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Tuesday 14 February 2012

Verity Murphy | 19:08 UK time, Tuesday, 14 February 2012

Tonight we de-code the varied messages on how the UK economy is faring which has seen a drop in inflation rates today, a recent rise in manufacturing, but the threat of a credit downgrade from Moodys.

Are we on track for recovery, and if so will it be sustainable long-term recovery? Our reporter Joe Lynam has been finding out.

Plus we have a report from Bill Law who is in Bahrain where police have been firing rubber bullets and tear gas at stone throwing protesters who have been trying to march on the site of the now-demolished Pearl Roundabout - the focus of pro-democracy demonstrations in the capital Manama one year ago today.

And Baroness Warsi, co-chairman of the Conservative party, claims that the British way of life - indeed that of all of Europe - is threatened by militant secularisation which is deeply intolerant of religion. Has she got a point? We will discuss.


  • Comment number 1.

  • Comment number 2.

    You've not mentioned today's laughable Govt announcement on inflation figures...

    To quote Dr PCR recently...

    "A government and media that will deceive you about simple things such as inflation, unemployment, and GDP growth, will lie to you about everything."

  • Comment number 3.

    Baroness Warsi stated that "to create a more just society, people need to feel stronger in their religious identities and more confident in their creeds"

    Why should people be confident in what they have doubts about? Too many people are overconfident in what they can't possibly know, including the PM and the chancellor who are foolishly persisting in an economic experiment they don't understand, despite evidence that it's failing.

    Back to Baroness Warsi: as I suggested in my post #33 on the previous thread, those people who are most confident in their creeds suggest that those not of their faith, including herself, will spend and eternity in Hell. Is she comfortable with that? Of course many of her own co-religionists believe the same!

    Yet apologists and proselytisers for various faiths want protection against their feelings being hurt, as this little story shows:

    There is a difference between respecting somebody's right to hold a belief, and respecting the belief itself. Especially when that belief is one of a family of creeds that, over the centuries, has been used to "justify" the worst crimes against humanity.

    There is a robust tradition of debate and satire in Britain, as the link below illustrates. Religion should not be exempt: nor in the modern world should anyone be coerced by the state into being part of a ritual in which they don't believe.

    If Baroness Warsi thinks that organised secularism is anything new, or necessarily totalitarian, she is is crassly ignorant of European History and reality. Does she think that secular France is totalitarian for not giving public money to religious schools?

    In the UK, the first non Oxbridge University in England was secular UCL, inspired by atheist Jeremy Bentham. (His mummified cadaver is still "present but not voting" at college council meetings).

    Prior to the founding of UCL, now one of the world's top universities*, there was vast discrimination against non C-of-E members, who weren't allowed in universities. The established church in England was always part of a system of oppression and privilege. The influence of Secularism has been a force for justice and humanity in UK history.

    * and I say that despite going to UC's very non-secular rival.

  • Comment number 4.


    Our greatest, most pernicious, threat is Westminster D MOCK CRASS Y, that connives at lies for votes at General Election (specifically, in 2010, the CONSERVATIVE PARTY lies for votes). I have, repeatedly presented the lady with DOCUMENTARY PROOF, and her response had been repeated silence. Implicit guilt.

    I don't know which brand of Christianity the Baroness espouses; I DO know Christ would not own - indeed recognise - it.


  • Comment number 5.

    there is NO LEGAL REASON why AQ cannot be put on a plane to Jordan. So why the fumbling? Who benefits? who is milking the idea of a 'dangerous terrorist' on the streets? it makes no rational sense. which means its political.

  • Comment number 6.

    Tony was confident about his faith. not really a good model?

  • Comment number 7.

    the uk is institutionalist segregationaist.

    there is no reason for having race/ethnic/religion data for uk citizens.

    either you are uk or you are not. end of story. if uk then everyone treated the same. no 'special cases'.

    the segregationalist industry that is built up on such data needs to end.

  • Comment number 8.

    @6 I wish there were a "like" button!

    Tony may have been confident in his faith, but once more I am reminded of what Disraeli said of Gladstone (perhaps the prototype "Orange Book" Liberal): "His conscience is not so much his guide, as his accomplice".

