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Category: Society

A crisis of Care ?

A crisis of Care ?

Contrast two scenes. The first is a restaurant – where the food is carefully prepared and warmly served in an atmosphere which seeks to delight its customers.  The second is a hospital.  Parking the car is nearly impossible – the long impersonal corridors where people avoid eye contact.  The noisy ward – the short temered administrator; the disinterested receptionist; the doctor talking over the patient who feels ignored.  There is no space or time or sensitivity.  If we were treated…

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Bothered and Bewildered

Bothered and Bewildered

When we are bothered and bewildered it is doubly important that our thinking and reflecting are courageous and honest. And in particular it is necessary to avoid two ‘quasi’ intellectual habits: The assumption that it is possible to impose solutions on people as a method of rekindling hope. Virtuous behaviour cannot be enforced. Whilst people might be forced to behave well, virtuous behaviour, enforcement does not foster hope that can counter dismay. The habit of thinking in terms of ‘them…

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Elizabeth Fry

Elizabeth Fry

   Elizabeth Fry (nee Gurney) was born in 1780 into a well-to-do Quaker family in Norwich.  As a child she did not enjoy the Quaker meetings and made her delicate health an excuse for missing them.  Later Elizabeth became one of the Plain Friends whose religious observance was very strict: they dressed plainly and refused to join in with dancing and singing. Elizabeth married a banker, Joseph Fry, who was the partner in Gurney’s Bank.  She entertained as the wife…

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Pensioner Poverty

Pensioner Poverty

This shocking news report should move us all into some action:   Reform of the pensions and benefits system is urgently needed to tackle pensioner poverty in the UK, which is among the worst in Europe, campaigners said today. The call for action came after European commission statistics showed that 30% of over-65s in the UK were living on incomes far below the national average. That was the fourth highest level in Europe, according to the figures, with pensioners in…

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The Speaker

The Speaker

The Speaker (BBC 2 14th April 2009 8 – 9pm)   What makes for a good speech? How do those of us who are tasked to speak become better (more convincing) speakers? What is a significant speech? Young people from across the country are gathered together and offered an opportunity to speak in various places. They are given the chance to offer pre – prepared pieces and then put into large arenas to speak on a variety of subjects without…

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How can I help?

How can I help?

  In the super market the other day I glimpsed an older man guiding his frail wife around the aisles – the scene touched me in a very profound way. What amazing things emerge when we open our eyes and our hearts. Perhaps we all have an impulse to care when faced with others in need. Whether we translate that impulse into action depends on how we deal with soem of the barriers to our natural impulse to care. Spiritually…

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Morals and Money……

Morals and Money……

I thought this worth reading as world leaders gather today in London   Interview with Radio 4 ‘Today’ programme ahead of G20 summit Tuesday 31 March 2009 The Archbishop of Canterbury, Dr. Rowan Williams spoke with Jim Naughtie on Radio 4’s ‘Today’ program about the moral impact of the recession, ahead of the G20 summit in London. Listen to the interview & read the transcript. Jim Naughtie: Well as the G20 leaders start to arrive in London for their summit…

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Creationism?

Creationism?

Theos has announced Biggest evolution and God survey ever launched today. Among its key findings, the report reveals that: Only 54% of people know that Charles Darwin wrote The Origin of Species (3% believe he wrote The God Delusion by Richard Dawkins and 1% think he wrote The Naked Chef by Jamie Oliver). Only 15% of people know that Charles Darwin was a self-described agnostic towards the end of his life (20% think he was an atheist). 42% of people…

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Bringing Dementia out of the shadows

Bringing Dementia out of the shadows

  It is easy to knock the Government and I wonder sometimes if any of us really understand the complex and demanding nature of modern governance? Today I want to commend the Governments excellent initiatives around Dementia. Let me remind you about the plans. The ambition is to set up memory clinics in every town in England. The clinics will be set up in every English town and doctors will get extra training to recognise early signs, the health secretary…

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Uncertain Financial Times?

Uncertain Financial Times?

In these curious and uncertain times I found this wisdom: Ethics will be the best long-term investment John Reynolds The Observer,     I started working in ‘the City’ nearly 20 years ago. I have seen, especially over the past five years, some very major investment banks engage in behaviour that is certainly unethical and only legal because it exploits obvious loopholes. There are individuals I have come across with whom I wouldn’t work, and feel uncomfortable if I am…

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Retirement?

Retirement?

This may raise a smile! James Woodward thinking about retirement…. well in a theoretical sense you understand! I have to speak at a leveson Centre conference about my aspirations relating to retirement and write to ask for any advice via this page. I remember one observation about people who read autobiography. Those who read you are not saying ‘Tell me about you’ – rather they are saying ‘Tell me about me using you as a mirror!’ What does retirement look like…

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Free Speech?

Free Speech?

 Should we all be allowed to say what we want, and where, and about whosoever we want? What are the limits to free speech? And who should decide where these limits are set? If we set a limit of freedom of speech then does it follow that there will be an infringement of other human rights? These questions are sparked by a debate I listened to in Chicago last month between a lawyer and a radical. It was lively but…

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Social Injustice

Social Injustice

What makes you angry – and I do not mean just cross but really angry? What parts of the world around us should webe  wanting or working to change? I am a great admirer of the Joseph Rowntree Foundation and their social research that can hold a disturbing mirror up to us and the way we live. Its latest report makes for troubling reading as it reflects that greed and family breakdown are amongst the new social evils in Britain…

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