Daily Archives: 2 December 2007

Tooth Review: 1565 (Obligatory Spoiler Warning)

Prog 1565Two weeks to Prog 2008, and things are coming to a close (I’ve been saying that for a while now, haven’t I?)

Cover: The mysterious Karel Toten from The Red Seas, as rendered by Steve Yeowell. A dramatic enough image, and Steve Yeowell is on good form at the moment.

Quote of the Week: “Slaughterhouse! The is Dredd! Kitty is dead! The woman you think is your wife is just an empty shell! They tricked you Slaughterhouse!” Judge Dredd (speaking through the cybernetically-controlled corpse that was Slaughterhouse’s wife)

Spoilers (in addition to that one)… Continue reading Tooth Review: 1565 (Obligatory Spoiler Warning)

Miranda Grell: stop fighting, start saving your soul

Shortly after I posted my own comment on Miranda Grell’s failed appeal, she posted her own:

Following yesterday’s decision at Snaresbrook Crown Court to uphold my conviction for two offences against the Representation of the People Act 1983, I have, this morning, resigned from both the Labour party and my job working for the Deputy Mayor of London, at the Greater London Authority.

Although I know I am innocent, what I have been convicted of amounts to bringing the Labour party into disrepute and gross misconduct of the Greater London Authority constitution.

I cannot expect either of these organisations to continue to formally support me in these circumstances.

I have also resigned from the Compass Management Committee.

Many thanks to all of you who have today sent through messages of support.

Our fight continues.

All fair enough, but she seems to have conveniently forgotten that she admitted, in court, to spreading unsubstantiated rumours about her opponent’s sexuality door-to-door (even if she denies ever calling him a paedophile, which the court decided she did). She also continues to fail to even recognise the huge consequences that had on Barry Smith’s personal life.

Denial is a horrible thing; it’s so all-encompassing. I really do plead with her, and her friends, to recognise the damage she caused and to contemplate on that fact. Apart from the fact that this looks very much like a fight she cannot win, there is a danger that it will end up consuming her.

I can’t presume to know the mind of Barry Smith, but if ever there was a case for restorative justice, this is it. Both of them could gain enormously from sitting in a room together with a mediator and talking over their experiences.

I don’t think Miranda Grell is a homophobe. I think she got carried away by a party strategy of dirty tricks and discovered she was a little too good at it. It’s clear to anyone who has walked in Labour circles that she was well liked and a lot of people thought she was set to be the next big thing. I think she’s capable of redemption, but she needs to recognise her guilt first.

Stop fighting Miranda, or you’ll destroy yourself.

Cristina Odone: drop the martyr act

If you haven’t heard that St. Martins-in-the-Fields stopped Cristina Odone from using their pulpit to rant about how religious people are persecuted last week, you simply haven’t been paying attention. She was banging on about it on the Today programme and now has a column in the Observer saying the same thing:

When a Christian cannot speak out in church for fear of censure, alarm bells ring. The citadel that threatens to emerge from this new world order is like Philip Pullman’s Dark Materials in reverse: the dogmatic oppressor is no longer the omnipotent church, but the omnipotent secularist clique that demands total conformity.

What a very silly person. I have no idea what the capacity of St. Martins-in-the-Fields is but doubt it has a capacity of more than 1,000. By contrast, in going on about this via every media outlet available to her, she has had contact with millions. It was a church that banned her, not the high priesthood of Richard Dawkins. In what way is she subject to “omnipotent secularist clique that demands total conformity”?

In New Humanist this month, Richard Norman writes an important corrective to the recent outpourings of Richard Dawkins and Christopher Hitchens. I endorse it. But one thing I am in constant awe of is the ability of religious commentators to whip themselves into a frenzy that they are being persecuted. In the Guardian last year, at least one religious commentator compared Dawkins’ views to that of the actions of a suicide bomber, without a hint of irony. As Christmas is approaching, we can but wonder if the fever pitch will exceed last year’s nonsense about secularists plotting to ban Christmas, a throng which was joined by none other than the Archbishop of York (a diocese which knows more than a thing or two about blood libel and thus you would hope would go to rather more pains not to spout unfounded nonsense). I’m not optimistic.

Going back to Odone’s rehearsed charges, Shabina Begum wasn’t banned from wearing a veil, but an ankle-length jilbab; if she’d settled for a headscarf and long trousers she’d have been fine. Nadia Eweida wasn’t banned from wearing a cross by BA, but from wearing one on top of her uniform in a contrived way. The Portree Primay School scandal was resolved two weeks ago.

But these are all froth. Meanwhile a woman is imprisoned in the Sudan, with demands for a death sentance to be put on her head, for giving a teddy bear the wrong name. And we’re supposed to believe it is secularists that are having it all their own way?

So yes, I do happen to think that Dawkins and Hitchens rather over-egg their respective puddings, but compared with the people they are arguing with they are paragons of restraint.