Robert Hampton

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31st December 2010

Twenty Ten – again. Again

July brought big changes to the newspaper industry, as The Times started charging for access to its web site. This was supposed to ensure a steady income stream for the newspaper, putting it on a secure financial footing for the future. However, it also resulted in the Times being completely removed from the online chatter of the blogosphere, as its news coverage and columnists were no longer accessible to the internet hoi-polloi. Still, I’m sure this decision made sense to someone somewhere.

The Supreme Court ruled that gay people facing persecution are entitled to claim asylum in the UK. I welcomed the decision, although my blog post is curiously vague about precisely why I welcomed it. Hmm…

In other gay-related news, I reviewed, with sadness, a booklet from the US Military discussing its anti-gay don’t ask, don’t tell policy.

Elsewhere, health and safety went mad as one person suggested banning rugby scrums. I felt uncomfortable on a train full of Orange Lodge marchers and I defended the traditional sitcom from an onslaught of criticism from trendy TV reviewers.

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16th September 2010

Top of the Popes
Posted by at 9.26pm | In the News | No responses

Caution - The Pope is ComingI abandoned religion a long time ago and never looked back. I try to be a good person because it’s the right thing to do, not because I’m worried about getting into Heaven. At the same time I respect the choices of those who do wish to follow a religion. Worship in any way you want (form a religion around a spoon for all I care), just don’t try and persuade me to join you. I suspect that lots of people in Britain feel the same way as I do.

Pope Benedict, unfortunately, doesn’t seem to have the same live-and-let-live attitude. Before he even arrived there was a minor kerfuffle when one of his aides called Britain a “third world” country. Then, during a speech today, the Pope, seemingly unaware of Godwin’s Law, blamed atheism for the rise of Nazism (the Telegraph’s Tom Chivers has a good takedown of that silly argument).

A host of well-known public figures got together to sign a letter to the Guardian protesting the Pope’s visit. It is an uncompromising viewpoint, but temperately expressed. In the eyes of the Daily Mail, however, this marks the latest stage in an atheist hate campaign, being waged by fashionable left-wingers as part of their effort to turn the whole country into a communist, abortion-permitting, anal sex-having hellhole. Stephen Fry’s blog response to the Mail’s comment is a joy to behold.

The Mail is being (and this may surprise you) rather over the top and hysterical. It is not “hate” to point out that the Pope’s views on homosexuality and birth control, among other things, are rather out of step with the mainstream. Nor is it “hate” to bring up the sex abuse scandal which has been handled woefully.

Maybe when the above problems are sorted out we will be able to focus on the good work the Church does. Until then, the Protest the Pope people are providing a much-needed voice of dissent.

24th December 2008

But will it cause a drop in house prices?
Posted by at 12.41pm | In the News | No responses

There are millions dying in Zimbabwe thanks to the misrule of a brutal tyrant; the global economy is heading for meltdown thanks to the selfish actions of greedy bankers; scores of Mumbai residents have been murdered by terrorists.

So who has Pope Benedict singled out for criticism? You’ll never guess.

Speaking on Monday, Pope Benedict said that saving humanity from homosexual or transsexual behaviour was as important as protecting the environment.

The good news is that the Vatican is finally making a serious effort to forgive Galileo Galilei, 375 years after he was tried as a heretic. So look for gay Catholics to be welcomed into the fold sometime around 2383 — for Star Trek fans, that’s about five years after the USS Voyager returns to the Alpha Quadrant.