New Year, new hope

02/01/13 | Posted by Ian Black | Permalink | (1) Comments

Today brings us the beginning of the mornings after the night before. In many places the New Year was seen in with fireworks, parties, a toast to friends present and absent. Resolutions may have been set and there is a natural sense of new beginning. My own city didn't organise anything this year because no one was found to sponsor it. This reminded me that in these days of austerity, there is no spare money for parties on the public purse. They need a financial backer and without it the guests may gather, as they did in their hundreds, but there will be nothing on offer for them. More ...

Embellishing the Truth

25/12/12 | Posted by HughB | Permalink | (0) Comments

I imagine that most of us aren’t really that interested in what journalists have called ‘Plebgate’ but it has certainly managed to outlast other news items, which frankly are more deserving of column inches. More ...

Number Crunching

12/12/12 | Posted by HughB | Permalink | (0) Comments

So more information has been released from the 2011 UK Census and it will come as no surprise to most of us that the percentage of people defining themselves as Christians has declined considerably in the last decade – from 72% to 59%. But the BBC’s religious affairs correspondent reports that Church is not discouraged. Some are sceptical about the Census’ finding and, besides, 59% shows that “Christian belief is alive and well”…apparently. More ...

Advent and dinosaurs

06/12/12 | Posted by Ian Black | Permalink | (1) Comments

In a discovery sure to excite every eight year old, scientists at the Natural History Museum have discovered a new dinosaur. Nyasasaurus Parringtoni, named after the region of Africa where it was found (Lake Nyasa, now Lake Malawi) and the palaeontologist who found the fossils (Rex Parrington), is thought to be around 250 million years old. Measuring between two and three metres long, it probably stood on two legs. More ...

Why are the cupboards bare?

24/10/12 | Posted by Ian Black | Permalink | (1) Comments

Over the last couple of years there has been a massive rise in the number of food banks springing up around the country. Churches have been at the forefront of them, indeed have been the instigators and driving force to them. The response is a very impressive one to desperate need. Setting them up though is just the beginning. In 2012 we should not need to hand out food parcels to the destitute in Britain. Why are they needed? More ...

Jimmy Savile

11/10/12 | Posted by Ian Black | Permalink | (4) Comments

The number of women coming forward to say they were abused by the late Jimmy Savile is rising by the day. The police officer in charge of looking at these cases took the unusual step of labelling him a predatory paedophile. A childhood hero for millions has fallen into disgrace. His family now have to come to terms with squaring the person they knew with the person they didn't know. It was complicated further by a friend of his from one of the many charities he was involved with talking of his outstanding bedside manner with the sick and dying. Labelling people like him as monsters fails to grapple with just how complicated abuse is. More ...

Those Photos

15/09/12 | Posted by HughB | Permalink | (2) Comments

Once again, the media is at odds with itself about what can be defined as “in the public interest”. A well-known PR man has said that royalty should be able to sunbathe topless or enjoy a party with their mates and expect their privacy to be respected while clearly some photographers and editors feel that they are fair game and financially worth the risk of being sued. In the end, I suppose that this is all a question of who defines our identity. Kate, William and Harry can recognise that their positions come with both privilege and responsibility but they have little or no control over how others will perceive that position. More ...


13/08/12 | Posted by HughB | Permalink | (0) Comments

I’m glad to say that the Olympics turned out not to be a “humiliating shambles” but a real joy to watch for so many reasons. Mind you, having seen several matches I still don’t fully understand handball and the judging of synchronised swimming and rhythmic gymnastics completely baffles me. Answers on a postcard to rejesus... More ...

No Shows

18/07/12 | Posted by HughB | Permalink | (0) Comments

A “humiliating shambles” is how a panel of MPs has described the provision of security for the 2012 Olympics. The chief executive of the company contracted to provide that security tried to get away with simply acknowledging that “it’s not where we’d want to be” but eventually and rather reluctantly admitted that he couldn’t disagree with them. Perhaps an extreme case but I bet we can all think of times when we feel that we have been let down. More ...

Integrity, bankers and knowing who to trust

09/07/12 | Posted by Ian Black | Permalink | (0) Comments

Questions of integrity are back in the news. Outrage and shock have been caused by revelations that traders working for Barclays Bank had been involved in trying to rig LIBOR (London Inter-Bank Offered Rate), the interest rate that banks charge each other for the loans which lie behind the mortgages and loans they give out. The Serious Fraud Office have launched an investigation. I am still trying to work out exactly who has lost out on this and who has gained. More ...

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