    It was always obvious that Revd Blair was a closet Roman, but being honest about it would have made his position as PM more difficult. So he didn't "come out" until after he retired. Not long after that, he had the audacity to lecture the Pope about gay rights: but nobody in return asked Tony about "Thou shalt not kill"

    However, speaking of the Commandment, as the Baroness is visiting the Vatican, perhaps she can ask the Bishop Of Rome* about the inquisition. Is he prepared to apologise for the burning of alleged heretics at the stake? After all, without repentance there can be no redemption!

    *The UK recognises no higher title.

  • Comment number 9.


    Nuff sed

  • Comment number 10.


    While just one religion endures, we may properly be termed immature; this includes the Church of the Latter Day Dawkins.

    While we remain immature, the demon-driven ones will continue to rule, and cleverness will continue to triumph over wisdom.

    Survival of the fittest only holds true under adversity. In the absence of adversity, the survivors are, de facto, UNFIT. We are effete and barmy, but we can't all fit into Westminster . . .

  • Comment number 11.

    The two thousand year old pseudo-hallucinogen induced fairy tale raises it’s head again, supposedly seeking to regain it’s rightful sic place of prominence in UK society.

    A nice jolly for the lady and the six other honourable members - presumably all at our expense - but why, what is the purpose? Is it anything more than an opportunity to get a picture for the personal scrapbook, something to talk about at the next dinner-party, or the first step to beatification for ….. The Munificent Seven?

    Is this political mission(ary) proposing any particular religion be more accepted or prominent in UK? This must be asked on top of the fact that one cleric describes the UK as more islamic than some islamic countries.

    Religion is on the up in Hackney. So is knife crime.

    The followers of catholicism are growing in number. Back street abortions are - hopefully …. please! - finally a thing of the past.

    And the number of mosque new builds doesn’t appear to be slowing down. And still the radicals emerge.


    Social deprivation? Moral Crutch? A superior divinity?

    Or …..

    Just ….

    Power grabbing?


  • Comment number 12.

    Perhaps the only " credible plan " to get the UK deficit down is to DEFAULT ?

  • Comment number 13.

    One of the things the British public rightly despises is the ritual set piece 'gladiatorial' debate in the Commons, in which petty point-scoring obscures mature debate about the real issues.

    But it seems that tonight Newsnight has arranged a number of 'copycat' set piece debates.

    Re Moody's. Whatever the legitimate concerns about the British economy, why take any notice of the ratings agencies. In the run-up to the financial crisis, they rated as AAA what turned out to be junk. They were accomplices in creating the mess which exists now. Why have they not been prosecuted and broken up?

    I also don't want to watch an adversarial debate between Dawkins and a Bishop. Dawkins will no doubt bash the Bishop, and the Bishop defend the status-quo. We need more people who approximate to "real" rather than tired stereotypes.

    I don't have the answers: I sometimes wonder at my own existence. I'd take refuge in solipsism by saying that I was a figment of of my own imagination if it weren't that I come across works of people cleverer than I am, eg Omar Khayyam:

    Ah love! could you and I with Him conspire
    To grasp this sorry scheme of things entire,
    Would not we shatter it to bits
    - and then Re-mold it nearer to the heart's desire!

    (He was a good mathematician too!)

  • Comment number 14.

    Economic discussion tonight

    Amongst three women.

    How many noticed that the German woman was the most strident, truthful, accurate commentator? (btw she was the least attractive? but does that matter?)

    Just who was the most credible?

  • Comment number 15.

    Is it not a conflict of interest for Julie Meyer to come on national television and repeatedly plug one of her clients, Monetise, without making it clear she is an interested party? It's clear from their website that her firm Ariadne has invested or advised Monetise. Can we ever trust what bankers tell us, or are they always out for themselves?!

  • Comment number 16.

    David Cameron to launch attack on Britain's 'boozing scandal'

    This is as cute as David's botty!

  • Comment number 17.

    All the Bishop of Rochester wants is the "Judeao-Christian tradition" in legislation - stoning people to death for example? The Judeao-Christian tradition is not the same as the Christianity of the New Testament.

    Tonight, to my surprise, despite an unbalanced panel, Dawkins was by far the most cogent and reasonable.

  • Comment number 18.


    My second tenet is that the most driven (needy) of us, rise to power because of an innate tendency not to destroy the vulnerable - an animal imperative that DOES NOT WORK when expressed in The Ape Confused by Language. We are a perverse species and


  • Comment number 19.

