Valuing People with Downs Syndrome – A Place to Start

Amen to this + David,

See you soon


by the Rt Revd Dr David Walker, Bishop of Manchester


For five years, in my time as a parish priest, my default activity for a Tuesday afternoon was to visit what was called an Adult Training Centre. The adults being trained had a number of conditions, including Autism and Downs Syndrome, that impacted on their abilities to learn and to retain knowledge. The centre laid on a mixture of general life skills and, for those able to manage them, particular pieces of industrial training – assembling plugs and the like. I was Industrial Chaplain in the town, and the places fascinated me by the ways it both resembled and differed from the other establishments I visited on my rounds. I was struck by how little money and status mattered to the lives of the trainees relationships were clearly far more important and required the greater effort. And there was a…

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Where the Sun (still) don’t shine

To attempt to dehumanise another is to dehumanise yourself

Nick Baines's Blog

A couple of days ago Katie Hopkins wrote a piece in the Sun newspaper in which she called migrants on the Mediterranean “cockroaches”. The Sun saw fit to publish this. She would prefer to send gunships to desperate migrants rather than rescue ships.

Today it is reported that up to 700 migrants might have drowned in the latest tragedy on the sea many of us think of as somewhere to swim on holiday.

Twitter was alive with criticism of Hopkins, in some cases inviting readers to go back to the 1940s and replace “migrants” with “Jews”. You don’t have to go back that far: Rwanda’s more recent genocide grew out of a demonisation of the rival tribe that dehumanised them as “cockroaches”.

Which editor at the Sun thought this would be acceptable in a newspaper? Is there no editorial control over language and sentiments that dehumanise – even during an…

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The reputation of Richard III

Reputation hard won – easily destroyed..

Nick Baines's Blog

This is the text of this morning’s Thought for the Day on the BBC Radio 4 Today programme:

Having lived for nine years in Leicestershire and now living in Yorkshire, I feel like I inhabit the tension around the final burial place of King Richard III.

His bones will be reinterred in Leicester Cathedral, less than a hundred yards from the hole in the city centre car park that I found myself looking into 2 years ago. Their symbolic journey has of course been much longer.

But, who was he? Was Richard a megalomaniac psychopathic child killer who was as lousy a monarch as he was a warrior? Or was he a sick victim of someone else’s arrows of misfortune, caught up in the political intrigues and power plays of his day? Shakespeare hasn’t necessarily helped us in his portrayal of the desperate king who, despite not winning very much…

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I agree – scandalous headlines but what do you expect from the Daily Mail ? They rewrite history for popularist reaction

Nick Baines's Blog

I know Dresden well. I know people in Dresden well. The devastation visited by Allied bombing on 13/14 February 1945 was horrendous. That is a phenomenological fact – apart from any moral consideration of the event.

It is shameful that a so-called free press, so often “defended” by the so-called “popular” press, sees fit to celebrate the freedoms gained by the sacrifice of so many 70 years ago by stooping to lies, misrepresentation, slander and brain-dead ideological nonsense. Is the Dail Mail going to have the courage and integrity – values demonstrated by those who sacrificed so much during World War Two – to apologise for the scandalous headline and story published a couple of days ago? There is no way that a half-thinking sentient being could read from the Archbishop of Canterbury’s sermon in the Frauenkirche, Dresden, to a headline that accuses him of apologising to the Nazis.


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The imitation game

Thomas A Kempis said it first …

Nick Baines's Blog

There’s a lot of talk around these days about role models. I was at Anfield last Saturday watching Liverpool offer a model of how other football teams should play. (Cough) Celebrities who misbehave in public are scolded about their responsibility to be role models for children and young people – despite the fact that most of the time they just get on with living and don’t think about people copying them.

The imitation game is an odd thing, isn’t it? I have never been one of those to follow a trend or want to look or be like someone else. I’ve never been afflicted with the burning need to dress like Elvis Presley or walk like Christiano Ronaldo – to have the gift of the gab like Chris Evans or write like Jane Austen. Obviously.

But, despite my protestations to the contrary, I think I’m kidding myself if I think…

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Nick Baines's Blog

Happy New Year!

I hope.

Here are some (unedited) preliminary thoughts on Day One.

Of course, for most people on the planet it promises to be no more happy than the last year. The horrors of persecution of minorities – especially Christians – on some parts of the planet show no sign of abating; and some countries in the sophisticated liberal west show no sign of offering hospitality to those doing the suffering.

In the UK we face a general election within a few months. The political parties still dance to a first-past-the-post tune when the reality of political allegiance sounds a coalition melody. Unlike other European countries which shape their rhetoric and policy making around coalition inevitabilities, our parties will play an unconvincing game of macho posturing before then having to “do a Lib-Dem” later in May. How many elections might it take before the realities impinge on the…

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When gay men marry… women

I like this – so many women find themselves marrying a conservative Christian man who then turns out to be gay. There needs to be a specific support group for straight spouses of gay men.

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