Just when I’m Warming to Catholicism

Along comes an article to derail me.

Fr Lombardi: Great Expectations for Popes UK Trip

Such an inoffensive article detailing some of the itinerary of the Pope’s forthcoming trip to England and Scotland. But there’s one section which just got my goat. It’s this one here:

Then, I would highlight the Pope’s great address in Westminster Hall, his meeting with civil society, the world of culture, with all the most active and influential members of English society.

And what about the rest of us? What’s with setting aside this group as the ‘most active and influential members of English society’? I’m betting that most of them will be there because of who they know or who they’ve brown-nosed. How many of them are actually Catholics who support the teaching of the Church and support the Holy Father? Call it inverse snobbery or something like that but these sort of concepts really, really get my blood pressure up. What about the rest of the English Catholic church, or even the rest of the population, are they inactive and ineffective? The tone of the phrase I’ve picked out would seem to infer that.

One of the long standing takes I have on much of church leadership and the status of the great and the good is that they set themselves aside from the masses as though they were something special. That they are chosen to lead and we should know our place and follow. That they are the ones with the revelation which they will share with us as long as we doff the cap and curtsey. Know thy place.  As the oft missed out verse of ‘All things bright and beautiful’ goes:

The rich man in his castle,

The poor man at his gate,

He made them, high or lowly,

And ordered their estate.

I’m afraid my long suffering stereotype of the English Catholic has just been unfortunately entrenched.

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Blogcatalog Widget is back!

I’ve been bitching recently, here and here about how the Blogcatalog recent visitors widget would only show on refresh and then refused to show altogether. Posting on Blogcatalogs support forum prompted not even a reply from the owners or the community.

But I presume someone’s fixed the remote code as it now seems to be working. So a big thank you to whoever rolled their sleeves up at Blogcatalog.

Now, how to use Blogcatalog to increase interested and interesting traffic!

Driver’s 30-hour protest in Wembley over clamped car

A heartwarming story from the BBC regarding a man who remained in his car for 30 hours to stop it being towed away after being pressured to pay £365 to remove the clamps.

A man sat in his car for 30 hours to prevent it being towed away after it was clamped.

Haroon Zafaryab began the protest in Wembley on Wednesday when he returned from Ramadan prayers to find his car clamped and was asked to pay £365.

He said that, as he sat in the vehicle, all four wheels were clamped and about 40 tickets were stuck to its window, amounting to £3,565 in fines.

Haroon Zafaryab, nice one!

Details of the incident emerged as ministers announced plans to ban clampers from all private land in England and Wales.

Home Office minister Lynne Featherstone said the move would be introduced in the government’s Freedom Bill in November, and could come into force early next year.

So the question to ask Labour Party members is why has it taken the election of a ConDem government to start bringing back some of the freedoms that the Labour Party legislated out of our lives? ID cards, CCTV, DNA database, child database anyone?

BBC News – Driver’s 30-hour protest in Wembley over clamped car

The Liberation of Council Tenants

Two news stories have got to me recently. One led me to rage, the other to tears.

Let’s start with the rage. David Cameron announces plan to end lifetime council tenancies | Society | The Guardian

It seems our ConDem overlords have decided that the destruction of state provided housing will continue unabated. The transfer of housing stock to private agencies has led to the concept of a ‘life tenenacy’ to all but disappear. To further bury this ‘undeserved perk of the great unwashed’ the government has now announced available changes to tenancy agreements.

In come short term tenancy agreements to ‘help increase social mobility’. Basically this means a review of a tenancy after as little as five years. Not enough people living there? Out you go. Earning too much? Out you go. Mum died and an empty room? You can sod off and find somewhere else to live. The true face of capitalism. It can’t bear the thought of common people being in receipt of anything that could be thought of as benefits and could be generating wealth for the monied classes.

The second story, the one which brings me to tears and which is intrinsically linked is that of pensioner Edward Meakins as reported in this local paper http://bit.ly/aoYquH.

Edward faces eviction for the crime of having his sister die. He’s lived at the property in Cricklewood for 74 years and has been part of a family that has paid rent and looked after the place for all of that time. Edward is in his twilight years and following the death of his sister has been told that he’s to sling his hook. As he says:

“This has been my life in this house since I was nine. Why do they want to turn me out? I don’t suppose I have got many more years to go, so why can’t they just leave me here until I die?”

Barnet Homes, the ALMO which took over council housing services and stock responded:

“We sympathise with Mr Meakins’ position, and we appreciate that the prospect of leaving the family home after so many years must be very difficult for him.

“However, Mr Meakins is living in a three-bedroom council house, which are in very short supply in Barnet.

“We have to balance our sympathy for his position against the needs of the large number of people on the borough’s housing register who are desperate for a good quality family home.

“We will continue to offer Mr Meakins all the support we can in finding suitable alternative accommodation.”

Better start packing Edward.

Council accomodation is in short supply because the witch Thatcher decided to transfer as much stock as possible to the private market with the right-to-buy policy. Then they started the process of transferring council stock control to third party organisatons. They they denied councils the ability to use council house sale receipts to build new housing. That’s why council houses are in ‘short supply’. And this political dogma is also responsible for the existence of organisations like Barnet Homes.

Barnet Homes, we salute your inhumanity to the most vulnerable in our society.

I’ve also discovered that my widowed mother in law, together with all the other widows in her street is going to be visited by inspectors from the housing association in the next few weeks. I wonder why?

Royal Berkshire Hospital to axe up to 600 jobs

That’s what the BBC News headline says – ‘Royal Berkshire Hospital to axe up to 600 jobs’

So we’ll have a hospital struggling to meet the needs of the community it serves. What’s the odds on 12 months down the line our ConDem overlords will offer up private capital to come to the rescue? The dismantling of the NHS continues with renewed vigour.

BBC News – Royal Berkshire Hospital to axe up to 600 jobs