The parish church in my home town is a fine old building. Like many parish churches it has developed over the centuries, and different parts of it date from different points in history.
A couple of years ago, the lead was stripped from the roof by thieves who were never caught, and so now the roof is covered in plastic sheeting as a temporary measure. Then again, maybe temporary isn’t the best word to use, seeing as how it’s been there for quite some time now.
The Immigration and Advisory Service – a charity which helps asylum seekers with their legal fight to stay in the United Kingdom - has decided to close down (http://www.bbc.co.uk/news/uk-14105065).
Although the exact reasons are unclear, it appears to have something to do with financial irregularities.
According to its website, the IAS “has offices throughout the UK and in Bangladesh”. A spokesman for the Legal Services Commission said: “Our priority now is to work closely with IAS and the administrators to ensure clients of IAS continue to get the help they need, whilst safeguarding public money”.
The African country currently known as Zimbabwe was for many years known as Southern Rhodesia, and then later as the Republic of Rhodesia after its unilateral declaration of independence in 1965. Its head of government at this time was a Briton called Ian Smith who led a government based on the minority white population, and the country was known as the breadbasket of Africa because of its strong agriculture-based economy.
Since 1980 the country has been run by the African Marxist Robert Mugabe. Unemployment stands at around seventy percent, and around half of its population are dependent upon western food aid.
A few years ago I read a novel called Life, Love, and Assimilation. It tells the story of a young Muslim woman, born in Bangladesh, but raised in Tower Hamlets – an impoverished area of London with a large Bangladeshi population.
She records her brother’s drug addiction, and her parents’ refusal to deal with it; falling in love with a young Muslim man at university, but having to hide the relationship from her parents on the grounds that he is from Pakistan; and the disappointment of an arranged marriage.
People in Jamaica have decided that they were better off under colonial rule. Jamaica is an island nation in the Caribbean Sea, and was a British colony from 1655 until 1962. The overwhelming majority of its nearly three million inhabitants are of African descent, and Christianity is the main religion. The most widely spoken language is Jamaican Patois, a Creole language, although English is the official language.
It’s official: Britain invaded Australia. The city council in Australia’s largest city has decided that the arrival of a British fleet at Sydney Cove in 1788 was effectively an invasion. This decision was reached after a lengthy campaign by the aborigines, the indigenous people of Australia.
I was taught at school that Australia was discovered by Captain James Cook of the Royal Navy in the eighteenth century. Not one of my teachers explained in what sense the aborigines had not already discovered it. As it happens, Captain Cook was not even the first European to discover Australia.