Saturday, 7 May 2011

Osama bin Laden and the Archbishop of Canterbury

I am disappointed and not a little surprised to hear criticism of the Archbishop of Canterbury for expressing a moral view on the killing of ObL. Surely that's what the church exists for. Moreover, the A of C adheres to a faith whose tenets include a prohibition on killing and injunctions to love one's neighbour and to turn the other cheek; it's scarcely surprising that he should have a few reservations about said killing. It seems otiose to point out that the critics generally belong, nominally at least, to the faith for which the A of C speaks.

It's also surprising that so little criticism of the manner of the killing should have been heard more generally. Provided that ObL posed no threat to the US Navy Seals carrying out the mission to apprehend him - and it's no doubt a truism that it could be very difficult to make a correct judgement on this in a matter of split seconds - it would surely have been preferable to render him up to a court for judgement and almost certain punishment. After all, even overlooking the example of Nuremberg, the Israelis chose to put Eichmann on trial, not to take him out in the obscurity of suburban Argentina.

Incidentally, would it not be far more punishing for ObL to be confronted to with his crimes while in the power of his enemies and to have years to contemplate the end rather than be deprived of life in a struggle of a few chaotic minutes?

Thursday, 10 February 2011

Final cockamamie notion of the week

I gather that our own dear C of E is contemplating changing the service of Baptism because no one understands it.

Where on earth does one begin with this?

My children were baptised RC. The church insisted that parents attend a short course explaining what it was about. Problem solved. And if one doesn't understand absolutely everything, does that even matter. Take it on Faith. Accept that some things are unfathomable mysteries. Or, if you must, just sit there nodding politely until it's all over as many generations have done already.

Or, use your brain. Ask yourself this: "Why am I getting this child baptised? I have no idea what Baptism is or what the service means. I can't be bothered to find out, so the logical thing to do is not to go through with it."

Clearly, if you have a congregation who by and large never darken the church's doors, they are not going to understand what's going on. Funnily enough, the church managed to survive for centuries, despite the service being conducted in Latin. People just got on with it. I realise that a Christian priest finds it hard to say "that's their problem if they can't be bothered", but I would also suggest that it's not something that's going to be resolved by changing the words a bit. Or a lot. And undoubtedly for the worse (for an illustration of what I mean, compare the Book of Common Prayer version of the Catechism with the latest milk and water version).

People's brains have not, by and large, got any smaller since the Middle Ages. If they wanted to understand the Baptism, they would. If they don't, it's because they're not interested. And by making the service 'modern' and 'understandable', you will make it less interesting. Paradoxically, making the problem worse. Which is just one of many reasons why the Church has become less and less loved as it has become more and more 'relevant'.

I'm no expert on Islam, but they seem to do all right with scriptures written in classical Arabic, a minority language even in the Muslim world. That's because they have faith. If you don't have faith, you're not doing to understand Baptism, even if the service is written in Janet and John. Get over it, move on and love God.

Another cockamamie notion

I gather that John Prescott has gone to the police to find out whether or not he was a victim of the so-called phone hacking scandal.

I say so-called, because numpties who leave important information on voice-mail don't deserve the protection of the law, but should be charged with wasting police time, as should the numpties who leave their voicemail on the default PIN number. I mean, it's hardly the kind of sophisticated hacking you see in the movies, is it?

I digress. My real point is that if you don't even know that your privacy has been breached until the police tell you IT MIGHT HAVE BEEN - given that (I'm fairly sure) the police know only that the voicemails were accessed and not (yet) what information, if any, was obtained - then your privacy has not, in fact, been invaded in any significant way.

What is more, I gather that the egregious oaf, the noble Baron Prescott, may be contemplating legal action against New of the W. etc. for breach of privacy. Even if such a right does now exist and even if he can show it was infringed, he should be reminded that the courts award damages on the basis that harm has been suffered - what harm will Lord P be able to show? Given that, thanks in part at least to his own craving for publicity, we now know that he is a gluttonous adulterer, what revelations can possibly yet lurk unknown....

A cockamamie notion

Heaven knows that I am not a compulsive blogger. But this week brings a flood of nonsense against which one can only rage.

My first apoplexy inducing piece of twaddle is the news that Radio 4 must change because it is:
a) too white b) too Southern c) too middle-class d) too old (and I confess to all four of those). One the nuggets that emerged was that non-listeners found it "too didactic". Yeah, right, that's exactly what the chip-stuffing oiks mumbled. Too didactic. So look forward to shows which are "chattier" and "less formal".

Incidentally, Radio 3 came in for the same criticisms more or less, but as I rarely listen to it, I take it as read that whatever applies to Radio 4 applies equally to Radio 3.

Christ on a bike. If you happen to have Radio stations which broadcast high quality or elitist or whatever other label you wish to apply programming, then what else do you expect? How on earth can you change what they broadcast to change the audience without reducing the quality? People who don't listen to Radio 4 are missing out - but THAT'S THEIR CHOICE. If you don't like classical or otherwise obscure music LISTEN TO RADIO 1 OR KISS OR HEART OR WHATEVER.

Or better still, only have one national radio station. Then it will have one unique demographic which you can never criticise for being too anything!

Wednesday, 12 January 2011

More EUreferendum nonsense

Strange that EUreferendum is the only thing to get me cross enough to post. After, the fact that someone is wrong on the internet should not ever be a sufficient reason for wasting one's time in correcting them! Still, here goes.

The latest from the egregious one(s) is:

"Thus, we end up paying more for energy than virtually any other consumer in Europe (and the developed world). No one knows why, and even the experts disagree. Different sections of the media have different explanations, but all are quite happy to use "corporate greed" to hide the cost of the greenery."

Now, suffice it to say that this is reasonably easy to check, since the DoE or whatever it's called now do surveys on this very question (see, which include pages of international comparisons. Now, it's true that diesel is very expensive here, thanks to high taxes, and petrol too. But on electricity we are in the middle of the table and on gas, we are close to being the cheapest.

EUreferendum has a style all its own. It manages to make the most commonsense positions seem utterly repulsive simply by espousing them. It's therefore most delightful to catch them out (no doubt, if they ever rose to the bait, they would engage in one of their lengthy and tedious rebuttals), thereby disproving the general rule that one should never, ever, correct anything wrong on the internet.