Forgive us for failing (again). We'll really try to do better, but can't
God who is always on the side of the depressed and defenceless, can we
please have a go next time?
O, Lord, please let anyone but England win, for we are their neighbours and have to live with them.
Grant to our spouses unfailing patience as we watch the games, and may they supply us with an abundant supply of nibbles and liquid refreshment. Forgive them their inability to appreciate the beautiful game which you have created, and stop up their mouths from moaning about there being nothing else on the telly.
Many readers will know about the St Silas' couple who are fostering a young Eritrean asylum seeker, Rima Andmariam. They are on television (BBC1) in Scotland only on Wednesday
19th May at 22:45. The programme is called “Truth, Lies, and Asylum
Seekers” and is a full-length documentary about the situations of three asylum
seekers in Glasgow. The story of their family is one of the three. It is
also available on Sky 971.
With a new Parliament and a new Government and a new Home Secretary there is a
fresh opportunity to bring Rima’s case to the attention of new Ministers.
Robert and Alison write:
Our campaign is entering a new critical phase. Rima will turn 18 on 1st
July, and the law covering her situation changes. There is a good
chance that the Border Agency will try to deport her soon after then if
we have not managed some progress either legally or politically
beforehand. However, we have new MPs and a new UK government is in
power, so now we are able to resume campaigning.
Thanks to your support, our MP, John Robertson, did write to the former
Home Secretary, Alan Johnson, on Rima’s behalf just before Parliament
was dissolved, asking that at the very least she be given the
opportunity to claim asylum in the UK. Unfortunately the reply he
received simply announced that with Parliament being dissolved and the
election period imminent no action could be taken. In addition,
Catherine Stihler, our MEP, raised a
question in the European Parliament (thanks to Rima’s friend
Douglas, aged 8) and has received a full and helpful reply from
President Barroso, President of the European Commisson.
A new range of letters is suggested, depending on who
was elected to Westminster in your constituency. We do not believe at this stage
that we need more letters to MSPs or the Scottish Government at the moment, but
Scots may wish to write to the new Scottish Secretary as well as to their MP.
This is especially worth while given the announcement by the new Prime Minister,
David Cameron, that there will be full co-operation with then Scottish
Government on all issues. Please do personalise the letters as much as you feel
able, and have time for. The more individual a letter the more impact it makes
on all of these politicians and their administrative
As a first priority please
write to the new Home Secretary, Theresa May. See Letter A
If your MP was re-elected,
then you could use one of this range of letters:
B1 – If they have already
B2 – If they have
expressed support and you know they have had a reply from the Home
B3 – if they have refused
to express support
If your MP has now become a
Government minister, it is well worth congratulating them on that also. To our
surprise, a number of Cabinet Ministers in the previous Government were very
positive in their replies to constituents, so there is no reason why the same
should not apply to the new ones. You might mention this to them, to encourage a
positive response. If you have friends in the constituency of the new Home
Secretary (Theresa May, Maidenhead) or Immigration Minister (Damien Green,
Ashford), could you ask them particularly to write to them as their
If you have a new
MP, then you should use letter C1. MP’s who
have been helping us with our campaign have informed us that where new MP’s have
been elected then previous files are closed. So where there are new MP’s I’m
afraid we need to start again, on the ground.
If, as a
Scot, you want to write to the new Scottish
Secretary, Danny Alexander, you could use letter
We are also printing up a
new Postcard, addressed to Theresa May. Let us know if you would like
some of these for your friends and contacts to use.
Please also send hard
copies of all your letters to Rima’s named UKBA ‘case
I walked past a new shop on Park Road yesterday. I noticed it because the paint was so fresh and it was decked out as a traditional barbers, complete with those red-and-white stripy pole things. When I got to the corner of Park Road and Great Western Road, I felt nudged to go back and get a haircut. This went against the grain somewhat, as I have been using the same barber for fifteen years. I'm so glad I went back.
The gentleman who welcomed me, offered me tea or coffee and then got on with the business of taming my barnet. He did a fine job, at a cheap price (£7), for which I'm grateful. His name is Mehdi (I hope that's the right spelling), and he is originally from Baghdad. His father was a barber too, so he's learned the trade from family. It was a pleasure to meet and chat with him about the UK, Iraq and the future.
The business has been open for three weeks and I wish him every success in this new venture. I'll be back.
Florence: maybe we've overdone it, having seen her four times since this time last year, but I didn't enjoy the show as much as on previous occasions. It might have been the venue (Corn Exchange, Edinburgh), or where we stood (near the front, with teenagers immediately in front of us who talked through the whole thing), or the fact that at several points I felt hot breath on the back of my neck from the six foot six inches individual behind me! I now understand the meaning of the phrase 'breathing down your neck'. Very, very unpleasant and creepy.
