There is no doubt about the enormous contribution being made by clergy from the established church in responding to the challenges of poverty, isolation and cuts to public services in rural areas (“How rural vicars became the last social workers in the countryside”, News.
However, it was disappointing that the article failed to mention the significant contribution being made, often in partnership with the C of E, by the nonconformist churches, in particular the Methodist church.
Rural churches are especially good at responding to need by loving service and this is more often than not undertaken within the spirit of ecumenism. Rural churches are often at the core of the social fabric of villages and small towns. The C of E and the Methodist church signed an agreement to work together in 2003. This is known as the Anglican-Methodist Covenant and evidence of it being lived out can be found in many villages and rural communities. The C of E has much to offer. Churches together can offer even more.
Rev Ruth Fry
With reference to “How Hitler could solve our housing crisis”, New Review) concerning the objection people have against their road being called Bell End, as an 80-year-old, I was unfamiliar with this euphemism for the glans. At my age, I suppose one tends to take less interest in such things. As an amateur trombonist (of sorts) however, the expression has a different meaning. It being the flared end of the instrument from which the noise erupts.
This is not to say the trombone has no sexy connections. I remember Terry Wogan disputing Ken Dodd’s assertion that love is like a violin, claiming that it is much more like a slide trombone. In the case of the bell end of the trombone, performance can be affected by size. Classical players tend to have larger ones to produce a deeper, more sonorous note, whereas those of us in the jazz and big band world have smaller ones to make a brighter sound.
I would have thought the addition of road, way or avenue would have solved the good citizens’ problem.
Kenan Malik, in his interesting piece on class and race (“In British education, the central issue is class, not ethnicity”, Comment) says that “many prominent figures [including myself] called for black boys to be educated in separate schools”. To my knowledge, neither I nor anyone else in full possession of their faculties has called for black boys to be placed in separate schools. In 2004, I did point out that some small experiments in racially segregated US high schools showed that when African American boys were taught English and maths in all-male classes, their scores improved significantly and immediately. Kenan’s error is understandable due to an over-enthusiastic BBC PR operation selling this observation as a call for separate schools. Google doesn’t always tell the whole story – or even the real one.
The EU (Withdrawal) bill, returning to the Commons this week, will not protect people’s rights in the UK as the government has promised. This is in large part because the bill removes the Charter of Fundamental Rights from our law. The charter protects rights to dignity, protection of personal data and health and protections for workers, women, children, older people, LGBTI and disabled people.
The government’s analysis of the charter repeats its assurance that rights will not be weakened following Brexit. However, independent legal advice shows this to be wrong. Losing it creates a human rights hole because the charter provides some rights and judicial remedies that have no clear equivalents in UK law. Furthermore, by keeping the wide and complex body of EU law while throwing away the charter that is the code to unlock it, the government risks jamming itself in a mountain of legal cases.
Rights without remedies are just symbols. We need legal guarantees in the bill about the kind of society we want to be after Brexit. For the government to honour its promise of preserving existing rights it must retain the protections in the charter.
Amnesty International UK
Equality and Human Rights Commission
Adam Wagner, barrister
British Institute of Human Rights
Children’s Rights Alliance for England
Equality Commission for Northern Ireland
Equality and Diversity Forum
Gender Identity Research and Education Society (GIRES)
Jonathan Cooper OBE
National Aids Trust
National Alliance of Women’s Organisations (NAWO)
The Northern Ireland Human Rights Commission
Schona Jolly QC
Scottish Human Rights Commission
UK Race and Europe Network
UK Women’s Budget Group
Wales Observatory on Human Rights of Children
I wonder which of the 66 books of the Bible Chris Lovibond was referring to in asking whether it was fact or fiction (Letters)? I would struggle with categorisations, too. The poetry of the Psalms, Song of Songs and large sections of Isaiah: fact or fiction? The apocalyptic visions of Daniel and Revelation: fact or fiction?
What about the histories in Samuel and Kings and Chronicles? Most history is written by the victors after the event , but does that make it fiction? I detect a derogatory note in the application of the word “fiction” to the biblical canon, which is not used when referring to someone such as Margaret Atwood, who creates stories containing truth, as do the parables Jesus told. Was there really such a person as the good samaritan or the prodigal son? Does it matter?
Dr Carolyn Sanderson