Yesterday I drove to a tiny hamlet near Henley called Pishill. I went there to attend the funeral of Margaret Campbell, a wonderful woman whom, I regret to say, I knew much better decades ago than recently. It is to my eternal shame that I made no effort, in the last few years, to see her, her late husband (Garry), who died three months ago, or their delightful children, Dermot and Fiona. How enormously sad it was that, when Fiona tracked me down on Face Book, her immediate news was that her mother’s funeral would be taking place on Friday. Continue reading
Certainly there is some rage against the idea of God, but the idea that theists are stupid because they’re theists is a stupid idea. Anyone who cares to could find out in about five seconds that there have been many theists who were frighteningly intelligent. There are many now. I don’t think belief in God is a question of intelligence to begin with, but I do think it’s a question of values. This isn’t a criticism. In the amusing documentary, Religulous, Bill Maher said to a few trucker-Christians that he considered atheism a luxury. He was right. Atheism is a luxury.
This is why atheism is a luxury: Continue reading
There is very little that can yet be properly said about the appalling tragedy in North Kensington. We can all, as we do, pray for those who have died, who have been injured or who have lost all their property. Some, I wish I could claim to have been of their number, have rushed to give practical support. Others have made financial contributions. And, of course, the emergency services can and must be praised for all they have done and are continuing to do.
But what we cannot do, at least not yet, is blame anyone for the disaster. We don’t know the facts. We must wait for them to be established. Continue reading
I used to be a red-meat-loving angry and intolerant atheist, whose favourite pastime – when not sucking marrow from the bones of dead babies – was munching on pork scratchings and slurping them down with a cold pint of chicken blood.
Things have changed.
Tim Farron has resigned. This seems to me to be evidence for the existence of God, and an answer – finally! – to the ‘problem of evil’.
Why does God allow evil to exist in the world when he has the power to do something about it? Well, now it seems God has finally taken action to reduce the evil in the world by removing Tim Farron from politics.
I wasn’t frightfully impressed by Tim Farron during the election campaign. But he had the most difficult job of all the party leaders. His party landed him with the second referendum demand and he had to go along with it. A few fanatical remainers voted for the Lib Dems, but hardly anyone else did. Mr Farron’s party had failed to grasp the fact that almost everyone accepted the referendum result. He never had any serious prospect of doing well in the election while his party kept droning on about the need to reverse the referendum.
Of course, as is the way in politics, he had to resign as leader of his party. But there is something horribly disagreeable about the reason for his resignation. He went, not because his party did very badly in the election, but because his religious beliefs were considered to be inconsistent with liberal democracy. The former policeman, Lord Paddick, said he could not serve a leader who didn’t love abortion and might not be terribly keen on same sex marriage. Continue reading
A barrister called David Wolchover has written an article in Counsel Magazine (a sort of in-house publication for barristers) in which he contends that the Prime Minister did not have the power to invoke Article 50. His arguments are extraordinarily weak and I would not have mentioned them here were it not for the fact that a gullible journalist on the Telegraph (Matthew Scott) has read them and written a piece telling the world that a brilliant lawyer has concluded we have not invoked Article 50. There is no point in my giving you the link to Mr Scott’s article because it is one you have to pay to read. Continue reading
What an awful lot of nonsense has been churned out since Friday. And some of it is still going on. The journalist, naturally, wants everything to be a drama. The Labour Party, naturally, wants to portray its million vote deficit as a victory, not a loss. The two combined have led to fantastically ludicrous stories on the telly and the wireless and in the newspapers. And it goes without saying that the users of social media have been valiantly defending their reputation for living in a parallel universe. Continue reading
Araminta (who is pretty much the sites Mum) wrote about forgiveness. Just as I was lacing up my running shoes and about to head out into a windy afternoon I had some pensees.
One deals with a white journalist who went to interview a black woman in Harlem, late 60’s or early 1970’s. Her son had been murdered by NYPD. She gave an eloquent account of police cover ups. He ended the recording, stood up, and went to shake her hand. She glared at him. “My son was killed by a white, since that day I vowed never to touch another honky again”.
The Buddha teaches not to hate. The Buddha never lived in Deptford. It cuts both ways surely, if a half West Indian tries to kill you aren’t you entitled to some prejudice and hatred?
Islam is actually quite forgiving, but my point is that if one adopts Ara’s approach it comes near to making one a doormat. Who respects doormats? Plod don’t.
Why hatred is not the answer!
Hate Lives On
Hate lies waiting hidden, deep swirls of black
And ugly thoughts buried but not quite gone
The stirrings ripple through the haze of anger
And distress. But surface thoughts give not a hint
Of churning rage and seething rage which will not still.
Forgiveness may dispel the deep disruptions of your hurt
But will it be enough to stop the war, and death of love
The final blow which kills the hope of further life and joy
Can no one cure your fractured soul ?
Well, I got that very wrong.
I genuinely thought the Tories would have a reasonably large majority. Many, though not all, of the polls were saying the same thing. The bookies, usually the most reliable guide, thought there would be a Conservative overall majority of between 70 and 75.
Of course, there was no reason why my own assessment should have been even remotely accurate. I have no access to privileged information denied to others. My knowledge was limited to the information provided by the media. Yes, in addition, I knew that many of the young (my children’s friends and the offspring of my own friends) had been won over by Mr Corbyn’s promises of riches beyond belief to be provided by “the rich” courtesy of the state. But I assumed, as most of the polling companies did, that they wouldn’t actually bother to do anything so middle-aged and middle class as to wander down to their polling stations and vote. Continue reading