Christianity declining 50pc faster than thought – as one in 10 under-25s is a Muslim

A new analysis of the 2011 census shows that a decade of mass immigration helped mask the scale of decline in Christian affiliation among the British-born population – while driving a dramatic increase in Islam, particularly among the young.

It suggests that only a minority of people will describe themselves as Christians within the next decade, for first time.

Meanwhile almost one in 10 under 25s in Britain is now a Muslim.

The proportion of young people who describe themselves as even nominal Christians has dropped below half for the first time.

Initial results from the 2011 census published last year showed that the total number of people in England and Wales who described themselves as Christian fell by 4.1 million – a decline of 10 per cent.

More….

A coalition divorce? Probably just another tiff

MORNING BRIEFING – By Benedict Brogan (Daily Telegraph).

Good morning. The Times (£) report that Dave’s aides are discussing the possibility of the Lib Dems leaving coalition before 2015. The favoured option is an “amicable divorce” whereby the Lib Dems support next year’s budget before returning to opposition for the last six to ten months of the Parliament. There will be curiosity about the sourcing: is it a Lib Dem operation to rattle the Tories? Or are the Tories feeling emboldened and frustrated enough to start muttering threats. It’s worth recalling that the Coalition relies for its existence, above all things, on the personal relationship between David Cameron and Nick Clegg. The evidence remains that they both remain committed to the idea. Certainly, until very recently Tories closest to Dave expected the Coalition to last until the day the election is called, even if political distancing starts well before then.

I reckon the Times story is more mischief than likely, but put it alongside the spending review tensions the FT (£) reports, and there’s every reason to worry that what looks stable now could quickly get messy. The Coalition has suffered a series of shocks which have – until now – been absorbed by the dampeners of Dave and Nick’s equanimity. The Europe row is of a different order altogether. The Lib Dems in the centre, I am told, are fizzing over the way Mr Cameron has allowed a referendum vote this Parliament, when the Coalition deal was that there wouldn’t be one.

Mr Clegg’s complaint is largely political – he hates the idea of being seen by voters opposing giving them a say. But there is also a principled point: when is a deal not a deal? To which his Tory critics might say – boundaries. Or child care. Note though how Mr Cameron is making nice with Nick on child care: it suggests the PM can see the strain cause by the EU issue, and is trying to compensate. Again, it’s how Mr Cameron and Mr Clegg choose to play it that will decide the longevity of the Coalition.

TOO MUCH BANGING ON?

Chance always plays an important role in politics. And so it may prove with yesterday’s Private Members’ Bill ballot. James Wharton, born nine years after the last European referendum, will use his slot to push for a vote on British membership by 2017. As we report, George Osborne says it will have “the full support of the Conservative Party, David Cameron and myself”.

For the Tories it’s not quite clear what sort of luck this amounts to. With the Lib Dems opposed to giving the Bill any government time and Labour also trying to obfuscate to prevent a parliamentary vote, the Conservatives are marked out as the one unambiguously pro-referendum party. Yet, while the public shares its views on Europe, they risk banging on about Europe in an empty room.

As one MP put it: “we’re at risk of not being seen to talk about the things that matter because we’re just talking about Europe”. That was Mr Wharton on Wednesday.

There is also the risk that, even as Vince Cable says that Dave is “in the right place” on Europe, the public see only opportunism. As The Times (£) reports, only 17 pc think he feels strongly about his European strategy; 64 pc think that he is motivated by tactics.

Meanwhile, Peter Mandelson writes for us on the risks for Dave of being seen to follow his backbenchers. “Labour in the Eighties paid the price for indulging its own hard Left for too long before Neil Kinnock, realising that his party’s future was threatened, fought back against them and won. Similarly, the Republicans allowed the Tea Party to grow in influence, with fatal electoral consequences.”

BRITAIN’S BLACK HOLE

George Osborne is facing a cool £9 billion budget shortfall, with the National Union of Ministers having so far identified only £2.5 billion of the net £11 billion planned budget cuts, according to the FT (£). One said that the “low-hanging fruit” in savings had now all gone, but there are Whitehall murmurs of “black ops” at the Treasury to be deployed against reluctant cutters.Philip Hammond and Owen Paterson, they’re coming for you.

GOVE PLAYS IT STRAIGHT

Michael Gove knew his Sir Keith Joseph Memorial Lecture would be scanned for any subtext of blood lust, especially after Nick Clegg’s comments that “he knows a thing or two about leadership ambitions”. But, as we report, it was a speech which marked him out as a government loyalist. Opponents of countryside planning laws were criticised as impediments to social mobility; the city was defended as a source of “wealth and opportunity for our nation”.

SUPPORT FOR STAY-AT-HOME PARENTS

As reported in the Mail, Dave is planning to make life easier for stay-at-home parents, addressing his problem of being seen as speaking only for metropolitan mothers, with support for marriage in the tax system mooted. Plans to increase the number of children a childminder can look after could also be diluted following Lib Dem opposition.

 

LETS BE CIVIL ABOUT MARRIAGE

Under Tory MP Tim Loughton’s amendment to the gay marriage Bill that we report, all couples could be allowed to choose whether to enter a civil or traditional marriage. But the Guardian reports that the government will reject the amendment, commit to passing the Bill in its current form and instead agree to a review of civil partnerships five years after gay marriage legislation is passed.

REMEMBER SCOTLAND?

