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TFTD campaign

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Archipet
Posts: 14
Joined: September 24th, 2007, 4:56 pm

TFTD campaign

#1 Postby Archipet » October 27th, 2008, 12:28 pm

You might like to support Gavin Orland's campaign to persuade Radio 4's "Today" programme to permit non-religious speakers on Thought For The Day. He wants us to promise to email the programme in the first week of January, asking for the unjust exclusion of humanist and non-religious speakers from this prime radio spot. What a guy!

http://www.pledgebank.com/thoughtfortheday

http://www.gavinorland.com/

Apologies if this is already posted elsewhere in TH, I may have missed it.

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Hot Thought
Posts: 38
Joined: March 14th, 2008, 8:59 pm

Re: TFTD campaign

#2 Postby Hot Thought » October 29th, 2008, 2:50 pm

I think this is a really good campaign and have sent some mail in various directions in support of it. If anyone has any more information about this I would be really grateful.

There has been too much bias on Radio 4's thought for the day for way too long.

Maria Mac
Site Admin
Posts: 8750
Joined: July 3rd, 2007, 10:34 pm

Re: TFTD campaign

#3 Postby Maria Mac » October 31st, 2008, 4:38 pm

From the NSS e-bulletin, an exchange of correspondence between Mark Damazer, controller of Radio 4 and and Dennis Cobell.

Dennis Cobell to Mark Damazer:
I have seen letters between yourself on behalf of Radio 4 & BBC and a member of the National Secular Society concerning Thought for the Day. I note that you are adamant this will remain as a 'religious' slot; can you therefore accept a compromise and honestly state its title as – Religious Thought for the Day? It would then occupy a similar title to – Party Political Broadcast – with which it might be accurately compared.

I was President of the National Secular Society for almost 10 years until 2006; during that time I appeared on the Today programme a few times and requested TftD include a secular/humanist voice. Several contributors agreed with this, and John Humphrys thought it appropriate.

There are several local radio stations which already have a similar slot and include secular/humanists. The idea that morals or ethics is confined to those with a theological basis is untrue; the only 'Ethical Society' in London is 'humanist'! Most contributors start their essay with a comment on current news items — even this week noting the Atheist BusCampaign — but there is no 'right of reply'.

I have met and talked with several who speak on TftD – they are sympathetic; once asked if they were paid. I was told £100. Is the fee still at this level? This slot is not only giving a free air-time for a religious viewpoint – but paying the faith groups as well! I hope there can be some agreement about my suggestion?

Mark Damazer's reply:
I know how strong passions are running on the subject, but I won't rebrand the slot. I suspect the overwhelming majority of listeners know what the slot is –and isn't.


:angry:

Mark Damazer is evidently a complete wanker. I stopped listening to the Today programme years ago because I found RTFTD so irritating and I'd just as soon as the slot disappeared altogether but I think we should all refer to it as Religious Thought for the Day on principle. Or even Religious Platitude for the Day?

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Hot Thought
Posts: 38
Joined: March 14th, 2008, 8:59 pm

Re: TFTD campaign

#4 Postby Hot Thought » November 1st, 2008, 11:49 am

Thanks for that bit of information Maria and I share your sentiments about Damazer too!

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Lucretius
Posts: 262
Joined: July 26th, 2007, 11:19 pm

Re: TFTD campaign

#5 Postby Lucretius » November 1st, 2008, 9:32 pm

Or even Religious Sanctimonious Platitude for the Day?
"Every normal man must be tempted at times to spit on his hands, hoist the black flag, and begin to slit throats." - H.L. Mencken

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jaywhat
Posts: 14884
Joined: July 5th, 2007, 5:53 pm

Re: TFTD campaign

#6 Postby jaywhat » November 27th, 2008, 1:44 pm

My latest email on this subject is below (those who sign up pledge to write to the BBC in January)


Many thanks for signing my "Thought for the Day" pledge.

Update:

We now have more than 1,000 signatories, which is great - ten
times the original target. We could do with more though. I dare
say that many more people in the UK are affronted by the
intrusive slot, so if you can link to or otherwise promote the
pledge, please do so.

