Friday, June 27, 2008

Broadband Internet - human right?

Is it, dear reader, a basic human right for all Americans to have broadband internet access?


Thursday, June 26, 2008

Anglican google ad

Positive Impacts

Our new website, Positive Impacts, complete with a new blog has just gone live and we've been working on improving our main site.


Wednesday, June 25, 2008


Some staples we've not eaten very much of recently:

Soya mince

Some staples we've eaten a lot:

Dairy products, particularly cheese yoghurt and milk
Frozen blackberries/blackcurrants/redcurrants
Vegetable soups

Some things we're not doing so much:

Driving (less than once a week now)
Drinking Coffee
Eating red meat
Using the washing machine (ours is still bust)

Some things we're doing a lot more:
Catching the bus
Hand washing clothing


Monday, June 23, 2008


I must confess a slight smugness this evening. Let me ask forgiveness in advance - I'm not totally sure my position really helps anyone.

My position is this: having been involved in various Anglican churches in the evangelical end of the spectrum, I have experienced quite a few types of church and types of Anglican. I have believed for a long time that the church is destined for division (and then further subdivision) and that this is not necessarily a bad thing. We have very little in common it seems to me, and some of us have more in common with groups outside of the church than with those inside, which seems to me to be rather ridiculous.

I find problems with all the subgroups I am aware of:

Evangelicals are too abrasive.

Charismatics are on a different planet

Middle of the Road Anglicans are just dull (and neither hot nor cold about anything beyond the church fete).

I don't know much about High Church Anglicans but have no inclination to find out anything more about them.

I have problems with the church structures, church governance, church expectations, church choirs, the priesthood, 'worship leaders' of all kinds, parading, stained glass windows, high altars, buildings, flower rotas, biblical illiteracy, over-intellectualisation (and its converse, the prevention of 'thinking' at all costs), clothing, service times, dullness, groovy-ness, Christmas, the church calendar, and a load of other things I can't so easily trot off the top of my head. In short, about the only reason I attend an Anglican church is that I have a certain affinity to written liturgy (which wears off quite regularly) and generally have some connection with the middle-class professors, company directors and teachers we meet there.

Also I've been elsewhere, and whilst other churches cannot boast such a variety of things to really hate, they are still hugely irritating. I'm not convinced any of us are really very close to the Way of Christ we claim to profess, and on the whole churches are part of the problem not the solution.

Back to smugness. I confess it makes me smile to observe the hypocrisy. I think Archbishop Akinola and his friends claiming to be more biblicalthan his opponents is hilarious. Without even starting on the issue of homosexuality: a man with a religious title, wearing silly hats, religious clothing, attending a conference in a religious spot with other pointed-hat-wearing-religious leaders claims to have be more in tune with Jesus the carpenters' son than another bunch of pointed-hat-wearing-religious-leaders elsewhere. Give me a break.

And for those on the Charismatic wing of the Anglican church to make out they are part of some great move of the Spirit and/or revival when they're actually hypnotised by a pumped-up liar/cheat/psychopath (I can't decide which) is hilarious.

Can I logically disown all of them? By distancing myself from one group, am I not automatically putting myself into another.

Or take the homosexuality debate: I don't think homosexuals should be ordained.

For the simple reason that I don't believe anyone should be ordained. I don't believe in the priesthood.

OK, for the record, I will record my position: morally, I hold conservative sexual ethics. I think sexual intimacy is for one partner of the other gender. Other forms of sexual contact are destructive, and therefore in my opinion are sinful. I'm sorry if that offends you, but that is my morality and I'm sticking with it at the moment.

However, I would support Gay Marriage (or whatever participants wanted to call it). I can see that society is made up of people who want to do all kinds of things that I find offensive, and two people choosing to formalise their loving relationship seems to me to be a Good Thing for society. In the same way, I might not like the lifestyle or precepts of Hinduism (random example), but I think that society should recognise a Hindu marriage where participants have chosen that relationship freely. Of course, there are problems with taking this position further (for example, what happens if someone wants to marry a bunch of people), but I don't see that we are talking about the complicated ethics regarding these other relationships when talking about two people of the same gender entering a voluntary committed relationship. There is is ample evidence that bigamous relationship are abusive, coercive and/or destructive for society over and beyond monogamous homosexual relationships (for which I am not aware of any evidence of wider destructive influence on society).

I don't particularly want to see those relationships formalised in a church of which I am a member, but I do not have any right to veto what other people do in other churches or religious buildings. I'm not totally convinced of the value of weddings anyway.

So there it is. Plenty of things for anyone to aim attacks at me.

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Tuesday, June 17, 2008

brown sauce

How about that for a serving suggestion - a bacon buttie sans brown sauce


Friday, June 13, 2008


I was thinking the other day what it would be like to have another child. Eight years ago, the prospect of the birth of my daughter was a major fear. It was really scary.

Today, I have conquered that fear. I'm not scared by the idea of having another child. Bringing up our daughter has been annoying, tiring, headache-inducing, boring - but mostly it has been fun, liberating, funny, educational and good. She turned our world upside-down, and we discovered it was better that way up.