With all the talk of Britain leaving the EU, Scotland’s future has been left on the back burner. But Canada’s former PM, Jean Chrétien (who led his country through two independence referenda) yesterday argued that Scottish independence should only be granted if a “clear majority” of the people supported it, as the FT reports. It’s a reminder that not only Europe is a fragile union.

POOR OLD NIGE, STUCK IN A PUB

Nigel Farage found himself locked in a pub yesterday – not normally a problem. As we report, after he was barracked as racist by hard-Left Scottish independence campaigners, Farage had to enter an Edinburgh pub for his own safety before a vehicle wisted him away from the scene. And this came as The Times (£) revealed that Ukip has been appealing for donations and admitted “we have got to improve our policy production”. Nige won’t drink to that.

TWEETS AND TWITS

Margot James wants British companies to get out more:

@margotjamesmp: Recession in Eurozone now 18 months old, even Germany at zero growth, all the more reason for Britain’s exporters to get out beyond Europe

TOP COMMENT

 

In the Telegraph

Fraser Nelson – The truth is, we can’t afford a shiny new transport system like HS2

 

Peter Mandelson – Cameron must not cave in to the Ukip threat

 

Isabel Hardman – Why are so many MPs making fools of themselves?

 

Telegraph View – The state should help families, not judge them

Best of the rest

Philip Collins in The Times (£) – History is more than one thing after another

 

Philip Stephens in the FT (£) – Britain is hurtling to the exit from Europe

 

Simon Jenkins in The Guardian – Now we know HS2’s a fiasco. But can George Osborne admit it?

 

John Rentoul in The Independent – Cameron’s position has the support of most voters – but then so did Major’s

Green Things

Expressions of my life - An evolution of art.

This is “Green Girl” I believe we met her yesterday or maybe they day before they tend to blend into each other these days. She is nowhere near being done but has come miles from where she started 20 years ago.

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I hope the day has found you well and full of hope.
Much love
Benjamin

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Rights group urges China to repeal penalties against sex workers

China News

China should remove criminal and administrative penalties against sex workers which often lead to serious police abuses, Human Rights Watch said in a report released on Tuesday.

The abuses include torture, beatings, physical assaults, fines and arbitrary detentions of up to two years, as well as a failure to investigate crimes against sex workers by clients, bosses and state agents, according to the report.

Prostitution is not permitted under Chinese law, though the industry has boomed since the country launched economic reforms in 1978.

Human Rights Watch estimates that between four and six million people are engaged in sex work in China, the overwhelming majority of them women.

Sex workers are also subjected to forced HIV testing, privacy infringements and mistreatment by health officials, the report found.

“In practice, sex workers are treated as if they have no rights simply because they are sex workers,” said Sophie…

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Say What!

James' Funnies

A couple were watching a Discovery Channel special about a West African bush tribe whose men all had penises 24 inches long. When the black male reaches a certain age, a string is tied around his penis with a weight on the end. After a while, the weight stretches the penis to 24 inches.

Later that evening as the husband was getting out of the shower, his wife looked at him and said, “how about we try the African string-and-weight procedure?”

The husband agreed and they tied a string and a weight to his penis.

A few days later, the wife asked the husband, “How’s our little tribal experiment coming along?”

“Well, it looks like we’re about half way there,” he replied.

“Wow, you mean it’s grown to 12 inches?”

“No, it’s turned black.”

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It’s On!!

PA Pundits - International

yak3A Dry Bones Cartoon ~D13519_1

According to USA Today:

With IRS, Benghazi and AP, is Obama under siege?
6:34 p.m. EDT May 13, 2013
WASHINGTON— “President Obama found himself in the unusual position on Monday of echoing GOP outrage over revelations that the Internal Revenue Service targeted Tea Party groups, while slamming his adversaries for creating “a sideshow” for reviving a long simmering imbroglio over his administration’s response to last year’s attack on a U.S. diplomatic post in Libya.By the end of the day on Monday, the administration found itself battling yet another potential crisis as lawyers for the Associated Press charged that the Justice Department secretly obtained two months of telephone records of reporters and editors for the AP in what the news agency called a “massive and unprecedented intrusion” into how news organizations gather the news.”-more

Read More by Yaakov Kirschen at Dry Bones . http://drybonesblog.blogspot.com/

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Words and Rain.

Expressions of my life - An evolution of art.

The words came with the rain today and washed away a sunny day
Settled soft behind the clouds that fill my head.
Of darkness in the heart of an
angel lost In a child’s mind
And body forgotten as the left side
Forgets its name so often.
As I pick up the pieces
Of things gone by.
~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~

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“October Rain”
24″ x 48″
Mixed media
Inks,oils,enamels and acrylics
*Gallery I*
I’m going to hide from myself today 😉
You’ll find me in the studio should you come to call.
Much love and light
Benjamin

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The Hotel Bill

James' Funnies

A lady decided to give herself a big treat for her 85th birthday by staying overnight in an expensive hotel.

When she checked out next morning, the desk clerk handed her a bill for $450.00.

She exploded and demanded to know why the charge was so high. “It’s a nice hotel but the rooms certainly aren’t worth $450.00 for just an overnight stay! I didn’t even have breakfast.”

The clerk told her that $450.00 is the ‘standard rate,’ so she insisted on speaking to the manager.

The manager appeared and, forewarned by the desk clerk, informed the woman, “This hotel has an Olympic-sized pool and a huge conference center which are available for use..”

“But I didn’t use them,” she said.

”Well, they are here, and you could have,” explained the manager.

He went on to explain that she could also have seen one of the in-hotel shows for which…

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