Thanks also for the many excellent comments, still coming in.
In this age of inanity on Internet forums, I personally have
found them to be a breath of fresh air.

Next:

The pledge will remain open into December, as planned. Then
towards the end of that month I'll send out a call to action in
the form of an e-mail like this one, reminding people to
complain to the the BBC in January. I will suggest addresses
and even provide an optional e-mail template. Hopefully then we
can rid the Today Programme of this completely incongruous
superstitious element, or at least rational people will be
allowed to contribute too.

Some links:

Here are some links regarding the problem of religion that I
particularly like and which might be of interest to you:

http://www.youtube.com/patcondell
http://whywontgodhealamputees.com/all-videos.htm
http://skepticsannotatedbible.com/
http://skepticsannotatedbible.com/quran/
http://www.samharris.org/site/book_end_of_faith/
http://www.thereligionofpeace.com/
http://www.bandoli.no/

Thanks again, and I will be in touch.

Regards,

Gavin Orland
http://www.gavinorland.com

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jaywhat
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Re: TFTD campaign

#7 Postby jaywhat » December 30th, 2008, 10:50 am

Here is Gavin's reply to those who pledged to write to BBC in Jan 2009
It is a bit wordy and he also sends a copy of his email to BBC to help those who want to take part. I will copy that in the next post so you can just ignore it as it is quite long.
Why not give it a go?
Cheers
John Bosley


Hi everyone and a happy new year to you all,

Thank you for adding your name to my pledge to have Thought for
the Day reformed or abolished. I am extremely hopeful that one
of these two things might happen, as I believe it will not only
be in the service of humanity, but I will also be able to
listen to The Today Programme again.

January 1st is fast approaching so it is nearly time for us all
to e-mail the BBC saying what we think about TFTD. This is your
call to action. Even if you have mailed before, if you have not
yet received what you consider to be an adequate response,
prepare to join everybody else and mail again.

Today, incidentally, the BBC have gone the whole way and
actually handed over the editorial reins of The Today Programme
to cardinal of the Roman Catholic church, so it could not be a
better or more urgent day for me to send this call to action.

When to e-mail

There will not be another reminder after this. I would like
people to send their e-mails during the first week of January.
The BBC will be receiving around 1,500 e-mails and I would like
them spread out over the week, so that this quantity does not
adversely affect their mailservers. So, please:

Choose a day during the first week of January, mark it in your
calendar, and send your email then.

Where to e-mail

There are a number of addresses we can use. I suggest the
primary address should be:

today@bbc.co.uk

You could try cc'ing to this one:

todaycomplaints@bbc.co.uk

You can also send your complaint via a contact form here:

http://www.bbc.co.uk/complaints/

This is the BBC's formal complaints gateway and you can read
there about how complaints are supposed to be handled.
As they say there, you can follow up your complaint if you
receive no response, and you also have the option of
complaining to Ofcom. I suggest we do that too. The TFTD issue
has gone on for too long. The page to use is:

http://www.ofcom.org.uk/complain/progs/specific/

Although I have personal e-mail addresses at the BBC's Religion
& Ethics Department, I do not believe we should send our mails
there, as they are the source of the problem and have proved
themselves unwilling to budge.

What to e-mail

If you have not listened to TFTD for a while (understandable)
then I suggest you do have a listen before assembling your
e-mail. You can do that here:

http://www.bbc.co.uk/religion/programmes/thought/

The speakers sometimes say things which are not acceptable in a
modern society but are dictated by their texts. It will
probably also put you in a frame of mind where you really want
to complain, lest you have been having second thoughts at this
time of goodwill.

And this does bring me to a serious point. Nobody likes to
complain. I certainly don't, and I regret having to do this. It
isn't something to be relished and I don't relish it, but it is
something that needs to be done. It often seems that reason is
swamped by irrationality in the media and I believe that
religious belief continues to receive, in Richard Dawkins'
words, "far too much respect". We can change that. We can help
to eradicate religious dogma and replace it with open-minded
reason and a more sophisticated morality, befitting this
century.

The e-mail I will be sending the BBC is underneath this call to
action. I have covered the points most important to me. It may
be that you wish focus more on the BBC's guidelines, and you
are welcome to do so. Some of you have made some excellent
comments on the Pledgebank site, which you could include. While
I have not provided a formal template you are welcome to use my
e-mail as a guide to the arguments, and of course you are
encouraged to make your own points too.

