Welcome Friends!

A Catholic blog about faith, social issues, economics, culture, politics and poetry -- powered by Daily Mass & Rosary

If you like us, share us! Social media buttons are available at the end of each post.

Thursday, May 21, 2015

Lessons from the Local Pub: UK Conservatives Savor the Victory

The UK Labour Party forgot, “Thou shalt not steal.” But Brits remembered the 10 Commandments.

by Christopher Woodford, Reformed Socialist

Watching Election Results from the Local Pub
in Southampton, England:
Christopher Woodford
On Twitter, he can be found @Crimbo51
I love elections. I always book the day off work after a General Election because I'm up all night watching the results unfold. Since 1992 the outcome has been predictable by using calculations based on the earliest results and exit polls. This year May 8 was no different, but the early revelations were shocking.

It was 1 a.m., May 9, and a sudden flash of hope came to me: “YES!”

In that moment I allowed myself to believe we might escape Labour Leader and would-be Prime Minister "Red" Ed Miliband and his ”Borrow against Tomorrow” policies. Our grandchildren might escape the Labour party sell-out of their future for short-term popularity. We might be able to continue the delicate Conservative repair of our economy, destroyed by Labour British Prime Ministers Tony Blair and Gordon Brown from 1997-2010 in profligate leftist spending excesses. Goodbye European Union. Sorry, Greece, you will have to pay your own debt.

Dear Chief Secretary, I'm afraid there is no money.
When the Labour party left office in 2010, the Treasury minister Liam Byrne, left a note on his cleared desk for his Conservative successor:




Dear Chief Secretary, 
I'm afraid there is no money.
Kind regards and good luck. Liam


Before May 8, my country (England) had steeled itself for more acts of leftist lunacy. We remembered when Labour Chancellor of the Exchequer Gordon Brown stopped tax relief on pension providers in his first budget in 1997, effectively robbing £118 billion ($183 billion) from pensioners. It meant that many older people would have to rely on welfare. Their own savings were stolen!

Also from1999 to 2002 the same Chancellor sold 400 tons of British gold reserves at one fifth of its value.

Now at 1 a.m., I realized we might be spared disaster. 
Infamous and "unsinkable" RMS Titanic departed from the 
City of Southampton, England, where Christopher Woodford lives,
 five days before it sank on  April 15, 1912 in the North Atlantic Ocean
with the loss of over 1500 lives. 
Until this magical moment, all the pundits predicted that another coalition government either between Conservatives and Liberal Democrats, or, God forbid, Labour and the Scottish Nationalist Party, was inevitable. The shock on various faces in the TV studio was a joy to behold. British Conservatives won a majority – 331 seats – five seats more than necessary to form a majority administration, and to govern without a coalition or formal agreement with other parties.
  
So why did the left-leaning BBC and Guardian get it so wrong? Why did Obama campaign consultant David Axelrod – after being paid $500,000 by Labour to provide a strategy of economic populism -- get it so wrong?

Maybe it was because the Tory Party Conservatives were getting it right! “Let’s not throw away our progress!”

The English and Welsh voters clearly witnessed the Conservatives fixing the economy with prudent policies not designed solely to foster popularity. As the right-leaning Daily Mail put it, “Middle England rose up to humiliate the pollsters and save the nation from Red Ed.”

The hard-left SNP (Scottish National Party) were the game changers in this election. The pro-same sex marriage party swept aside all opposition in Scotland, which has always been a Labour stronghold. Labour will never get Scotland back again. Everyone expected the SNP to do well, but they took 56 of 59 seats! In the long term, this may lead to Scottish independence. Northern Ireland as always, elected its patchwork quilt of MPs based on local interests.

The other wild card in the election was UKIP (United Kingdom Independence Party), the far-right anti-immigration party. They polled nearly 4,000,000 votes nationwide, nearly 10% of the electorate, but, thanks to our “first past the post” system they took only 1 seat. The UKIP believes in controlling our borders and not adding to the national debt. Like many Brits, Americans and Canadians, they feel successive governments have not represented the will of the British people.

Of course, now they have joined the Liberals in whining for Proportional Representation. PR produces weak governments and removes the ability of the electorate to stand the political spectrum on its head every few years; Europe runs like this. Many have forgotten there was a nationwide vote held on Thursday 5 May 2011 on this very PR issue, and it was rejected. Game, set and match.