    Living within your means.

    Three guests on the economy. American woman (I think) said Clinton was responsible for the bubble, he'd pushed for a policy that allowed greater home-owner numbers, this is true and that policy was pushed even harder under Bush. Clinton removing glass steagall was the root of todays economic problems, that and destroying the wests industrial base and sending it over to China and other developing countries..add into that the human nature to be greedy. Back to Clinton again and the removal of Glass steagal, he needed more tax coming in for his socialist policy spending spree which he'd promised the voters and those that gave him the presidency. He listened to greenspan, cut back on social spending but later went hog wild when the banks were allowed to run amok. There you go, its all Bill -I did not have sex with that women -Clintons fault. Your American guest also said we must live within our means, which was balked at by the other guest (maybe Polish, maybe German) she said we need bigger Govt. she would say that, she wore a red top, she's a Marxist!

    I tend to agree with Dawkins regarding religion but his fervent dislike for Christianity has made me more of a supporter of the religion. (I was raised as a Catholic, which might explain quite a lot) I may think its generally a whole load of nonsense myself but I'll go with it on account I don't fancy the call for friday prayers with a mat and compass in hand..I'll go with what I already know thank you very much!

  • Comment number 20.

  • Comment number 21.

    I'll repeat myself again, the only thing Warsi wants is to promote her own religion, islam. That's why she's bemoaning the lack of religious belief here, she doesn't want religion slipping down the agenda, so that the majority of the brits can ignore islam.

  • Comment number 22.


    I sent God the odd message but - not unlike Baroness Warsi - he did not reply.

    I concluded he (like the Baroness) had no interest in my wellbeing.

  • Comment number 23.

  • Comment number 24.


    You are just trying to get me to write:


    and to bang on about covert tyranny - so I won't.

  • Comment number 25.


    I understand "Dave's Botty" has replaced "Top Totty" in the H of C bars MuseV.

    Be sure Dave's righteous rush will be preceded by chats with his funding chums, The Brewers, to minimise any damage to the BOTTOM line.

    Look at tobacco! Still with us despite massive USA damages paid to the massively damaged.

    Alcoholic oblivion, tobacco stimulation and religious escapism: all symptoms of IMMATURITY.

  • Comment number 26.

    #21 ecolizzy wrote:

    "I'll repeat myself again, the only thing Warsi wants is to promote her own religion, islam."

    I think you are wrong. She wants to promote religion per se (I'm CoE btw, not that that is relevant).

    Which group has it in for the statist characteristics of the rest of secular society? (other than their own group?).

    Remember, this group do not like practices that endanger business (unless it applies to their own).

    Give her some respect. purleeses.

  • Comment number 27.


    It's climate change Lizzy, but not as they expect it. A bit of Armageddon will thin us all out.

  • Comment number 28.

    Re the Newsnight 14th February 2012 programme item on ‘militant secularism’:

    Richard Dawkins’ views on a number of things (in this case on the nature of religious belief, and on the historico-cultural influences of Judeo-Christianity, for instance) are woefully simplistic and uninformed. I was not surprised to hear Michael Nazir-Ali’s laugh of incredulity when Dawkins denied (against all the scholarship) the widespread influence of Christian beliefs on the formation of modern Western liberal cultures. Similar ignorance has informed much of the USA’s misbegotten overseas adventures in recent years. As Dawkins should know (but apparently doesn’t – despite his theory of ‘memes’), cultural systems (such as individualistic liberal democracy) have an evolutionary history; this (with all its weight of historical time and development) can’t simply be transplanted into foreign soils and be expected, unproblematically, to flourish there. The attempt to do this is what has made every venture of cultural imperialism a form of violence.
    As to the odd mixtures of beliefs claimed by self-identified Christians responding to the recent Dawkins Foundation’s survey, such has been the common case (both in Judaism and then in Christianity) for more than two millennia. Doctrinal purity has always been the preserve only of the intellectuals (whether priestly castes, fundamentalist reformers or modern atheist professors). As the anthropology of religion indicates, ordinary people have always held a mixture of syncretistic beliefs. Reasons for affiliation with a belief tradition are much more complex than simply subscription to a purist doctrine. Modern rationalist intellectuals have never understood this.
    We wring our hands about falling educational standards, but it is shameful that an (ex) Oxford University professor should mount a campaign for public understanding (of science and, in this case relatedly, religion) based on such uninformed and ahistorical prejudices. Even with ‘serious’ TV programmes such as Newsnight, the televisual culture of immediacy, sound-bites and ‘personalities’ seems to militate against any possibility of seriously informed discussion about the history of beliefs and their continuing life in contemporary cultures. Thus, we seem (as a culture) condemned to forget what has made us. Cosmological (i.e. religious) beliefs have made us, and make us still. These are manifest in every aspect of our contemporary (supposedly rational, supposedly scientific) beliefs. It would be better if we (and Richard Dawkins) were able to understand this.

