Tuesday, 28 December 2010

Why a decline in men attending church?

Unless I am mistaken the concept of church and the western leisure related life-style would add to the decline of men attending a Christian based church.  [Figures show this is not so for other religions Tearfund Stats]

The other religions tend to be culturally fixed within their religious practises, [Westerners less so] ,and men are considered more 'important' or 'worthy' than women in such religions.  Not in a subversive way, though sadly it can be and often is, but in a culturally accepted way.

As the western life-style tends to bring female behaviour in line with male behaviour, rather than women striving to achieve or live as they could as women/female, they tend to ape male behaviour, normally of the worst kind - a ladette for example.  The church has to see this and like single parenthood work with it and through it.  No good whining "oh the shame of them".  It is as it is work with it.

The fact that there are [apparently[ more men leaving the church than women can show two things, irrelevance of church moral ethics to them, which are less so for a female, and leadership identification.

If we take the latter, which I believe the why church site is using as the reason, it it necessary to match men leaving churches led by women in comparison to churches led by men.  [I am working on such data]

In all my years of church visiting and attending from 1980 onwards I have noted the ratio of about 3:1 in favour of women attendees.  Reasons given were that the men were: at work, home from work, watching sport, gone to the pub, can't be bothered and leaving it to the wife to take the kids if that's what they want.  To be honest not once was I told that it was because, especially when, of course, women were accepted as ministers by the Church of England, bear in mind that other church denominations have had women ministers for a long time, it was a woman in charge.

Considering the gender gap in attendance then church programs to some extent will and must reflect this, that there are more women to cater for than men ; concentrating on holding events or programs just for those at are missing and might turn up - why would they - is both costly and demoralising.

That does not mean that churches should not try, but it is a circular argument to say that men are not in attendance and then say that it is because most church programs are female orientated or run, and it is because women are in charge. Those two are unlikely reasons in our Christian western culture.  The church attendance by men started declining long before that.  I believe the decline was noted as from 1950 onwards - both a decline in church attendance by men and women, which was not about feminisation of the church, and then a societal change of life style behaviour, which took men away from church as individualism and independence from fatherhood and traditional family values became the norm; and promoted by society, but then ignored then rallied against negatively by the church establishment.  Too little too late.  That is why Independent, Free and some Evangelical churches are seeing an increase in numbers.  What the gender ratio for those churches I have yet found statistics for.  My initial thought is much the same 3 or 4:1.

All comments welcome.

Friday, 24 December 2010

Christmas Message

Well the Queen gives one LOL

In remembering our troops, the other countries troops as well who are working with us, who have been killed in action, it is important to remember that the other side are human too, with family and loved ones who will be sitting at tables looking at an empty chair.  They do not celebrate Christmas but they do have meals together for their special occasions.  They too might think their loved ones died for a cause. 

I am not asking you to condone the terrorists, though they too feel they are doing their duty for their country, I am asking you to spare a thought for their babies, children, wives, mothers, fathers, sisters, brothers - the list could go on, as it does for our troops who have died - who have been left behind.

The terrorists use violence and underhand cowardly tactics to injure, maim and kill.  Not just OUR troops but the local armed forces, police, ambulance, fire crews and innocent civilians.  Their bombs and other weapons kill indiscriminately - babies, children, families - who are caught up in the conflict.  Our bombs and weapons sadly kill indiscriminately too.  Not all the people we kill are terrorists or bad guys even.  That is war.  Modern warfare targets people, not just those on the battle field, but areas where civilians live and work.  Think of the difference between World War 1 and World War II.  Yes civilians got caught up in WW1 but it was WWII that had the aims of targeting civilian populated areas.  To demoralize the population.  It was not all about ammunition depots and railway lines.  Sad but true.  War means people, armed forces and civilians are going to die. Remember the resistance was seen as terrorists by the German Government.

