Gay Marriage Part Deux

So, the whole issue seems to be irrelevantly spinning out of control.  In my previous blog on the subject, I was surprised at the way it was being handled and publicised.  As I mentioned last time, I have more than a small bit of experience in this matter.  I’m married to my High School sweetheart from when we were growing up in the 70’s in America.  Unfortunately we didn’t marry then, but went our separate ways.  We all hung out with a big group of friends, and Janet married one of our group.  27 years into  it he announced he was gay, and that was that.  For all the obvious reasons, if you are a woman, there isn’t much you can do with that…

I’m Catholic/Protestant and Janet is Protestant, so most Sundays we get more “church” than most of the families on our street put together.  There is no question how the two branches of the “church” feel about homosexuality…   For most of my life, I have subscribed quite closely to the views of both churches.  But last summer I spent 2 weeks in Dallas, and had the chance to spend some significant time with my friends Mark & Aubin Petersen, who, like me, had realised the great tragedy of how the churches treat gays, lesbians, and trans-genders.  Their “sin” was to reach out and try to bring God’s love to the gay community.  Of course the community reaction in America is a bit more stout, as they are all armed, and being gay in America can get you shot, especially in the “progressive” state of Texas.

As a result of it all, I’ve managed to spend a lot of time with two of America’s top academics on the subject, and had a chance to digest quite a bit of the literature.  The real problem for us as we consider gay marriage, is that we have somehow made it a referendum on homosexuality, and that just doesn’t work in a modern democracy.  I’ve read most of what has been said on both sides, and am quite shocked and appalled at the way those who call themselves Christians conduct themselves:

1-If those in the church think homosexuality is wrong, then why aren’t they reaching out to homosexuals?  And why don’t they fill the front row of each and every church?  Christianity is for the broken and damaged, if you think that homosexuals are broken and damaged, then put your “money where your mouth is” and reach  out to them…

2-Jesus set a pretty good standard on the concept of sexual sin when, with the prostitute, he called for the Scribes and Pharisees who were “without sin” to throw the first stone.  So we know that no sins were thrown…  During his 3 and a half years of ministry, Jesus covered most of the important issue of life and how to live it.  The total number of words that Jesus uttered about homosexuality?  Zero, that’s right zero…

3-The conservatives, including me, knew from the very beginning of this current government that one of the agreements that the conservatives made with the lib dems was to push through gay marriage.  Any other claim is disingenuous in the extreme.  Maybe is was a “deal with the Devil”, but we all made it, and it is time to pay the piper…

4-Homosexuality has been accepted by the world we live in and the government we elected.  They have the right to form civil partnerships, which in reality is just short of marriage.  There is no point trying to make this thing about the legitimising of homosexuality, we all already did that quite a long time ago.

5-We finally have had one of our politicians put forward the real truth of how several Tories feel.  Lavinia Seely did an interview with Paul Deach on the Surrey Heath Residents Network  two days ago that is too appalling for words.  She told Paul how she wanted equal treatment for gays whilst simultaneously maligning them in the extreme.  Ms. Seely skated pretty close to the edge on endorsing hate of all gays, you’ll have to decide for yourselves, but I certainly was not feeling the love.  The whole thing was reprinted in this morning’s Daily Mail, see for yourselves…

Ms Seely has dishonoured and disrespected all that Conservatives stand for, and the worst part is that she is the Conservative Leader of Surrey County Council.  Her comments are so outrageous, that she must step down as a County Councillor, there is no alternative…  Her threat to get Michael Gove de-selected is too crazy for consideration.  We need clear thinkers, not raving hating lunatics at the head of Surrey County Council.  Lavinia, do us a favour and just go away…  Christians, it is time to feel the love, not the hate…

Council Meeting 22/01/13

We had to make a decision tonight regarding council tax support for those in what we call vulnerable groups.  Only a little more than half turned out in this cold snowy night.

