Do you vote for the party or for the policies?

I have long argued that in our parliamentary democracy, with 5 yearly changes, we often see crass changes of policies, politics and public strategies, which are devised in a totally not transparent manner. People vote for a political party but get lumbered with sudden changes in public policies, which have long-term effects as well as a change in the political party.

Often key public services suffer sudden disruptions, which causes widespread public concerns. The Archbishop of Canterbury has gotten one thing in agreement with me in that he thinks no-one voted for the current changes in policies, but that is what we always get, we get the party for which we vote but we actually do not vote for the changes in public policies.

I have hinted on the argument before on whether public services strategies should be detached from political party votes so that consistence and transparency can be introduced into the administration of public affairs and into our lives.

This affects all services may that be health, schooling or defence.

Looking at the most recent changes to policing and health, we see that the government is quite happy to keep policing a totally governmental service with national funding but that health had been taken out of national service and is partly privatised. Why is policing and health so different? I think that some police work could also be privatised as much as all health work could go back onto public service to save costs. I think it is very much inconsistent what political parties do today on all sides of the spectrum and that a major overhaul of our democratic principles is in order.

PS: I would like to distance myself from the specific remarks of Dr Rowan Williams in the New Statesman. I do not belief that this problem can only apply to the current government but is a concern after each election when political parties change. There always is a widespread public anxiety when governments change to whichever colour. I have noticed a considerable left-leaning in all types of churches and that surprises me in that the churches were always in history on the side of the ruling classes.

I would have thought churches have a more sombre attitude but since the status of church clergy has changed and many have to suffer poverty themselves I think that has driven them to be rather radical working-class thinkers.

I think the financial status of many churches has changed considerable and often they probably do not have any choice but to apply for status as registered charity to be able to provide a viable service to the community. But that again is due to political and policy changes that were driven by Labour more than by the Conservatives.

Later added: I can well understand David Cameron’s frustration because the Church of England is the English flagship of tearing away from the Catholic religion and it was the King’s initiative to do so at the time of King Henry VIII and now all over sudden the church turns against the state, that is something to write in the history books about in any case. I am however amazed that a senior church clergy makes such trivial remarks, which are far away from the churches usual stances. Seeing that David Cameron is a direct descendant from English royalty I am completely gob-smacked by the politicisation of the English church. I put it down to the financial strain that many churches suffer and their clergy also feel the pinch. There is no longer any direct link between government and church, there is no financial state support for churches and that is leaving many churches on t he brink of collapse.

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I have a right to be a Christian – more housing issues

I do not rely on any statistics here but merely on what my personal impressions are from what I have seen and what I have seen over the years I resided here in Bethnal Green, which is part of Tower Hamlets, what I have seen is that many Christian buildings, whether churches, schools or community centers were dismantled and/or converted into housing. Whilst Christian buildings were converted into housing, I have seen a steady rise in Muslim prayer centres all over the area. More Mosques, less churches. When Christian buildings give way to housing, housing gives way to Mosques, so it seems to me.

Yet it seems to me that Muslim prayer centres are funded by public money whilst the Christian churches suffer from a lack of finance and for that reason have to sell up and convert into housing. I seem to detect a little bit of inequality here. Why is it that public money is used to convert public buildings into Muslim prayer centres and not into housing when the shortage of housing is so apparent?

Apparent examples are Christian churches in Bethnal Green Road and in Hackney road turned into housing complexes.  A former Lutheran church and school in Whitechapel turned into a housing complex.

Yet Muslim prayer centres sprang up everywhere. Our local council housing office was converted into a Muslim prayer centre. It would be interesting to work that out  in square meters how many Christian buildings were converted into housing whilst public community buildings were converted into Muslim prayer centres.

More interesting still is the finance of such facilities. St. John’s on Bethnal Green C.o.E. church, relied on a lottery grant for maintenance and many Christian churches suffer lack of finance. Whatever happened to church tax? Whilst we are squeezed for money people have hardly got enough to live on and cannot financially support churches. So it’s the churches that get abandoned by lack of financial funding whilst public monies are used to help Muslim churches. This seems highly unequal to me.

Christian churches also did a lot of valuable community work and whilst our governments worked hard to dismantle Christianity and the Christian infrastructure, local government administrations work hard and finance Muslim community centres, Mosques and therefore further the communities around that religion. Whilst of course we see an increase in anti-social behaviour of white youths all over he country, which is coupled with a decline in church attendance.

I think central government has to make an effort to make community care cheaper all around and use Christian communities rather than help destroy them and replace them with expensive white elephants, called local governments that are supposed to be non religious whilst at the same time paying for the upkeep of Islam whilst neglecting Christianity.  Well, I am not sure how exactly religion is financed in this country, still it requires planning applications to build anything on any land and the ratio of using public space for religion doesn’t seem to be in favour of Christian uses in any case.

