Protests in Nottingham

5 December 2009

12:45

Stumbling on a demonstration (protest) today on the way to work in Nottingham, I couldn’t resist running in to borrow the office site camera and running back out again to play journalist.

The English Defence League (EDL) scheduled something for today (5th) and the Nottinghamshire Stop the BNP (NSBNP) has responded with a counter demonstration.

NP1

Against the EDF and BNP

The commotion is taking place in Market Square (in the centre of Nottingham) as I write this: no plans to move that I am aware of. Police presence is very noticeable as two opposing demonstrations face off. I say face off, but the whole affair is pretty composed for now—and the crowd isn’t huge. In fact, right now there are probably more photographers and curious Christmas shoppers than anyone else. Still, it’s my first protest, and I enjoyed the experience.

NP2

Police Presence

NP3

Reflections

As I left the scene, I overheard an announcement on the NET PA system that all trams into and out of Nottingham have been cancelled owing to the crowds. I am sure the rail network will suffer proportionately (if the huge BTP presence means anything). Christmas shopping is already a nightmare by this week—it’s probably a jungle now.

Apparently, an army battalion with ties to Nottinghamshire is also planning a parade. The mix up should be interesting—assuming I haven’t missed it!

EDIT:  1630

After hearing sirens all day as I sat in the office, as well as occasional yelling and a helicopter, I decided to check out the latest before leaving for home. A quick glance at the BBC’s coverage showed me things had taken a turn for the worse. Still, I had no choice but to make my way through the city centre. I managed to avoid the worst parts, but experienced a share of angry, hooded protestors. At one point I was cycling alongside a running mob, feeling slightly nervous in my high-vis jacket. Thankfully, no one thought I looked too much like a police officer!

(EDIT: It was the Mercian Regiment that paraded through Nottingham, and it was before all the kerfuffle.)


Why Blog?

10 August 2009

Whoa! It’s been a little while since I’ve visited this blog—much less posted. Now that I’ve broken the Cardinal Rule of posting regularly, I am less bothered by breaking another in apologising for it. Sorry.

I was recently challenged about my motivation for blogging. (Although to be fair: I haven’t exactly been keeping it up). It came from the minister of my church, Andy Gemmill. Essentially, Andy said that it is very difficult indeed to blog without being self-promoting.

He started off by countering the common view that technology is neutral (ie morally). He made the point that we, as rebels before God in our natural state, are not spiritually neutral; therefore anything we produce cannot be neutral—but will more easily be used for harm than good. Although he was clear that technology can be used for good, as well as bad.

I am inclined to agree with him, although I am not sure to what extent. Can a mere artifact, lacking moral capacity, have a moral implication (without a person acting upon it or with it)? Or does the very act of creating an artifact impress some moral aspect? Andy leaned towards the latter. And the more I think about it, I do as well—though I am not sure how it works. What do you think?

Anyway, he made a good point: whilst a blog can be a very good thing indeed, it will be an uphill struggle to do it right. He noted that blogs will easily—naturally—be full of triviality and self-promotion. And before you think that self promotion need not be a bad thing, take a look at the following verses from 1 Corinthians 13:

Love is patient, love is kind. It does not envy, it does not boast, it is not proud. It is not rude, it is not self-seeking, it is not easily angered, it keeps no record of wrongs. Love does not delight in evil but rejoices with the truth. It always protects, always trusts, always hopes, always perseveres.

How is that self-promoting? Wouldn’t you rather read a blog (or be friends with someone) like that?

I know I have fallen into the trap of self promotion often, and I will have to think carefully about when and what I write. Feel free to call me out when you think I am promoting myself too much.


Is Marriage Vindicated?

23 February 2009

A recent article from the BBC highlights some interesting conclusions drawn from a report (The Good Childhood Inquiry) about the conditions in which we rear our children.

For example:

“…three times as many three year olds living with lone parents or a step-parent have behavioural problems compared with those living with married parents.”