  • Comment number 29.


    How many bars in Westminster - at the last count?

    Will Baroness Warsi explain "Mote and Beam" to Christianity-friendly Dave, when she gets back from the crass Papal junket?

    Do these Mendacious Puppets set out to make a spectacle of themselves? We are not governed - we are mocked. D MOCK CRASS Y.


    Quick - find some Johnnie Foreigners to bomb as a diversion!

  • Comment number 30.

    MUSE V IS C OF E (#26)

    Well V - you are certainly an original sinner, I'll give you that. But where are you on body and blood, Trinity, etc? Is not the Devil in the detail?

  • Comment number 31.

    INFLUENCE (#28)

    Christianity is clearly a resurrection of MUCH earlier Nature-based mythology. Life/death spliced with fertility and seasons and a drizzle of Green Man; with a garnish of Queen of Heaven.

    I think we should paint Dawkins green; chase him across open country, then ritually murder him (detail retained for Blogdog's sake) and bury him in a bog.

    That'll do nicely.

  • Comment number 32.

    IMHO religion is two things,

    One, giant political parties, hence at #28 the history.

    And the other, people are terrified of dying.

    As ever us plebs have to be controlled.

  • Comment number 33.

    parts of europe under 15ft of snow.

    lets hope they put the carbon taxes up to stop them heating themselves....

  • Comment number 34.

    re my #23 did anyone listen to radio 4 this morning? I listened to what sounded like a very young man Justin someone, bemoaning the fact that half a billion children will be stunted or die because of malnutrition in the world.

    NOT ONCE was over population mentioned, only how bad the middle classes were for daring to eat, and other such reasons.

    Now I don't wish these children to die, but while handing out the vaccines and food, why not insisted each poverty stricken woman is given a contraceptive implant? That would give the woman and her children a chance to feed the current young ones, before she gets pregnant again. A three or four year gap would give each child the chance to survive and be healthy, but that's too easy for governments, they need the poor to threaten the rest of us with, "that's where could end up"!

  • Comment number 35.

    Unfortunately not able to see NN debate overseas, but I always follow the blogs:
    #28, cyberwoo
    “..cultural systems .. have an evolutionary history; this can’t simply be transplanted into foreign soils and be expected, un-problematically, to flourish there. The attempt to do this is what has made every venture of cultural imperialism a form of violence.”
    This argument also applies to the violence of multiculturalism?

    “..we seem (as a culture) condemned to forget what has made us. Cosmological (i.e. religious) beliefs have made us, and make us still."
    They have made most of us what we are – or were; but we are evolving (mutating) into more cynical beings.

    #31 barrie
    ‘Christianity is clearly a resurrection of MUCH earlier Nature-based mythology.’
    Almost as red in tooth and claw? I have previously expressed my concerns – not only about the evils that have been committed by man in the clash of religious beliefs – but conversely about the loss of inspirational output to which religious belief has given birth. As a non-believer (not brain-washed from birth) I am moved to ecstasy by much of the music, art and architecture inspired by Christian belief, particularly since the Reformation; not ignoring Islam’s contribution (eg poetry and architecture). But I don’t see Secularism providing this inspiration, and patriotism is lost forever, so our culture sinks to lower and lower depths daily.

    Also, with the loss of belief in a future life (subject to good behaviour) what constraints are there against us all living entirely selfish, non-caring lives for our brief time here? This removal of sanctions has also contributed to our cultural decline; not to mention those brainwashed to believe in a passport to an even better life for acts of murder - or barrie’s rather extremist tirade against Dawkins!

  • Comment number 36.


