Clause IV

 When I was a member of the Labour Party the membership card (which was indeed made of card) had the text below, known as Clause IV emblazoned across it.

To secure for the workers by hand or by brain the full fruits of their industry and the most equitable distribution thereof that may be possible upon the basis of the common ownership of the means of production, distribution and exchange, and the best obtainable system of popular administration and control of each industry or service.

Sounded good in 1918, sounds good today. Unfortunately Blair came along and in 1995 managed to get it rewritten as the waffle below:

The Labour Party is a democratic socialist party. It believes that by the strength of our common endeavour we achieve more than we achieve alone, so as to create for each of us the means to realise our true potential and for all of us a community in which power, wealth and opportunity are in the hands of the many, not the few, where the rights we enjoy reflect the duties we owe, and where we live together, freely, in a spirit of solidarity, tolerance and respect.

Now the new leader of the Labour Party comes along and in his maiden speech to  conference says it was right to do away with the old Clause IV!!

FAIL

IMF backs coalition spending cuts

So says the headline from the BBC. BBC News – IMF backs coalition spending cuts

It does beg the question though as to what would happen if the IMF didn’t back the government’s financial plans?

Wikipedia describes the IMF thus:

It is an organization formed with a stated objective of stabilizing international exchange rates and facilitating development through theenforcement of liberalising economic policies[1][2] on other countries as a condition for loans, restructuring or aid.[3] It also offers highly leveraged loans, mainly to <a href="http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Developing_country&quot; title="Developing
country”>poorer countries

Which really sums up what the IMF is about. It’s not concerned with the well-being of people, of humanity but the well-being of the financial system it is part of. Capitalism. Especially the nasty neo-liberal type.

So if the IMF didn’t agree with an elected sovereign government’s financial plans then we can assume it would take action to register it’s unhappiness. And there are many and varied ways it can do this.

The IMF does have incredible power for an unelected, unwanted organisation. It can and does dictate to sovereign countries what their economic policies have to be. It can demand the access of international capital to internal infrastructures like water supply, sanitation and other things essential to life.

For such a position of power it should be subject to democratic control. But it never will be because this type of capitalism cannot function under democraic control, being subject to the will of the people. A very good reason for any government with the best interests of it’s population at heart to untangle itself from this monster. There is another way, this doesn’t have to be the way things are. Don’t let them tell you otherwise.

As Billy Bragg once sung, No Power Without Accountability.

Billy Bragg – “NPWA”

The Parting Of The Red Sea

John Martin's painting of the plague of hail a...Image via Wikipedia

An article on the BBC brings to mind a situation from a few years ago. I used to lead a house group attached to my local Anglican church. I remember one evening as we were studying the Bible that one gentleman couldn’t wait to share some news. He had read in the papers that the miracles or calamities performed by God through Moses and Aaron, the Ten Plagues of Egypt were true! There were reports of scientific evidence of how they could have happened. As a reminder the events were:

  • Plague of blood
  • Plague of frogs
  • Plague of lice
  • Plague of flies
  • Plague of livestock death
  • Plague of boils
  • Plague of hail
  • Plague of locusts
  • Plague of darkness
  • Death of the first-born 

You can read about them in Exodus Chapters 7 to 12.

His understanding of ‘true’ was to reduce the cause and process to purely natural mechanisms.

Yet despite my friend’s excitement the ‘scientific’ reports were pure conjecture. But there was a more serious point to be addressed. In accepting the ‘scientific’ conjecture he was dismissing the supernatural aspects of God. The fact that the world wishes to place ‘scientific’ explanations upon what is commonly considered miraculous or supernatural regardless of evidence is something that we as believers need to be on out guard against. Where scientific proof is available then we can step back and accept that there ‘may’ have been a rational explanation of the process. But our faith is based on the supernatural – outside of the human logic of nature. The resurrection, the atonement for sins, propitiation, healings, all of these involve a supernatural intrusion in our fleshly understanding of nature. Even if the parting of the Red Sea could be explained by natural means this doesn’t mean that a supernatural intrusion wasn’t the beginning of the event. Less of a co-incidence and more of a God-incidence so to speak.

As a reminder here is Exodus 14:21-23.

 21And Moses stretched out his hand over the sea; and the LORD caused the sea to go back by a strong east wind all that night, and made the sea dry land, and the waters were divided.
 22And the children of Israel went into the midst of the sea upon the dry ground: and the waters were a wall unto them on their right hand, and on their left.
 23And the Egyptians pursued, and went in after them to the midst of the sea, even all Pharaoh’s horses, his chariots, and his horsemen.
 24And it came to pass, that in the morning watch the LORD looked unto the host of the Egyptians through the pillar of fire and of the cloud, and troubled the host of the Egyptians,
 25And took off their chariot wheels, that they drave them heavily: so that the Egyptians said, Let us flee from the face of Israel; for the LORD fighteth for them against the Egyptians.
 26And the LORD said unto Moses, Stretch out thine hand over the sea, that the waters may come again upon the Egyptians, upon their chariots, and upon their horsemen.
 27And Moses stretched forth his hand over the sea, and the sea returned to his strength when the morning appeared; and the Egyptians fled against it; and the LORD overthrew the Egyptians in the midst of the sea.
 28And the waters returned, and covered the chariots, and the horsemen, and all the host of Pharaoh that came into the sea after them; there remained not so much as one of them.
 29But the children of Israel walked upon dry land in the midst of the sea; and the waters were a wall unto them on their right hand, and on their left.
 30Thus the LORD saved Israel that day out of the hand of the Egyptians; and Israel saw the Egyptians dead upon the sea shore. (Exodus 14:21-30, King James Version)

May the Lord keep us in faith.

All God’s Creatures

Not all of them are beautiful.

I noticed a caterpillar that had rested below the lock on my back gate had made a cocoon around itself. That’ll be interesting I thought, to see the process of a butterfly appearing.

Unfortunately nature had other ideas. Some beastie has laid eggs on the cocoon and parked itself next to it. Anyone any ideas on what it may be?

Nostalgia in B&W

Rummaging through YouTube I came across these two theme tunes from programmes that I remember from my childhood. They both create within me a very peculiar feeling, a mixture of melancholy and warmth. Odd.

First off is the title tune to The Adventures Of Robinson Crusoe.

Next up we have the opening theme to White Horses.

If you remember them then enjoy!

A Still Small Voice

All estimates but shouldn’t be too far off.

Population of the UK – 61,000,000

Membership of the National Secular Society – 9,000 ( 0.01% of the population )

Membership of the British Humanist Association – 7,000 ( 0.01% of the population )

Number of Catholics in the UK – 4,200,000 ( 6.8% of the population )

It’s a shame that the media doesn’t give column inches and airspace in proportion to the numbers of those professing ‘secularism’ rather than in proportion to the egos of some of their spokespeople? Some people can’t stand to see the Catholics celebrating with the Pope visiting and really need to take a measure of their own significance.