Personality politics, half-baked solutions and populist pretensions by tired political fixers are being used to disguise real, significant problems with local government, says Graeme Smith. He hopes that the shallow rhetoric of ‘people know best’ can suffer a similar fate to that of elected mayors, in favour of renewed democracy and a decent appreciation of expert knowledge in its proper place.
Quakers take pride in the history of nineteenth-century Quaker employers, many known for their progressive thinking. Some have suggested that they can now be a model for us in developing a form of "ethical capitalism". But the most forward-thinking nineteenth century Quakers called not for philanthropy but for fundamental change to the economic system. Their example can inspire us to reject capitalism altogether and to seek alternatives.
Pope Benedict has announced the appoinment of Bernard Longley, currently Auxiliary Bishop of the Catholic Archdiocese of Westminster, as the next Archbishop of Birmingham in succession to Vincent Nichols.
A hearing into allegations that a teacher promoted racist views in the classroom has been delayed after police cited fears of violence. Adam Walker is accused of promoting hostility to asylum-seekers, gay people and Muslims.
Students and staff from The Queen's Foundation for Ecumenical Theological Education and St Francis Hall in Birmingham University will hold a lamentation ceremony on the sixth anniversary of the Iraq war.
Following police action in a high profile suspected UK terror case last week, one of Birmingham's senior Muslim leaders, Dr Mohammad Naseem, chair of the city's Central Mosque, has said that Muslims in Britain are being labelled as a threat in a way that has parallels with the treatment of Jews under Hitler.