UK Independence Party is a ”one trick pony” standing on the anti-EU ticket. Its candidates were a motley bunch of extreme characters who, if they established a power base, may have turned nasty, even Nazi.

Conservative Ranil Jayawardena
RobertBlay, UKIP candidate for North East Hampshire, when it was mentioned to him that his rival Conservative Ranil Jayawardena could one day be the first Asian PM said, "If this lad turns up to be our Prime Minister I will personally put a bullet in him. That’s how strong I feel about it. I won’t have this f***** as our Prime Minister. I absolutely loathe him.” His comments were clearly based on Jayawardena’s ethnic origins.

So, how long would it be before peaceful, harmonious Britain is plunged into ethnic cleansing. I have a half-Thai grandson, born in the UK and holder of a British passport. Would they
Chris Woodford's beloved
half-Thai grandson
say about my grandson, ''His eyes are the wrong shape. He has to go''?

Quite a few of those I spoke to who supported UKIP were people who give more thought to football and reality TV than to politics.

The Liberal Democrat party was wiped out simply for getting into bed with the Conservatives after the 2010 election. Good. They are a pro-EU, tax and spend, removal of freedoms party, favoring an increase in income taxes, protecting the Education budget and wasting money guarding against climate change.

Another factor in this election was that for the first time, the electorate and opposition parties knew the date of the election years in advance thanks to the Fixed-Term Parliaments Act 2011. Five years always was the maximum term a government could stay in power, but in all previous elections, the Prime Minister could and would choose a date and spring it upon the nation. The certainty of the date of this election altered the predictability of the 2015 outcome. There was time to ponder!

The Conservatives took 331 seats. It is a slim majority, but it means they don't have to rely on the support of spoilers like the Liberal Democrats as they have for the past five years. Now they can renegotiate our EU relationship and put it to the people in a referendum. They can tighten the noose on benefit scroungers. They can continue with the “austerity” package that has benefited the economy. Unemployment is falling and UK economic growth is faster than our Group of Seven partners, including the world’s richest industrialized countries: France, Germany, Italy, Japan, United States and Canada.

Britain is again a net exporter of cars. Critics say the manufacturing companies are foreign, but it is a sign of confidence in our economy and national stability that these worldwide companies wish to be based here. A myriad industries are thriving and traffic is bad both morning and evening everywhere. That means that people are working.

The Labour Party and its leader,  “Red” Ed Miliband,  would have sold our souls to the EU. Germany and France would have made us the cash cow for the Greek debt. France would have redoubled its policy of shunting the refugees of the world to Calais and moving them across the English Channel.

A minority Labour administration – ably assisted by the left-wing  Scottish National Party -- would have been no different.

Where do we go from here?

The EU referendum will be worth watching. Maybe we can stay in if we can work out some kind of two-tier, arms-length membership. After all, when we joined in 1973, it was a free trade bloc of nine nations, not an undemocratic Soviet style super state.

The 2016 U.S. Presidential election is of huge interest to us. The outcome matters greatly to the UK. Let's not forget David Axelrod, who was hired to advise the UK Labour Party campaign. I expect his $500,000 fee came from the weekly union subscriptions of millions of British workers.

Will the American People confound the pollsters and return a Conservative President? The outcome of our elections certainly rocked the assumptions of the Hilary Clinton
Hillary Clinton: We imagine she said,
"The Conservatives in England did
what!?!"
Campaign for President. It's in American hands to look at the possible outcomes and decide as the UK electorate did, but they must vote with their heads.

The USA has a straight fight between two major parties. The only thing that could muddy the waters is if early primary states, which allow Democrats and Independents to pick Republican candidates, choose a weak conservative. Then – as in the last election – some conservatives could decide in fury to sit out the election, guaranteeing a liberal choice.
  
Will the U.S.  watch through the night to view a future unfolding which restores the values of individual enterprise and freedom, the values which the founding fathers intended?

Or, will they see the new day dawn under an administration that feels it necessary to micro-manage their lives and keep one hand in their pockets.

It has long been said in Britain that what America does follows here. Let's hope the USA follows Britain this time.

