Tuesday, 27 October 2009
I read today about changes to the asylum system. Asylum seekers who want to claim “in-country asylum” will need to travel to Croydon to do so, instead of having the option of Liverpool or Glasgow as before. This is another scandalous attack on very vulnerable folk. The mark of any society is how it treats the stranger, especially the destitute. The BNP may think that anyone who claims asylum is at it but the truth is that the vast majority are escaping violence and persecution. Sadly, we seem to want to continue that persecution rather than alleviate it.
The photograph was taken by Gareth harper.
I was unimpressed to see that HBOS have chosen to hammer ordinary customers with a radically increased overdraft fee. Is this once again the poor folk paying for the mistakes of the rich folk? Why is it always the little guy that gets hammered when the powerful screw up? No matter how they spin it, this is the 1000’s of ordinary customers paying through the nose for the excesses of a few who still don’t seem to worry about how what they do affects others.
Thursday, 22 October 2009
I have spent time this week with a group of people of all faiths and none, planning a rally on Glasgow Green on 14th Nov. to celebrate our common humanity in the face of forces that seek to divide us along fault lines of race and religion. The rally sets out to show those who harbour racist or bigoted views about whom we have heard a great deal recently, just how well all of us in Scotland can belong together, not simply tolerating one another but enjoying the diversity of insight and experience, culture and our common humanity. It is a positive approach to a negative situation, trying to search for love in time where hate seems to be winning the day.
Monday, 19 October 2009
I was angry when I heard about the moves by Lloyds Banking Group to undermine the integrity of the Lloyds TSB foundation. The Lloyds TSB foundation was never about the money. They created real relationships with those they funded. They supported those involved in projects so that money given was better spent. Most importantly they understood that in the fragile places where much of their money went, the change hoped for and the change achieved was not always the same thing, but that was not a sign of failure. It is however, a sign of failure by those at the heart of banking to fail to change their culture as they promised.
Wednesday, 14 October 2009
This coming Saturday all over the world people, concerned about poverty will mark the UN International Day for the Eradication of Poverty (World Poverty Day). This year, the 20th anniversary of the Convention on the Rights of the Child, the focus will be the hardships faced by children and their families. My small contribution will be to write to Gordon Brown reminding him that making poverty history is the central moral challenge of our generation. It’s linked to climate change. It’s linked to the credit crunch. It is linked to who we are as human beings. Are we willing to make sacrifices for people who we will never know but whose suffering is now echoing through the global village? This is a job for us all. If we get it right, we will all benefit.
Photograph taken by The Last Paladin.
Monday, 12 October 2009
If I was an MP I’d be getting someone else to open my mail today. The letter to MPs from independent auditor Sir Thomas Legg may well be the last nail in several more political careers. It's right and proper that MPs should pay what they owe and no-one can claim Sir Thomas is anything but independent as he’s even pulled up the man who appointed him, Gordon Brown. My worry however, is not the reaction of MPs, but of those watching for the opening of those envelopes. I worry that these letters will have an unintended consequence – like picking a scab that needs now to be left alone to heal. We need a new political era. We need a new untainted political generation. But if every time we do something to help clean up we feed the idea that all of politics, not just politicians, is corrupt, we do ourselves a disservice, one that we may struggle to recover from for a very long time.
Friday, 9 October 2009
get a little greener. That’s not a theological statement but an environmental one. Apparently every school in Glasgow is going to get an allotment so pupils can grow their own food and learn about healthy eating first hand. But it’s even more important than that. There was a time when “dig for victory” was a statement of defiance against a human enemy. These days the problem is not a warring nation but a warming world. And every little helps. We need carrot crunching as well as carbon counting to help save our planet and I am proud that my city is leading the way.
Photograph of allotment fox was taken by Marj Joly
Photograph of allotment fox was taken by Marj Joly
The competition between the main political parties to prove they will create the biggest reduction in the amount we as a nation spend on welfare benefits ( see here and here ) is both tragic and damaging. It's tragic because it at least implies that we are in a financial crisis because of the actions of the poorest; that somehow their need is costing us too much when it was the greed, (or the inappropriate risk taking with other folks' money), of some very rich people that means we are in hock as a nation right up to our necks. And it’s damaging because it marginalises people who are already on the edge. A nation is defined by how it treats those in need. This political war of words and testosterone is not about our national budget. It is about our national soul. And that’s bad news for all of us when the debate is so acrimonious and the protagonists are both in the wrong.