Simon Barrow's blog

Rowan Williams: People before politics?

Time and again in the midst of "events, dear boy, events" (Harold Macmillan's famous response to an interrogation about what is the biggest difficulty in being Prime Minister), I keep coming back to Dutch theologian Harry Kuitert's observation that while "everything is politics, politics is not everything".

Encountering Simone Weil

I have recently watched Julia Haslett’s remarkable film, ‘An Encounter with Simone Weil’, and I know that my life will not be the same as a result. Not because I was previously unfamiliar with Weil, but because this particular meeting with her (or, at least, with what can be known through her writings and through the remaining fragments, images and testimonies to her life) is so deeply personal and challenging – in a way that doesn’t just go away.

Digitally and humanly 'live' from the Occupy eviction

Well, it wasn't quite the evening, night and morning that I'd planned... but just as I was about to go to bed the news came through that the forcible eviction of the St Paul's Cathedral Occupy camp was about to happen, and everything changed.

Professor Terry Eagleton: ‘Culture and the Death of God’

Professor Terry Eagleton: ‘Culture and the Death of God’

As the place of religion in society once again hits the headlines in the UK, literary critic Professor Terry Eagleton, Distinguished Professor of English Literature at Lancaster University, is giving the 2012 Firth Lectures on the theme ‘Culture and the Death of God’.

Welfare reform: capping truth, benefiting from spin

Welfare reform: capping truth, benefiting from spin

"The problem with the truth is that it’s complicated. Lies are simple, they can be altered to fit any audience, they can be sensational without any boring honest bits to dilute the story. Honesty doesn’t make headlines. That’s the problem with the Welfare Reform Bill..."

Welfare politics: A 'morally disabled' government

Disabled actor, writer and comedian Francesca Martinez, who has been outspoken in support of those challenging the impact on vulnerable people of the Welfare Reform Bill (WRB), put the matter powerfully and poignantly on the This Week TV politics show: the government, she said, is "morally disabled" in its approach to these issues and to the human effect of its policies.

Why the government is wrong to claim charity support on welfare

The government's minister for disabled people, Maria Miller, yesterday reiterated in the House of Commons her oft-made claim that charities back the coalition's welfare reform policies.

Social media, disability, welfare, work and calculating 'benefit'

Social media, disability, welfare, work and calculating 'benefit'

In recent months social media has proved its worth against some harping critics. The uprisings across the Middle East, the worldwide Occupy protest against unsustainable corporate neo-capitalism and the Spartacus Report revolt of disabled and sick people over punitive welfare cuts and changes: all these movements for change have benefited in a variety of ways from web 2.0 and beyond, from online crowd-sourcing, from twitter, from virals, and from 'internetworking'.

Scotland's independence referendum consultation

The official consultation on the Scottish independence referendum has now been launched and is already provoking a lively and important debate.

Disabled rights on the streets

Disabled and sick people angry at government cuts and changes that will hit thousands of vulnerable people across Britain are taking to the streets over the coming week.