Bill will not increase lobbying transparency, say lobbyists
A poll of lobbyists found that only four per cent believe that the lobbying bill will increase transparency. This widely-criticised measure may block voluntary and community organisations and trade unions from flagging up public concerns. But clearly it will not achieve what is supposed to be its main purpose – making lobbying more transparent.
84-year-old dies in handcuffs: xenophobia’s destructive power
Chief inspector of prisons Nick Hardwick accused staff at Harmondsworth removal centre of "a shocking lack of humanity" after two gravely ill men were kept in handcuffs. For 84-year-old Alois Dvorzac, who had dementia, these were not removed until after his heart stopped beating. Such cases show the damaging effects of xenophobia.
Some Nigerian Christian leaders have tried to defend a new law that violates human rights and is contrary to Jesus’ call to love one’s neighbour as oneself. All too often, churches are captive to the prejudices and power-games that dominate their society and era.
Chancellor plans further cuts while handful prosper
UK chancellor George Osborne is using divide-and-rule tactics to try to push through further cuts of around £25 billion over two years by 2017-18. This includes £12 billion in social security reductions. The poorest will be worst affected but, if he gets his way, many others currently struggling to cope with sharply rising prices and rents will be hit.
Former Bishop of Rochester Michael Nazir-Ali has criticised a proposed alternative baptism service. This is being piloted in a number of churches before the Church of England decides whether to let it be used more widely. While the church should try to make worship widely accessible, changes that make getting baptised seem less meaningful should be avoided.
A Church of England working party report on sexuality suggests that clergy be allowed to hold public services to mark same-sex partnerships. Some critics have complained that allowing too much flexibility might seem to affirm what the church still officially regards as wrong.
Putting off pensions for sick and disabled older people
Pension age will keep rising, UK chancellor George Osborne announced in his autumn statement today (5 December 2013). Young people now finishing their education will probably have to wait until they are in their 70s. This will have a devastating effect on some areas and sections of society.
Dehydration and malnutrition – is neglect always involved?
Over the past decade in England and Wales, over two thousand people have died in care homes or hospitals while dehydrated or malnourished. Charities and politicians have expressed outrage. Some of these deaths are due to neglect, which should end – but unjustly blaming staff or managers when patients die for other reasons should also be avoided.
Ireland's first - or perhaps second - woman bishop
On 30 November 2013, at Christ Church Cathedral in Dublin, Pat Storey was ordained as the Anglican bishop of Meath and Kildare. She had been the rector of St Augustine’s in Derry and is a standing committee member of the Church of Ireland’s general synod.