So in remembering our troops who have been killed, let us remember those other people such as the police, ambulance men and women, firemen and women, who have been caught up in the conflict in Afghanistan and Iraq, who have been killed too; our troops are working with them.  They all suffer.  Their loved ones are suffering too. 

In remembering our loved ones, our heroes, I am going to ask you to also spare a thought for the families of those terrorists who have been killed and who are also grieving; the terrorist are wrong, we believe they are wrong, they think they are right, that is always the case in conflict.  It is their loved ones left behind that I am asking you to spare a thought for. They may well have backed the terrorist, the same as we back our troops; we think they are wrong to do so, they think we are wrong to back our troops against them. That will not change. But how we think can help towards change in the end.

We will always have fighting, that is human nature.  But let us not pretend that suffering is all one sided, and remember that families of both sides have great grief and heartbreak. So this Christmas, when we think of those families sitting of our troops sitting looking at an empty chair, let us remember there are ‘other’ families sitting looking at an empty chair as well.

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Tuesday, 21 December 2010

This I Am Enjoying

Much as it might seem odd – looking through my last posts – I like this site!

http://northwestlibertarians.blogspot.com/

It has given me food for thought and is set in a nice clear manner, a dude like me can follow it.

I got involved in politics when I first started work way back in the 1970’s under Prime Minster Edward Heath (1970-1974).  No I did not work for Teddy!

As a low paid NHS worker without the means to improve my lot I got involved in what was then NUPE (National Union of Public Employees).  Got elected as a Shop Steward (Union Representative if you don’t like SS) for the department I worked in.

The standards required of me as an employee were high, as were the standards of ward cleanliness and hygiene.  What has happened to that?  There were no fancy labels such as “hospitality assistant”.  You were a ancillary worker – cleaning staff, kitchen staff, porter staff, laundry and linen staff etc., you get my drift.  Nursing Managers were in the making and the age of Matron, Sister, Staff Nurse along with the Consultant Director (medically trained) had been slowly eroded for the post-modern nursing “manager” species.

Then came the shake ups.  The staff remained the same but the job title changed, “hospitality assistant” – and more management and admin staff appeared; more paper work for the ‘nursing manager’ who in truth became a ‘non-nursing’ personnel.  It was pass the buck time.  Very complicated system. 

Harold Wilson (1974-1976) then James Callaghan (1979-1990) came next, both Labour dudes.  Both not in touch with reality.  Agreed public sector workers needed a wage increase and decided on incentive bonus scheme implementation, allowing for the departmental staff to vote in the one they wanted – fixed or fluctuating depending on output, rather than overall pay increase.  Save money?  They thought so because bonus payments were not paid on holiday or sick pay. 

Save money?  Nope.  The continuous admin costs and payment to work-study (time and motion) teams to measure the cost of items to be produced and the time and method carried out to produce said items were astronomical.  Cheaper to have given a small overall wage increase.

Departmental staff voted for the bonus schemes to be implemented and put into action not through knowledge and concept of what it meant but through ignorance and lethargy.  The dude with the better articulation of the system or a management ‘friend’ persuaded and coerced employees to get what was ‘applicable’.

The department I worked in was work-studied three times because our bonus was deemed too high – good for us – at 40%.  The average fluctuation bonus payment ranged from 15-30%  The fixed bonuses at 12-15%  It cost a lot to try and revamp the work study measurements that never stopped the high bonus.  And of course an admin dude had to put in the figures every week to get an out put measure, sometimes more than twice when the management balked at the result – however and whichever way it was tried we still hit 40+%.  They succumbed to the inevitable – bonus schemes in some industries do not save money (the real intention) nor do they impress upon the worker an overall incentive to work harder. 

In the department I worked it meant a continued work load with extra hospitals being targeted to ‘subscribe’ to us – with the hope that the staff would work harder for their bonus; but not get any extra money as in agreement for the top level to be capped there was an agreement that there would be a low level cap.  Hmm LOL.  All serious stuff at the time, peoples livelihoods at stake.

