"The penalty good men pay for indifference to public affairs is to be ruled by evil men." attributed to Plato

"Bad men need nothing more to compass their ends, than that good men should look on and do nothing." attributed to Edmund Burke

Let's between us make the world a better place.

Monday, 15 November 2010


There are so many good topics to blog about at the moment; I am totally spoilt for choice.
But here is one very important issue.

I tuned into the radio the other day just in time to hear Richard Harries, former Bishop of Oxford (he confirmed my son), now Gresham Professor of Divinity. He was talking about corruption.

The latest World Table of Corruption Perceptions is alarming. This measures the perceived levels of public sector corruption in 178 countries around the world - how dishonest are the governments and public figures. Top of the list, with least corruption, are Finland, Iceland and Singapore. Bottom is Somalia. And it is all frightening stuff - and needs our urgent attention.

What is most alarming to me is that the UK has dropped from 11th to 20th over 4 years, and the United States is in the 22nd slot. Why should this be? What has happened to our values?

Something is clearly and seriously wrong. The ethical environment within our culture is so important for the health of the world, which is undeniably very sick at the moment. Of course, Harries told us, we all have good and bad inclinations - it is a part of human nature. But more and more of us are calling for a new moral climate, recognising that something is seriously wrong. There is a new book by Jurgen Habermas, An Awareness of Something Missing - Faith and Reason in a Post Secular Age. What is missing? Religion! That underpins morality. It draws on our deepest convictions to underpin morality. But let us be clear that religion does not have the monopoly. One of our problems is that we spend too much time arguing for or against religion rather than getting on to solve our world's problems. Some even have a passionate crusade to eliminate religion. That can never happen and would not be the right way forward. We should instead use those energies to all pull together in the same direction towards honesty and justice, if we have any hope for healing this world, and that must include the healing of corruption.

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