Thursday, 20 December 2018
Hello Tim and All!
I have nearly finished Mark Dowd’s book, and have laughed and cried through it. It is very well written. You may know that my daughter is gay, has just changed her job at Lordswood High to becoming a housemistress in the Upper Sixth House at Tudor Hall School in Banbury and is happily married to Laura. In all their jobs they have hardly ever experienced any homophobic attitudes, but I am not naive enough to think that homophobia has been eradicated, but it impacts on lives much less than it did. Surely we have moved on from this bigotry so far into the 21st Century, and I am sorry your church members in particular have expressed their regressive views in this way.
I find it it distressing that CHURCH people found Mark Dowd’s Presentation offensive - I think the one thing to ask them is ‘What view would Jesus Christ take? We all know the answer! I actually find THEIR views offensive. As for promoting his book, I feel that your church members would have accepted a ‘plug’ for a book from a heterosexual!! In other words the advertisement was not the issue. I agree with all you have said, but think that you don’t have to justify Mark and his sexuality to them. I agree that some of the kindest most compassionate people I have met have in fact been gay.
Do let me know if anything further transpires from your conversations.
All good wishes
Thanks for your email. I was quite shocked that you felt the need to apologise or explain anything about Mark’s orientation.
I assure you that I was not offended by anything that Mark said. In fact I bought his book and read it from cover to cover. It was really interesting, albeit giving perhaps too much detail in parts! I am passing it on to a friend who is homosexual and Catholic who also wants to read it.
I agree wholeheartedly that we should love one another and treat everyone as we would wish to be treated.
I am really pleased I met Mark. He is doing a great job bringing people’s attention to the problems arising from global warming. I am on the lookout for his name now whenever the subject crops up on the television or radio.
Best wishes and thanks for getting him to come to the meeting.
I thought this might happen and I know the person in question and saw his body language, knowing as I did that he left The Ecumenical Study Group for the same reason.
I think it is quite amusing that you would think that I would be offended (can't wait to read the book, which Helen or Margaret are passing on to me. I did offer to pay half towards it!) because I believe that all creatures are held in God's care regardless of creed, color, orientation or dare I say Political views.
I do wonder how people can go to church and recite the Lord's Prayer and then speak in this unforgiving way.
Tim I thought it was a marvelous evening and thank you for arranging it.
Happy and Blessed Christmas to you, Linda and the family.
Don't forget to vote Labour next year!!!!!!??
Tuesday, 18 December 2018
I have been saddened by the reaction of some of my friends to those with same sex attraction. I am disappointed by the suspicion and mistaken ideas about them. There is too much judgement and not enough understanding and tolerance of same sex people. There is even hostility towards minority genders and, for years, even an official hostile environment to migrants/foreigners. Perhaps, most Brits are not familiar with the four freedoms of the EU. Our ignorance has fueled our little Englander approach that insists that we know better than the European nations whom we have fought in wars for so many centuries.
In some Northern Ireland churches, in particular, same sex attraction is seen as promoting sodomy, of fostering immorality and deviant behaviour. Yet, I now think that Gareth Jones, my housemate and best man at my wedding in 1983 may have been of same sex attraction. My ignorance of homosexuality and other gender issues - and my misplaced jealousy on one occasion - I now realise, may well have contributed or even caused his suicide four months after my marriage to Linda.
The practice of same sex attraction was an imprisonable offence right up to the 1960s, I believe. This was outrageous. As is the ignorance, even today, of the loneliness, the discomfort, even fear of those who know they are a tiny minority in a heterosexual culture that is so dominant and domineering.
It is important that we understand the difficulties and problems that comes from finding you are born with an LGBT orientation. To understand that the discrimination and dislike, the prejudice and abuse from the heterosexual majority is the biggest and best argument against the very wrong idea that the minority same sex community is in any way enticing or promoting the majority into their own sexual orientation. Would any heterosexual really want to change gender and so have to endure so much of the wrong, the weird and wonderful attitudes and behaviour from opposite sex people like me? Homosexuals are not promoting their orientation. Some, simply encouraging the closet gay to come out. Is not the most important value that whatever our orientation, we all live in loving, faithful and honest relationships with our partners?
This is why the majority gender community must get up to speed on the LGBT community to correct the false ideas and attitudes the majority have towards them. Mark Dowd's brilliantly written 2017 book, 'Queer and Catholic' does that. Never judge a book by its cover, however. Open and read Mark's memoirs. Read of the funny events and enjoy the frank and, perhaps, too candid trials, tribulations and even sins of this former Dominican friar and, today, freelance journalist and Radio 4 broadcaster. Once begun, you will have difficulty putting the book down.
The best social worker I have ever encountered in my 35 years in the profession was the gay, the excellent, the wonderful Martin Wager. He got more compliments and was more loved over the four or five years I knew him than I ever enjoyed in my career of social work.
Wednesday, 5 December 2018
Dear Cllr Qadar - and copied to my powerful MP and influential councillors who are meant to decide on TfWM transport policy - I thought!
Dudley Hippodrome turned into "a driverless car testing site" - Express and Star 30 November 2018
Wrong priorities; a diversion from more important matters; and an irrelevance. Who at TfWM came up with this idea?
Rather than demolishing the 1938 Hippodrome, can it not be used to house the homeless if the front facade, at least, can be saved? Apartments for low income families and singles to help revive Castle Hill? A refit rather than demolition? A conversion job for housing units?
