Is Sugar The New Smoking?

My name is Cole and I am a diabetic. Well, you may say, so what? Four million of us are, even if half a million of those don’t know it yet. You may have guessed my state before I did, if you had seen my weight and the unhealthy diet of a reporter on the road, grabbing meals between deadlines; not to mention the habits of a comfort eater. But I have only known the truth about myself for the past week, and in that time I have suddenly been made aware of the tsunami of sugar, the great sweeping wave of sweetness that threatens to overwhelm us all.

Not only the diabetics, but the two-thirds of Britons who are overweight and the quarter who are obese.

There is nothing worse than the zeal of a convert, to paraphrase Oscar Wilde, so I’m sorry about this, but I feel as if my eyes have been opened to something horrifying. Sugar, sugar everywhere, nor any drop to eat. Continue reading “Is Sugar The New Smoking?”

A Just War Is A Hero’s Right

Words from 2006, offered in memory of Kingsman Jamie Hancock, killed in Basra at the age of 18. Reposted in the light of Chilcot’s damning verdict on why the war was fought.

bd42937d139c419723fc3a5c526d987aKingsman Jamie Hancock was killed within moments of starting his first ever sentry duty at the Old State Building in Basra. He was 19 years old. He had been in Iraq for two weeks. His father, Eddie, 60,  said: “It makes no difference to Jamie whether he was killed accidentally by one of his own side or by insurgents. He still died a hero and a man, serving his Queen and his country. I get some comfort from the thought that he would have died instantly, without suffering.”

Mr Hancock previously accused Tony Blair of treason and called the Prime Minister “the mother of all liars” for sending troops to Iraq under false pretences.

In the last letter Jamie wrote home, on the night before he was shot, he says: “I had my first rocket attack about two hours ago. I was on the roof just looking at the view and I heard a whizzing noise and then a big bang. One of the rockets didn’t explode it went straight through the toilets. Unlucky.”

Next to that word he drew a smiley face. Hours later he was dead. The letter was passing through the Army mail system as uniformed officers called at the family home that evening, and over the days that followed, as those who loved him grieved.

Continue reading “A Just War Is A Hero’s Right”

Trident: What the future holds for the UK’s nuclear submarines 

imagesSomewhere in the deep, dark ocean, a British submarine is always on patrol. Silent, secret, able to stay underwater for months at a time, it carries Trident nuclear missiles that can fly thousand miles to their targets and kill millions of people at once. The captain has the key to a safe to be opened in the event of war, if all communication with Britain has been lost. Inside is a letter from the Prime Minister of the day, giving orders as to when the missiles should be fired.

Source: Trident: What the future holds for the UK’s nuclear submarines | Home News | News | The Independent

Thank you Ma’am: a republican writes on why we should all be grateful to Her Majesty

I don’t want a Queen. Hereditary monarchy is unfair, unjust and should have no place in a society that values every citizen equally. She owns all the dolphins in British inshore waters for one thing, and that can’t be right. Want one! But since we have to have a Queen, for now, we should be grateful for the dignity, grace and devotion to duty this one has shown. She is the best example of a wartime generation now almost passed, and has done us all a great favour by sticking around so long. My piece for the Independent on Sunday on the moment this coming Wednesday that Her Maj becomes the longest reigning British monarch of all time.

The very fine illustration is by Andre Carrilho, from the spread in the Independent on Sunday. See, buy and commission his work here. 

Gay marriage and God: what we need now is outrageous grace


Can you love and forgive someone who appears to hate you? That is a question many of us are having to answer right now, as explored in this piece for the
Independent on Sunday.

Somewhere over the rainbow, way up high … there’s a place where people live together peacefully, whatever their differences. That is what is represented by the six-colour flag that has become such a potent symbol in recent days. But how do we get there?

The Reverend Sally Hitchiner has an answer that is breathtakingly audacious. “We can’t move forward until lesbian, gay, bisexual and transgender people forgive their oppressors. That is the big challenge facing the LGBT community. We are never going to reach Utopia until we all get there.”

Forgive their oppressors? That is an outrageous thing for a priest to say, until you know more about her – and not just because the Church has officially condemned gay people for centuries.

Continue reading “Gay marriage and God: what we need now is outrageous grace”