What will happen next

We can't tell for sure what will happen next. The BBC will be
hit hard by this quantity of e-mail but they should respond to
it, slowly. They should respond to the points you make. Perhaps
they will see reason and grant us our requests. We will see. If
you feel the BBC are taking too long to respond to you, you can
always e-mail them again. You could also tell the newspapers (I
have e-mailed them several times but have not so far received a
reply).

In any case, we will have done something. As Edmund Burke said,
“All that is required for evil to prevail is for good men to do
nothing.”
I will of course keep an eye on how the campaign seems to
proceed. Perhaps it will need to be stepped up into legal
action in due course - but reason must prevail.

Keeping in touch

If any of you would like to contact me, showing me your e-mails
or responses you receive, I would be interested to see them. I
might also post updates on my site. You can use the contact I
have made there or mail me using gavin@gaviorland.com.

There are other issues regarding religion, and the immense
privilege it is given, which concern me too. One is regarding
animal welfare:
http://www.gavinorland.com/religion/the ... l-killing/

It might be that I start a campaign in association with the
RSPCA to try to have something done about this too. We will
see. If it interests you please let me know.

Now, please do pick a date and send your e-mail on that date.
This will all have been pointless if you decide not to bother.
Thank you very much for your time and support in this cause.

Best regards,

Gavin Orland
http://www.gavinorland.com

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jaywhat
Posts: 14884
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Re: TFTD campaign

#8 Postby jaywhat » December 30th, 2008, 10:54 am

..and here is Gavin's email to the BBC

Dear Sir,

I am writing regarding the slot Thought for the Day, which
appears within BBC Radio 4's Today Programme, as I believe it
is in need of reform or removal. In this letter I will explain
why. I will also address your previous justifications and
explain why they are insufficient.

May I expressly request, first of all, that you do not forward
this e-mail to your Religion & Ethics department. They are
biased and naturally unlikely to ever consent to having their
own slot reformed or removed. The Today Programme should have
control over its own content, so this e-mail is for the editors
of The Today Programme and may be escalated upwards to the BBC
Executive Board as required. It is not for the attention of the
Religion & Ethics unit (in fact, I consider this departmental
conflation of yours to be confused).

The central problems with the Thought for the Day (TFTD) slot
are:

1) It is incongruous
2) It masquerades as moral while excluding non-religious
commentators

I will deal with these in turn, then with your previous
defences.
The Today Programme is a news programme and as such you would
surely agree that it values standards of evidence. The people
who listen to it are likely to (or at least should) value
standards of evidence too. To many people these days religious
belief is, as one commentator has written, an "intellectual
impossibility". This is because:

• All the religions contradict each other, each believes
they are right. Needless to say, they cannot all be right.

• Each is based on scant evidence. Indeed there is no
solid evidence that Jesus Christ even existed, despite all the
miracles he supposedly performed. For more information on this,
please see here: http://www.bandoli.no/

• The kind of religions we see, and the God character in
particular, are exactly what we would expect credulous and
ignorant ruling men to create to fill a lack of scientific
explanation for the world around them.

• Scientific discovery has repeatedly refuted and never
endorsed the religious world-view (often at the risk of the
lives of scientists) and religions are required to be ever more
metaphorical even for religious people to believe their claims.

The credibility of religion has been further dismantled, of
course, by Richard Dawkins in his book The God Delusion. He
need no longer stand alone publicly objecting to the "respect"
that religious belief is afforded, but has not earned. Please
see here, too, for a moving letter by Professor Dawkins to his
daughter, in which he explains at more length the virtues of
evidence, and why it is a good thing to respect it:

http://www.fortunecity.com/emachines/e1 ... kins2.html

For some inexplicable reason, belief without (or even in the
face of) evidence ("faith") is still granted by some a perverse
respect. I believe such belief is in fact ignoble, as the
philosopher A.C. Grayling has put it, and the creators of a
news programme should surely agree with me on this point.
Religious claims are the same as any others and they should be
subjected to same scrutiny – especially as many people are
dying and killing for them.

