Displaying items by tag: Politics
Helped British in Helmand - now rejected by UK
An Afghan colonel who fought alongside British troops in Helmand province joint operations has been threatened with deportation to Rwanda. He was not helped in any way after Kabul fell to the Taliban, and recovering from a combat wound he fled to find safety. After journeying across 11 countries he reached the UK on a small boat last September. He has now received a notice of intent from the Home Office threatening him with deportation. While he was still in Afghanistan he applied to the Ministry of Defence’s resettlement scheme, known as Arap (the Afghan relocations and assistance policy). He received one follow-up call from a British official but heard nothing since. He is one of many Afghan veterans who had to use illegal routes to get to the UK due to restrictions and delays plaguing the government’s dedicated Afghan resettlement schemes.
Rishi Sunak backs off endorsing marriage
Marriages between men and women were ‘the only possible basis for a safe and successful society’, said Christian MP Danny Kruger at the National Conservatism Conference in Westminster. In his speech, he emphasised the Christian notion of marriage as ‘a public act that wider society should recognise and reward’. But Mr Sunak's spokesman said although some ministers chose to speak at the event, that did not mean the Government endorsed its agenda. The remarks causing concern to Downing Street saw Mr Kruger making a bold defence of a traditional theological understanding of matrimony: ‘The normative family - held together by marriage, by mother and father sticking together for the sake of the children and the sake of their own parents and for the sake of themselves - this is the only possible basis for a safe and successful society.’
Turkey: presidential election run-off
Opinion polls predicted a win for opposition candidate Kemal Kilicdaroglu in the election. However, President Erdogan received 49.5% of the votes, making it a serious test of his twenty-year iron rule. Turkey’s economy has soaring inflation, a plummeting lira, and a cost-of-living crisis partly caused by Erdogan’s wacky economic policies. Also the shambolic response to February’s earthquake which killed 50,000 and displaced 1.5 million added to Erdogan’s many corruption and mishandling scandals. Could mild-mannered technocrat Kemal Kilicdaroglu, who is capable of uniting opposition parties of left and right, be what Turkish voters want in the run-off on 28 May? He has pledged to rule Turkey ‘with consultations and compromise’. A million Turkish expats living in the USA, Germany and Canada voted in the first round of the election: Kilicdaroglu has vowed to win the second round.
Japan: G7 peace message and WPC call to prayer
Japan’s Kishida Fumio will host the G7 summit between 19 and 21 May. He condemns Russian aggression and feels that what is happening in Europe could easily happen in the Indo-Pacific. G7 sees climate change as a concern, but Japan reminds us we need to confront proliferation of nuclear weapons. Putin has threatened to use nuclear weapons should the Ukraine conflict not go his way. A global effort is needed to lessen the possibility of using them. This summit is in the Indo-Pacific region, ripe for future peacekeeping needs across the Taiwan Strait. China’s aggression towards Taiwan would threaten peace globally. On 20 May at 10 am BST (GMT+1) the World Prayer Centre in Birmingham is calling people to pray for the summit, the G7 leaders, Japan, and many of the above issues. For more information and to join us, click here:
Migration bill risks damage to UK's reputation
Justin Welby has said the Illegal Migration Bill would not stop small boat crossings, and it fails in our moral responsibility towards refugees. The archbishop and nearly 90 peers will speak in the House of Lords debate. He said the bill ‘fails utterly’ to take the long-term view of migration challenges globally. He agreed existing international law needs updating, but the bill is a ‘short-term fix which risks great damage to the UK's interests and reputation, at home and abroad’. He was speaking as the bill begins what is expected to be a rocky passage through the House of Lords as the government does not have a majority there. The home secretary is urging peers to get behind the legislation. The bill is a key part of Rishi Sunak's plan to ‘stop’ small boats crossing the English Channel. Opposition parties and charities say the bill is unworkable and could breach international law.
Channel Islands: Jersey may legalise assisted dying
Christians across Britain have been given a call to action over plans by the channel island of Jersey to legalise assisted dying. Approved in principle by Jersey politicians in 2021, the move would involve allowing some terminally ill adults to die with medical supervision. ‘For Christians listening across the British Isles, this is something that should concern us and to be engaged with’, commented James Somerville-Meikle, a spokesperson for the Catholic Union. Although the island of Jersey is not part of the United Kingdom, it would be the first place in the British Isles to legalise assisted suicide. A public consultation has revealed that people do not want to see medical professionals or care homes forced to facilitate killing patients.
Germany: transition - with divine guidance
Germany’s last three nuclear power plants were closed on 15 April. Its car industry has been the market leader for decades. Now production of diesel and petrol engines will end, and gas and oil heating systems will not be installed in homes. Current prosperity, welfare, and economy are being run down and replaced with higher-grade technologies for which technical and personnel replacements are not readily available. Increasing chaos on the railways illustrates the incompatibility of political demands with the current state of infrastructure and the available staffing levels. The political agenda also fuels disruptive actions by climate activists and strikes in the public sector and in state-owned companies. Germany has been entrusted with much historically: the gospel of Jesus Christ, a country of poets and philosophers, a nation with economic stability. Pray for God’s purposes for Germany, not based on history's materialism but on #its God-given identity as a nation.
Israel: ‘One Million March’
Tens of thousands of Israelis gathered in Jerusalem in a show of support for the controversial judicial overhaul plan by Benjamin Netanyahu’s government. Local media estimated that the event, which organisers had dubbed ‘The One Million March’, drew only about 80,000 people. It was sponsored by the Premier’s conservative Likud Party and its far-right coalition ally Otzma Yehudit faction. Among many who chanted ‘The people want judicial reform’ was justice minister Yariv Levin, who spearheaded the push for the overhaul. The nation has been gripped by unprecedented nationwide demonstrations against the deeply divisive plan since its unveiling 16 weeks ago. Mr Levin told demonstrators that ‘more and more people understand the need for the legislation. We are in an unusual situation. There is an atmosphere where people try to paint a picture of the elected government not representing the people. Today we are protesting to show that it does.’
Rishi Sunak investigated
Rishi Sunak is being investigated by Parliament’s standards watchdog over a possible failure to declare an interest and if a declaration he made was ‘open and frank’. His wife Akshata holds shares in Koru Kids childcare agency, which could benefit from a new policy unveiled in the spring Budget. It is a pilot of payments for childminders, with more for those who sign up through agencies. Akshata was listed as a shareholder in Koru Kids as recently as 6 March. On 28 March Mr Sunak did not mention her links to Koru Kids when he was questioned over the childcare policy at a parliamentary hearing. When he was asked whether he had any interest to declare, he replied, ‘No, all my disclosures are declared in the normal way’. After the hearing, Mr Sunak sent a letter to the committee saying an updated statement of ministers' interests would be released shortly.
The SNP is reviewing party management after finance controversies. Colin Beattie was reappointed as treasurer in 2021 after previously holding the position for 16 years. Police arrested him on 18 April in an investigation into SNP finances. First minister Humza Yousaf said this arrest was a very serious matter but Mr Beattie was not suspended from the position as people are innocent until proven guilty. The next day Beattie resigned as treasurer, saying he would also step back from his role on the public audit committee until the police investigation had concluded. His arrest had come just hours before Mr Yousaf set out his government's priorities for the next three years. He said that he decided to resign to avoid further distractions to the important work being led by Mr Yousaf to improve the SNP's governance and transparency. Nicola Sturgeon’s husband was arrested two weeks ago but released without charge, pending further inquiries into this investigation.