Recent events

Well, yay for Australia! Hopefully there are only two reactionary conservative parties left to be swept out of power in the Western world: Republicans, and Labour. It will be even better if Howard lost his seat (I think it’s still in doubt at the moment). Of course, he’ll then do a Tony Blair and give speeches to rooms full of little old blue haired ladies at $100,000 a pop or so. They can have him. Now we’ll see whether Prime Minister Rudd will do a good job. I’m hoping so; I’d like to visit Australia and it would be nicer if a good Government were in place.

Singapore is mourning the loss of the 5 men from the crew of a dragonboat that was racing in Cambodia. Please pray for the repose of their souls. I believe that some of my LiveJournal friends knew these men personally and to them I offer my condolences and e-hugs.

The big news here over this week is two-fold. First, the England national soccer team was beaten by Croatia 3-2 and thus is no longer in the European soccer championship tournament. There has been much recrimination, the manager has been fired, and the poisoned chalice that is the managership of the England squad has been turned down by two very senior experienced managers from commercial soccer teams.

I’m happy as it will mean a quiet summer, with few if any drunken louts either celebrating the national team’s wins or drowning their sorrows over the national team’s loss.

The second big piece of news, closer to my own specialty, is the fact that two CDs containing Child Benefit information with names, account numbers, bank names, National Insurance numbers, and children’s names was mailed by regular intergovernmental post from HM Customs & Revenue in Washington, Tyne and Wear, to the National Audit Office in London. They never arrived. They were not encrypted, but were password protected. There is now a frenzy at the banks, with people calling to change their account numbers.

Child Benefit is paid to all families with young children in the United Kingdom. So even very wealthy people may have their details on that list.

The government’s line is that a junior clerk (pronounced “clark” here) did this without authorisation. This clerk, a 23-year old man, has been moved to a room in a hotel with a 24-hour guard^Wminder to keep him away from the media. I expect that the newspapers this week will find out both who he is, and will get him to talk. The National Audit Office told the HMRC that they didn’t want account numbers and such, only a few non-specific details. Someone at HMRC replied that it would be too expensive to remove the superfluous information. The head of HMRC has retired/resigned to take responsibility for this. The government says that the banks will cover any losses traceable to fraudulent use of this information. The banks are saying, “Hold on just a minute, you caused the problem, perhaps you should pay.” It’s all good fun.

The Brown government seems to be made up of stumblebums, always falling over another crisis and not quite being able to handle it. I look forward to the next one that will come along (perhaps another tranche of Northern Rock banking money going down the toilet) I rejoiced when they said to me, “Gordon Brown is having another crisis he can’t handle.” I expect he’ll blow up at a reporter in his next news conference, or be reduced to showing himself to be the stuttering stumbling packet of hot air that he has so far been able to hide at Prime Minister’s Questions.

The LibDem leadership ballot came through the letterbox this week. I voted for Huhne. The better of the two, in my opinion. Much better than Ming the Merciless.

I ordered a cassock and cotta this afternoon. The Vicar of St John’s Larcom Street has been saying that my monastic alb looks like a sack of potatoes when I’m wearing it. I disagreed, but broke down and decided to get measured for it. Our friend Simon, who is an honorary curate there, did the honours and hopefully I’ll have it before Christmas, or at least before the end of January. It has no slot at the front for a collar, as I’m not entitled to wear one, but otherwise is identical to a priest’s cassock. The cotta is long, trimmed with braid. A cotta is a surplice with a square collar that’s usually used at the Eucharist (whereas the surplice, with a round collar, is used at the Divine Office). I have been wearing my alb with a biretta when in the sanctuary for a preaching assignment, and that looks rather bizarre. Cassock and cotta will look much better with a biretta. It was about

3 Responses to “Recent events”

  1. folk says:

    The head of HMRC

    Well, the chairman of their board, anyway, who’s not really a proper civil servant and who can’t truly be said to have had much to do with it. IMeversoHO the person truly responsible are the civil service grades 5-7 to whom this 23-year-old bloke would have been working.

  2. trawnapanda says:

    Well, yay for Australia! Hopefully there are only two reactionary conservative parties left to be swept out of power in the Western world: Republicans, and Labour.

    Sigh. It’s not unusual, but still discouraging, when Canada (a country with over 150% of the population of Australia) is overlooked.

    Our parliament currently has a minority government of Conservatives, headed by a reactionary git, Stephen Harper. He was the one who dug his heels in and gutted the recent Commonwealth Heads of Government statement on greenhouse gases – everyone else wanted enforceable targets for reductions, SH didn’t, and eventually no enforceable targets appeared. The tories also revoked Canada’s signature of the Kyoto accord. They’ve recently reversed the decades-old policy of appealing for clemency in all death-penalty cases overseas for Canadian citizens. They’ve introduced redistribution of seats in the Commons – giving more seats to BC and Alberta to reflect their population growth. Ontario is to get 10 more seats, but if you do the arithmetic, it should have received 21. The Conservatives are strong in BC and Alberta, not in Ontario.

    The only reason SH is able to throw his weight around as if he had a majority is because the leader of the Liberals, Stephane Dion, is about as charismatic as a plate of boiled potatoes. So we effectively have a majority gummint, headed by a nastily reactionary conservative (both small and large “C”) party. Right here in the Great White North.

  3. chrishansenhome says:

    Sorry about that…okay, okay, let’s sweep the Tories out of office in Canada too.