The Jonathan Bartley Column

Comment and opinion from Ekklesia's director, Jonathan Bartley
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  • 28 Oct 2013

    This is a time to be both politically and practically subversive in the face of a growing political consensus that is hurting the most vulnerable, says Jonathan Bartley. All of the main parties in the UK, including Labour, support the cut in housing benefit. Labour has said that it would not reverse it - or, indeed, most of the other welfare reforms - should it gain power at the next election. In the face of such a negative consensus, new social housing could become a central weapon in the Churches' fight to protect the poorest.

  • 16 Nov 2012

    Theologian Tryon Edwards has suggested right actions in the future are the best apologies for bad actions in the past. In that sense, says Jonathan Bartley, true apologies are yet to be forthcoming in many areas of public life today.

  • 8 Feb 2012

    The competitive nature of the top-down, corporate capitalist system means we can never truly be 'all in this together', says Jonathan Bartley. All we do is sacrifice the most vulnerable for the sake of maintaining an unjust order. Economic alternatives are essential, and go well beyond statism.

  • 21 Jan 2012

    While David Cameron and Ed Miliband continue to support relentless growth and minor amendments to the economic system, the inequalities inherent in that system will prosper, says Jonathan Bartley. A more thoroughgoing critique and real alternatives are needed.

  • 29 Nov 2011

    It’s staring George Osborne in the face. It’s written in the Autumn Statement. But the Chancellor still doesn’t get it, says Jonathan Bartley. But the green challenge is central to developing a just, sustainable economy.

  • 5 Aug 2011

    Real political change does not follow one, or even three, crises. It takes decades, says Jonathan Bartley, surveying the scene this summer. In certain respects things aren’t all that different from sixty years ago. But grassroots pressure still makes a difference.

  • 11 Mar 2011

    Once in a while, the Church gets a chance to atone for its sins. The referendum on the Alternative Vote (AV) for Westminster elections is a golden opportunity to demonstrate that, unlike the Church of 100 years ago, which op¬posed the suffragettes, it will back the campaign for a fairer electoral system.

  • 18 Nov 2010

    There may be no direct route from the politics of Jesus' day to the politics of modern Britain, but there are embodied principles and narratives in the Gospel which directly challenge the marginalisation of the poor and the use of ideology (religious or otherwise) to prop up the status quo, says Jonathan Bartley. These have a good deal to say to us as we assess the Spending Review and those it benefits and penalises.

  • 5 Oct 2010

    In its literal sense "doing God" is a theological nonsense. Christianity itself suggests you can only really respond to an invitation to join in what God is already doing, says Jonathan Bartley. Nevertheless, the debate about it acts as a useful warning to politicians not to suck up to the religious, and to Christians to live out the values of the Gospel rather than defending their self-interest.

  • 26 Jul 2010

    Some weeks ago there was speculation that Pope Benedict might be invited to deliver a Radio 4 'Thought for the Day' during his state and pastoral visit in September. Jonathan Bartley anticipates an interesting exchange between the pontiff and the producer...

  • 14 Jul 2010

    The new justice secretary's approach to prison indiciates a healthy departure from previous policy, but before we get too excited, it should be noted that it falls a long way short of restorative ideas, says Jonathan Bartley.

  • 8 May 2010

    If the churches want democracy renewed, a broader political agenda and a voice for the voiceless, says Jonathan Bartley, they must make the case for PR and they must do it right now.

  • 30 Apr 2010

    The Times newspaper has been running short pieces by Christian backers of the three big parties in Britain, getting them to say why Jesus might support their favoured political horse. Jonathan Bartley takes a rather different tack.

  • 28 Apr 2010

    A champion of right rather than might, St George should belong to the people, not their overlords, says Jonathan Bartley. This, not nationalism, is what a true patriotism is about – commitment to "another country" where all have a place, not just those with the power.

  • 19 Apr 2010

    The thing that should scare both Labour and Tories alike is that the Lib Dem surge has little to do with its policies, says Jonathan Bartley.