There is room for real, substantial reform to the EU budget and many other aspects of the functioning and policy of European institutions, says Simon Barrow. But to address these issues properly, Britain’s political leaders should abandon rather than feed the narrow Westminster mindset that the recent EU budget row exemplifies.
With 'the big three' parties all singing from the same austerity hymn sheet and promising cuts in social security that differ mainly in degree, says Simon Barrow, it is surely the most vulnerable in society who are set to be the biggest losers from the conference season political jamborees.
Now that the medals have long been awarded, the plaudits made and the ceremonies completed, the final Olympic and Paralympic contest is underway, notes Simon Barrow. Who will claim political gold in the much-publicized Games ‘legacy’ race?
In 2011, the International Panel on the State of the Oceans (IPSO), representing all marine science bodies, concluded that, “the world’s ocean is at high risk of entering a phase of extinction… unprecedented in human history.” Simon Barrow explores the issue of water from a biblical perspective.
As government becomes more technocratic and anonymous, and as recession and financial chaos makes people angry and suspicious towards the political class, the need to be seen to be “where people are” and to shape public mood through cultural activity large and small is here to stay, says Simon Barrow.
Last week, Jubilee Scotland organised a conversation on economic alternatives and motivating people for change at the 2012 Festival of Spirituality and Peace. Here Simon Barrow revisits an earlier article he wrote for The Guardian on the real meaning of "jubilee".
The final standoff between St George’s Tron and the Church of Scotland has been several years coming, says Simon Barrow. The way it is handled will also be a signal of how the Kirk sees its future, and how the debate on same-sex relations may resonate in more reluctant corners of the church when it returns to the General Assembly next year.
The rejection of the Anglican Covenant by the Scottish Episcopal Church is another serious body blow for a measure which proponents say is about proper ecclesiastical order, but which detractors argue will impose narrow conformity on a denomination historically based on self-governance within its provinces. Simon Barrow looks to the background, history and significance of the latest manoeuvres.
In the wake of the 2012 local elections and other recent developments, we can see that local democracy in England is in a perilous state. Voter apathy shows that. Simon Barrow looks at the issue in its wider context, and suggests that deep change is required that goes well beyond single-fix 'solutions'.
Simon Barrow's speech on the need for an official government media inquiry, made to the Scottish Trades Union Congress (STUC), meeting in Inverness from 23-25 April 2012. See notes and NUJ resolution below the text for further details.