Thursday, April 24, 2008

Meanwhile in France ...

Immigration Minister Brice Hortefeux told Le Figaro that the French government would give work permits to illegal immigrants on a case by case basis. This follows a CGT-backed strike in Paris on Tuesday by foreign workers demanding residence permits.

Vidanueva Rocks!

I especially love the quotes from Pope John Paul II:

"The Church considers the problem of illegal migrants from the standpoint of Christ, who died to gather together the dispersed children of God (cf. Jn 11:52), to rehabilitate the marginalized and to bring close those who are distant; in order to integrate all within a communion that is not based on ethnic, cultural or social membership, but on the common justice."


"In the Church no one is a stranger, and the Church is not foreign to anyone, anywhere. As a sacrament of unity and thus a sign and a binding force for the whole human race, the Church is the place where illegal immigrants are also recognized and accepted as brothers and sisters."

In the just released "Mission of the Church to migrants in England and Wales" the Roman Catholic Bishop of Southwark, Pat Lynch declares:

"The Church will continue to advocate compassion to allow the ‘undocumented’ an opportunity to acquire proper status, so that they can continue to contribute to the common good without the constant fear of discovery and removal."

What with this and the warning recently issued by Anglican Bishop of Durham, Tom Wright about the BNP, church leaders are sounding dangerously radical. And guess what? Some ostensibly orthodox Catholic Christians don't seem to like it. Tough. What was it St Ignatius of Antioch taught us about obedience to the bishops?

"Be subject to the bishop and to one another as Jesus Christ was to the father".

And here's St Irenaeus in Against Heresies Book IV, Chap. 26:2 on the importance of episcopal authority:

"It is necessary to obey those who are the presbyters in the Church, those who, as we have shown, have succession from the Apostles; those who have received, with the succession of the episcopate, the sure charism of truth according to the good pleasure of the Father. But the rest, who have no part in the primitive succession and assemble wheresoever they will, must be held in suspicion"

Or in case they still don't get it, allow Dolphinarium to spell it out in plain English:

The Cafeteria really is closed. Deal with it.

Tuesday, April 22, 2008

Gordon misunderstands his own bill say Labour MPs

Six Labour MPs have written to Gordon Brown, taking issue with his March open letter on the Human Fertilisation and Embryology Bill.

The letter from MPs Jim Dobbin, Geraldine Smith, Claire Curtis Thomas, Joe Benton, David Drew and the Rt Hon Tom Clarke, which will also be sent to all Labour MPs, takes issue with the Prime Minister’s scientific understanding of the Bill, and calls for a free vote to be extended to all areas of the Bill involving new ethical issues.

The letter points out that the Bill allows for the mixing of animal and human gametes to create true half -half hybrid embryos and note that in his evidence to the Joint Committee on 6th June 2007, the chief medical officer, Sir Liam Donaldson said “it was felt…there was no clear scientific benefit; there was no clear scientific argument as to why you would want to do it, and, secondly, a feeling that this would be a step too far as far as the public are concerned.”

The MPs note that the Bill would not in limit the creation of “saviour” siblings to the treatment of ‘rare genetic conditions,’ but would enable their creation for any unspecified “serious” condition.

They also criticize the the granting of HFEA licenses to scientists at Newcastle and London universities to create hybrid embryos before parliament has considered the HFE Bill and notes that the licenses may not even have been legal under the 1990 Act.

“An unelected body must not be allowed to usurp the place of Parliament, and attempts by Newcastle to create ‘facts on the ground’ ahead of the debate, through releasing a highly premature report of embryos that only survive ‘up to three days,’ no embryonic stem cells, and where the work has not been fully validated and is not even ready to start writing up for peer review, must be ignored,” the letter says.

Monday, April 21, 2008

Clerics Against Fascism

From this week's Tablet:

The Anglican Bishop of Durham, Tom Wright, has issued a stark warning about the rise of the BNP ahead of next month's general elections. In an open letter, the bishop said the BNP would gain a foothold where people were "disaffected" with national politics and had given up on the main parties. However it was not enough to urge people not to vote for the extreme right-wing party, he said, asking: "How can we drain the swamp so this kind of ideology won't breed again?"

Have I mentioned that I like Bishop Tom? He detests the BNP and he's a damn fine theologian as well. He's welcome to cross the Tiber any day, as far as this aquatic creature is concerned. He's running a close second in my favourite bishops list. The number one spot, of course, belongs to the one and only POD.