    Hi Lizzy! If we were living the hunter/gatherer subsistence life that we are designed for, i.e. small groups with little interaction, most extraneous angst would depart.

    We cannot cope with global mixing, and a global information-stream. We certainly won't cope if the demon-driven lunatics keep taking over the global asylum wings.

    Nick'll fix it.

  • Comment number 37.

    I really do doubt that Warsi is trying to promote her religion: she was trying to promote herself and be sycophantic to her Vatican hosts. Her Islam is certainly atypical as, according to last night's programme, she sends her daughter to a convent school. Her political skills are questionable: she managed to achieve personal swings against her when she stood for Parliament. The question is, would she have been elevated to the Lords and be co-chairman of the Tory Party if she weren't a token Muslim?,_Baroness_Warsi

    Back to the debate last night. Dawkins was much better and more reasonable than he usually is. He was careful to distinguish between his own "militant atheism" and secularism in general. Michael Nazir-Ali was rude and constantly interrupting, but he is not a typical working bishop, he too has become a minor media star by courting controversy.

    His contention that Christianity was responsible for the abolition of slavery, etc is simplistic at best. Christianity was also used as a moral fig-leaf to justify slavery and the subjugation of non-European peoples. And Christianity did nothing to help the serfs in Eastern Europe whose condition was very close to slavery.

    What led to the English anti-slavery movements was a tradition of rights and common law with roots in the social relationships of the pagan Anglo-Saxon and Norse peoples. This then combined with the cultural revolution of the Protestant reformation, which undermined church-backed secular authority. In particular, the translation of the Bible into English, vehemently opposed by church and Henry VIII, allowed people to negotiate their own relationship with God. It was only natural then that they would want to renegotiate their relationship with their rulers.

    What modern social progress has NOTHING to do with is the "Judeao-Christian tradition." The God of the Old Testament often seems like a tribal demon, authorising and indeed ordering enslavement, ethnic cleansing, murder and genocide. Nazir-Ali was actually being political in mentioning Judeao-Christianity: it was an oblique nod to the Islamic concept of the "People Of The Book", no doubt made to build as broad a coalition as possible to protect the privileges of the Church.

  • Comment number 38.

    This comment was removed because the moderators found it broke the house rules. Explain.

  • Comment number 39.

    II@35 "I have previously expressed my concerns – not only about the evils that have been committed by man in the clash of religious beliefs – but conversely about the loss of inspirational output to which religious belief has given birth."

    I agree: humans are social animals, and religion has been part of the glue which has kept societies together as well as, unfortunately, setting one society against another.

    But if the world is cruel, for a survivor it is also beautiful. Perhaps it is Man's appreciation of beauty and poetic nature which inspires religion, and not vice-versa. To a modern educated person, the traditional religions are no longer fit for purpose unless one wilfully blinkers oneself.

    Rather than concentrate upon sterile creation questions, in which, at best, a mystery is answered by an enigma, we should turn our attention to our relationships with the universe and each other. If we look to the light and try to live in harmony, then life can have some purpose, even at the bitter end. If we nurse anger, hatred and bitterness, then we shrink and become an ugly caricature of what we could be.

    The light side versus the dark side: May the Force be with you! :-D

  • Comment number 40.

    #23,34 ecolizzy
    “NOT ONCE was over population mentioned, only how bad the middle classes were for daring to eat, and other such reasons.”

    The BBC Radio 4 programme apparently confirmed what our Chief Scientist and others have stated in your earlier posted link:
    “The next world population milestone of 8 billion will come sooner than we think…… yet we remain reluctant to debate the issue.”
    Also Sir David Attenborough called silence over the issue an 'absurd taboo' and Professor Cafaro suggests fear of wading into a host of contentious ethical issues, including family planning, abortion and immigration.

    Other ‘responsible’ organisation, such as WWF (and in my experience Council for the Preservation of Rural England) seeking to avoid controversy, suggests it is an issue for development and humanitarian organisations - and instead focus on the other primary driver of greenhouse gas emissions - overconsumption.

    Author Fred Pearce argued that overpopulation and over consumption magnify one another's potential harms - more frequent droughts, more people living on marginal lands, more frequent storms = more deaths and environmental refugees from Bangladesh and Indonesia. (One wonders where they might seek refuge?)

