Simon Barrow's blog

The world of books: words seeking to be made flesh

World Book Day is 6 March in 2014 throughout Britain and Ireland. In other parts of there world it is sometimes marked in April.

New award for arts journalism with an international outlook

An award for newer arts journalists with an Edinburgh connection and an international outlook has been established in memory of a writer who was a passionate campaigner for human rights, a lifelong promoter of world music, and had strong connections with Latin America.

How long will people in Scotland allow themselves to be bullied and threatened?

The headlines on the BBC and in other media yesterday evening (16 February 2014) were highlighting comments from current European Commission President José Manuel Barroso, who claims that it will be "difficult, if not impossible" for an independent Scotland to join the European Union.

Arms trade trial raises key issues about the industry, churches and protest

While the trial at Stratford Magistrates' Court in east London of five Christian anti-arms fair protesters is tough on the defendants (including Ekklesia associate Symon Hill), it is already doing a good job of exposing the issues in a number of ways.

The arms trade is guilty, not those who pray for peace

Today (3 February 2014) five Christian peace activists go on trial at Stratford Magistrates’ Court in East London. They are charged with aggravated trespass. One of the five is Symon Hill, a writer, researcher and activist who is also an Ekklesia associate, assisting us with several areas of work. He was formerly a directorial colleague for a period.

Damage limitation and alliance building: gains of campaigning on the Lobbying Bill

While the government has had its way overall, as parliamentary arithmetic finally dictates, the 130 NGOs gathered under the banner of the Commission on Civil Society and Democratic Engagement (CCSDE) won some very significant concessions from government earlier in the process, as a direct result of their campaign.

Promoting a Day of Nonviolence and Peace

In Britain we now have Armed Forces Day, but no specific day to mark or encourage peaceful conflict resolution or transformation.

DWP: public servant or propaganda vehicle?

The Department of Work and Pensions (DWP), a government department which appears to be increasingly and inappropriately fashioned by the the ideological welfare-cutting politics of secretary of state Iain Duncan Smith, displays some interesting communications priorities.

MLK and the revolutionary spirit of love

Martin Luther King, Jr. was born on 15 January 1929. The federal holiday in his honour in the United States is the third Monday in January.

Charity exemption is not the way to tackle a dangerous Lobbying Bill

There has been a united, determined campaign against the gagging impact of the Lobbying Bill on the part of voluntary groups and NGOs. Some will therefore think it a shame that a minority of charities, and the Charities Aid Foundation, have at this late stage chosen the path of seeking exemptions for themselves rather than focussing on the wider considerations.