Permanent protest tent inside St Paul’s is an option

[captionpix imgsrc=””%5D
In the Independent, Paul Cahalan writes:

…it is understood St Paul’s is open to the idea of having a tent inside the cathedral “for as long as necessary”.

There is a precedent for this. In the summer of 2006, the Archbishop of York moved into a tent in York Minster as part of an act of “public witness” to encourage peace in the Middle East.

Archbishop of York photo credit: Some rights reserved by York Minster

Both the Occupy London protesters and the St Paul’s authorities are making a laughing stock of themselves

[captionpix imgsrc=””%5D

I blogged last Friday with the title: “It’s “Occupy London Stock Exchange” not “Occupy St Paul’s Cathedral forecourt” “.

Now I repeat the point. The Occupy London protesters are being perceived (whether they intend it or not) to be having a battle with the St Paul’s Cathedral authorities. They appear to be pursuing this battle with great vigour and tenacity.

Meanwhile, complaints about the excesses of the financial world are getting drowned out by the anti-frockocracy noise.

The resignation of the Dean has confirmed what a crazy situation this is. Giles Fraser wasn’t a maverick after all. The Dean’s resignation confirms that the protesters have put the church into an impossible position and one which is totally conter-productive for the protestors.

It bears repeating. The protestors are protesting against the excesses of the financial world.

You could be forgiven for thinking that they are persecuting a war against the church.

That is the perception which is clearly broadly shared.

And that is quite ridiculous. The church and its ministers are people who are committed to helping the poor, fighting injustice and for whom wealth is anathema. The “Eye of the needle” and all that.

The Dean underlined this on Sunday when he told the protestors that he has committed his entire life or “ministry” to fighting poverty. And then we had a representative of the protestors telling Radio Four’s “World at One” that this was the first time she realised that the church was interested in helping the poor. As they say on Twitter: “FFS”. But the protestor rep can be forgiven. Perhaps the silver lining in all this is that people are at last realising that the church do follow Jesus’ example in fighting for the poor and marginalised in society. All this talk of “What would Jesus do” is actually something to welcome with delight, as the Bishop of Buckingham told the same programme.

So it really is breathtakingly stupid that the protestors have got themselves into this battle with the church.

Thank goodness that the church, it appears, is not fighting back – as we see the white flag raised first by Giles Fraser and now by the Dean.

The protestors now need to make the next move and back off St Paul’s.

However, equally, the St Paul’s authorities have made fools of themselves. It is now time for them to seize this opportunity to join forces with the protestors. Bishop Alan, the Bishop of Buckingham, puts it very well on his blog:

…as St Paul’s reopens its doors, this tale raises a question for its managers.
Can they redeem their initial hysterical over-reaction? Do they want to draw all voices into a vital public debate, or will they clear the site as tactfully and soon as possible, probably in the middle of the night — when Caiaphas and chums used to do their business?

In other words do they have the stomach to engage in the real world at the crest of a tidal race between people, money and power, or are they just overgrown public schoolboys playing indoor games in their own self-important Tourist Disneyland?

Over to them…

AttributionSome rights reserved by Dimitri Hon

Great news for cat fans! Beauty the kitten in the Hemming love triangle is alive and well!

[captionpix imgsrc=””%5D
…And that simple title involved quite a lot of self-restraint. This subject is a goldmine of double entendres. But I won’t go there…..

Beauty, the kitten involved in the Hemming love triangle case, is alive and well!

Wonderful news! She may also have had kittens of her own!

NoncommercialSome rights reserved by Bjørnli Foto

Video – David Cameron and those Morris Dancers

[captionpix imgsrc=””%5D

On October 16th I blogged about David Cameron doing his cabinet reshuffle while opening a double railway line amidst Charlbury Morris Dancers.

Many thanks indeed to Richard from the Charlbury Morris Dancers who sent me the following account of the event. He also pointed me to this video from Witney TV of the event, which includes a shot of David Cameron and the Morris Dancers, plus David Cameron at the end on his mobile phone conducting his cabinet reshuffle (screen shot above).

Here is Richard’s account of the event:

Forgive the belated comment on what is now old news, but on behalf of Charlbury Morris I’d like to thank you for the nice publicity.

I was on the platform (dancing) for the event in question and I can assure you that it was nothing like the portrayal in The Sunday Telegraph (but you probably suspected that).

Those events are tightly scripted, so Charlbury Morris started dancing on time (not something we are known for). We were supposed to do just one or two dances, but after about 15 minutes of dancing and no PM we were starting to get knackered and took a break. Then I noticed that the only TV crew had pulled their camera (see the right side of the third picture in your link) and appeared to be doing an interview by the drive in front of the station (which we later realised was the PM giving his reaction to Fox’s resignation). Eventually we saw the entourage heading across toward us so we started dancing again, but, as requested by the PM’s security detail, we moved away as the PM descended the stairs. At the FGW celebration itself the PM was his usual calm and collected self and there was not a hint of the crisis, save for the very end. After some posh nibbles and chatting with the FGW and Cotswold Line Promotion Group dignitaries the PM was overheard to take his leave by saying something like, “Now I have to go and find a new defence minister.” We didn’t quite know what to make of this until we returned to our pubs and homes to hear the news.

You can get good idea of the event from a report on on Witney TV (a web-based TV service from the PM’s constituency).

Note that the PM even has time for a short interview with the reporter, but he is on his mobile the moment he gets down the stairs.

The Telegraph did get one thing right. Mobile phone coverage is particularly bad around that part of town.