There were 4 choices considered by the Executive and put forward to the full council, and to be voted on tonight. We are under a deadline to have agreement to how we move forward by the Central Government.  If we fail to agree then a default scheme would kick in that is draconian in nature and would adversely affect all residents of the Borough.  The deputy leader of the council, Richard Brooks presented the case that we should accept the 4th of the four options.  If you want to see the detail, you need to log onto the Council’s web site, as there are many dozens of pages of detail that are too long to go into now…

The foundation of the whole thing is that all residents will be affected by whatever happens. Cllr Bates (leader of the opposition) put up a very stout rebuttal to the case put forward by the deputy leader. Most of it was based on the large number of his residents on the Old Dean who he feels just will not be able to pay, regardless of circumstance.  His proposal is that we should take the 2nd of the 4 proposals.  The only actual difference between the two is that the maximum relief that can be claimed is 70% of the base rate (Band D).  Exclusions are there for all the disabled and “at risk” residents.
So what’s the difference from the past? Well, 2 things really: everyone has to pay something going forward, and a framework is put in place to go forward.  One that can be altered as we go…  No matter what we do, no one wants to pay more, not even one pound more, especially me…
Seeing what goes on in the council, up close and personal, there is still some incredibly distasteful waste by this council… My personal pet peeves (today) as we consider this issue:
  • An amazing number of council employees have “company cars” or car allowances at a time when we can’t afford that sort of largesse
  • This whilst the revenues for the rents on our precious Atrium coming in at one third of what they put forward… In the commercial world you’d get fired in a shot, not given a cost-of-living raise.  In our little Frimley High Street shop, my wife has had to work without any salary for a year because business is on its butt, all the time we pay £662/month in Business Council Taxes
  • We Councillors have to have all the papers that we have to consider every week printed and specially delivered in special pouches. All while the papers are all posted on the web site an easily down-loadable by all.  So why they do waste so many thousands of pounds doing this?  Is it because Councillors are just too lazy to do it?  I’ve tried to get them to stop sending me this waste for over a year, can they ever get it straight? Not so far…
  • We have some massive reserves in the bank, and the council needs to understand that all that money is the taxpayers, not the council’s…
So, how did I vote? For the 4th of the 4 options where we know what are costs are…

Snowballs are the answer…

So, Britain is having a right thrashing this weekend from the weather.  Yesterday when it started, it wasn’t actually all that cold, didn’t seem that it would stick or cause too much of a problem.  After all, they get an inch of snow here and the whole country stops, and that happens 3-4 times a year.  Anyway, yesterday it just kept coming, and then the temperature actually started dropping, uh-oh…  By the middle of the afternoon we had a full blown blizzard going…

The Yank is actually from real-live blizzard country, the Boston area, so he’s had a bit of experience with this sort of thing.  Blizzards where he’s from can be as common as sunrises, and they’re usually hoping for the temperature to go up to 10 below zero before Easter.  So, by the afternoon, all the schools had shut early, and the entire population of school-aged kids were on the street.  Now, for most parents that is just not a very good situation.  Kids out of school unsupervised for 5 hours, plunging around in the white stuff (and dragging it into the house)…  Actually the plunging around the white stuff isn’t so bad, but before the temperature started diving, the white stuff easily rolled up into snowballs.  And what then?  Well they of course have to be thrown…

We pretty much had  street long non-stop snowball fight yesterday afternoon.  Incredibly good natured, and great fun…  Of course we all had to eventually get shaken down and cleaned off by our “mommies”, and fed lashings of hot chocolate.  So, after the hot chocolate, I was thinking, what a good way to solve political issues, a down home snowball fight…  So, instead of a council meeting on Tuesday to decide council taxes, we could go out into the front garden and have a damn good thrash with snowballs.  And then we could all go up to the members room and have hot chocolate…  Of course there are no winners in snowball fights, just like real politics, but we certainly would have a much better time…

How I voted at the planning meeting 14.01.13

Here are the planning applications tonight and here’s how I voted, if you want to give me your opinion on it, then fire away…

# 2012/0385
Planner Recommendation(s): approval
How I voted:  I didn’t as it has been deferred for consideration due to an apparent need for a mandatory site visit
Why: Planners didn’t disclose it at any length, not unusual
Planner Recommendation(s): grant subject to some provisions
How I voted: approve, vote was unanimous
Why: the matter met all the planning requirements and regulations
Planner Recommendation(s): refusal based on what amounts to a technical objection
How I voted: to override the planners recommendation, and on behalf of the applicants of Ockley Plumbing
Why: Company has been trading for 40 years in Camberley and is well known, the change of use is really just for their ground floor, not the entire building. Very much in the interest of the the town. Kitchens are a very different type of retail from almost all the other retail businesses.
Cllr SAMs abstained from voting on the matter
Planner Recommendation(s): to grant permission for the development, further 13 letters of support
How I voted: to approve
Why: from my view, this is a simple planning issue that there is no reason to turn this down.
Approval was unanimous
5 Harcourt Rd, Camberley Gu15 3EP
Planner Recommendation(s): approval,
How I voted: approve
Why: we have approved a similar development before, and it meets all the requirements…