TFTD then, is utterly incongruous within The Today Programme
programme because its commentators believe things that are
contrary to the policy of evidence-based belief. It is not
moral or appropriate for this programme to accommodate such a
slot.

The second most obvious objection to TFTD is that it
masquerades as a moral slot (though of course with a religious
bent) and yet it excludes non-religious moral commentators, of
whom there are many.
It can clearly be shown that religious people do not get their
morals from their books. If they did, they would be, for
example:

• Stoning unruly teenagers to death

• Stoning rape victims to death

• Stoning animals to death

• Selling their daughters as sex slaves

• Never working on Sundays, at penalty of death (I notice
your Sunday programme presenters do this)

• Killing disbelievers (certainly never mixing with them)

• Beating women and treating them, roughly, as animals

The lists does go on and on. You can see more examples here:

http://skepticsannotatedbible.com/

And here:

http://skepticsannotatedbible.com/quran/

As we examine the instructions in the Qu'ran, we find that
indeed they are followed more exactly than those in the Bible:
this is because Islam is a younger and more virulent religion.
Nonetheless, such dictates are of course unwelcome in any
civilised society, as is any book which advocates them.

And here is the key point: the fact that religious people
usually do not follow all of the instructions in their texts,
but rather cherry pick those they like, means they can do away
with the texts altogether. These books not only contain immoral
advice, but also have nothing to say about the complex moral
dilemmas we face today and will face in the future (for example
those raised by artificial intelligence and genetic
engineering). While they perhaps had their role maintaining
order in more ignorant times, they have no role at all today.

Humanists make up their own moral codes. We decide based upon
reason and compassion what is the right way to behave. We do
not blindly accept the dictates of any text. I believe this is
a superior way for humankind to proceed, and it is at the very
least entitled to the same air-time that unquestioning
religious dogma receives.

Most TFTD monologues are secular until the end. The commentator
will try to make a moral point, but then will crow-bar their
religion it at the end as if it somehow endorses their point.
But it does not. Such points stand on their own. Furthermore,
many moral arguments and principles were established by other
philosophers before religious characters espoused them. For
reasons such as these, it is wrong for the BBC to allow only
religious commentators on a slot such as TFTD, which is
essentially moral in tone. They do not and should not have a
monopoly on this topic. Some (for example, me) would say that
they are in fact more part of the problem than part of the
solution.

If these reasons are not enough, I would also add that it is
contrary to the BBC's own guidelines to fail to under-represent
the Humanist, or non-religious moral viewpoint in this manner:

“we strive to reflect a wide range of opinion and explore a
range and conflict of views so that no significant strand of
thought is knowingly unreflected or under represented.”
http://www.bbc.co.uk/guidelines/editori ... pariality/

Many people have complained about TFTD in the past, and many
more will complain in the future. The BBC has, to date,
generally produced the same responses. I will now detail why
these are insufficient:

1) It is only 3 minutes of a 3 hour programme.

Three minutes of monologue based upon superstition and
unreason, and upon texts with questionable moral foundation, is
three minutes too long, especially in a programme which
supposedly values evidence-based belief, as already discussed.

2) Around 70% of the nation are religious, so this
justifies the slot.

Undoubtedly many people would support the re-introduction of
public lynching. Many people enjoyed listening to the likes of
Russell Brand and Jonathan Ross. Many people like watching
Celebrity Big Brother and many people like taking cocaine.
Quite apart from the truth or otherwise of the statistics, my
point here is that just because people do something, that does
not mean it is actually a good thing or something that the BBC
should be encouraging. The argument used here is an argumentum
ad populum. You can find a list of logical fallacies here:

http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/List_of_fallacies

(This also contains the bare assertion fallacy which people
often inanely use to justify their acceptance of religious
texts.)

Even if, however, the argumentum ad populum were accepted, this
still does not impact upon the point that a religious slot is
inappropriate in a news programme.

3) Thought for the Day has been on a long time.

This is a very naive argument (if it can even be regarded as an
argument a all), which I was surprised to see the BBC advance.
It is another logical fallacy, known as the appeal to
tradition:

http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Appeal_to_tradition

Suffice it to say this carries no weight at all.

