politicsNo blogging for week because I have been busy preparing a sermon for this evening and for leading a Bible study last Thursday. So a few comments on what has been in the news this week.
Gert Wilders, the Dutch MEP was denied entry to Britain to show his film 'Fitner' to parliamentarians in the House of Lords. Readers of this blog will know that I have seen this film and provided a link to it on the internet. It is a short film that juxtaposes scenes of atrocities committed by Muslims (9/11, 7/7, Madrid and a hostage beheading) with the parts of the Koran that certain Muslims use to justify their actions. Banning Wilders did not stop anyone watching it. Indeed the added publicity ensured that many more people went to the various websites that feature it.
It is obviously true that not all Muslims ascribe to these views any more than Christians and Jews any longer feel the need to totally wipe out the Amalekites. The problems is that some Muslims do, and many of them live in the Western democracies. People over here are frightened by them. Free speech is not an optional extra to protect people who agree with you. The Muslim member of the House of Lords was out of order when he persuaded the Home Secretary to ban Wilders and the Home Secretary was both wimpish and authoritarian.
Jade Goody was treated for metastatic cervical cancer and it was announced that the disease is untreatable and that she has little time left. She is the ultimate in the 'famous for 15 minutes' syndrome. She first came to fame for her outrageous behavior on 'Big Brother' and then was cast off 'I'm a Celebrity Get Me Out of Here' for racist speech. She was held up as an example of the colossal ignorance of the 'underclass'. Then on the Indian version of 'Big Brother' she was told on camera that she had advanced cancer. While the TV world looked on she lost her hair to chemotherapy. She has expressed a desire to die on camera as a warning to the world. Since cervical cancer is mostly caused by Human Papilloma Virus, which is a sexually transmitted infection one wonders whether her display will reduce promiscuity.
And as if outrageous behavior had yet to reach its limit, we now have a 12 year-old apparently fathering a child on a 15 year old girl. The boy is clearly pre-pubertal and the claim is probably untrue, but exactly what do the parents think they are doing? Trying to make money from their children's misfortune is the obvious answer. The welfare state will provide the children with somewhere to live and £30,000 a year in benefits, apparently. then there is what the newspapers and TV will pay for the stories. It may all come to nothing since two older boys are now claiming to be the father. It seems to me that the teenagers should be taken into care and the parents prosecuted - and the baby adopted.
But adoption itself in hazardous. One couple have had their three children adopted against there will because social workers thought they had been abusing their middle child. Doubts have now arisen as to the justice of the claim. It seems that the child failed to thrive on formula milk and was switched to a soya substitute that lacked vitamin C. Experts have claimed that the apparent injuries were due to scurvy. Nonetheless, the Appeal Court has ruled that the adoptions are irreversible. As the father said, "If our children had been kidnapped and then recovered, would the children have had to stay with the kidnappers because they had got used to them?"
The financial crisis deepens with Gordon Brown catching most of the stick. He got the plaudits in the good times and must expect criticism in the bad ones. They latest suggest is 'quantitative easing', a euphemism for printing money. The Retail Price Index of inflation was 0.1% this month. This was mainly due to a fall in mortgage interest rates and a cut of 2.5% in VAT. However the Consumer Prices Index, which is the government's favored measure was 3.1%, still way above the 2% target. So have we got inflation or deflation?
The real problem in the economy is the failure of the banks to lend money to people needing cash to keep their businesses active, or to replace their car or to improve their house. The government has given the banks billions of taxpayers money so that they can lend, but it seems that that money is being used to replenish their own financial reserves and pay their employees huge bonuses. Since several of the banks are now nationalized, the government has it in its power to remedy that behavior. However, so many of the bankers are advising the government that I doubt it will happen. The Bank of England thinks 2010 will be better. Presumably because we will by then be shot of the Labor Party.
ADDED LATER 26/5/09. The 12 year old was not the father.