    For Professor Cafaro these limits may even one day mean constraints on population and consumption. 'Who's to say that 60 or 65 million is the optimum population of the UK, or 315 million is best for the US? It seems to me we have good evidence that those numbers are ecologically unsustainable. If non-coercive measures prove insufficient, then we may have to accept stricter limits on our freedom to consume or to have children.' ‘With a major study by the Royal Society on population and human wellbeing due to be published in April, the debate looks certain to continue.’

    But don’t expect any straight talking – even Obama has backtracked on his proposal that family planning must be made freely available to all. That could lose him his presidency in the non-secular land of USA. I’m afraid that’s another argument against religion – the fear of challenging beliefs. And another curse of Hitler – as his extreme measures are always quoted to silence sensible debate about any form of people control. But now we have also got HRA and HR Commission to ensure that all retain equal rights to propagate and consume, so forget the Royal Society’s report - we must let Nature continue to take care of human over-indulgence and consumption in her own way.
    ps or follow Sasha's path:
    "look to the light and try to live in harmony...If we nurse anger, hatred and bitterness, then we shrink and become an ugly caricature of what we could be."
    Which probably means we must stop blogging? OK I'm off to a piano recital now.

  • Comment number 41.

    'Tonight we de-code the varied messages on how the UK economy is faring'

    Bletchley Park media studies, eh? What we need is more experts. Like this guy..

    Being on holiday didn't stop him... from chipping in, on the basis of not knowing much but thought he'd have a go.

    But there is such a great precedent of hearing what is.. may be... might not.. from people who think they know, yet get a pulpit to tell us:

    Trust, eh?

  • Comment number 42.

    There are people who earn a living through starving children/cruelty to animals/human rights etc. If they're engaged in a fund-raising campaign they usually exaggerate the problem in order to maximise income from donors. There's no way of knowing whether the purveyors of this particular news strand are telling the truth. We're just expected to trust them. Some people do.

  • Comment number 43.

    There are indeed a great many ignoramuses spouting rubbish on the airwaves recently. Two Sundays ago I heard someone on Radio 4 say that Winston Churchill was a second generation immigrant. No-one corrected him, presumably because the presenter, editor and producers didn't know any better themselves.

  • Comment number 44.

    '43. At 12:04 15th Feb 2012, MaggieL - No-one corrected him, presumably because the presenter, editor and producers didn't know any better themselves.'

    Kinda puts that 'educate and inform' remit in context , eh? Especially when 'our views' are so sought, but so few of 'us' are invited on to share them... without oversight.

    I'd blame the cuts, Cuts, CUTTTSSS!, but really £1M+pa seems a fair crack to get folk there simply to set up others to spout propaganda unchallenged.

  • Comment number 45.

    In the great scheme of things, and interesting take on matters Middle Eastern here...

    I started disconcerted by the missing question mark in the URL, and it went downhill from there.

  • Comment number 46.

    "Baroness Warsi, co-chairman of the Conservative party, claims that the British way of life - indeed that of all of Europe - is threatened by militant secularisation which is deeply intolerant of religion."

    Very well said Baroness Warsi - those who don't like what they say & voice their opinions so - can do so as the freedom of speech and rights that we expect in the UK; are a product of the UK having long been a 'Christian country'. Nice to hear an 'active Baroness' making sense at last - haven't heard that for a long, long time.

    Atheists and/or 'millitant secularists' have nothing to teach us here (with their England wrecking agenda) and there are certain other countries where 'millitant secularists' are very quiet indeed - I wonder why?

    The point which many are beginning to realise is that most if not all benefit significantly from the UK having been and still being a 'Christian country' and that it is possible to believe in Christ the man and his teachings without ever having to step foot in a 'Church'.

    No other belief structure can compare with messages and teachings that Jesus Christ has given to us - and until the athesist and secular millitants can come up with something better - may be better for them to take a 'back seat' as things could be lot, lot worse if the UK ever became a 'secular country' - Heaven forbid!

    There is no other 'belief system' that can compare with the 'Christianity' and some do not even pass a basic anti-racism/prejudice/discrimination testing - no need to quote them here.

    Atheists/secularists quote their human rights - but the first human rights activist was 'Jesus Christ' and who was not even a Christian - so they do at least share a non-Christian doctrine in that sense but I can't see any of the atheists or multi-secularists being ever willing to be nailed to a cross or be eaten by a lions in a coliseum in order to maintain their own beliefs.