“Children with separate, single or step parents are 50% more likely to fail at school, have low esteem, be unpopular with other children and have behavioural difficulties, anxiety or depression.”

“Child-rearing is one of the most challenging tasks in life and ideally it requires two people.”

This is certainly at odds with the current social consensus on raising children. But just when you might think that this does not necessarily support marriage, the report recommends that:

“…a civil birth ceremony conducted by a registrar in which parents publicly accept the responsibilities of parenthood”.

I know that this is not exactly the (modern, western) Christian marriage model, but it is pretty darn close for this secular culture.

But the report has some more startling things to say:

“…many more working mothers has contributed to the damage done to children”.

“…most women now work and their new economic independence contributes to levels of family break-up which are higher in the UK than in any other Western European country.”

Wow, talk about un-PC! Can you say that in the UK? Even I, a conservative (sort of) evangelical, find that difficult to swallow. But maybe my theology has been over-influenced by secular western thought.

What do you think?


Is Carbon Dioxide Reduction Futile?

29 January 2009

A coworker showed me an article from the BBC (on a report by Worldwatch Institute) regarding CO2 emissions reduction. Note the first paragraph (emphasis mine): “More carbon dioxide needs to be absorbed than emitted by 2050 in order to prevent catastrophic climate change”. In other words: by 2050, the sum global atmospheric CO2 needs to be decreasing.

Is this even achievable?

My coworker reckons that if the requirement above is true, we might as well give up. We should focus instead on mitigating the effects of “catastrophic climate change”. I must say I am inclined to agree. Surely the best we were ever hoping for was a decrease in the increase of CO2 emissions: a leveling off?

What do you think?


Song of the Week – 07 (Night Train)

19 January 2009

Each week, I’ll bring you a new song to listen to. You may like it, or you may not. Either way, I’d love to for you to post your comments.

This week it’s “Night Train” by James Brown.

James Brown is a favourite artist of mine. If I am not sure what I’m in the mood for, chances are James Brown will satisfy. Great music for housekeeping as well.

[Edit: the embedded video from youtube is now no longer available. I will try to find an alternative].


Xbox and Espresso

15 January 2009

Now that the Christmas break is well and truly over, and the panic of the first weeks back at work is receding, I can return to the blogsphere. Here’s some thoughts on the period.

Espresso: A new-found joy.

The Daily Show (with Jon Stewart): Heavily biased, but all the better for it.

Cold weather snap: Electric heater on a timer switch in the bathroom. Can’t believe I didn’t think of it before.

Barack Obama: Bring it on.

The book of Ecclesiastes: Way cool. Much more ‘relevant’ than I remembered.

Full English breakfast with the groom etc. before a wedding: Unforgettable.

Cycling: Still enjoy it. Invested in a warmer ‘base layer’.

Xbox 360: Pretty darn cool. But most good games require a TV that can do 60Hz. Mine doesn’t, so the Xbox is lying in wait
Last year saw the following posts as the top three most popular on my blog:

  1. Penal Substitution as a Valid Theory of Atonement (67 views)
  2. Reason vs Revelation (58 views)
  3. Top 100 Songs Ever – kinda (52 views)

I must say that I was suprised about the first one.


Song of the Week – 06 (Tiny Little Fractures)

17 December 2008

Each week, I’ll bring you a new song to listen to. You may like it, or you may not. Either way, I’d love to for you to post your comments.

This week it’s “Tiny Little Fractures” by Snow Patrol. I realise this song may be old for some of you (are they in the States too?), but I heard it today for the first time. A friend swapped ipods with me at work: a good idea if you’re looking for some new stuff.

Not sure what the youtube video is about. Just ignore it, I guess.

I also highly recommend their new hit: “Take Back the City“. I would have posted it instead of “Tiny Little Fractures”, but it’s a recent hit. Seriously though, check it out if you haven’t heard it.


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