On giving up my pipe
English Christian male who is not backward in coming forward with opinions.
|I have given up all hope of the BBC ever pronouncing properly the name of the new president of Nigeria, Yar Addu'a. But today on their website they hit the pits with this gem.|
"People who get bored coming to the north-east are bored because their are boring."
BTW the Nigerian president's name has two glottal stops, one before the Y and the other at the apostrophe. Their Hausa department should have advised them. What is a glottal stop? It is what you get instead of the tt in butter when spoken with estuary English pronunciation. Bu'er.
BBC reports,"Black boys need positive role models from within their own communities to tackle underachievement, a report says. The Reach panel of experts, from fields including education and business, says too often role models for young black men include rappers who glamorise guns."
Now on 21 August we hear sense from Straw. "The "continuing problem" of gang violence is due to the absence of fathers in black communities, Justice Secretary Jack Straw says.
So reports the BBC. Jackson is an American problem.
3. William Wilberforce: The Life of the Great Anti-slave Trade Campaigner by William Hague
"A beacon of light which the passing of two centuries has scarcely dimmed". This is Hague's concluding assessment of Wilberforce. This fine biography should keep that light blazing. I think it will probably be the definitive biography of the great abolitionist for quite some time to come. Hague writes well and keeps one's attention throughout a long book. He is masterful at setting the historical scene. No doubt his previous biography of Wilberforce's friend Pitt was a great help in researching the period. One is given a real feel for a very different world where only men of means could afford to enter politics for getting elected, except to a rotten borough, could mean huge expense. It was a time when party allegiance was not so well developed and Wilberforce maintained his independence as a member of parliament for Yorkshire. He was a friend of Pitt but opposed him over the war with France as he opposed a later government over Queen Caroline. Hague does not fall into the trap of judging an historic figure by more modern criteria. Contemporary critics of Wilberforce disliked his social conservatism. His radicalism was aimed at stopping an evil trade not promoting cause of the poor close to home.Hague explains it. Wilberforce would give no support to those who would be socially disruptive and those applauding the French Revolution. His detestation of what had happened in France, Hague rightly identifies as Wilberforce's opposition to all things against religion.
One expects Hague to be good on the politics of Wilberforce's life but I was pleasantly surprised by his understanding of his subject's Evangelical faith. Christian faith we know transformed Wilberforce from a pleasure seeking young man into an ardent reformer. It was the motivation in all his subsequent life. As well as abolition it also moved him to seek the opening of India to Christian missions. Hague seems to have a sympathetic understanding of Wilberforce's Christianity as well as a great appreciation of his political achievements. here was an MP who was most diligent in his duties though he never held an office of state. There is also admiration for the personal character of his subject. He was a man who made friends, was hugely charitable and a loving husband and father. Here was a notable orator and a man of wit, welcome at the tables of the great and the good. His character was indeed that of a joyful Christian as Piper writes in his short biography. He died impoverished by his own personal charity and the foolishness of his eldest son. He declined ennoblement and wanted a quiet burial place but was laid to rest in Westminster Abbey for his contemporaries judged him to be great as well as good.
4. God's Continent: Christianity, Islam, and Europe's Religious Crisis by Philip Jenkins
Jenkins is a dissenter from the opinion of many author's that Europe faces such a demographic onslaught from Muslim immigrants that the continent will become Eurabia where Islam dominates and all non-Muslims are mere dhimmis. He thinks the demography will change and immigrant families become smaller. He also thinks that Islam will change and adapt in Europe. He is also an optimist about the future of Christianity. He thinks Christianity is far from a dying influence. It will adapt though numbers will reduce. This is the judgment of a liberal academic. I would not be so rash as to prophesy but I do not share his optimism over the future as regards Islam . But as to the present facts of religion in Europe, Jenkins paints with a broad brush but I think he is fairly accurate, with the glaring exception of the assessment he gives to John Calvin. He certainly gives a balanced picture of Islamic diversity in Europe and also good reasons why European governments have been extraordinarily tolerant of the kinds of activities and organisations which Islamic governments persecute and ban. This is a book informative on now. As to the future, we shall have to wait and see.
5. The Walking Dead by Gerald Seymour
Seymour is for me the best writer in the genre of topical thrillers. I have read all his books. Once again he gives you a gripping read and keeps one's attention to the end. Mastery of detail is superb, especially on the training and life of armed police, The only flaw i saw was the one quotation error spotted by an earlier reviewer. Good though he is, I think there is some room for improvement. I did not find his Muslim characters terribly convincing when the two main player are motivated by revenge and hatred not religion. Their young British helpers do not seem to have any depth to their characters. What is superbly done is the development of the ethical question as to how far the forces of the state should go in the interrogation of those who may be part of an imminent terror bomb threat as well as the dilemmas faced by our armed police.
|Ealing Council reckons they have an agreement with Livingstone for him to scrap the tram if Crossrail proceeds. This will be good news. A mere £30,000,00 wasted on Ken's crackpot scheme. He should be sent the bill. I suspect the Labour establishment has pointed out to him that it has also cost their party control of two London boroughs.|
|So Alan Smith may sign for Newcastle. When he left Leeds as they left the Premiership I said I would support whichever club he went to with one exception. So following Murphy's Law he went to the one club I shall always execrate. Now he is leaving the Red Devils I may again show interest in a premiership club. I tried to enthuse over Spurs with their former Leeds men and a Christian from Korea but I really have no passion for London clubs, especially when some are hard put to field even one Englishman. Arsenal are a French team, or rather French Africa. Smith though is a Yorkshire Terrier of a footballer, the sort of dog who is very snappy and irritating to people.|