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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 ...


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 ...

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 ...

8 out of 10 tax accountants

21/06/12 | Posted by Ian Black | Permalink | (2) Comments

I don't know what 8 out of 10 cats might think of Jimmy Carr's tax affairs, but he has clearly had a rethink. The comedian found himself 'named and shamed' by the Prime Minister for getting involved in an offshore tax scheme that aims to reduce liability to UK tax. The legal rights and wrongs are being looked at by HM Revenue and Customs, so we will see whether, as one person said earlier, it is ruled off-sde or not and they all get a big bill. More ...

Union Jack

04/06/12 | Posted by Ian Black | Permalink | (1) Comments

I have changed my mind about the Union Jack. It's a gut feeling. I used to see it and found it had been hijacked in my brain by extreme right wing racism. I couldn't help it. Something unconscious associated it with hatred and violence. That is a shame to say the least because it's one of my national flags. But my view has been changed and changed by a very simple bit of history. More ...

Is the world ‘an empty’?

26/05/12 | Posted by Ian Black | Permalink | (1) Comments

The comedian Kevin Bridges recently ventured into the world of faith. He has decided that the world is 'an empty', a home where the parents are away and the teenage party has got out of hand. He ran with this to comedic effect. The idea of people skulking away, saying 'we didn't realise you were coming back', gives a picture of those caught out realising they have been busted. It can certainly feel like we are living in 'an empty' at times. More ...

Olympic Torch relay

19/05/12 | Posted by Ian Black | Permalink | (3) Comments

There is a fire about to sweep the nation. Actually there are several over the coming months. The Olympic Torch has landed in Cornwall and is about to make its progress around the country building excitement and enthusiasm for the 2012 London games. In June there will be beacons lit to celebrate the Queen's Jubilee. Both events are intended to inspire hope and the better side of our nature. Many churches will also be taking part in prayer events to accompany both lights and celebrations. More ...

Easter specs

22/04/12 | Posted by Ian Black | Permalink | (0) Comments

Like many I am finding the reports of the trial of Anders Breivik disturbing. Last July he killed 77 people in attacks in Norway, not least 70 young people on an island camp. The details are distressing to read. The case at the moment is trying to determine his sanity, but my assumption is that sane people don't behave like that. I got a glimpse of that the other day seeing the way a group of young people responded to a tragic death with compassion and sensitivity, honouring the one who had died with dignity and devotion. This seems to be how normal people behave. The trouble of course with 'normal' is that how we see it depends on what we take for granted and that has to be fed. More ...

Keep Calm

31/03/12 | Posted by Ian Black | Permalink | (1) Comments

One of the images that has captured imaginations at the moment is a World War II poster carrying the simple message 'keep calm and carry on'. The poster was never issued and was only discovered 60 years later by a bookseller in Northumberland in a pile of dusty secondhand books. The poster produced so much interest that when it was reprinted it became an instant hit. It's ironic then that with this slogan everywhere we are in the grip of panic over pasties and petrol. I have a mug which carries a parody of the slogan: 'now panic and freak out', which is looking more accurate. More ...

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