Simon Barrow's blog

Consistency and determination is needed on chemical weapons

Consistency and determination is needed on chemical weapons

This morning (11 September 2013) President Obama broadcast an address to the US nation (http://www.bbc.co.uk/news/world-us-canada-24043751). It contained no new evidence, information or argument, but continued to maintain that "it is in the national security interests of the United States to respond to the Assad regime's use of chemical weapons through a targeted military strike."

Moving the C of E beyond its arms company shame

While Anglican priests have been prominent among those opposing the DSEi arms fair in London this week (9-14 September 2013), the largest of its kind in the world, the official silence from the Church of England has been deafening.

Calculating the odds: will Obama lose the Syria vote?

Calculating the odds: will Obama lose the Syria vote?

A massive political shake-up will be forthcoming if US President Obama and Secretary of State John Kerry fail in their attempt to persuade Congress to back a punitive military strike on Syria – despite launching an avalanche of propaganda over the past few days.

Threat to charities, campaigns and unions from Lobbying Bill

Threat to charities, campaigns and unions from Lobbying Bill

The government's new lobbying bill has united charities, unions and other NGOs - as well as civil rights activists - in condemnation for measures that will do too little to combat serious corporate interference in politics, but will provide the pretext to limit and intimidate legitimate policy-based work by non-government and non-party political bodies.

Game-changing: Syria, tough reality and alternatives to military adventurism

Game-changing: Syria, tough reality and alternatives to military adventurism

As well as the expected vain pontificating and sabre-rattling, there has been a good deal of wise commentary on Syria, intervention and change in the past week or so -- seeking to get to grips with the hard politics of the situation, while not losing sight of the fact that it is suffering humanity (all of it, not just 'our' portion of it) that should always be the litmus test of effective action.

Commons Syria vote: a significant moment, but what next?

Commons Syria vote: a significant moment, but what next?

Having followed some six hours of the House of Commons debate on Syria yesterday (29 August), while channeling news, commentary and media requests for Ekklesia, it was evident to me that concern, questioning and scepticism were the dominant feelings being expressed.

Spinning us along the path to military intervention

Spinning us along the path to military intervention

The performance of the young US State Department spokesperson on BBC Newsnight this evening (27 August) was extremely chilling, not least for the insouciant way in which a series of necessarily probing questions about a military strike on Syria were simply waved away with stock remarks like, "we'll factor that in".

Changing world... changing outlook

Change is about structures, policies and politics, for sure. As a thinktank looking specifically at how belief and values can impact the arena of hard choices, we are the first to recognise that.

Just Festival... Not quite finished

Just Festival... Not quite finished

Those of us who live permanently in Edinburgh will be looking forward to getting our city back in the near future... though the friendly festival invasion undoubtedly brings life, colour, enjoyment, variety and friendship to the streets - and we very much hope that spirit is here to stay, both in the Athens of the North (as we like to style ourselves) and in the hearts and lives of all who have taken part.

Can we create a 'good society'?

Can we create a 'good society'?

Today, there is a discussion about what constitutes a 'good society' taking place at St John's Church Edinburgh (Tuesday 20th August, 6-7.30pm, £5) as part of Just Festival.