too much religion …

Someone once quipped ‘Always and never are two words you should always remember never to use’. As the terror in Iraq continues tonight with the murder of 34 children at the water treatment plant in Baghdad, it is fast becoming a cliché to expect people in the free world always to unite on a common resolve of never giving in to terrorism – no matter the cost. I read the full text of Tony Blair’s speech yesterday. It wasn’t his proposed 10 point plan that warmed me to his party, nor his comical dismissal of the Lib Dems, nor his reminder that we as a nation have undoubtedly enjoyed material changes under the Labour government. No, it was his candour and his insightful summation that the world faces a new, deeply rooted phenomenon – global terrorism, executed based on the perversion of the peaceful and honourable faith of Islam.

Yet last night, in the salubrious surroundings of a dining hall in Holborn, our very own Archbishop of Canterbury addressed a congregation of Alpha graduates, and praised them for taking risks, in the way they have re-branded and marketed Christianity to bring lost or confused souls back to God. I don’t pretend to fully understand the Alpha programme, but I am certain of this: all too often we blame religion (the lack or abundance of it) for the attrocities committed by those who have long swapped faith for guns, idealism for explosives, and forgotten when and why they had done so. And now, instead of WMD, we appear to be peddling WMC – weapons of mass communication. We need a logo/marketing plan like we need a bullet in the head!

Religion should always be personal, and never thrusted on anyone.

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labouring the moon festival …

I’m known for my ambivalence about politics and right now, I’m fired up about the state of the nation and will be tuning in when Tony Blair makes his election pledges at Labour Conference 2004. You’ve got to listen to the hype, if only to make up your own mind – especially after the amuse bouche from Gordon Brown yesterday. Prosperity? Call me capitalist, by all means – but social injustice?! Nah, I’ll just take the loot … and keep it all for myself! This morning, BBC Radio 4’s Long View featured China, projected to become the 2nd largest economy in the next decade, but after the Tories’ initiative back in the 80’s, the UK seems quite nonchalant, bordering on apathetic, about strengthening trade links with this emerging superpower.

Today is the 15th moon day of the 8th month a.k.a. the Moon Festival – an auspicious date in the lunar calendar for the Chinese, the mid-autumn equivalent of thanksgiving I suppose. Read all about the legend here. With lots of moon cakes being consumed, I wonder if there will be a rebellious note from Kenneth Clarke tucked inside mine ;o)

on yer bike …

200 calories! That’s all I’ve burned, according to the computer thinghy when we went cycling on Sustrans Cycle Route 4 this morning – bet it didnt include the last 1/2 mile of bike pushing (maybe that’s why they are called push bikes!) all the way home after the air mysteriously escaped from the rear tyre. Ummmmm, somebody’s trying to tell me something. And then our Sky+ system decided to keel over and die … again. The usual hard disk problem, requiring a revival with a low-level format. Maybe I should get the new 80+hour Sky+ 160Gb when it comes out in October ;o) J got me watching a bid on eBay for a Luella Bartley handbag – a scarlet red Giselle, but we didn’t win it. If anyone knows another source for a black one, preferably at 1/2 price, drop me a line!

not so jolly …

On Tuesday, I turned 38. J stuck 3 little candles on my cake … if only! And then I discovered blogging. Quite serendiptous really. Browsing the news that morning, I wanted to find out more about the f***ers who were holding 2 Americans and a Brit hostage – some losers called the Tawhid and Jihad group. Anyway, that somehow took me to vixgirl’s site (respect!), so I decided to start my own blog …It seems appropriate that my inaugural blog should be about our home.

The pub next door, the Jolly Miller, is being changed back to a house, but what infuriated me was the article in the local rag about how people were so sorry to see it go. Someone even suggested keeping the sign up or putting up some sort of commemorative plaque. This is what I wrote to the editor …

Anyone lamenting the passing of the Jolly Miller pub cannot have suffered the years of pointless heart thumping Drum&Bass riffs every week-end, the swelling squeals of under aged drunks, the open and offensive transactions of drugs by the kerbside, the customary screeching of tyres as boy racers pull away at closing time, the permanent carpet of broken glass on the pavement in the mornings, the shameless use of our front garden as a privy, and general damage to adjoining property. As a neighbour, we have endured all the above and experienced the ultimate – a death threat when we asked for a car blocking our driveway to be moved! £50,000 worth of refurbishment in 1997 by the Wadworth group could not save this den of inequity from the inevitable – and the reason is simple: you can’t make a silk purse out of a sow’s ear. A commemorative plaque? Absolutely! R.I.P.

So there … nothing more to be said.