Working class unites in Ukip

9:24am Tuesday 15th April 2014

THERE’S an old Chinese curse: “May you live in interesting times.” Well, we are living in interesting times, and the times are going to get even more interesting over the next 12 months.

Is the PC calendar a good idea?

12:11pm Tuesday 8th April 2014

I WENT into three shops trying to buy an Easter card. I’m fond of flowers, I love eggs and I’ve no desire to perpetrate a hate crime against bunnies. But I was looking for something with a cross on, or an Easter garden, the sepulchral stone being rolled away.

No way to defend democracy

10:12am Tuesday 1st April 2014

HOW’S this for joined-up thinking?

Living under the jackboot

12:10pm Tuesday 25th March 2014

I ENJOYED a delightful break in Bournemouth last weekend. I love English seaside hotels. You get a proper breakfast, not the slimy cheese and tasteless ham of the so-called continental breakfast which resembles a funeral tea, washed down with a cup of stewed coffee.

Can there really be a ‘just’ war?

11:26am Tuesday 18th March 2014

LET’S take a look at how we’re commemorating the centenary of the First World War. In the agitation and propaganda department which passes for state education in England, children are routinely instructed to despise our country, its historical achievements and its traditional values.

Mangling the English language

10:48am Tuesday 11th March 2014

PART of this column is going to be very nasty. I’ll get the nasty bit in first, then you can resume the enjoyment of your breakfast. A man’s former girlfriend discovered a video of him having penetrative sex with a pit bull terrier. Time was when he would have gone to prison for that, but instead he was given a suspended sentence. I see in this distasteful story a parable of how public morality in this country changes –some would say deteriorates.

A European disaster in the making

11:04am Tuesday 4th March 2014

THIS is Europe’s most dangerous moment since the end of the Second World War. It just goes to show the truth of the old proverb about fleeing from a lion only to find oneself in the arms of a bear.

Wind your neck in Bishops

10:41am Tuesday 25th February 2014

We can rely on the bishops – Anglican or Catholic – to do anything, except teach the Christian faith. The hierarchy of both churches have just had a good old go at the Government for its changes in the rules about benefits. Of course, the church has a responsibility to the poor which derives from the words of Jesus Christ Himself who, according to St Luke’s gospel, said: “Blessed are the poor.”

Time to take back the land

11:09am Tuesday 18th February 2014

WHAT is the definition of an environmentalist?

It never rains, but it sure pours

10:17am Tuesday 11th February 2014

WHENEVER we were enjoying a spell of fine weather, my granddad, a Leeds newsagent, would say: “We’ll pay for this – you’ll see.” He knew what he was talking about. Every morning, from 1911 until 1955 he got out of bed at 4am, walked to the bridge in Armley Road, picked up his papers then set off with two full bags around his shoulders on his four-mile delivery round.

A seaside trip from heaven

10:53am Tuesday 4th February 2014

SOME things are too horrific to write about. Even the seasoned journalist recoils from the truly terrible. Over this past year I’ve written about wars and atrocities, disasters and catastrophes galore. I think I once even mentioned Lord Kinnock.

I was just speaking of the devil

9:42am Tuesday 28th January 2014

CHRISTENINGS in this country have become such posh and trendy affairs – like society weddings. We live in the age of the designer Baptism. Personally, I prefer to do Christenings as part of the Parish Communion, rather than hold them as hole-and-corner affairs in private at 3pm on a Sunday.

Guilty until proven innocent?

10:27am Tuesday 21st January 2014

IAM tempted to stop reading the papers. I mean, to open any of the regional or national newspapers this last couple of weeks is to become convinced that everyone is either a paedophile, serial groper or, alternatively, a victim of such a despicable person.

The seedy underbelly of London

10:28am Tuesday 14th January 2014

CLEARLY we haven’t heard the last of the finding that the shooting dead of Mark Duggan was not unlawful.

A squalid display of prejudice

10:32am Tuesday 7th January 2014

MOST of us celebrated the 12 days of Christmas as a time to exercise peace and love. At the Wren church of St James’s Church, Piccadilly, in London, they used the festival to demonstrate prejudice and hatred. The vicar and church council erected a replica of Israel’s security fence as part of their propaganda promotion called Bethlehem Unwrapped. The replica wall is so huge you can hardly see the church for it. It is lit up after sunset when a montage of images and anti-Israel slogans are projected on to it. There are, however, no counterbalancing images of the bombed-out Israeli buses, pubs, restaurants and nightclubs which occurred so frequently in Israel before the security barrier was installed.

Will 2014 be a happy new year?

12:21pm Tuesday 31st December 2013

WH AUDEN wondered why people are hopeful for the future while few would wish to live the past year over again. This, to apply Dr Johnson, is the triumph of hope over experience.

The best Christmas gift of all

10:50am Tuesday 24th December 2013

CHARLES DICKENS’ books are not the gospels, of course, but his Christmas stories are worth reading again at this time of the year. A Christmas Carol exhibits the spirit of an English Christmas, perhaps more perfectly than anything in our literature.

