21 April 2009

Time for openness and accountability

It is time that key decision-makers and people of influence reveal their expenses and sources of income.

Mr. Paul Dacre, editor of the Daily Mail, how much do you earn a year?

18 April 2009

On recent events in London Town

Is it just me or does Max Clifford come across as the PR equivalent of an ambulance chasing lawyer? Every time someone suffers some nasty event, there he is representing them. While he may have waived the fee for Jade Goody, he got a lot of exposure from it. All publicity and all that...

Mr. Green is not being charged over the Home Office leaks. Right call I say. If anything the bad publicity would be spectacular. That said, while Labour may have got overly comfortable in power, I'd take 12 years of Labour to even one day of the Conservatives.

I see the Daily Fail is already smearing the woman who is complaining anyway. The hypocrisy of Tories is outstanding at times.

Smear and spin, by the way, are as old the hills.

10 April 2009

Good Friday

Today is Good Friday, the day when Christians all over the world remember Jesus' death on the cross.

Over at TV Tropes we have a fairly large category called "Crowning Moment of Awesome", which details awesome moments that occur in fiction and also in real life.

We don't have a section on religion, but if we did, the Crucifixion would have to go on the last.

I've been spending some time over the last few days thinking about the whole story of Holy Week. There are just so many great aspects of it, that show just how amazing God is.

The entry into Jerusalem. Jesus comes into a city on a donkey and people mob him. I'm guessing the palm leaves were for the colt, to protect its feet. That donkey must have had a great story to tell to his peers for the rest of his life. It's also entirely different to traditional triumphant entries- but Jesus was no conventional hero. He was- and still is- so much cooler.

He never ran any earthly body, never ran for office. His only paid job was as a self-employed carpenter. He lived for 33 and a third years. He wrote no books and directly preached to only a few hundred thousand.

Yet this man, the Son of God, has influenced the entire of global history for the past 2000 years. That shows the power of God. Thanks to Jesus, many, many good works have been done as well. I admit that he has been misused for evil by many people, but the good he has achieved far out weighs that. Do you think that we'd have as little poverty as we do in this country without the impact of Christianity?

The Gospels differ over when precisely Jesus cast out the money-changers from the Temple. I'm perfectly happy for him to have done it twice. It's a dramatic enough event and shows a side of Jesus that people sometimes ignore. Yes, he is nice, but he can also be very angry at times.

He used skilled rhetoric and intelligence, not force of arms, to attack the corrupt society of his day. If it wasn't for Jesus, we'd have far more wars these days.

The authorities felt threatened by him. The powerful generally don't like anything that threatens their own position. In this case, the High Council were worried about their income from sacrifices and endangering their own good relations with an imperialist force. So, they falsely accused Jesus of blasphemy, subjected him to an unfair trial and executed him.

On to the Last Supper. Few of us know precisely when we are going to die. It tends to come rather suddenly. Those who know to the precise hour tend to be facing execution.

The Garden of Gethsemane. Jesus must have been terrified. He knew, he knew, that in less than 24 hours, he was going to be flogged, stripped naked and nailed to a cross. He was going to be taunted by a crowd who had earlier supported him and then he was going to die.

He knew he had a way out- he could have fled Jerusalem altogether. He knew Judas was going to betray him- he could have killed him. Yet he chose to face his fate.

He could have made a spectacular demonstration of his power and come off the cross. That would be the predictable thing to do. But Jesus was anything but predictable.

In fact, the evidence of what was going to happen was there, people just interpreted it wrongly.

It had to happen this way. If Jesus had done the "predictable" thing, people wouldn't have believed him.

Witness the Resurrection. It was observed by two women. Women didn't have much respect in society back then.

Jesus was spectacular by not being spectacular. In fact he still is. In the continuing provision for us, the hope he has offered for millions (I am sure many more suicides would occur without Jesus helping people), the miracles that still occur, he shows the awesome power of God.

Happy Easter.

08 April 2009

03 April 2009

G20 Thoughts

I've been on holiday to Dubai, so I haven't been able to blog recently.

Might as well give my thoughts on the latest excuse for a riot in my home city.

Personally, I doubt that the economy is exactly stimulation-capable at the moment. Metaphorically speaking, it's in a coma having banter with a lairy Mancunian detective (BTW, watching the first episode of Ashes to Ashes on the plane home, I remembered just how awesome Mr. Hunt can be- he gets three Crowning Moments of Awesome in the first episode can be).

What we're going to need, basically, is damage control- ensuring that the exchequers of some of the poorer countries still get decently revenue, that jobs are protected and that confidence doesn't go down any further (in the latter case, we need to drop out the rest of the bad debt news now to get it done with).

This is a step in the right direction, but things will get worse before they get better.

I expect the economy will recover in a couple of years. I'd say 2010 is too optimistic. Personally, I'm going for 2011.

If it does recover before the next election, Mr. Brown will have the thanks of a grateful world. If not, Mr. Cameron had better remember that he was responsible for none of the recovery and that he opposed many elements of it.