Symon Hill's blog

Gates is wrong: We need more cuts to military spending

Gates is wrong: We need more cuts to military spending

My radio alarm clock woke me this morning with the news that the USA’s former defence secretary, Robert Gates, has criticised the cuts that are being made to military spending in the UK.

Royal Mint responds to Kitchener coin petition

Royal Mint responds to Kitchener coin petition

This morning, I received an email from a polite and friendly public relations manager at the Royal Mint. This follows my petition calling on the Mint to withdraw a £2 commemorative coin featuring Horatio Kitchener and his recruitment slogan “Your country needs you”. Last night, the petition – asking for the coin to be replaced with one that commemorates the millions who died in the first world war – passed 20,000 signatures.

New £2 coin glorifies war

New £2 coin glorifies war

The Royal Mint have revealed the design of a special £2 coin to mark the 100th anniversary of the outbreak of the first world war (see http://www.bbc.co.uk/news/business-25558632). It is described as a “commemorative” coin, but it does not commemorate the millions of people who died. Instead, the coin's design glorifies war and celebrates a leading warmonger.

Bible-reading notes for questioning Christians

Bible-reading notes for questioning Christians

When I became a Christian, I read daily (or almost daily) Bible reading notes, each exploring a particular Bible passage. They were helpful, at least in terms of assisting me to be disciplined about reading the Bible. They were less helpful in that they frequently jumped around the Bible and often implied that there was only one interpretation of a particular passage (to be fair, some did this more than others). They tended to assume that the reader had a rather straightforward view of biblical authority and they almost never drew any explicit social or political meaning out of the passage in question.

Celebrating revolution at Christmas

Celebrating revolution at Christmas

Last night and today, 24 and 25 December, millions of people will gather in churches to tell each other a truly subversive story.

Alcohol and Islamophobia

Alcohol and Islamophobia

As a teetotal Christian, I would not want to sell alcohol. If I worked at Marks & Spencer, and had politely asked a customer to pay another member of staff for her champagne, I doubt that it would have led to a national media story. Marks & Spencer’s policy on this issue has hit the headlines because of a staff member who made such a request – and who is a Muslim. This conveniently suits the agenda of the right-wing media, obsessed as they are with portraying Muslims as weird.

Anti-Roma prejudice and an unlikely prediction

Anti-Roma prejudice and an unlikely prediction

Come January, the right-wing media in the UK might have some explaining to do. The Daily Mail (and their friends in UKIP and the Conservative right) have been telling us that Britain will be flooded by immigrants from Romania and Bulgaria, as the last restrictions on their immigration to the UK are lifted.

How is the Sun more progressive than the Independent?

How is the Sun more progressive than the Independent?

Today (3 December 2013) is the first day on which I’ve been grateful that the Sun newspaper has far more readers than the Independent .

Co-ops, cocaine and Christianity

As chairman of the Co-operative Bank, Paul Flowers shared responsibility for the decisions that led to a situation in which most of the bank is to be bought up by hedge funds. Last week, Paul Flowers was filmed buying cocaine. Bafflingly, many people seem to regard the second offence as worse than the first one.

Social mobility: Cameron is ignoring Major, not listening to him

Social mobility: Cameron is ignoring Major, not listening to him

David Cameron has today (14 November 2013) declared that lack of social mobility is a problem. He was responding to comments by his predecessor John Major, but he ignored the main point that Major seemed to be making – the power of private schools.