My regular readers (thank you, all of you) will remember my post from last month about the 17 members of parliament who have been supplied with interns funded by the homophobic charity CARE (Christian Action Research and Education). I’ve since been on a little mission in persuading the most local of the MPs, Sharon Hodgson (MP for Washington and Sunderland West) to sever ties with CARE.
I am more than overjoyed to announce that both Ms. Hodgson and Catherine McKinnell (MP for Newcastle North) have withdrawn from the scheme, making statements denouncing the views of the charity.
I never thought I’d be writing another post referencing Christianity so soon after my last one. I practically emptied myself of my thoughts regarding my mother faith! However, apparently in this twisted world I may never be finished commenting on the worst excesses of it.
In my e-mail this morning I received an invitation to sign a petition, directed at several members of parliament who have received material support from a Christian charity, CARE (Christian Action Research and Education). The petition was started by Phillip Dawson from Enfield, who discovered that CARE co-sponsored a conference in 2009 which included the topics of “therapeutic approaches to same-sex attraction” and “mentoring the sexually broken”. His discovery turned into horror when he realised that the very same charity has since funded interns for 18 members of parliament, including his own (who has since severed ties with the organisation).
In today’s news, Conservative MP Philip Davies offered a unique and quite frankly, baffling solution to one of the UK’s hardest hitting unemployment problems. Those who have physical or mental disabilities, Mr. Davies said, should ‘be given the option’ to offer themselves for employment at less than the minimum wage (which currently stands at £5.93p/h).
His argument, condensed, is this. Disabled people are heavily discriminated against in the employment market. When given the choice between a disabled applicant and one who is more able-bodied, employers will automatically choose the able-bodied person as they will be ‘more productive’ and ‘less of a risk’. As a result, disabled people are being done ‘a huge disservice’, as they are not given the chance to prove otherwise. He believes that disabled people should be given the choice to work at a lower rate to make employers more likely to employ them in a cash-strapped economy.
There are more than a few issues I have with this idea.
“Today I have seen queues at petrol stations of up to two miles. Some shops are open, but there are queues. It seems like you have to listen to local radio to hear what is opening and then head down there. But I’ve also seen people queuing outside shops that aren’t open. Whether they’ve heard they are going to open, I don’t know. We are quite lucky because we live in a fairly new apartment in the city. By half way through yesterday we had water and they got our electricity on.
We couldn’t stand up. The quake never seemed to stop – such powerful shaking for just over a minute. I had to jump on top of the nearest three kids and try to keep them calm even though they and also I were so terrified. The classroom was totally turned over, bookshelves down, the photocopier also fallen down. There are an estimated 10,000 dead in Miyagi, but that’s just an estimate. Some people can’t get in contact because they can’t phone, so hopefully that number will be less.”
Michael Tonge, an English teacher who was at work in Sendai, Miyagi prefecture, at the time the tsunami hit Japan’s northern coast
“Remarkably enough, I know people must think it was a really horrific experience – it’s so much easier to take any form of punishment if you believe you actually deserve it, and I did.
It wasn’t a weekend break, put it that way. I didn’t feel sorry for myself. I thought, ‘Oh my God, this place is absolutely filthy,’ because it was Pentonville. I just thought, you get your head down.”
Singer George Michael, speaking about his prison sentence last September for a drug-fuelled crash into the front of a photo shop in London
“I’m just lucky enough to be employed in this business and get good parts still. I just want another good job. To be in a hit though has been really refreshing; I have enjoyed being in a hit because there have been so many films I’ve been in which about 3.2 people have seen.
It’s fantastic that so many people get such patent pleasure, and all ages. Usually when I see someone coming towards me with great enthusiasm, I can put them into which film they’re launching towards, you know, either Fight Club or maybe. With The King’s Speech I get eight year olds coming up and saying ‘I loved it’, and 88 year olds. It’s the fact that it’s got such a wide appeal to every nationality and every age, every culture. It’s quite extraordinary.”
Actress Helena Bonham Carter speaking about her part in The King’s Speech and her subsequent Oscar nomination for Best Actress in a Supporting Role, one of 11 nominations the film has received
“It’s still very difficult for me to tell my family about my life being a lesbian. They know I am a believer, they know I am religious, but going as far as saying I am a lesbian is quite hard. I remember thinking this is the only time I am going to get married, and my family weren’t there.
That was constantly going through my mind – I am having an Islamic nikah, doing as much as I can through my faith, but my family weren’t there.”
Asra, a lesbian muslim woman who has married her partner Sarah through a ‘nikah’ or traditional Muslim wedding rite, despite the faith’s ongoing majority opposition to same-sex marriage
“If it does, John and I will be doing cartwheels. And that’s not easy at our age.”
Professor Daniel Whitmire of the University of Louisiana on research which may prove the existence of another ninth planet in our solar system; Tyche, thought to be four times the size of Jupiter
“Despite some delays we are fully back on track and very excited to get started.”
Director Peter Jackson announces the date filming will begin in New Zealand for new project The Hobbit – 21st March – after being released from hospital on Thursday
“It was definitely a very close thing – I can’t believe I fell 1,000ft and did not have any broken arms or legs. It really sunk in when I was in the helicopter and one of the guys said they thought they were just going to pick up a body. They told me I had gone over three major cliffs on the way down, each one over 100ft.
I think I was knocked out by the end of it, and kind of lost a bit of my memory. I wasn’t sure if I’d gone over one hill or two or what, so I was trying to get my bearings. I think I’d gone into autopilot. I remember thinking I didn’t really want a helicopter – I’d already tried to put my rucksack back on to climb back up and carry on. But when I tried again to lift it on to my shoulders, that was when I realised the pain I was in.”
Climber Adam Potter from Glasgow who fell from the 1000ft Sgurr Choinnich Mor mountain in Ireland – and stood up afterwards