Ad Fontes

Politics, Theology and Christian Humanism


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Christmas present

Japanese Mary and Jesus

Japanese Mary and Jesus

Happy Christmas one and all, God bless!

It’s now evening on the feast of St Stephen, the second day of Christmas, and, being a Sunday this year, the end of a long run of Christmas services. This Japanese picture of Mary and Jesus was my Christmas card picture this year. Being interested in the history of Christianity in Asia, I was looking for a similar image to last year’s card.

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The future or our education — cuts and fees — part 1

Nick Clegg's pledge on tuition fees

Nick Clegg's pledge to do exactly the opposite of what he's now doing.

Tomorrow, Thursday 9 December, the Commons vote on higher-education tuition fees is to be held. A substantial number of Lib Dem MPs, as well as some Tories, are expected to revolt against their leadership and vote against the government or abstain. However, the revolt will probably not stop the bill going through, paving the way for universities and colleges to hike up tuition fees.

Nick Clegg is under particular pressure after making a public, personal pledge to vote against raising tuition fees before the general election. Although his defence has been that a party can only sufficiently carry out its manifesto if it is the sole party of government, this misses the point that the pledge was given personally and absolutely. He also claims that the coalition agreement supersedes the pledge, but the absolute wording of the pledge — to vote against any raise in tuition fees — would make it disingenuous to enter into an agreement that would likely prohibit him and others from fulfilling their pledges. Either the pledge should not have been made or the the coalition agreement should not have been made as is. Finally, in an election broadcast, Nick Clegg, filmed on and around Westminster Bridge and surrounded by a litter of white sheets of paper, railed against the broken promises of New Labour and the Tories. Fair enough, hand up, but the first ‘broken promise’ shown is ‘No Tuition Fees’. This film now stands testament of the gross and absolute hypocrisy of Nick Clegg and the Lib Dems: if you’re going to campaign against broken promises, you have to realise that such a stand means that there is a greater moral imperative that you don’t break your promises. In addition, many who voted Lib Dem did so on the basis of such promises, and such clear cut cases of broken mandates will make the yellow party, which still lost seats in the last election, electorally marginalised.