I keep on noticing more and more how expensive it has become a be a Christian because Christian communities and churches do not get much public funding they rely on their members to prop them up and that is in principle wrong when Christian churches do an invaluable amount of community work. Yet our governments do everything to support foreign aid at the expense of keeping our own societies intact and healthy.

Even from my own perspective, I am a white immigrant from Germany, who came here to East London with the Lutheran religion, I found that nothing had been done to help me keep up contacts with other German speakers, local authority publications are never translated into German and I find it too expensive to travel into areas, where I could be mingling with other German speakers. As a white Christian nothing has been done to help me preserve my German mother tongue, the opposite was the case I was constantly bullied over my ethnic origin; that of course leads to emotional suffering, emotional suffering that Muslims and ethnic immigrants are spared because they get served. Why is there an assumption that white Christians do not need any support but only ethnic immigrant do?  

Yet whilst Germans are constantly bullied because of the former World Wars the support of Islam in the UK led to an uprising and strengthening of ethnic terrorism and a stigmatization of Muslims all over the country, whilst they still get plenty of public finance to further that religion by way of positive discrimination.

First and foremost we must concentrate on keeping peace and harmony throughout all communities but what causes friction is the one-sided support that some communities get and not others. Government now works feverishly to reverse the strengthening of particularly Muslim social problems that prevent a mixing of cultures like forced marriage but unless government has a clear direction we will never see any change in the social mix.  But particularly housing problems will not be solved if valuable space can be occupied by Muslims simply for religious purposes whilst that land could be used for housing.  Of course needless to say that local economies are also short of space for businesses. I have however heard that there is an over-abundance of vacant garage spaces throughout Tower Hamlets.

What governments have forgotten is regulatory legislation that determines the right to religion for all cultures in this country. When we were predominantly Christian, the finance of churches was solved via a church tax, similarly to IR tax. Churches made good use of that money and delivered cheap and effective community care but now, since that finance was removed from Christian churches, the decline of society has steeply risen.

To avoid ethnic clashes, why not say, there is a right to so many churches per 10.000 of any religion and that should be financed by government funding, instead of supporting only some religions and not others. This would also avoid over-saturation of some religions at the expense of wider communal needs. There should also be a right to religious association for minorities and help to support social contact for religious minorities.

Labour = Communism?

That is the question because what does it signal to us that Ed Miliband openly distances himself from God?  Is this a significant development for the Labour Party that now their leader openly attests his Atheism?

I think it is significant that the new Labour leader is not a Christian or does not believe in any God. Normally that is the trait of Communists, who also do not believe in any Gods but themselves.

At least Gordon Brown, whose father is/was a Church of England Reverend and Tony Blair, who recently converted to Catholicism because his wife also is a devoted Catholic, both of those former New Labour leaders were traditional in the  religious sense but now we see the new breed of Labour leader who do no longer want to be New Labour but want to renew Labour itself.

That is of course very significant in the sense that of course that automatically reduces the support the Labour Party will have among the establishment. The churches, have no reason to support a non religious political party, neither will the monarch, who is head of the Church of England. That of course implies that Labour will want to rely on the more established left sources, the ones of the Communist and non-religious kind.  British politics have now entered a new era and those policies have become a whole new ball game. But of course, it has recently been in the public discussion also many right-wing fascists do not believe in God and the sanctity of life religion brings with it.

Quite obviously Ed Miliband will not only upset traditional Christians but also many other members of various religions and that includes the large number of Muslims. Of course other religious may welcome the weakening of Christianity as to enable their own religion to become more powerful but in the end all religions depend on a believe in God and no devout follower of a religion will want a political leader that is an Atheist, at least that is my impression.

Marriage bliss

When I do not usually advertise commercial products, this one is well worth mentioning because it does deliver outstanding value for money and solves a social problem of gigantic proportions. It is about the decline of marriage in the UK. Of course people tried to approach that problem from the angle of social problem and religious problems but looking at this offer, it is all about the price. If the price is right, people might take the plunge again and get married.

Marriage has become unaffordable for many and that is as simple as it is. Get married from £199 including wedding outfits, nightie, 2-night stand in a hotel and cake. Please click for more information, It is offered by the Premier Inn hotel chain at five of its hotels. People should make use of that opportunity so that it becomes a regular feature of our lives.  I think we might see a revival of marriage and increase in weddings in the UK.

I do not think that cheap marriage break offer is available at the Premier Inn website but think it is worth ringing them up if you think to tie the knot at an affordable price. Please ring them on 0871 527 8000 to enquire. I understand this is a special promotional offer and couples have to apply to be accepted for this limited offer.

However I have been made aware this morning in church that the Church of England’s wedding website is one of THE most popular wedding websites in the country and advises couples that a wedding can cost as little as £350, what a bargain.  That is the current  legal cost of fees. One can get wedding gowns and bride grooms outfits second hand at Oxfam and have a cake and wine reception at the church hall afterwards.

When so many complain that our cultural problems are huge, with single mothers, decline in social values and you name it, then if we look at how we price people out of doing the right thing, we should ask ourselves why no-one thought of that before.

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