Happy gathering of the clan

[captionpix imgsrc=””%5D

Yesterday we had one of those family occasions you only have once in a blue moon.

It was my Auntie Jean’s 90th birthday, so we had the gathering of the Walter clan at Polkerris, Cornwall. Sadly, not everyone could make it, but those that did made it an exceptional event.

Here’s a photo of us all on the right. We took over the top end of the Rashleigh Arms, whose management kindly turned on the sea for us, so we had a great scene outside the bay window.

[captionpix imgsrc=”″%5D

It was a sublime, relaxed affair, topped off by a beautiful speech by my Dad and two choruses of “Happy Birthday” for Auntie Jean, who was at her sweetest.

As always with these occasions there were some wonderful old photos to view and marvellous stories to hear. This photo on the right is of the family in 1960 at Erdiston Court, Bude. I am in my dad’s arms at the back, aged one.

And look! I had hair! And it was blonde!

Michael Gove admires the LibDems. Embarrassing.

[captionpix imgsrc=””%5D
Oh dear. Uncomfortable.

Asked by Channel 4 political editor Gary Gibbon about the decision to form a coalition at the last general election, Mr Gove said: “I admire Nick Clegg hugely.
“He took an enormous risk for his party and he did so because he believed it was in the national interest to do so…
“Nick Clegg said ‘we are going to be with you to the end of deficit reduction’, and there has been no wavering from any Liberal Democrat ministers and indeed noises from any Lib Dem MPs, and secondly I think Nick Clegg’s courage on higher education was the hallmark of a leader.”

Michael Gove photo credit: Some rights reserved by conservativeparty.

India holds a Grand Prix. It is a tragedy that our aid is needed there

[captionpix imgsrc=””%5D
I don’t argue with giving £295 million in annual aid to India.

About a third of all the world’s poor live there.

But it is a tragedy that we have to give aid to India. It is a tragedy that the country has 450 million poor people who are often lower caste and very marginalised.

And yet, they host a Grand Prix, give aid to other countries themselves, spend £36 billion a year on defence, have more billionaires than the UK, have nuclear weapons and a space programme.

Bonkers or what?

Photo credit: Some rights reserved by roblener

Mitt Romney – no sign of closing any deal any time soon

[captionpix imgsrc=””%5D
You just have to look at him, really. Mitt Romney is straight out of central casting, in terms of apearance. Mr President. Available for dramas, disaster movies, weddings, barmitzvahs… (thinking about it, perhaps not barmitzvahs? The Mormon thing might not go down well) Just the right application of hair dye. The ready smile. Ready to please.

And his policies, such as they can be identified, are a one-size-fits-all, “what do you want me to think?”, ready-to-please amorphous mass. The omni-candidate.

It’s hard to make out his true policies above the din of his flip-flops.

But we are now getting on a bit in the Republican nomination race. And Romney is still showing no sign of closing the deal. Some polls show Herman Cain, yes – Herman Cain – Mr No-Hope – ahead nationally. OK, Romney is well ahead in New Hampshire – but that’s his state. Polls are starting to show Cain ahead in Iowa.

But perhaps the surest indication of Romney’s failure is this scathing Washington Post commentary from influential conservative columnist, George Will:

A straddle is not a political philosophy; it is what you do when you do not have one… Romney, supposedly the Republican most electable next November, is a recidivist reviser of his principles who is not only becoming less electable; he might damage GOP chances of capturing the Senate. Republican successes down the ticket will depend on the energies of the Tea Party and other conservatives, who will be deflated by a nominee whose blurry profile in caution communicates only calculated trimming.

Republicans may have found their Michael Dukakis, a technocratic Massachusetts governor who takes his bearings from ‘data’… Has conservatism come so far, surmounting so many obstacles, to settle, at a moment of economic crisis, for this?

Mitt Romney photo credit: Some rights reserved by Gage Skidmore

Huhne and Pryce – sword of Damocles?: Court orders Sunday Times to hand over more than 100 emails exchanged with Vicky Pryce

Goodness knows how all this will turn out. But potentially it has all the makings of a Greek tragedy.

The CPS has announced that it has asked Essex Police to provide more evidence in the case it is considering concerning Chris Huhne, Vicky Pryce and some speeding points.

Further tidbits of information about the request have emerged.

The Mail describes the evidence requested as ‘more than 100 messages” between Vicky Pryce and the Sunday Times.

The Telegraph names the reporter involved:

Isobel Oakeshott was the journalist who first revealed, in May, that Mr Huhne had allegedly asked “someone” to take speeding points on his behalf.
The comments came from an interview she had conducted with Miss Pryce.
It was later revealed that the alleged “someone” Miss Pryce was referring to was herself. Miss Oakeshott also made further revelations as the scandal enveloped the Lib Dem cabinet minister earlier this year.
Now police are attempting to examine emails between the journalist and Miss Pryce to discover whether Miss Pryce incriminates herself explicitly in the conversations.
The Daily Telegraph understands that despite two police interviews, Miss Pryce has refused to repeat the allegations she made to the newspaper to detectives.

Nick Robinson commented in May about the close connections in this case. Isabel Oakeshott is a relative of LibDem peer Lord Oakeshott, who is a friend of both Chris Huhne and Vicky Pryce. Robinson even said there were plans for book collaboration:

Now Vicky – she’s the wife, you’ll remember – is apparently thinking of writing a book with the help of Isabel who wrote the story in the Sunday Times.