Florence had strings to accompany her, which were great, but at times the vocals seemed too low in the mix, and whenever she spoke to the crowd, I couldn't make out what she was saying. Ahh, that's what the problem is: I'm too old and deaf for this lark! However, I did enjoy the quirkiness and tunes of the support act, The Drums.
I also saw some bands at King Tut's the other night. The Goldhawks were excellent with some good tunes and an energetic performance. The test of music for me is whether I'll investigate it further, and I will for them. Tiffany Page was also excellent. A smoky voice, good songs and another energetic performance, especially from her guitarist. Both these bands only had half an hour each in which to shine, and I thoroughly enjoyed them. On the other hand, Detroit Social Club had an hour to play in and were technically fine, but they just didn't do it for me. They felt a bit like Kasabian-lite, and while I quite like Kasabian, it's probably only a few of their songs that I'd listen to and enjoy. They weren't bad, but they didn't grab me.
I'm out at another gig tonight: Australian band, The Temper Trap. I saw them support Florence and the Machine last year and was impressed. It will be interesting to see how they have progressed. Here you go (they'll have someone's eye out with those drumsticks!):
I've been out tonight, so missed the events in Westminster. I have mixed feelings. Gordon Brown's farewell speech was wonderful. His smile and words were genuine. A good man gone. Mandelson and Campbell are gone - hurrah (but who will be the new spindoctors?).
Cameron and Clegg seem to be forming a real alliance. The reason for this can only be that things are REALLY bad (worse than we've been told to date) and there needs to be a broad government to deal with it/take the blame for tough decisions. That's commendable. However, I foresee significant problems - Trident? That's a £100 billion deal isn't it? Wouldn't that go a long way to dealing with the deficit? I suspect some Lib Dems will not be pleased with that and many other things. Fixed term of five years? All that does is lock in the LibDems.
Labour will regroup. I hope some new blood gets to fill some of the leadership roles that will now appear. Next year's Scottish Parliament elections will see Labour and the Nats strengthened with the Lib Dems getting hammered senseless for aligning with the Tories. Scots can be very unforgiving when it comes to politics.
Praying for David Cameron/Nick Clegg and their families. None of them have an easy gig.
After some initial excitement at the possibility of a Liberal Democrat/Labour coalition, I've calmed down sufficiently to have a more sober judgement on what is happening.
If the leaderships of the Labour and Liberal Democrat parties manage to do a deal, I predict that it won't last. Tom Harris has already declared his clear opposition to any form of electoral reform and has indicated that many other Labour MPs will oppose it. Labour are in all probability in a fragile state following the loss of almost 100 seats. Many of their MPs want to be in opposition, if only so that they don't carry the blame for implementing the tough policies required to deal with the budget deficit. Also, the Liberal Democrats want tax reform - where is the £17 billion that it would take to raise everyone's tax allowance to £10,000 going to come from, when taxation is going to have to increase?
Much as it pains me to say it, sadly maybe the only way forward will be to allow the Tories to form a minority government, while the other parties regroup. I fear what the Tories might do, but they know they are in minority, and they might stuggle to get their more extreme measures through. There will be brakes on them.
As I've reflected on this evening's events, I've begun to feel that it might be time to give up power in a dignified way, and let's see what the party with the most seats and votes can do. They won't last long doing it.
O Lord, you give the rulers of your people
wisdom, discernment and insight in order that they might govern with justice,
compassion and righteousness. As the leaders of our political parties negotiate
the formation of the next government, we ask you so to move the hearts and wills
of our leaders and people that in righteousness we may be led, and in
righteousness may gladly follow; to the honour of your name, through Jesus
Christ our Lord, Amen
I don't want to prognosticate too much on what the next few days and weeks will bring. Let's just say that, given Labour's success in Scotland, any Conservative government, whether a minority or coalition, won't care too much about what happens in Scotland, as they can't lose many more seats. The danger is that cuts and experimentation (remember the Poll Tax?) will hit Scotland hard. The best we can hope for is that the Tories will form a government that will lead with humility, in the national interest and with some sensitivity to the fact that most people did not vote for them.
I was busy yesterday, so missed the following video until this morning. It makes me want to begin the campaign for a new leader of the Labour Party. This video should have been the final Labour broadcast of the election. At the very least, Tom Harris should be put in charge of communications for his party. It would be a lot more fun all round.