Can we PLEASE have some honesty from our politicians?

One of the things that you become aware of as a writer on religion is how much religious illiteracy there is in the country. But over the past few months, as my writing has veered more towards politics rather than religion, I have noticed that there is a far greater political illiteracy – particularly so when […]

Church of England considers moving the north-south divide

The precise location of the north-south divide has been difficult to pinpoint with any clarity. Manchester is in the north, of course; unless you’re in the Highlands, in which case it is very much in the south. The midpoint of the longest north-south axis in Great Britain is in the village of Haltwhistle in Northumberland […]

Outgoing MPs should foot the bill for self-serving by-elections

Democracy is priceless asset. Throughout the world, over the centuries, ordinary people have fought for the right to elect the people who represent them. It is a battle that has been going on in more recent times; and is even going on today. From the suffragette movement in the UK in the early 20th Century; through to […]

Unease at Parliament’s motion on ISIL

Today, Parliament will debate military action against the so-called Islamic State in Syria. Personally, I’m in favour of military action. But I’m extremely uneasy about today’s Parliamentary proceedings. This is the motion MPs will debate: “That this House condemns the barbaric acts of ISIL against the peoples of Iraq including the Sunni, Shia, Kurds, Christians and […]

Devolution and constitutional reform: Is it time to restore the Kingdoms?

Much has been said in the aftermath of Scotland’s “No” to independence about ensuring that the English get a fair deal in any further devolution package. But most of what has been said has ignored the basic question about what our democratic institutions are for. And ‘solutions’ are being put forward without any real debate […]

Analysis and Comment: Can you live on £53 per week?

Can you live on £53 per week, as the Works and Pensions Secretary Iain Duncan Smith suggests you could, if you had to? Here’s a table, rounded to weekly, monthly and annual amounts, which should answer the question. Rent isn’t included because a person on £53 per week (subject to living in appropriate accommodation) would have […]

‘Bigot’ slip coincides with further same-sex rows

Teachers could face disciplinary action, including dismissal, if they fail to endorse same-sex marriage, suggests legal advice published by the pressure group Coalition for Marriage. The warning came in the week when the Deputy Prime Minister, Nick Clegg, briefly labelled opponents of the Government’s same-sex marriage consultation “bigots”, and the Green Party expelled a Brighton […]

Church lawyers to review advice to PCCs on chancel repair liability

Church lawyers are to review their advice to PCCs on Chancel Repair Liability (CRL), after the case in Broadway, Worcestershire, where the Charity Commission ruled that it would be “reasonable” for the parish not to register liability against 30 householders. Under recent legislative changes, PCCs have just over a year to register CRL against affected […]

Chancel-repair liability: PCC given dispensation

A church in Worcestershire has been told by the Charity Commissioners that it would be “reasonable” for it to decide not to register chancel-repair liability (CRL) against 30 households in its parish. The PCC of St Eadburgha’s, Broadway began the process of registering liability during an interregnum, after advice from the legal advisory commission of the […]

MP gives warning on Chancel Repair Liability

Chancel Repair liability (CRL) is an issue “on the verge of explosion”, a junior government minister, Peter Luff, has said. Mr Luff, the MP for Mid Worcestershire, is helping the PCC of Broadway with Wickhamford to find a way to avoid registering CRL against 30 households in its parish. “My strong sense is that this […]

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