Thursday, April 22, 2010

Tory business letter writing supporters being rewarded with peerages

It seems an age ago that the opening salvos of the General Election were dominated by arguments, claims and counter-claims over Labour's proposals for increases in national insurance. In response, the Conservatives produced letters supporting their opposition signed by a number of business-people.

Not suprisingly, many of them are known to be long-time Conservative party members, supporters and donors; others Labour claim were "deceived" into signing.

This issue then got diverted by the triumph of Nick Clegg in the first of the Prime Ministerial TV debates.

One thing interests me about these people-I cannot help myself speculating as to how many of these Conservative supporters will be rewarded by peerages and honours. Apparently, this process has already started with news that the appointments of Next chief executive Simon Wolfson and JCB chairman Sir Anthony Bamford to the peerage have been approved by the appointments commission and would be announced 'imminently'.

Over the coming months and years, it will be interesting to see which other business people in the same way. I will report back at regular intervals.

Read more:

Monday, April 19, 2010

Exploring the Roots of BNP Support

Today (19/04/10) The Institute for Public Policy Research (IPPR) publish an indepth research report, Exploring the Roots of BNP Support

IPPR conducted regression-based analysis to see whether or not high levels of immigration do raise communities’ support for the BNP, or if other variables – such as political disengagement – are important. Their findings suggest that areas that have higher levels of recent immigration than others are not more likely to vote for the BNP. In fact, the more immigration an area has experienced, the lower its support for the far right. Rather, the evidence points to political and socio-economic exclusion as drivers of BNP support.

The report therefore urges mainstream politicians to strongly resist the notion that people have been driven into the arms of the BNP by the harm immigration is causing to their communities. Instead, they must focus on building strong communities and strong education systems, and on rebuilding trust and confidence in democratic politics, so that marginalised people do not feeling so disconnected. This should allow them to both better serve the interests of these communities, and undercut support for the BNP.

Sunday, April 18, 2010

Lies, damn lies, statistics and David Cameron's anecdotes

Hat-tip to the Guardian for analysing those anecdotes that David Cameron shared as part his disappointing and lacklustre performance in the first Prime Ministerial debate last week.

Firstly, Humberside police did not pay £73,000 for a Lexus.

Secondly, no-one joins the Navy at 10 years old.

Thirdly, no such murder happened in Crosby.

That clears that up then.

Saturday, April 17, 2010


The General Election takes place on May 6th.Many church and other faith-based organisations have produced useful, challenging and informative General Election focussed web-based liturgical and campaigning resources. These include:

Church of England resources, briefing and prayers:

Churches Together in Britain and Ireland GE policy guides and details of hustings meetings:

The free churches have produced a comprehensive guide to the key issues facing voters from a faith perspective. Read it at:

Christians in Politics:

Ekklesia produce daily briefings at:

Theos discuss faith and politics at:

The Jubilee Centre in Cambridge have produced Votewise 2010- a guide to the election and detailed small group materials:

CARE produce news based briefings at:

The Roman Catholic Bishops of England and Wales have published “Choosing the Common Good” which can be accessed via:

Read the Westminster “declaration of Christian conscience” at:

Faithworks have interviewed party leaders and promote their declaration supporting the role of faith communities in welfare and wider public service provision at:

Several Christian organisations are calling on voters and candidates to support the people fleeing persecution and oppression by promoting the Sanctuary Pledge:

Church Action on Poverty are promoting an accountability pledge for candidates:

Housing Justice briefings can be accessed at:
For those concerned about extremist politics, resources can be found at:

Further local news and information can be found at:
We will continue to publish information including details of Church hosted hustings event in Norfolk at

There is of course no obvious “Christian way to vote” and people of religious faith are actively involved in all parties. Each has a Christian group or forum which can be contacted via official party websites.


This list is by no means exhaustive. For further information or recommendations on other useful resources, please contact Rev Simon Wilson, Diocese of Norwich Social and Community Concerns Co-ordinator via: