Saturday, 28 November 2015

Peace Makers Walk - Nottingham 28 Nov 2015

BFTF took part is a surprisingly interesting and uplifting "Peace Makers Walk" recently...

It was organised by the "Faiths in Action" team, which includes Churches, Mosques, Gurdwaras and other places of faith in the Hyson Green, Radford + New Basford area and took place on Saturday 28th Nov. Starting at the Forest Rec, the walk visited the Mansfield Road Baptist Church; Madni Masjid (Mosque); St Marys Catholic Church; St Stephens Church and finished at the Karimia Institute.

The walk was for people, of any or no faith, who were interested in building, and strengthening, bridges between communities in Nottingham. Here are a few pictures from the event....

Start at the Forest - we did not see dry weather again...
"Pace" is Italian for "Peace" btw

First stop was the Mansfield Road Baptist Church...

Not been in here before...

Beautiful window in the Baptist Church

Rev Andy Wilson said a few words

Next up was the Madni Masjid in Forest Fields...

"Peace Makers", just outside Madni Masjid

Representative of the Bishop speaking at Madni Masjid..

Imam Raza ul Haq spoke passionately about how we are affected by events across the world and an international effort is needed to bring peace to areas of conflict. He also commented that the British people were "the best in the world".

Imam Raza says a few words.... well, okay, quite a lot of words...

Madni Masjid really made the walkers feel at home, with samosas, pakoras, biscuits, pop and tea all on hand to help warm up and recharge.

Very generous hospitality at Madni Masjid

Mazher Hussein, one of the organising team,
going large with the Samosas

Imam Raza making sure that everyone gets fed!

Next stop was St Mary's Catholic Church in Hyson Green (interesting history here).

Outside St Marys Catholic Church

Inside St Marys Catholic Church

Father David Palmer spoke about the lessons we can learn from the late Rene Girard, who developed the "scapegoating" mechanism, which is held to work thus:
" is humankind, not God, who has need for various forms of atoning violence. Humans are driven by desire for that which another has or wants (mimetic desire). This causes a triangulation of desire and results in conflict between the desiring parties. This mimetic contagion increases to a point where society is at risk; it is at this point that the scapegoat mechanism[9] is triggered. This is the point where one person is singled out as the cause of the trouble and is expelled or killed by the group. This person is the scapegoat. Social order is restored as people are contented that they have solved the cause of their problems by removing the scapegoated individual, and the cycle begins again. The keyword here is "content". Scapegoating serves as a psychological relief for a group of people."

Father David Palmer says a few words....

Beautiful window in St Marys

In what was by now constant rain, the walkers moved on to St Stephens Church in Hyson Green (inevitably interesting history here).

Some of the organising team outside St Stephens

Inside St Stephens 

Rev Clive Burrows quoted some powerful phrases from Romans 12:17:

"Do not repay anyone evil for evil. Be careful to do what is right in the eyes of everyone.
If it is possible, as far as it depends on you, live at peace with everyone.
Do not take revenge, my dear friends, but leave room for God’s wrath, for it is written: “It is mine to avenge; I will repay,”[a] says the Lord.
On the contrary:“If your enemy is hungry, feed him; if he is thirsty, give him something to drink. In doing this, you will heap burning coals on his head.”
Do not be overcome by evil, but overcome evil with good."

Rev Clive Burrows quotes from Romans

Final stop on the walk was Bobbers Mill Community Centre, part of the Karimia Institute, a Muslim organisation.

Got a bit busy at Karimia

Hafiz Naveed talks about faith co-operation in local hospitals

To close out the event, Karimia laid on some tea, cake and biscuits!

If you want to find out more about Faiths in Action, please contact Mazher Hussain, email Tel: 07468 562560. This event was also covered by the Nottingham Post.

One last point worth mentioning is that other similar events, at larger and smaller scales, do regularly happen in Nottingham.

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Sunday, 22 November 2015

Muslims at risk of suicide

Very disturbed to read an article which implied that it was acceptable to put Muslims who had severe mental health problems in situations where they would be under such stress that they would be at risk of committing suicide. The article states that Home Office expert witnesses claim that that suicide being forbidden in Islam would be a "protective factor".

So, in a nutshell, the Government won't put a non-Muslim with mental health issues in a situation where they would be at risk of committing suicide.

But is okay with putting a Muslim, having the same mental health issues in the same situation because their faith will be a "protective factor".

That sounds very disturbing to BFTF. Sounds like there would be no limit to the psychological or physical stress a Muslim could be put under.