Sign in United Kingdom before the May 8 election
And a final sinister point to show that even the victorious Tory Party are not all sweetness and light. I was listening to a program on BBC Radio, which was doing a post mortem on the election. A representative of the BBC's election coverage was repeatedly asked if it was true that his team had been threatened by senior Conservatives in the lead up to the election. The poor man used hundreds of words to cleverly avoid saying “Yes” or “No.”

So, pick the devil you know. Perhaps it's just a matter of picking the least damaging devil. He can be identified as the one who doesn't want to tax and spend the peoples' money. If the devil is dressed like Robin Hood, look out! Robin Hood supported Richard the Lionheart and he taxed England dry to pay his ransom. Sounds familiar.

%%%

Did you enjoy this piece by Christopher Woodford? He has written more! Don't miss History Recalls its Tragedies: Our Job is to Forgive


The United Kingdom prides itself on having multiple political parties, which form changing coalitions over time.

Conservatives (Tory):  UK Center-Right political party believes in more limited government, low taxes, European Union under our terms through an in and out referendum and growth through free private enterprise. Currently largest party in the UK with 331 seats.

Labour:  UK Center-Left political party. It was born of the trade union movement and socialist political parties of the 19th century. It is the second largest party, and has more recently backed down from its stance in favor of common ownership of the means of production. In favor of big government, high taxes, pro-EU, 232 seats.

Liberal Democrat: UK Centrist Party, pro-EU, tax and spend, removal of freedoms party, favoring an increase in income taxes, protecting the Education budget and guarding against climate change. They were the Tories’ coalition partners 2010-2015. They used to be a large liberal party, but Labour eclipsed them in the 1920s. They now have 8 seats, down from 57!

SNP:  Left-wing Scottish Nationalists. Supports same-sex marriage, progressive taxation, government housing, unilateral nuclear disarmament, lowering the voting age to 16. Stands for Scotland's interests only, pro-EU, 56 seats.

UKIP: U K Independence Party is against UK involvement in the European Union. The UKIP believes in controlling UK borders and not adding to the national debt. Like many Brits, Americans and Canadians, they feel successive governments have not represented the will of the British people. 1 seat.

Green:  Stands for the environment. Tree huggers, 1 seat

Sinn Fein: Irish Republicans. Stands for Northern Ireland to reunite with Republic of Ireland. They never take up their London seats as they will not take the oath of allegiance. 5 seats. 

UUP/DUP: 13 seats between several small parties.
Stands for Northern Ireland to stay in UK (N. Ireland British Loyalists) 


Plaid Cymru: Welsh Nationalist Party stands for independent Wales  with close links to Scottish Nationalists. 3 seats

Independent MPS (1 seat)


Speaker of the House of Commons, doesn't vote unless it's a dead heat, and then will usually vote with the government -- 1 seat. 

Wednesday, May 20, 2015

Thank You

By Christopher Ziegler

Learning to accept your love for me
Has required a leap of faith.
I cannot see why I am precious to you.

My whole life you guarded me
As a mother guards her child.
I was a thankless brat.

When I was broken you embraced me
And held me in your arms.
So I came to feel I was in your debt
And wanted to repay you.

But you wanted more.

You told me you wanted all of me—
To give myself to you completely.

I did not believe in a love like that
So you allowed me to walk away.
But immediately miseries crept into me
And I withered inside.
How can I merit your love? I feel vile.
My soul cleaves to the darkness.

Yet you were still chasing after my heart.

I open myself to you and your love pours into me.
You flood my body with waves of joy.
Your love is better than anything I ever wanted.
Your words, soft and earnest, give wisdom.
My heart swells with tenderness.

Author Christopher Ziegler 
I cannot see why I am precious to you.
All I want to do is thank you—thank you.



Mary, Mediatrix of All Graces from God 

Did you enjoy this poem? Chris has written another about Mary: The Hardest Thing

Here's another poem on Mary: The Hands of the HandMaid: God Rocking in the Cradle

Monday, May 18, 2015

Ascension: Christ's Journey into Heaven

Sermon by Rev. John Paul Shea
Ascension of the Lord, May 17, 2015
Saints Peter and Paul Parish, Tucson, AZ

Today we celebrate the wonderful feast of the Ascension of Our Lord where we celebrate Christ’s journey into heaven.