    I am very pleased that the 'UK' is a Christian country, that we have a non-political monarch that is head of the Church of England and is our Head of State.

    We can all call ourselves Christians if we want to & subscribe to that identity for our country.

    How many of the ten commandments are the atheists and multi secularists willing to commit to?

    Yours truly
    (having failed miserably on the ten commandments, but still calling myself a Christian)

  • Comment number 47.

    God Almighty has set before me two great objects, the suppression of the slave trade and the reformation of manners.

    William Wilberforce

  • Comment number 48.

    @46 "No other belief structure can compare with messages and teachings that Jesus Christ has given to us"

    Are you qualified to make that statement? If usnsure start off with "The World's Living Religions" by Geoffrey Parrinder: very readable and very cheap second hand. Parrinder was a methodist minister and an expert in comparative religion. I attended his lectures as part of my theology subsid at KCL.

    Personally I incline toward philosophical Taoism as a practical guide to life, but then it's very suitable for a lapsed Quaker :-)

  • Comment number 49.


    So I built an Ark, exactly as described in the Old Testament, and said: "There you go God - tell 'em yourself."

    How many of YOU have actually heard God laugh? I am the only prophet who ever kept his trap shut.

  • Comment number 50.

    At 14:19 15th Feb 2012, Sasha Clarkson wrote:

    @46 "No other belief structure can compare with messages and teachings that Jesus Christ has given to us"

    Are you qualified to make that statement?

    I am qualified to question your own religious 'edicts' and ask you to put forward a belief structure that comes anywhere in comparison to the New Testament, particularly, and as to how you would think such a 'comparative religion' should both supplant Christianity and also relate to a secular Britain?

    Are you going to put forward your comparitive religion to supplant Christianity as a superior belief structure or just for it to be where it already is - as just subsumed in the mire of a secular mess that would, given more political mischief, destroy the last vestige of the fabric of our British/English society?

    That's why many people are just content to call themselves 'Christians'?

  • Comment number 51.

    DARK LANTERN (#48)

    My centre of the Universe is better than yours Sasha. I am closer to The Way than you are. (:o)

    The Davil (sic) is in the retail.

    Nick'll fix it.

  • Comment number 52.


    He said: "You'll do yourself a mischief".

    Or, was it me?

  • Comment number 53.


    In absolute seriousness Nautonier: Taoism is exquisite. Just YOU at the centre of your universe, seeking a path you can/will never quite find; God/Devil; Creator Destroyer; absolute power with absolute responsibility. I thrill, just typing it.

    No faith can compare.

  • Comment number 54.

    At 14:21 15th Feb 2012, barriesingleton wrote:

    'He' (might have been a 'she') told me that also; although, the Bible contains 66 books, I recall - and it is not just one book - it is a 'collection'.

    Jesus might forgive you (us) - but them atheists, heathens and 'comparativ-isters' will not

    Its a ... 'no brainer'?

  • Comment number 55.

    Rating Agency Cont

    So now Labour have lost the argument on rating agency ratings , Labour are now saying words to effect “It is not the governments job to please rating agencies.”. Which of course is a rather silly attitude to take when you are dependent on private investors to lend the government £140 odd this year alone.
    Private pension funds, for example, are required to hold a certain percentage of AAA grade investments in their portfolio. So losing AAA means losing a large buyer of government debt. This requirement for AAA grade investments is not just limited to private pension funds , it can effect any investment or bank portfolio decision when choosing whose debt they should invest (buy) in.
    In short, AAA status matters while the government is wanting to borrow private investors money to make up for Labours legacy of government overspend (the deficit).

    One other funny which was released yesterday came from the EU in its first AMR : Tackling Macroeconomic imbalances report.
    To quote the bit about the UK -

    “UK: Important loss in export market shares over the last decade, despite some recent stabilisation. The high level of private debt should be seen in conjunction with a weak public finance situation. The household debt largely reflects mortgages in a context of high accumulated increases in house prices. “

    This is a direct criticism of how Labour ran our economy over the past decade.

    Will they try and dismiss the EU as being partisan now ?

    Baroness Warsi – Religion

    Europe has effectively borked itself , in previous times of hardship people have found solace in their faith.
    I have no idea how groups of Atheists cope with prolonged hardship and despair, but I guess we are all going to find out.

