctness defied: Danish hotel to keep illegal women-only floor

A Copenhagen hotel will continue reserving a whole floor for women, despite a recent ruling that doing so is discriminatory and illegal, the hotel director said last week..

Last May, the Bella Sky Hotel in central Copenhagen opened a floor dubbed the Bella Donna with 20 specially decorated rooms for women, and no men allowed.

"The only man who can access this floor will be a fireman in the case of fire," hotel chief Anders Dueland said.

"The rooms are scented and there are flowers. The bathrooms have spacious showers, lots of mirrors and large hair-dryers," he said, adding that the concept so far had been a huge success.

But on November 11, the Danish Gender Equality Board found in favour of a man who had filed a complaint against the hotel, ruling that the initiative was illegal.

Since men are not allowed access to all the rooms, you would have to "presume that there is a difference in treatment based on sex" at the hotel, the board said in its ruling.

Susanne Fischer, an attorney with the board, said that the Bella Sky Hotel would not face "financial sanctions at the moment, because the board does not have the authority to sanction."

Nonetheless, the hotel has been ordered to lift the ban on male access to the Bella Donna floor, and if it fails to do so, the plaintiff could take the case to civil court and demand damages, Fischer said.

"We decide for ourselves who gets to stay at our hotel," Dueland insisted. "We have 814 other rooms, and there are 20 reserved for women. That means there are 794 rooms for everyone," he said.

"In Denmark, there are running races reserved for women, there are bicycle races reserved for women, there are pools where the changing rooms are just for women or just for men. There are toilets just for women," he said, adding: "Is that discrimination? I just don't understand the (board) ruling."



Political correctness is most pervasive in universities and colleges but I rarely report the incidents concerned here as I have a separate blog for educational matters.

American "liberals" often deny being Leftists and say that they are very different from the Communist rulers of other countries. The only real difference, however, is how much power they have. In America, their power is limited by democracy. To see what they WOULD be like with more power, look at where they ARE already very powerful: in America's educational system -- particularly in the universities and colleges. They show there the same respect for free-speech and political diversity that Stalin did: None. So look to the colleges to see what the whole country would be like if "liberals" had their way. It would be a dictatorship.

For more postings from me, see TONGUE-TIED, GREENIE WATCH, EDUCATION WATCH INTERNATIONAL, FOOD & HEALTH SKEPTIC, GUN WATCH, AUSTRALIAN POLITICS, DISSECTING LEFTISM, IMMIGRATION WATCH INTERNATIONAL and EYE ON BRITAIN (Note that EYE ON BRITAIN has regular posts on the reality of socialized medicine). My Home Pages are here or here or Email me (John Ray) here. For readers in China or for times when is playing up, there is a mirror of this site here.


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