Imagine how I felt when I went to another town, same department doing the same thing, slightly less amount of workload, and the highest payment they received was 22+%.  They did not believe me at first but hey that’s life.  Took a pay drop to do the same thing and workload in the end :) But that is free market for you, in a very roundabout way.  Remember the NHS was still government run with set rules and applications to be abided by all NHS personnel. 

Labour had problems with the labour force, inherited from Edward Heath, the Unions had their own agenda, as all organisations should, the clash was spectacular and acrimonious.  [But that was nothing to compare with the clash of ideals that would rise up between the Conservative Government, Prime Minister Margaret Thatcher, and the TUC.]

It was in the above climate that Margaret Thatcher (1979-1990) came to power.  There was bound to be a clash of ideals, how could there not be?  If only she had kept to the Libertarian guidance of Milton Friedman, if not F.A. Hayek. 

Private out-sourcing was the mantra, not necessarily a bad thing, but with reduced staff to cut costs, the only way the out-sources were cheaper, and the same staff being employed, the ignorant statement of a dude at university with me who said that all ancillary workers, in this case talking about cleaners, were lazy and that out-sourcing would fix it was definitely infantile and or on something, same staff dude!  However, regardless, inducements of exceptions of taxes and sweeteners were all lurking in the background, a no no for free-market ideology.

By the giving of incentives and sweeteners to such organisations, for then indeed there was money to be made as hand-outs were expected, not forgetting the other ‘monetary’ sweeteners to induce investment and building, Margaret Thatcher had moved away from the ideology of the relationship between capitalist markets as described by Milton Friedman in Capitalism and Freedom, through the auspices of the Adam Smith Institute ideology, and though she has been criticised as bending towards the more austere F.A. Hayek in 'The Road to Serfdom, the test was in the servitude to market ventures and the insidious government interference in the market to ‘cobble’ the playing field to create a favourable climate for such ventures to be led and sweetened into.  The market was if you like ‘corrupted’ into paving the way for investors and capitalists rather than let the capitalist organisations flex, retract or extend within the flow of free market structures.  The rest, as they say, is history, or should it be ‘herstory’?

To be continued…

Coalition-government, Libertarianism, Conservative and Liberalism

The violent outbursts by the students protesting against the Governments increase in educational fees did not do much to win them public support.  Nor did the heavy handling of the situation by the police on duty.  Total cock up really.  The police did not provide a secondary exit route and thus jammed everybody in to a confrontational corner.  Overkill could have, should have been prevented.  New kid on the block it seems.  Thought he knew better than to do it the old way or take advice from someone else who had experience in these matter.  Just because you are the ‘head’ of something does not mean you know it all.  The same applies to all leaders – that’s why you delegate and have deputies and or assistants, team work is what it is called in the real world. 

There will be more demonstrations against this coalition Government because it has not got a clue as to real working people’s lives and aspirations.  Not working-class, middle-class, privileged or status classed, the Government has not got a clue as to how these people work and live. 

The Government says it wants to care, but it does not know reality from ideology, it wants to put power back into the hands of the electorate but has no desire to lose power because of such activity.  You can what you like as long as its what I tell you to do.  Someone explain politics 101 to them, and the meaning of libertarian, liberalism, conservatism and socialism. 

The Government want to be libertarian with a caring heart.  Good aspirations, but do they know the meaning of the words?  And why are the hooray henry’s, “bloody working class yobs and benefit scroungers, flog them all I say, another port anyone?”, still flapping about in the Government?  Dump them if you want to be seen as a serious Government doing grown up things.  As for the bloated House of Lords, pleeze.  Time to join the real world.  Having said that, if the House of Lords managed to prove itself to really be a good debating chamber then that is a good thing, parliamentary reform notwithstanding.  There will a vote about that later.  Hmm.  Maybe first past the post is a good thing.  Imagine a whole load of toadies flopping around in parliament.  Cringe worthy I think.