If it must be demolished, why not use it for something more worthwhile than a driverless vehicle centre? A driverless car must still have one person in it. He or she might just as well drive the thing, in that case! I suggest:
- A research centre into making batteries better at holding renewable electricity from PV solar put on every roof in the borough.
- Some deep thought into how your very own 120 Kms Black Country Railway can be finished with the final stages to rebuild the stations and to put the regional and commuter trains back through the new Dudley town centre at the foot of Castle Hill.
- Some innovative thinking into how you can reverse the decline in bus use; bus fares have risen by 13% above inflation since 2010; and bus routes cut.
- A electric bus and innovation centre for yet more electric bus developments, perhaps? There is not one electric bus in the TfWM area, is there?
- A research centre into how we can capture and store CO2 and how to reduce all our greenhouse gas emissions.
- Or, a new Dudley Central Mosque to replace the shabby and unsuitable present, converted, Victorian primary school building on the same road. Soon, supposedly, to have the glitzy, glamorous tram running past this blot on the landscape and that of shameful Cavendish House.
- Again on the same road, use the only feasible site of Dudley railway station, to rebuild it for the desperately needed commuter and regional trains into Brum and on to Derby. No need for trams first to get the trains later (actually, tram trains that are still trams) where you end up paying twice and still don't get the fast trains back from Derby to Devon via Dudley and Burton to Bristol via Brierley Hill.
Could I please be granted an appointment, urgently, to see you to discuss these more sensible ideas, Cllr Qadar?
Thanks and best wishes
Dear Steve - I believe, I have not had one reply to any of my emails or texts, up to now. Just complacency, apathy and negligence. But you are not alone.
I am sorry to be so condemnatory, once again of your council's lamentable performance. Last summer, it was the loss of 72 leaflets that I had been led to believe were to be placed in the 72 councillors' pigeon holes but were thrown away, instead. Last week, I was told that my new leaflets could only be put in councillors' pigeon holes if they were in envelopes with each of the councillors' names on the front. Ruth Darby kept them and they have not been returned. Not one other Black Country council has this oppressive, rigid and unreasonable policy. I am asking for the cost of the lost leaflets to be paid to me, please.
This evening, I have just read the report in the Halesowen News that you are opposing the Clean Air Zone extension. Wrong move, Steve. You are in a closed mind, tram rut and, are paralysed with inertia over increasing road and railway congestion and pollution as the population rises. The report says you have plans for cleaner buses. What plans are these? You and your fellow WMCA leaders are planning SPRINT diesel buses at huge expense in Brum. All that is needed are swift moves to get electric buses on 100% bus lanes where there is a dual carriageway, with traffic light priority for all buses; and, FARELESS buses for all and not just the few in my age group. Old crocks like me need our cars as we lose our mobility. The young and fit like you, who help to run UK plc need free staff buses to get you into work to free up the road space for essential vehicle users.
Over your years as a councillor, Steve, I expect, along with previous and current West Midlands leaders, you are responsible for the following:
Here is corporate corruption and idiocy and, corporate incompetence and negligence. I think these are the only words that can appropriately and properly be used to describe this never ending financial and transport scandal, viz:
- Scandal One: At a time of austerity and last week’s UN report on extreme poverty in the UK, £1.38 BILLION from 2018 to 2026 is to replace some buses and trains with the second most expensive transport mode after HS2. Tram extensions are even more expensive than nearly all Maglev train projects in China, Japan and South Korea. Proof here:
- Scandal Two: building roads, housing and trading estates and retail units on over 100 Kms of urban railway lines - all since the 1960s closure programme that was so necessary as we all went out and bought cars. Councillors gave planning permission.
- Scandal Three: decades of 106 Kms of under-used and completely unused, urban, double track railway lines in the Black Country, Brum and south Staffordshire, as we've all crawled along bumper to bumper in car or bus on choked roads and motorways.
- Scandal Four: While, at the same time, many tens of millions of pounds were used to build tunnels and bridges for the Black Country Railway for new road and motorway schemes to pass over or under but, then, never to take the next step to put the trains and stations back. Only trams on two short sections, totalling 6.7 Kms!
- Scandal Five because, since 1981, yet more tens of millions were being used to promote - not getting the trains back on 106 Kms - but, Midland Metro trams with a team at Centro House and glossy brochures produced to show what was going to be done. But, the 15 lines covering 200 Kms never was done! Only one line was ever done, in 1999 on a railway line, of all things. Instead of simply putting the commuter trains back! Now, being extended to Edgbaston to replace and push out buses that have to and will always have to take a much longer route to avoid the trams, six to ten every hour, in narrow Broad Street.
- Scandal Six: Metro One extended in the other direction, on an even more important railway line, to wreck any possibility of finishing the 120 Kms, principal, mainline railway between Worcester and Derby!
- Scandal Seven: Two piddling sections of tram line to muck up a 120 Kms principal main line railway. A similar short section, of 11 Kms of passenger trains, is to duplicate the 529 Platinum bus route. The bus takes 33 minutes outside the rush hour and 45 minutes in the rush hour between Walsall and Wolverhampton. 11 Kms, when the whole 41 Kms via Walsall, Aldridge, Water Orton to Brum needs to see the return of its commuter trains. And last decade's attempt at the same thing failed. Nothing quite like failure breeding failure, of course. A parochial stitch up by Walsall and Wolverhampton leaders, perhaps. Leaders who cannot or will not see the bigger picture. Leaders who cannot get their priorities right. Blind leaders ineffectually failing to show any leadership.
This is all a bigger fiasco than Brexit - by you politicians.