The ITO epidemic - urgent action now needed

Along with just-picked steamed asparagus in melted butter and Estelle singing Substitute Lover, the Irish Times letters page is one of this aquatic creature's great pleasures in life. Where else will one read earnest epistles on such burning issues of the day as Mna na hEireann, what did they look like before fake tan and hair dye? A few days ago, it contained the following gem by Patrick Kirby of Kildare:

"A headline in your edition of April 15 reads: 'corporation tax rate vital in terms of attracting investment, says Martin'. The Minister for Enterprise is a prolific user of the phrase 'in terms of' and your reporter includes a quote from Mr Martin in which, true to form, he uses it twice in one sentence. I'm worried that The Irish Times is now infected with the ITO virus and I would urge you take immediate remedial action before it starts worming its way into front page headlines."

Spot on. Unless firm, decisive action is taken, the ITO virus will, like that other clunky construction move on, spiral out of control. The thought is too terrible to contemplate.

Friday, April 18, 2008

Bye Bye Battleaxe

So, farewell then, Gwyneth Dunwoody, who in recent years came to be known as "fiercely independent" and "a thorn in the side of the government". How things changed during her long career. Back in the 1980s, Labour dynast, Dunwoody (she was the daughter of one time Labour Party Gen Sec, Morgan Phillips) was on the party's rightwing. Together with Ken Cure - Dennis Skinner dubbed the pair the "terrible twins" - she was a sworn opponent of the party's left, who she termed "clowns" and known for her hostility to the miners. She was also none too keen on Labour Party Black Sections. She was once overheard at Labour Party Conference loudly complaining that in her day, it wasn't the done thing to have Black people (she was quoted as using a less palatable term) speaking from the platform. Very charming.

Tuesday, April 15, 2008

This Week's Tribune - A Sneak Preview

For those of you who can't wait until Friday to get your hot, sweaty hands on the next copy of Tribune, here's a sneak preview. Personally, this aquatic creature can't wait to read John Street's incendiary diary (see bottom left hand corner).

HatTip: The man next to photocopier with a mischievous sense of humour.

Hybrid Hype

A good letter from MPs Jim Dobbin (Labour) and David Burrowes (Conservative) exposing the hype and misleading claims being made by proponents of human-animal hybrid embryos.

Sir - We were interested by Roger Highfield's article "Hybrids: separating hope from the hype" (Features, April 8), describing how the vast majority of people have been misled by frequent assertions that the inter-species embryos announced last week are "99.9 per cent human". Perhaps the Government could tell us what percentage of the full hybrids (created with human eggs and non-human sperm, or vice versa), also proposed by the Human Fertilisation and Embryology Bill, are human and whether it is honest to describe them as "human-admixed" embryos. It would also be very interesting to know what purposes these full hybrid embryos are meant to serve. Concerning contested licences, perhaps rather than irresponsibly pushing the boundaries of the 1990 Act, the HFEA might have more regard for patient safety, since new figures (from the report by the European Society for Human Reproduction and Embryology) show that Britain has the worst safety records for fertility treatment in Europe.

Remember the sage words of Professor David Albert Jones:

"The Bill will also allow the mixing of human and animal gametes to make half-half 'true hybrids'. True hybrids have no proposed benefit for medical research that anyone has been able to point to, but the bill explicitly allows them to be created under licence."

And remember how many diseases have been cured by embryonic stem cell research: NONE.

Fidel Castro

may be on his way to the great revolutionary tribunal in the sky, according to The Exile, via David Lindsay.

Sunday, April 13, 2008

Prima Donna has hissy fit, onlookers giggle

An ex-editor on the warpath,
And when he's finished there's gonna be a bloodbath

Well, not quite but he does want the "arsehole" who penned that para in the John Street column about him to know how he feels about it. How HE managed to attract such a "gratuitous and snide mention" in the back of the paper HE used to edit, HE is at a loss to know. Frankly HE doesn't deserve it. Because without HIM, Tribune would have been closed down, you know. No if's or buts, closed down. And no, HE emphatically isn't available to edit the New Statesman, which is a "poisoned chalice" for whoever gets the gig and HE's not that "bloody desperate" anyway, got that? And no, HE's not going to write an article for Tribune because HE's "not a complete mug". From now on HE'S NOT AVAILABLE.

Hat Tip: The man sitting next to the photocopier who wrote the naughty diary item which hit such a raw nerve.

Friday, April 04, 2008

Calling All Anti-Fascists

Searchlight's Nick Lowles is running a live blog today to announce who the BNP candidates are and where they will be standing. Find out about the real face of the BNP here and find out how you can help to stop them here.
They must not gain a foothold in our capital city.

Roman Catholics, remember the election guidance of the pastors of the church: "Catholics should never support parties with racist policies."

Labourites Do It Better

That's why London's most famous newt-lover has owned up to having five children by three different women.