I give this coalition Government three years before the fireworks show.  Plenty of little fireworks going off throughout those three years, and we are into the first year, but the big show is yet to come.

Is Labour any better?  Nope.  They had their chance and blew it.  Mighty Blair and Badger Brown cocked up the system with patchwork policies, another reason the coalition Government has a problem, it has to ditch some policies and try to un-patch other policies to see where the hole or tear is, and then decide if it wants to patch/review or ditch/privatise.  Never easy decision than to:

  • patch or ditch the benefit system
  • patch or ditch free education available to all
  • patch or ditch the pension system
  • patch or ditch the NHS
  • patch or ditch the police, fire and ambulance services (and the armed forces?) 

If they ditch those things, pure libertarianism, then they hope that the private industry will take up the provision of.   If they patch those things, part liberalism and a tad conservatism, then someone has to pay – you me and the average workers, not the rich and the powerful, oh no, they have their private education, pension, health care – which includes using NHS staff and equipment, their private security personnel, the only thing they have to rely on is the armed forces, but hey that too can be privatised, as with the fire service etc.etc.etc..

News flash! Private provision is only in it for the money!  It does not want to provide anything.  Supply and demand.  Lowest bidder for the provision of services is low because it cuts staff and provision to a minimum.  Don’t blame the private industry.  That’s what they do, that’s what they are totally and solely about, profit, profit, profit.  But hey that’s libertarian policies for you:

Milton Friedman:

There is one and only one social responsibility of business -- to use its resources and engage in activities designed to increase its profits. 

So long as it stays within the rules of the game, which is to say, engages in open and free competition without deception or fraud."

http://www.fool.com/investing/general/2008/01/16/where-milton-friedman-was-wrong.aspx

David Cameron:

“We should not be naive enough to think that simply if government rolls back and does less, then miraculously society will spring up and do more.”

"The truth is we need a government that helps to build a big society."

http://www.bbc.co.uk/news/uk-10680062

Yes that’s Cameron, with Clegg falling in line, the Dave & Nick Show; but BS is all about the big boys, you’ve got it or you haven't, if you haven't then you’ve got to beg, borrow and beg some more for it.  And that is what this coalition Government really is all about.  Let’s stop pretending it’s about anything else and get on with it.  And if the electorate don’t like it it?…Watch this space.

According to Libertarianism: A Primer by David Boaz, Free Press, 1997.

Libertarianism is the view that each person has the right to live his life in any way he chooses so long as he respects the equal rights of others. Libertarians defend each person's right to life, liberty, and property-rights that people have naturally, before governments are created. In the libertarian view, all human relationships should be voluntary; the only actions that should be forbidden by law are those that involve the initiation of force against those who have not themselves used force-actions like murder, rape, robbery, kidnapping, and fraud.

http://www.theihs.org/node/504

Liberalism

The political terms of "modern", "progressive" or "new" Liberalism began to appear in the mid to late 1880s and became increasingly common to denote the recent tendency in the Liberal Party to favour an increased role for the state as more important than the classical liberal stress on self-help and freedom of choice.

By the early 20th century the Liberals stance began to shift towards "New Liberalism", what would today be called social liberalism: a belief in personal liberty with a support for government intervention to provide minimum levels of welfare.[3] This shift was best exemplified by the Liberal government of Herbert Henry Asquith and his Chancellor David Lloyd George, whose Liberal reforms in the early 1900s created a basic welfare state.

http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Liberal_Party_(UK)

  • Liberal: Believes in governmental regulation of the economy and is against legislation of morals. (Think welfare, progressive taxing.)
  • Conservative: Is against government regulating the economy but supports the government taking a role in encouraging morals. (Think laissez-faire economics, family values.)
  • Libertarian: Believes the government should not legislate either morals or the economy.

Keep in mind there are as many degrees of belief in these philosophies as there are political thinkers

http://everything2.com/title/Liberal+vs.+Conservative+vs.+Libertarian