As we reflect on today’s celebration, we look at  our journey as Christians. The Ascension of Our Lord shows us that our lives here on Earth are temporary. We are only passing through, and our destiny is to live eternally with God in heaven.


In today’s first reading (
Acts 1:1-11), we hear that after the Resurrection, Our Lord presented himself alive to His disciples by many proofs, appearing to them during forty days. Our Lord teaches and tells them to remain there until they receive the power of the Holy Spirit.

Then, as Our Lord is being taken up, we hear that two angels appear in the sky! They say, “Men of Galilee, why are you standing there looking at the sky? This Jesus who has been taken up from you into heaven will return in the same way as you have seen him going into heaven.” In other words, these angels are saying, “Get busy! Don’t just sit here! Go to work! Go out and proclaim the Gospel!

Our Lord wanted His disciples to focus on the most important part -- proclaiming the message of  salvation! This proclamation continues with each new generation of disciples. It has been handed onto our Church for the salvation of souls until Our Lord returns at the end of time.



My brothers and sisters, today’s feast is about preparing our hearts and souls for eternal life. Through His Ascension, Our Lord has become our bridge between heaven and earth. He came to establish His kingdom on earth and has given us His church so that we can prepare our hearts and souls for when He comes again at the final resurrection.

But if we want to live in the Resurrection, our Lord tells us that we must begin now. We can’t expect to live with Our Lord for eternity if we use our minds and bodies for what is not holy  today. This is why our Lord came to earth and established His Church -- the Voice of God in the world today. He calls his children to conversion. Listen. 


At His Ascension, Our Lord commands His disciples to
“Go into the whole world and proclaim the gospel to every creature. Whoever believes and is baptized will be saved. Whoever does not believe will be condemned.” 

Notice that Our Lord does not simply tell us to be baptized. He tells us that we must also believe. Baptism gives us grace and makes us members of our Lord’s flock. But, if we do not truly believe, then we  condemn ourselves. 


It is when we believe that our hearts are changed, that we that we live for God and not for the world. 


Saint Paul says in today’s second reading (Ephesians 1:17-23), “May the eyes of your hearts be enlightened, that you may know what is the hope that belongs to his call, what are the riches of glory in his inheritance among the holy ones, and what is the surpassing greatness of his for us who believe.” 


Today’s feast calls us to look at the big picture. The world we live in today is passing away. Our Lord therefore calls us to set our


hearts on greater things. He wants us to focus on what is eternal. Our Lord has come to set up His kingdom on Earth, and He calls us to prepare our hearts for this Kingdom today.

The Catholic Church sees the Resurrection and Ascension of Our Lord as end-time events. Through his life, death, resurrection, and ascension, Jesus has initiated the kingdom of God. He has brought His kingdom into the world. But, His kingdom is not yet fuflilled. The kingdom of God was inaugurated in Christ, but creation doesn’t yet fully participate in it. Full participation in the kingdom of God will come at the second coming of Christ and the final resurrection of our bodies. 


We are now in the time that the Church calls, eschatological tension. It is a tension between the old age and the new age. We began the new age at Jesus’ Resurrection and Ascension, but the old age continues until Our Lord returns. This is why there are so many struggles in our world today. And, as we come closer to the end of the age, this tension is becoming more intense.

 
At the time of Jesus there were only about 2 to 3 hundred million people on the Earth. Today we have nearly seven billion. We not only have more people, but we are experiencing a rapid increase in technology unlike we've ever seen before in modern history. Yet, even with all this technology, we do not have true peace. As a world society, we are not happy because we have turned away from the laws of God. 


We are destroying our communities through war, violence and terrorism. We are destroying our families through contraception, sterilization, abortion and divorce. We are destroying our purity through pornography,

homosexuality, promiscuity, lust and abuse. We are destroying cultures through selfishness and disregard for the poor. We are destroying our environment through greed, overdevelopment and pollution. 

My brothers and sisters, because our world has turned its back on God, we are destroying the very life that God gave us! But Our Lord wants to give us a new life, not only in the life to come but even right now today, if only we believe in Him and change our lives accordingly. 


Let us not focus our attention on a world that is passing away. Let us focus our hearts on the Ascension of Our Lord so that our hearts and souls will be lifted toward the greater meaning of life which is eternal salvation.

Don't miss Fr. Shea's sermon from last week:
Love One Another as I Have Loved You