Is this also happening within the UK's prisons?

Sent an email to local MP and local Conservative party to challenge them on this issue.

Local MP responded with a letter that didn't seem to really address the issue at hand, and instead discussed the need for more support for NHS mental health services and the Government was failing to do this.

Thursday, 19 November 2015

Setting the mandate to NHS England for 2016 to 2017

Public consultation on NHS priorities until 23th Nov. Hardly any publicity on this. Make your views heard:

There you will find a link to the consultation and to a response form (the governments priorities, as listed in the consultation, are shown at the foot of this post).

BFTFs responses were :

Q1) Do you agree with our aims for the mandate to NHS England?

Q2) Is there anything else we should be considering in producing the mandate to NHS England?
"Ensuring funding is on a par with other developed countries, which is not currently the case as opposed to blaming the cash starved NHS from failing to operate within and arbitrarily "budget".
Preventing CCG's from implementing short sighted cost cutting measures such as only fitting one hearing aid, or removing just one cateract.
Reducing waiting lists.
Stopping this ridiculous, unfunded, undefined, poorly evidenced "7 day healthcare" crusade.
Stopping this fiction that everyone can have 24/7 access to a GP - you know full well this is not achievable, that the UK is catastrophically short of GP's as it is and that emergency care is already available 24/7
Focussing on increasing physical activity as well as reducing obesity as the former has a greater health impact than the latter."
3) What views do you have on our overarching objective of improving outcomes and reducing health inequalities, including by using new measures of comparative quality for local CCG populations to complement the national outcomes measures in the NHS Outcomes Framework?
"In a system where staff are grossly overworked, there is a turmoil due to forced tendering and NHS is being asked to find £22billion of cuts (although I believe the government calls them "efficiency savings") these measures are almost an irrelevance."
4) What views do you have on our priorities for the health and care system?
"They are wrong. Increased funding should be a priority, and ridiculous crusades such as 24/7 GP access should be dropped."
5) What views do you have on how we set objectives for NHS England to reflect their contribution to achieving our priorities?
"The objectives are too politically oriented and focussed on meeting an arbitrary budget that is low by international standards."

BFTF was surprised to find that the email address to send responses to was full! So has asked local Conservative Party to ensure BFTF's response actually gets delivered.

Inbox says no

More on consultation, and the quietness of its publicity, here

Update 21 Nov :
The story of the full inbox ended up being covered by the Daily Mirror and the Indy.
NHS Nottingham kindly sent on BFTF's responses by letter.
No response from Nottingham Conservatives.

BFTF notes that, between 29th Oct and 19th Nov (i.e. prior to the media attention), the @DHgovuk Twitter account managed to Tweet about this important consultation exactly once, on the 29th Oct. In contrast, they managed to find time for over 60 Tweets about the Junior Doctors contract issue.

Was news of the NHS mandate consultation buried? You be the judge.

Governments Priorities (from consultation):

1.10. The new mandate will be based on the priorities this Government believes are central to delivering the changes needed to ensure that free healthcare is always there whenever people need it most. Our priorities for the health and care system as a whole are:

Preventing ill health and supporting people to live healthier lives. The escalating demands of ill health driven by our lifestyles also threaten the long-term sustainability of the NHS. It’s a priority to help people to live healthier lives by tackling obesity and preventable illness, and to improve quality of life for people with long-term conditions such as diabetes and those with dementia.

Creating the safest, highest quality health and care service, by securing high quality health and care services and 7-day hospital care to improve clinical outcomes.

Maintaining and improving performance against core standards while achieving financial balance, by ensuring the NHS meets the needs of patients and operates within its budget.

Transforming out-of-hospital care, ensuring services outside hospital settings are more integrated and accessible. As part of a new patient guarantee, this means by 2020, we will ensure every patient has routine access to a GP in the evenings and at weekends, as well as effective 24/7 access to urgent care. We will also strive to reduce the health gap between people with mental health problems and the population as a whole.

Driving improvements in efficiency and productivity by reducing waste and inefficiency to ensure every penny delivers the maximum possible benefit to patient care.

Supporting research, innovation and growth, and influencing global health priorities.

Sunday, 8 November 2015

New Art Exchange : Recreation of the 1960s

Loved the recreation of a 1960s-1970s decor in an exhibition for Black History Month...

Loved this !

A Music Station

The form that inspired the band...


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Surface Gallery - Michael Powell Exhibition

Checked out a really interesting exhibition of the work of Michael Powell at the Surface Gallery recently.

