Friday, January 18, 2019

Brexit - New Options on the Table

Lard Brexit - build a barrier made entirely of lard along the Irish border. This avoids a hard border (except in exceptionally cold weather) and ensures that Brexit is smooth, if not orderly.

Chard Brexit - a no-deal Brexit is piloted in a small town in South Somerset, and then rolled out nationally once teething problems are ironed out. Worked a treat with Universal Credit.

Irish Buckstop - leaders of the main political parties play the popular party game 'pass the Arlene'. Whoever's left holding the DUP when time is up has to come up with a deal which commands a Parliamentary majority. 

Toffed Brexit - Using a Parliamentary protocol last invoked in 1381, Jacob Rees-Mogg compels the entire Withdrawal Agreement to be translated into Latin, and commences negotiations with all the European states who still use it. Within a month, he and the Pope have sorted everything.

Yellow Lines - The red lines in Teresa Mays withdrawal agreement are replaced with parking regulations. All MPs are charged hospital car park rates for every minute spent in the House of Commons debating the Brexit deal. Agreement is reached within a week.

Taking Those Eels off the Table - Jeremy Corbyn comes up with an innovative but irrelevant proposal for fisheries policy.

Peoples Vole - in a British attempt to emulate Groundhog Day, a small rodent is held aloft on March 29th. If he casts a shadow, we stay in the EU, if he doesn't, we carry on holding the little blighter in the air until the sun comes out.

Thursday, January 17, 2019

Youth Work Placement in Yeovil from Sept 2019

We're looking to take on a youth work trainee for up to 3 years from September 2019, to work in 2 local secondary schools, support youth groups at both churches in the parish, and explore ways of connecting with local young people beyond the church. Bed and board are provided, along with a weekly allowance and expenses. Details are here https://swym.org.uk/placements/trainee-youth-worker-3/ - if you know anyone who might be interested please point them in our direction!

Tuesday, January 15, 2019

Sex Education from the BBC: what's missing?

More than a third of women and a quarter of men in their teens and early 20s admitted it had not been "the right time" when they first had sex.  Thus the BBC reports on the 'National Survey of Sexual Attitudes and Lifestyles'. They then give a helpful list for anyone wondering...
When is the right time?
  • If you think you might have sex, ask yourself:
  • Does it feel right?
  • Do I love my partner?
  • Does he/she love me just as much?
  • Have we talked about using condoms to prevent STIs and HIV, and was the talk OK?
  • Have we got contraception organised to protect against pregnancy?
  • Do I feel able to say "no" at any point if I change my mind, and will we both be OK with that
Yup, 'Am I married to my partner'? doesn't come into it. The first 3 conditions are subjective - the survey assumes that children as young as 13 are able to answer these questions well and be 'sexually competent' Have they ever met a 13 year old? All the criteria would be also satisfied by someone cheating on their partner.  The only moral question here is consent - tick that box and everything else is ok. Is sex really that trivial? 

I note in passing that the report never refers to 'children' - "22.4% and 36.2% of men and women who had first sex at age 13–14 years were categorised as ‘sexually competent". Child sexual behaviour is reported as if it were adult sexual behaviour. Am I alone in finding that a bit disturbing?

The genuinely radical option here is to honour sex as the ultimate physical expression of commitment, saved for the one person to whom you make the lifelong covenant pledge of marriage. Even if you don't buy the 'sex as an expression of commitment' thing and just want to be pragmatic about it, if you value the relationship you're in, you'll wait, as it's better for the relationship.  

There are public health benefits too: sexually transmitted diseases are transmitted by, you guessed it... They jumped massively in 2012-15, and the number of people attending sexual health clinics in Wales has doubled in just 5 years. There would be dramatic falls in STIs if it was normal to pursue faithfulness to a single partner and public health policy encouraged people to wait. Sure, not everyone will do it: not everyone takes up the MMR vaccine either but that doesn't make it bad practice. And it could save the NHS up to £1bn a year, which is before we get into all the other financial costs of a culture of casual sex.  A culture which the BBC itself has been normalising for decades. 

One of the complaints in the Br***t debate is that you can't question immigration without being labelled as racist. Can we discuss sexual behaviour without being labelled as moralising? 

Saturday, January 12, 2019

Peoples Vote: Why We Need to Re-Run the 2017 General Election

The people of the UK should get another say on the result of the 2017 General Election. Why?

1. Because some of the claims made during the campaign have turned out to be demonstrably false.

2. Because the facts on the ground have changed, and we know more now about the negative outcomes of certain courses of action (Universal Credit, approach to the Brexit negotiations, dismantling the welfare state, making Chris Grayling Secretary of State for Transport) than we did then. So we would be better informed for this vote than we were for that one.

3. Because the electorate has changed, over a million people are now eligible to vote now who were under 18 at the time of the 2017 election. How can we not involved them in decisions about their future?

4. There are question marks over whether party spending limits were broken, as there were in the 2015 election. 

5. Because we're even less happy with the result now than we were then.

6. Because we need to trust the people.

7. Because we only knew general details about Conservative policy at the time of the election, and they've gone and done things which weren't in their manifesto. Like teaming up with the DUP. Which we didn't vote for.

Coming soon: Why We Need to Re-Run the 2019 General Election.

Prayer - A Typology



I have no idea what a 'skinny' is, but we're starting a series on prayer tomorrow and this is fun and insightful at the same time.

Thursday, January 10, 2019

Fifi and the Flower Tots Replacing Question Time

Really looking forward to the BBC's replacement to Question Time, bringing together the old political Q&A format with the childrens cartoon series Fifi and the Flower Tots

Every week the following roles will be taken by a leading politician or journalist:
Stingo, the scheming and manipulative wasp
Slugsy, Stingos slow-witted accomplice
Primrose, the prim and proper guardian of good manners and decorum
Violet, the creative free spirit
Bumble, the accident prone bumble bee

For week 1, these parts are played by Michael Gove, Boris Johnson, Jacob Rees-Mogg, Anna Soubry and Jeremy Corbyn. All presided over the the kind and gracious Fifi Bruce, who sees the good in everyone

Wednesday, January 09, 2019

The Yeovil Traffic Light Jive



local road 'improvements' have inspired one man into song. Come to Yeovil and see what all the fun is about. If your local traffic lights have gone missing, you'll probably find they've ended up here.

I know I know, #firstworldproblem.

Brexit metaphor of the day

An escape room where the creators haven't left sufficient clues and devices to actually unlock it and get out. There are 2 minutes to go until you run out of time, and the escape room manager - who would normally let you out if you hadn't solved it - has locked up and gone to write his memoirs.

You can only get out of the room if all the team exit through the same door. There are 2 doors, and a majority of the team are against door May. A majority are also against door No. Some of the team believe that if you are still in there when time runs out, the floor will open up and everyone in the team will plunge to an unpleasant fate.

One individual believes that the clues can be found in the Europe section of the escape room, even though it has been thoroughly searched and there is clearly nothing else there.