Education and higher standards

10:55am Tuesday 17th December 2013

SHOULD schools employ only teachers who are qualified? Here “qualified”

My pop-free pastoral sympathy

1:52pm Tuesday 10th December 2013

THE more time I spend in the countryside, the more extreme seems the contrast with the town.

An Iranian nuclear nightmare

10:10am Tuesday 3rd December 2013

THE world is suddenly a far more dangerous place owing to Barack Obama’s, David Cameron’s and others’ willingness to be duped by the treacherous Iranian government which, following recent superpower talks, have consolidated its perceived right to continue enriching uranium.

Will the real Tories stand up?

9:48am Tuesday 26th November 2013

PAUL SYKES, the business tycoon, has made a substantial contribution to Ukip’s funds for he wants “…to free Britain from the European Union”. Fair enough. He has a right to do as he likes with his own money and there are many less welloff people in Britain who cherish the same wish.

Why do we have guys and dolls?

10:40am Tuesday 19th November 2013

OBRAVE new world that hath such people in it. Last week, I came across a phenomenon – a Church of England clergyman so politically-correct it set your teeth on edge. He had given permission for an independent organisation to hold a service in his church. This organisation had thoughtfully printed its own order of service and invited the clergyman to read the written prayers. He did so – after a fashion. But where the printed original said, as it might have been, “We pray that every man may keep his courage...” the priest altered the line and read: “We pray that every person may keep their courage.”

Socialism and our toxic loans

10:25am Tuesday 12th November 2013

“FOUR legs good, two legs bad,” was the slogan coined by the communist animal dictatorship in George Orwell’s Animal Farm. The obvious unfairness of the slogan is because it takes no account of the conduct of either twolegged creatures or four-legged ones. It is simply a matter of whether you are two-legged or four-legged that counts. It is a statement of political prejudice.

Remember the poetry of death

10:52am Tuesday 5th November 2013

THIS weekend it will be Remembrance Sunday and, as chaplain to the Royal Regiment of Fusiliers Chapel, I have the annual honour of leading their evocative commemoration at the war memorial in the City and then preaching for the church service.

Time to sort out our clocks

12:11pm Tuesday 29th October 2013

SO we’ve gone and done it again and mucked around with the clocks. Now it’s dark at 5pm and, in a month’s time, it will be dark at four. Why do we do it when experience and oft-repeated research has proved beyond any doubt that the darker evenings cause more deaths on the roads than darker mornings?

End this Halloween nonsense

11:59am Tuesday 22nd October 2013

WE are approaching Halloween. This is a weird innovation – when I was a lad growing up in Leeds in the 1950s we contented ourselves with mischief night, November 4, the night before Bonfire Night, when we cheekily knocked on our neighbours’ doors, and then ran away before they could catch us and clip us around the ear.

We’re in for a rude awakening

10:36am Tuesday 15th October 2013

THE churches are dying before our eyes.

Cheer up, autumn is here at last

11:33am Tuesday 8th October 2013

LAST Sunday, my wife and I walked the two miles across the golf course here under the South Downs to the 8am Prayer Book Service at St Mary’s parish church and the dewy grass sparkled white like so many dropped sixpences in the brilliant early sunlight.

Terrorists by any other name

11:26am Tuesday 1st October 2013

“LET us be quite clear: this appalling, brutal and cowardly scene recently played out in Nairobi is not done in the name of a religion – not in the name of Islam – but in the name of terrorism.” That’s what David Cameron said the other day, so solemnly. He generally speaks solemnly, except when he’s speaking fatuously and, being a man of such oratorical gifts, he is when the occasion demands it, able to be both solemn and fatuous at the same time. As indeed he was the other day. The BBC won’t even go so far as to call these murderous thugs by their correct name: terrorists.

Of sluts and party politics

11:01am Tuesday 24th September 2013

OH heck, that’s torn it! Poor old Godfrey Bloom of Ukip just doesn’t understand the rules. He’s been offensive to women, but the only people allowed to be that are footballers, fundamentalist Muslims and all those rap artists so lovingly reviewed by The Guardian.

David and the Delta Farce

11:16am Tuesday 17th September 2013

Armageddon Postponed – A dramatic farce in a single act, written by the Reverend Peter Mullen.

Apocalypse now – or next week?

12:22pm Tuesday 10th September 2013

HOW are you enjoying the run-up to Armageddon?

Common sense has prevailed

11:26am Tuesday 3rd September 2013

HAS there suddenly occurred a stunning outbreak of good sense? The Commons voted against an attack on President Bashar Assad and it looks as if President Barack Obama – after ten days rattling his sabre and banging his drum – has backed down too.

I bring you tidings of great joy

12:27pm Tuesday 27th August 2013

THAT’S it then, the last Bank Holiday of the year. It’s hard to believe that twothirds of 2013 has gone – with the first four months of it lost in the big chill. So what we all need is some good news.

