Lewisham, Secular Europe & Malta Day – Saturday 14th September 2013 was a really combined day for me, starting with a victory celebration by hospital campaigners in Lewisham, then shifting to Westminster for a protest celebrating secularism in Whitehall earlier than lastly photographing a extremely non secular Malta Day celebration at Westminster Cathedral.
Lewisham Hospital Victory Parade
Lewisham Hospital is a extremely profitable and effectively run hospital serving a big space of South London, and when the federal government deliberate to shut giant areas of its providers there was an enormous public outcry, with giant marches to maintain it open, as closure would have severely broken the well being service within the space.
The deliberate closure was not in response to any failure by Lewisham; it’s sole function was to permit the NHS to proceed to make large PFI repayments due from the constructing of different London hospitals by means of contracts that have been badly negotiated when rates of interest have been excessive and have already delivered large income to the lenders.
In addition to a massively profitable public marketing campaign, each Lewisham Council and the Save Lewisham Hospital marketing campaign went individually to the Excessive Courtroom for Judicial Evaluation of the choice by Well being Secretary Jeremy Hunt, and each have been profitable.
The quick response of the Well being Secretary was to announce he would enchantment the 2 selections, and the marketing campaign had launched a petition calling on him to just accept the defeat gracefully and never waste any additional time or taxpayers cash over the enchantment. Given the clear judgement of the court docket any enchantment appeared unlikely to succeed.
The federal government additionally intend to vary the legislation to make it far more troublesome for folks to contest their selections within the courts after being defeated on this and different circumstances the place they’ve failed to present correct consideration to insurance policies. However having a authorities which appears to assume ‘sod the legislation, we’re going to do as we like‘ doesn’t appear in any respect wholesome for democracy.
The Victory Parade was quite smaller than the sooner protests which had introduced 1000’s out onto the streets of Lewisham, with maybe a bit of fewer than 5 hundred folks, although extra turned up to participate within the celebration occasion on the finish of the parade in Ladywell Fields. However maybe marching now appeared much less necessary, and the poor climate could have put some off.
On the entrance of the parade was a Lewisham Council dustcart with giant posters on it and following it have been marchers with a small avenue band. Amongst these marching have been two nurses sporting their uniforms from the Olympic opening ceremony, some ‘Olympic’ drummers and others in medical uniforms.
Extra footage on My London Diary at Lewisham Hospital Victory Parade.
Secular Europe Protest – Downing St
Round 100 folks had marched from Temple to a rally reverse Downing Avenue for the sixth annual Secular Europe Marketing campaign protest celebrating secularism and demanding an finish to spiritual discrimination and indoctrination.
In addition to the protest in London there was additionally the same protest going down in Krakow, Poland, a rustic the place politics are nonetheless very a lot dominated by the Catholic Church.
Issues are quite totally different within the UK, however we nonetheless have the anomaly of 26 Church of England bishops sitting within the Home of Lords, mirrored in a few of the campaigners sporting paper variations of a Bishop’s mitre with the quantity 26 on the entrance.
We clearly want reform of the Home of Lords, however the bishops appear to me a minor difficulty and are among the many extra wise and progressive members of the home. There are nonetheless 92 hereditary friends, in addition to many extra wholly undeserved political appointees, notably these given a seat as thanks for his or her political and different providers to retiring Prime Ministers. The current listing by Boris Johnson included some that clearly carry our politics into disrepute, and if the listing by Liz Truss is accepted following her disastrous fifty days in workplace, our politics will clearly have change into a farce.
The campaigners additionally known as for an finish to spiritual indoctrination in faculties, although I used to be happy to listen to one speaker clarify that not all church or non secular faculties have been responsible of this, with many offering a very good training that inspired their pupils to assume for themselves.
Others complained concerning the lack of secular audio system on Radio 4’s ‘Thought for the Day’, and although I believe the choice has widened a bit of lately there may be definitely nonetheless room for a wider selection of viewpoints. And so they nonetheless have some who make me cringe each time they seem.
Among the different issues that concern the secular motion are non secular discrimination in opposition to girls and gays, abuse of kids by the clergy, the educating of creationism in faculties, the anti-abortion foyer and misinformation about contraception and AIDs, non secular male circumcision and feminine genital mutilation, false accusations about witchcraft, Sharia legislation, compelled marriages and the best to die with dignity. And naturally many of those considerations are shared with many spiritual folks.
Extra at Secular Europe Protest.
Malta Day Procession – Westminster Cathedral
Lastly I walked to Westminster Cathedral the place a Mass was going down for Malta Day, attended by the Lord Mayor of Westminster, Councillor Sarah Richardson, taking footage as folks got here out from the church for the procession which was to comply with.
Malta Day, truly eighth September, is a public vacation in Malta, the Feast of Our Woman Of Victories or Victory Day. Celebrations in villages there mark the Nativity of the Blessed Virgin Mary, commemorated in statues of ‘il-Bambina’, certainly one of which was carried within the procession.
The day additionally celebrates the Victory of the Knights of St John of Malta in opposition to the Turks in 1565, a victory over the French in 1800 and the give up of Italy, then occupying Malta, in 1943.
Hearth-crackers have been set off within the plaza and a band performed earlier than the procession lastly set off down Victoria Avenue.
In addition to the statue of ‘il-Bambina’, there have been additionally seeral giant and vibrant banners, males within the robes of the Knights of Malta, and women in large black hooded cloaks (Faldetta or Ghonella), which appeared a bit of sinister to me. For varied private causes though I’ve by no means been there I’ve lengthy regarded Malta as an epitome of non secular intolerance.
Extra footage at Malta Day Procession.
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