Sunday 14 October 2018

Brickbat and Bouquet

'Badley Church, Suffolk' by Harold Steggles (1936)

Well, I woke up early this morning, put on my 'I love Pope Francis' badge (Ed Stourton lent me one of his spares) and switched on to the radio equivalent of the liberal Catholic magazine The Tablet - namely Radio 4's Sunday, hosted by Tablet trustee Ed Stourton. 

Today's topics included: (a) the raising to sainthood of the murdered El Salvadorean liberation theology-sympathetic Cardinal Oscar Romero, discussed with a Catholic charity worker (which cast conservatives in a bad light); (b) a report by a Catholic group on the need for prison reform, discussed with a Lib Dem peer (who denounced "penal populism"); and (c) a discussion of  a resignation in the US Catholic Church over sex abuse, where both guest and presenter (Ed) cast the present Pope and his unfortunate cardinal in the best possible light. 

Also discussed were: (d) the UN's World Food Day, plugged with a participating charity; (e) Anglican "institutional homophobia", discussed with an aggrieved married gay Anglican cleric; and (f) the 50th anniversary of the Olympic black power protest, discussed with one of the black power saluters. 

The two other items were BBC-on-BBC interviews on (g) the gay cake case and (h) the released pastor and his prayer for President Trump. 

All very 'Sunday'!

Still, one of the featured BBC reporters, Mark Simpson (the BBC's Northern Ireland correspondent) showed afterwards how to be charming on Twitter. The estimable Jane Kelly was criticising his comments on the 'gay cake' case, and he responded:

Jane Kelly: Your reporter Mark Simpson declared, 'There are no winners in this case,' the winner was free-speech. You could also remind him that he is supposed to be a 'reporter.'
Mark Simpson: The question was asked in the context of the personal toll that the 230 week case has taken on the participants.
Jane Kelly: I see, that explains your sympathy for the man who lost, saying he 'looked devastated.' For me that was because he just assumed he would win.
Mark Simpson: Jane, Jane, Jane. That’s simply not true. But, hey, you’re entitled your view. I admire your work. Always have. And I respect your right to call it as you see it. Free speech. Enjoy the rest of your weekend. And next time you’re in NI, I’ll buy the coffee.
Jane Kelly: Thank you very much, you are very gracious. I used to visit NI a lot, a truly fascinating place. I have changed sides a bit though, now see the Protestants as a tribe in danger of extinction.
Mark Simpson: I look forward to hear your reasoning. Keep in touch.


  1. I see Mr Simpson is applying the same patronising gambit which I noticed Anita Anand using increasingly with anyone insane enough to phone in to Any Answers and indicate they did not to want no borders, even more mass immigration, abolition of free speech and eradication of British culture. Anita's tone, observations and questions all tended to the conclusion: "What you say is completely irrelevant. You're all going to be dead soon. You'll die and we'll win. So I can afford to patronise you for the moment. "

    I took a look at the Jane Kelly twitter feed - led me to Lord Pearson (the only really decent Parliamentarian we have - one out of about 1200) and figures for proportion of Sharia followers in UK. Not surprised - only surprised they are admitting it - seems we are now up to 5.8% of the population. So since 1991, when it was 1.6% we have seen a tripling. On that basis we can expect in 2045 to find that the figure will then be 17.4%. Pretty much game over as it will then be 52.2% in 2072 if the trend continues. That might seem an unlikely scenario but on the other hand you have to understand millions of people will see the writing on the wall and so will be fleeing the UK for Australia, New Zealand, Spain, the USA, Canada, India, Caribbean etc, and thus the proportion will rise by default.

  2. More food for thought from a commentator in my local paper:

    "THE Islamic Human Rights Commission will soon make its annual Islamophobes of the Year Awards. Dozens of hapless individuals, plus the entire Conservative Party, have been nominated for the awards on November 11. IHRC says it's just a bit of "fun and satire." Three years ago a spokesman called it "a tongue-in-cheek swipe at those in public life who have perpetrated or perpetuated acts of hatred against Muslims and their faith." That was the year the award went to Charlie Hebdo, the French magazine where, two months earlier, 12 members of staff were massacred in a terror attack. Can't honestly say I see the fun or satire in that. And whatever the organisers think, what if some loonie decides the winner of this poisoned-chalice award is insulting Islam and therefore deserves to die? Where does "fun and satire" end and incitement begin?"


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