BFTF was particularly glad to see these paintings as a counter to pretentiousness being strong in a number of Nottingham's other galleries that day....

Michael's paintings ranged in size A4 scale up to wall sized and were quite mesmerising. BFTF was really impressed by the way Michael had managed to make the tones transition subtly from one colour to another. As BFTF's eyes moved across the paintings the colours would sometimes hit a "trigger colour" that caused a long lost memory to surface - a particular shade of crayola crayon perhaps; or the characteristics colour of a fruit maybe...

"Conviction" - a wall sized painting



"Plunge" detail

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Sunday, 1 November 2015

Martinmas Fair 2105 at Priory Church

BFTF went to the very interesting Martinmas Fair at the Priory Church of St Anthony, Lenton recently.

But before talking about the event itself, perhaps worth setting the scene with a little background...

The “original” Priory
Although little trace of it remains today, there was once a very large Priory on the site of the Priory Church in Lenton. The Priory was founded in 1109 and grew in size until, by around 1290 it had become one of the richest in the country, and held an annual 12 day long fair in which the monks levied tolls on many of the goods sold. You can read more about this at the site here, here and especially, here.

In the 16th century, the Priory, alongside many other establishments, was taken into state hands during the confiscated by Henry VIII during the Dissolution of the Monasteries, with the monks being pensioned off (or executed!). With the monks gone, there was no little protection for the Priory and, over following decades, the Priory’s lead roof and stone walls were progressively removed for use in other building works.

Martinmas (or St. Martin's Day) is celebrated on November 11th, and is named after St. Martin of Tours who was a Roman soldier who was baptized as an adult and became a monk. Martinmas became associated with the end of autumn wheat seeding and the the annual slaughter of fattened cattle. In addition fairs were often held at which farm labourers would seek new posts. Interestingly, the term for a late spell of warm weather used to be "St. Martin's Summer", although this has now largely been replaced by the American term “Indian Summer”

Making woollen thread

Martinmas Fair 2015
So, with the background out of the way, a little about the event, which was “rebooted” in 2014 after an absence of several hundred years! The 2015 Martinmas fair featured falconry, medieval combat, food stalls, medieval music, and much else, all comprehensively listed here.

Harris Hawk on No3 Sons head. Surprisingly heavy apparently

Medieval musicians. No idea what instrument the lady is playing! 

One of the Falchion medieval re-enactment group, Nick Jackson, was kind enough to give a short interview about the era they were enacting, who he was playing and the weapons being used. He began by explaining that the group was enacting the era of the mid 14th century, when Edward III was king and when there was an emphasis on chivalry and on tournaments. Nick's character was Sir Nicholas de Cantelupe who was the Baron of Ilkeston and Lord of Greasley - and had built Beauvale Priory in outskirts of Eastwood.

Sir Nicholas de Cantelupe (courtesy of Falchion)
Regarding Sir Nicholas's troops, Nick commented that :

“Most of his troops would be farmers or foresters on his lands and they would mostly be skilled with bows although a lot of them would use tools....They owe [Sir Nicholas] 40days service a year. Now 40 days might mean they have to go up to Scotland. Now it takes 2 weeks to walk to Scotland and if they go more than 40 days he pays them more. He has to get about 20-40men normally. Some of them will be knights and armoured soldiers, , most will be bowmen, because Nottingham and Derby is very famous for its bowmen. He would then take them to the Earl of Derby, who would take them to the Earl of Lancaster [who] would take them to the king...They would have to go along reluctantly….fighting didn’t tend to happen this time of year because everyone was working on their crops and winter storage. The lords knew this and they didn’t want they people to starve over the winter so most fights happened from spring to late summer”
These are the instruments used to fix you up if you get wounded on the battlefield

Regarding weapons technology :

“In armour we were a little bit behind because Milan in north Italy and some of the forgers in Germany were producing the heights of armour technology. There was an arms race between weapons that could kill people and armour that could keep people alive. So as plate armour came in at around the mid 14th century the swords were just bouncing off [so] they changed the weapons. Arrows could pierce certain types of armour at close range. We started using spears and axes because you could chop through people, you could concuss people and then stab them on the ground. There’s not much chivalry when you start doing that but when someone is fully dressed up like a tank, you can’t really hurt them with a sharp piece of metal [sword]. So this was the height of armour until firearms came in, and bullets could go straight through this and ruined warfare as a chivalrous sport!”

A final comment :

"As someone who is a knight I would be very privileged..until 1348 when the Black Death comes and wipes out half the country”

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