Archive for April 4th, 2010

Urbi et Orbi 2010

I suppose I could be like the Archbishop of Canterbury and apologise if my pic above gives offence – but that would not be right. I do not mean offence to anyone who is a devout believer – for everyone has a right to believe or not believe and this is not a gratuitous insult to those who believe, nor directed at them. I do mean to  be critical of those who govern the church for the cover ups and lack of direct action.

The paedophile scandal has brought the Catholic church into disrepute.  It is shocking to believer and non-believer alike.    For years priests have been abusing children. For years these activities have been covered up.  They are serious criminal offences but more than that; priests charged with educating a child, in a position of trust, have not only abused children, they have stripped them of their childhoods and their belief and trust. I am sure many who are devout believers would agree that it is a shocking state of affairs and has to be addressed to the very root and dealt with.

Being a heathen, I like to mark this day each year with Urbi et Orbi in the original sense of the term – a proclamation.

Wikipedia notes: Urbi et Orbi (“to the City [of Rome] and to the World“) was a standard opening of Roman proclamations. The term is now used to denote a papal address and Apostolic Blessing that is addressed to the City of Rome and to the entire world.

It is an opportunity to write on a range of of issues and ideas which interest me in no particular order… in fact, randomly. Sometimes it is good to be ‘random’.

Meet Michael Pownall The Clerk of the Parliaments who billed the public £1,500 for a week at the Hilton hotel in Addis Ababa, Ethiopia, is paid about £170,000 a year, has been criticised for being lenient towards peers accused of misusing their allowances and has racked up a pension pot of £2 million – according to The Telegraph.

I just love this...”He claimed another £770 for his flights to the African country, which was hosting an international conference of parliamentary clerks in April last year. In a letter to the official who was reimbursing him, Mr Pownall wrote: “I remind you that I travelled Ethiopian Airlines, overnight, economy – for which I believe I deserve some credit.”

According to a spokesman for the House of Lords – who, presumably did not wish to be named?…“He has made considerable efforts to minimise the costs to the public purse.”

We live in a truly remarkable country… remarkable! Why would a third world country spend money hosting an international conference for Parliamentary Clerks?… and, come to that, why do they need one?. What do they talk about?  Expenses?  Readers may recall that the DPP, Keir Starmer QC had a bit of difficulty prosecuting peers because of a change in the rules at the Lords. Mr Pownall, apparently signed a gagging order in relation to matters according to The Telegraph.

The retrospective rules were blamed by Keir Starmer, the Director of Public Prosecutions, for undermining police inquiries into several peers’ allowance claims. Mr Pownall then signed a legal gagging order banning publication of a memo to the Lords committee outlining his reasons for approving the controversial guidelines.

Gilbert & Sullivan at its very best!  Rule Britannia!

With Labour shooting their feet off with the latest attack poster saying “Don’t let Cameron take you back to the 1980s” – they haven’t got it quite right. I had a great time in the Eighties and happily admit that Margaret Thatcher did provide the impetus for some of those pleasures.  Guido Fawkes and Iain Dale have both reminded us about some of the good things in the Eighties.  As someone who is supposed to be a Labour supporter, there are only 3 items on Iain Dale’s list I would not agree with – and yes, I have no problem with Scargill being defeated (One of Iain Dale’s 20 good things).  I am not a fan of Union power abuse and posturing.   Have a look – a good list – brings back some excellent memories – as it may well for you if you were there and able to enjoy them.  I’m getting worried… am I really a Tory? I shall speak to my Doctor.  Perhaps he’ll give me an injection.

Not content with past buffoonery on the question of self defence, Chris ‘Kill a Burglar’ Grayling has diversified and gone in for a bit of gay bashing with his latest pronouncement, taped in secret.

Secret tape reveals Tory backing for ban on gays

• B&Bs ‘should have right to bar gays’
• Exclusion would violate law – Labour
• Audio: Listen to the recording


I’ve never regarded Mr Fawlty as the brightest knife in the shadow cabinet box – but this latest nonsense takes the biscuit. Tory blogger and commentator Iain Dale was quick to condemn and criticise (rightly) in a thoughtful post.

If the Tories win, I have no doubt that Mr Fawlty would provide hours of fun for us bloggers… but we must be selfless and suggest that Cameron considers Grayling’s position.  I rather suspect, had Grayling made the same remarks about Jews, Afro-Caribbean etc etc… Grayling would be heading to Torquay now to try his hand at running a Bed & Breakfast.  I wonder if David Cameron will be firm and decisive on this one?  He may lose a few Gay votes… he may not.  Most Gays  are pretty tolerant people, able to see the wider picture and forgive idiocy, unlike…it would seem…Mr Grayling.

And finally… my thoughts, ineluctably…turned to the question of my own departure from Terminal Life and after a glass or two of wine I came up with an epitaph. I shall leave it in a sealed envelope to be opened on my death…

“I was a restoration project and had no wife: they that dranketh with me, though I am now dead,, yet shall they laugh”

And..on that note…enjoy Resurrection Sunday…as someone on Twitter is bound to call it and have a good weekend.

Read Full Post »