We're soon to be having a party. An animal-fancy-dress party. I'm going to be a stick insect. She has it all planned out.

That's my girl.

*proud beam*

Wednesday, June 11, 2008

10 reasons why Ubuntu is better than Windows

1. You can't make a coffee in the time it takes to boot Ubuntu.

2. Newer versions of Ubuntu are better than the previous version, unlike Windows.

3. Ubuntu rarely crashes, unlike Windows.

4. There are many thousands of viruses affecting Windows. There are only a few dozen affecting Linux. Hence whereas a virus scan for a computer running Windows might take 45 minutes, a linux version of the same virus scanner takes 5 minutes.

5. When you have a problem with Windows, it takes hours of frustration and you can rarely fix it yourself. When you have a problem with Ubuntu, it takes hours of frustration but you can find a fix or someone who knows how to fix it.

6. An Ubuntu user is inevitably learning about how his computer works. A Windows user is waiting for his computer to go wrong.

7. Old versions of Ubuntu are still supported.

8. Bill Gates has nothing to do with Ubuntu.

9. You don't get that annoying Word paperclip in Ubunutu.

10. It is simple to remove any application you don't need in Ubuntu and to find more that you do.

And of course, it is free. Bargain.

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Monday, June 09, 2008

Hardy Heron

My linux box just updated itself to Ubuntu 8.04, codenamed Hardy Heron.

For those who are not in the know, this means that we have a desktop computer which is not running Microsoft Windows, but an alternative Operating System known as Ubuntu which works using Linux.

And boy, does it work. Bearing in mind that I'm not a computer geek, this thing is really good - an outstanding example of co-operation in all senses of the word. You've no need to use microsoft ever again. Really, I mean that.

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Thursday, June 05, 2008

Caroline Lucas, MEP

I just received this email (another in the series I wrote to 'green celebrities' regarding the climate change conversation).

Dear Joe,

Thank you for your email about the stark and difficult decisions that need to be made with regard to climate change. Caroline has asked me to respond on her behalf and please excuse the delay in doing.

The Green Party strongly agrees that there is a moral imperative to act to tackle climate change. Caroline works closely with organisations such as Christian Aid and War on Want to highlight that this not just an environmental crisis we face but also a social one – and one that will impact on the poorest people first, and worst.

Her approach is very much focused on the idea that individuals need to take action to reduce their own impact but that the greater need is for government to put in place a legislative framework that will enable the kind of personal and consumer decision making that is necessary. So, for example, she argues that pricing of transport should facilitate the promotion of sustainable options. The Green Party also advocate a carbon ration – an allowance that each individual can spend as they choose each year but which cannot be exceeded. The ration could be traded and, as evidence suggests that those on lower incomes tend to be more carbon efficient they could chose to gain financially for their behaviour. The crucial element of such a scheme is that although the wealthiest people could afford to buy the right to emit carbon this would have a cap. The Green Party also supports a related scheme that would work on a global level, called contraction and convergence. This too has a strong social element and seeks to impose an overall cap on emissions per capita.

As you note, failure to curb greenhouse gas emissions will probably lead to any number of nightmare scenarios unfolding across the globe. Caroline would argue that the current rise in food and oil prices is an early manifestation of the kind of social breakdown that occurs when the global population lives beyond its environmental capacity. In 2006 she wrote to government and the EU to enquire what measures were in place to plan for peak oil – the point at which demand outstrips the possibility of supply – and resulting high oil prices. The unanimous response was ‘this will not happen’. Caroline disagrees and this year’s rocketing oil prices are evidence that the world is not equipped to manage a growing scarcity of fossil fuels and all that implies. Nor, she would argue, is it equipped to deal with eg hyper inflation or mass internal migration as sea levels rise. The Green Party believes it has policies that can prevent such scenarios becoming a reality but whilst the focus remains on finding ways to continue business as usual via investment in eg carbon capture and storage or a switch to biofuels, it is a struggle for these to gain ground.

Please be assured that Caroline and the Green Party are utterly aware of the need to put in place a strategy based on assuming the worst – namely that CO2 levels are not kept within 350ppm and we go past the point of no return with regard a changing climate. Her work at European level involves striking a balance between this and more positive work on ways to prevent it happening. She will also continue to keep up the pressure on the national government to properly consider its response to the likely consequences of passing that point of no return.

Thank you for taking the time to write to Caroline and you can read more about her work at

Kind regards,


Cath Miller

Constituency Coordinator and Researcher

Office of Dr Caroline Lucas

Green Party MEP for SE England

Suite 58, The Hop Exchange

24 Southwark Street

London SE1 1TY

Tel: 020 7407 6281


You have automatically been signed up to receive bimonthly email bulletins from Caroline. Please respond to this message putting INFO as the subject header if you do NOT want to receive these bulletins.

Nice to know that I've also signed up for bimonthly email bulletins, wouldn't you say?

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