  • Comment number 56.

    Unemployment figures released today -

    Here is the ONS video podcast on the figures.

    Stats with regional breakdowns are here.

  • Comment number 57.


    Nuff sed

  • Comment number 58.

    Warsi's lot are worried as their cosy little cartel is about to be dethroned on the altar of truth, unelected Lords, Peers making laws for the rest of us have to abide with, preference in education at our expense...just who do these people think they are? The atheist has my vote every time rather than that privilidged lot, they have had their way for too long...things are a'changin and not before time

  • Comment number 59.

    Dawkins - no problem there for Jesus - Straight downstairs!

  • Comment number 60.

    Warsi et al

    I believe there is no God/Supreme Diety etc. and I am confident in my faith in this belief.
    It would take an earth shattering event to make me change this belief, what would it take to make you change yours ?


    these people already practice family planning, they plan on having sufficient children so that enough of them survive to look after them when they are old.
    Simply gift them low child mortality, reasonable health care and a decent pension and their population growth rate will fall to match our indigenous population (about 1.6).
    You won't do this though because you need their high fertility rate to provide enough inward migration to pay for your pension.

  • Comment number 61.

    @50 Nautonier

    I never really know what to do with you. Looking to Proverbs for advice doesn't help either, for it says, King James Version:

    "Answer not a fool according to his folly, lest thou also be like unto him" (26:4)

    But then it says: "Answer a fool according to his folly, lest he be wise in his own conceit." (26:5)

    So here goes, one last time. You ask "how you would think such a 'comparative religion' should both supplant Christianity.....etc"

    There is no such thing as "A comparative religion". Comparative religion is an academic discipline which compares the beliefs, cultures and texts of different religions to see what they have in common and what divides them. You can't justifiably make sweeping statements like "Christianity is best", unless you've bothered to compare it with the alternatives.

    I can't be bothered to argue any more, as it disturbs my inner peace. I may not take II's advice (@40) and give up blogging altogether, yet, but I shall take your Saviour's advice (Matthew 7:6), and cast no further pearls in your direction. Just don't take silence for agreement.

    Barrie @51 - ho ho! ;-D

  • Comment number 62.

    #60 Yes Bob I know why these people think it's a good idea to have 10 or 15 babies.

    BUT it doesn't help the mothers one iota, but as these countries are dominated by men, the women don't stand a chance. If they had more evenly spaced children, the woman and her babies WOULD survive. It wears out and kills woman to reproduce so frequently, they always look exhausted, how much better to have far fewer children, and be able to feed them all.

    Or do you want to go back to how it was here, the rich knew how to stop having babies a century ago, but they didn't allow the poor to know, they wouldn't have had enough cheap labour, hhhhmmm now what's happening here, oh the rich are now importing the poor from around the world to continue the exploitation.

    And no I could in fact live without my pension, I'm one of those silly people who saved for my old age, I went without all those consumer goods so that I could survive without exploiting anyone.

  • Comment number 63.

    At 18:38 15th Feb 2012, Sasha Clarkson wrote:

    @50 Nautonier

    I never really know what to do with you. Looking to Proverbs for advice doesn't help either, for it says, King James Version:

    "Answer not a fool according to his folly, lest thou also be like unto him" (26:4)

    But then it says: "Answer a fool according to his folly, lest he be wise in his own conceit." (26:5)

    So here goes, one last time. You ask "how you would think such a 'comparative religion' should both supplant Christianity.....etc"

    There is no such thing as "A comparative religion".


    Hypocritical, of course and which fool mentioned the comparitive religion first because you think its a point to argue against Britain/England being a 'Christian country'?

    But 'Dawkinist heathenism' does indeed support comparitivisation of religions to the lowest common demoninator i.e zero - or worse still 'equalisation with heathenism'.

    The reason that Britain/England is a Christian country is that for the majority of people it is a Christian country and most who regard themselves as Christians or in some way relate to Christianity do it deliberately out of choice - and many who are not practising Christians will still uphold their right to call themselves 'Christians' as they see Dawkinist heathenism as something undesirable and inferior to Christianity.

    I'm afraid that your quoting from the Bible is blatantly hypocritical - if you don't support Christianity - at least the good manners not to quote from it - as is blasphemy.


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