The Arab Spring is broken

11:51am Tuesday 20th August 2013

WHATEVER happened to the Arab Spring? It seems ages since all those social media savvy secular youngsters, intoxicated by popular notions of “democracy,” orchestrated revolutions across North Africa and were cheered on by The Guardian, The Independent and The New York Times.

Charity begins at the bank

12:00pm Tuesday 13th August 2013

BUDDY can you spare a dime? If so, you might like to put a little of your hardearned cash into a tin as a contribution to the salaries of the executives who run our largest charities.

I won’t be fubbed off by anyone

11:20am Tuesday 6th August 2013

BY seven o’clock this morning I’d learnt a new word: “fubbing”. Have you ever fubbed? I haven’t. I’ve done many other things which I’m sure are very reprehensible, but as to fubbing, I’m not guilty, mi’ lord. I’ve cussed on too many occasions. I’ve dozed off in lectures and sermons, and once I even revoked at the village whist drive which nearly got me exiled from all polite company. But no, I ain’t never fubbed and I’m not going to start, for the simple reason that I don’t have anything to fub with.

All the world’s a stagecoach

12:18pm Tuesday 30th July 2013

HERE’S a tale of two journeys. It was the best of trips, it was the worst of trips. The train ride from the South Coast into London began well. Drawing out of Eastbourne with the early sun throwing the Downs into pastel shades, we stopped at Polegate and collected a shoal of schoolboys.

Cracking fracking myths

2:03pm Tuesday 23rd July 2013

THEIR enterprise in fracking for shale gas has resolved the US energy crisis.

The wallies with the brollies

12:21pm Wednesday 17th July 2013

THERE is something sublimely comical about simply living in Britain these days. For example, wondering in an idle moment what the Meteorological Office is for. I did think it was to do with their having hugely expensive computers so that they can tell us accurately what the weather will be. But that can’t be what the Met Office exists for, because they make such a habit of getting it wrong. Remember the other year the promised “barbecue summer” when we all shivered in the wind and the rain? Or the drought and accompanying hosepipe ban when it proceeded to pour so unrelentingly that folk were caught trying to build an ark?

Sorry is the hardest word to say

12:08pm Tuesday 9th July 2013

THE Church of England has apologised for the abuse of children by its priests and other officers. In issuing “an unreserved apology”, the General Synod said the scandal of child abuse would remain “a deep source of grief and shame for years to come”.

A suitable case for hanging

The Northern Echo: Ian Brady

12:06pm Tuesday 2nd July 2013

IAN BRADY – is he mad or bad? Why can’t he be both? Last week the tribunal to decide whether the Moors Murderer should remain in a psychiatric hospital or be transferred to prison was treated to a barrow-load of technical vocabulary.

The NHS: unfit for purpose

10:46am Tuesday 25th June 2013

THERE is blood on the carpet. Well, there would be if bureaucrats had blood in their veins rather than ink.

Slump will turn into war – again

10:26am Tuesday 18th June 2013

EVER since the Bishop of London appointed me to the church of St Michael, Cornhill, in the City of London, in 1998, I have found him to possess a most interesting mind.

Fat Fanny and the green puff

3:29pm Tuesday 11th June 2013

IWAS in the cemetery desecrating a grave when I was caught by The Ghoul who tried to drown me in a barrel of cold water.

Policing the 'net is impossible

11:24am Tuesday 4th June 2013

THE sound of stable doors being slammed shut is echoing throughout the land. Following the murder of April Jones by Mark Bridger, there is a debate – if lurid articles all over the papers can be dignified with the description “debate” – about whether to ban child pornography on the internet.

The holy war we must win

2:17pm Tuesday 28th May 2013

DAVID CAMERON has finally proved that he is, in fact, that which, for so long and by so many, he was said to be: the heir to Tony Blair.

Religion – take it or leave it

10:17am Tuesday 21st May 2013

ARE you still quivering? It’s a serious question. I’ve just been reading about a new movement which began in the US – where else? – called the Quiverers. They are Evangelical Christians who have taken literally the words of Psalm 127: “Lo, children, and the fruit of the womb, are an heritage and gift that cometh of the Lord. Like as the arrows in the hand of the giant, even so are the young children. Happy is the man that hath his quiver full of them.”

Call me anything but Pete

11:14am Tuesday 14th May 2013

GPS tagging devices are being used to keep track of people with dementia. If only this enlightened scheme had been operating in the days of the great GK Chesterton. When he was a reporter on The Evening News he once sent a telegram to say: “I’m in Huddersfield. Where should I be?”

Blinkered views bind our hands

10:24am Tuesday 7th May 2013

FRACKING for shale gas has transformed energy supply in the US, brought down prices and reduced the need for imports of other fossil fuels. It is already contributing massively to economic recovery in the US. Self-sufficiency in the provision of energy is bound to have profound consequences for US foreign policy too and lead to a revolution in geo-political power balances.

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