Wednesday, August 15, 2007


No walking today. Just didn't feel like it. Worked a bit; here is VAT day today. Disturbed sleep last night and never really got on top of anything all day. This afternoon watched a DVD movie, Big Fish with Tom Courtney. Sat all the way through it which is unusual these days. Good, but probably not the best thing to watch in the mood I've been in.

My grandmother's funeral was in St Margaret's Catholic Church, Canning Town, in East London many years ago. It was the church I was baptised in on the first Sunday after it finally reopened after being rebuilt. It was badly damaged in the Second World War during the massive bombing this part of London suffered.

I remember a youngish priest taking the service. He said something that has stuck in my mind ever since. He told us we should be jealous of my grandmother as she died believing that there was another life still to come. He was right and I have always been jealous of those having this belief, more so since I tested my own mortality recently.

Of course this is why the left has always been suspicious of religion, that the belief in a better world to come might take away the need to make this present world better and fairer. Sometimes some parts of religion get very close to the politics of socialism. I have been reading on and off a tribute book to John Smith, the late Labour party leader. He did consider himself a Christian Socialist.

I'm not sure if Gordon Brown thinks he has any of the socialist bit left in him now. The non-conformist part of Christianity in the UK has had and maybe still has strong ties with labour movement. It was a shame that the last pope and I suspect this one are quite reactionary and have taken the catholic church a distance away from many social issues. I guess if anyone asked me my religion I would still say catholic. It's still a tribal thing, a bit like my football club.

What is very wrong is for the left to think they can fight alongside the most reactionary of religious leaders in a common cause. Whether it is the radical Islam, catholic or the born again Christians of the US, a distance should be kept. These people are far to the right and their religion is an excuse to turn the clock back hundreds of years.

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