Thursday, 23 October 2008

Strange goings-on Down Under...

New Zealand elections are afoot. But some of the writing seems to have bottomed out to the level of toilet humour.

"Both Labour and National face a potential headache over the Maori Party making entrenchment of the Maori seats a bottom line in any support deal - but National's opposition to the Maori seats puts it in a trickier position.
It got offside with the Maori Party this week over comments by its immigration spokesman Lockwood Smith, about Pacific and Asian seasonal workers - ... Mr Key said he was "frustrated" by Dr Smith's comments, which included references to Pacific workers needing to be taught to use a toilet.

Mr Key said yesterday he did not want to pre-judge negotiations with the Maori Party, but suggested bottom lines would be a factor only in a formal coalition."

I ask you...

Thursday, 16 October 2008

We haven't gone away you know...

Turns out the Church is still alive and kicking.

The Presbyterian Church in Ireland spoke out strongly today to encourage local NI politicians to get their act together and make the executive work. And it even showed signs of having thought through the implications of dealing with the past and these infernal inquiries that loom ahead. I had heard some discussion that indicated Westminster should bear the full cost of these... but to do so would only strengthen the political incentive for them to proliferate. If the NI government has to bear the cost, perhaps pressure can be brought to bear to restrain these claims, in order to have some cash left to make the place work - by spending money on education, health, water, sewage, roads, for example. Maybe even on a devolved and cross-community police and justice system that actually works.

It's a gamble, but it's in our interest - ALL of us - to make it work... isn't it? Having just read Malachi O'Doherty's The Telling Year, Belfast 1972, I'm absolutely sure we don't want to go back to the kind of fireworks that spooked my whole childhood here.

It's haunting enough just reading it now. For Littlun's sake, let's not go back there.

Wednesday, 15 October 2008

Credit Crunch - Curse or Blessing?

What a woman! Elaine Storkey was speaking in Belfast last night. Intelligent, articulate, thoughtful, humorous, and profoundly challenging, she managed to deliver one hour's worth of the Annual Catherwood Lecture on the current crisis, its background, some of its likely outcomes, and biblical alternative goals which might set us free from the tyranny of economic growth (obesity) and slavery to credit (debt).

The Centre for Contemporary Christianity in Ireland will produce this lecture as a Patmos paper - the Catherwood series on faith in the public square have been made available in this written form in the past.