… Is absolutely hammering down just now. Barcelona is lovely, but the heavens have just opened and I am going nowhere. (Unlike my wife who volunteered to go out and get something to eat…)
Being away from the office this week is a tad unfortunate. I am following Sandy developments in the USA and Carribean, but only when the wi-fi allows. Shocking pictures from New York and other places. Just wondering where the money is going to come from to restore what even Republicans seem to agree is a deteriorating infrastructure across the USA – presumably not from taxes?
Anyway, while I am struggling with the wi-fi here, there is nothing going on back in my Bradford office. Apparently. I though I was having the ultimate e-holiday – a totally empty Inbox – but discovered today that the server replacement and migration (that was supposed to take us out for an hour or so) has left the office without email or Internet access since Monday morning. Dead. Nothing. Oh well.
So, two things to point to while I am away: lead theft and proposals to dissolve three West Yorkshire dioceses and create a single new one (with an episcopal area system).
First, theft of metals. Croydon MP Richard Ottaway has the third reading of his bill to make it harder for metal thieves to get cash for their spoils. Shipley MP Philip Davies intends to try to talk the bill out. He opposes it because it doesn’t go far enough and doesn’t increase sentences for those found guilty. I have written to him to ask him to change his mind and his intentions. Apparently, he disagrees – which is his right. It is also the right of his constituents to question his response. Vote against the bill – no problem; but, why try to talk it out? The bill does not do everything needed to outlaw this pernicious trade, but it certainly helps.
George Galloway made me laugh (genuinely) when he said it was like trying to ban Steptoe and Son. Good image. But, Harold Steptoe didn’t strip war memorials, railway lines, communications lines, churches, houses and other buildings to get his scrap metal.
Bradford constituents – especially those who have suffered from this business – might like to reflect on it.
Second, the Dioceses Commission final scheme to dissolve three dioceses and create a single new one for West Yorkshire and the Dales. (Note: not ‘merge’, ‘amalgamate’ or ‘aggregate’; and not driven by ‘emptying pews’ or ‘saving money’…)
My response is available here. We vote on 2 March 2013 in Diocesan Synods. If agreed, it then goes to the General Synod in July 2013 and will begin to kick in at the beginning of 2014.
Not surprisingly the media are speaking as if this is a fait accompli. It is as if, by making the proposals, the Church of England has decided and now is implementing its decision. We get used to this. A report to the General Synod – usually the first word in a debate – gets reported as “Church to do…”. I can’t quite bring myself to believe that process is so hard for literate people to understand. But, apparently it is. Consistently.
(Philip Davies MP asked a question in Parliament last week that assumes that Bradford would be subsumed into a greater Diocese of Leeds. The question would be reasonable if this were true, but the assumptions are false – as indicated above. I am surprised that the question was even asked without any single direct approach whatsoever in the last eighteen months to me as the Bishop most closely involved for Bradford.)
So, I’ll leave it alone for a few days and get back to resting, reading and listening to the rain in Spain.