4) TFTD allows diverse faiths and only brief references to
those faiths

I have already dealt with this point, in effect. All of the
faiths are equally bereft of substantive evidence, and the fact
that valid points can sometimes be made with only fleeting
mentions of the faiths shows there is no need for the faiths at
all: therefore the slot should at the least be opened up to
include non-religious commentators.

5) Non-religious voices are heard on other programmes

This is great but does not impact at all on the points made in
this e mail. TFTD remains unfairly restrictive and incongruous
in The Today Programme. Also I dispute whether adequate and
equal airtime is given to humanism on Radio 4 as is given to
religious broadcasting. This does not seem to be the case. For
example I have never even heard commentator Pat Condell
mentioned, despite the fact he is a national hero of clear
thinking reason and a moral champion with over 2 million
channel views on the alternative medium YouTube.

6) Some atheists like TFTD

I doubt whether this true – these people are more likely to be
agnostics. In any case, they are probably referring to the
non-religious part of the monologues, which we have already
established can stand alone. Furthermore, some self-professed
atheists haven’t really thought their position through properly
and in addition this repeats the argumentum ad populum fallacy.
If this is to be your means for decision, perhaps you could
arrange a survey to find out how many atheists like TFTD and
how many object to it?

TFTD then, is clearly inappropriate in its current form and
should not be foisted upon the listener at peak time during the
BBC's flagship news and current affairs programme. It needs to
be reformed.
My view, as is no doubt already apparent, is that religious
views have no place at all in a modern and moral society. I am
in agreement with Einstein, who said "The word god is for me
nothing more than the expression and product of human
weaknesses, the Bible a collection of honourable, but still
primitive legends which are nevertheless pretty childish."

I look forward to the day (though it will probably not happen
in my lifetime) when human-kind looks back at religion as the
"cry-baby" phase Christopher Hitchens has described. A mere
superstitious period which could no longer be sustained. We can
break free of these shackles of superstition. I have gone some
considerable way to support my position in this e-mail.

But if Thought for the Day is to remain, it must at least admit
non-religious commentators (A.C. Grayling would be one who
springs to mind). It is otherwise unrepresentative as a moral
slot, and it insultingly implies that only religious people
have any moral authority. This is unacceptable.

I hope that you will consider the points raised by this e-mail
with an open mind, and reform TFTD accordingly. I believe the
rational public will enjoy The Today Programme far more as a
result, you will be doing a service to society and better
adhering to your own charter.

Yours faithfully,

Gavin Orland

---------------

This message has been sent through PledgeBank by the pledge
creator of a pledge you signed, 'I, Gavin Orland, will e-mail
the BBC to object to "Thought for the Day" but only if 100
other people will do the same.' The pledge's URL is
http://www.pledgebank.com/thoughtfortheday

To stop receiving messages from the pledge creator, please
follow this link:
http://www.pledgebank.com/L/BBVtHFDNxojgFHPzPc=

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Bellman
Posts: 230
Joined: December 14th, 2007, 4:55 pm

Re: TFTD campaign

#9 Postby Bellman » December 31st, 2008, 7:15 pm

I think we should all have a go at the BBC, though I doubt if it will do much good. I doubt if long reasoned presentations about religious absurdities will be given attention. Here's my effort.

Dear Sir,

You must be aware that the vast majority of people in this country follow no religion. They are just as entitled to hear consoling, uplifting or encouraging thoughts to help them through the day as the small minority who do. It is insulting to the majority for your speakers to assert that peace of mind and a good life can be acheived only through belief in supernatural beings. You broadcast the views of tiny minorities merely because of their mystical beliefs but deny secular speakers a hearing.

If you were to apportion time according to relative numbers of believers and non-believers the prelates would only have about fifteen slots a year. You should consider the feelings of the majority and allow non-religious sages and philosophers to speak at least once a week on Thought For Today, and so grant the majority of your listeners the benefit of their wisdom.

This is not a matter that can be fairly dealt with by your Religion and Ethics Department as that has repeatedly demonstrated bias in favour of religion. Please allow the Today Programme to consider it without pressure.

Yours faithfully,

User avatar
Alan C.
Posts: 10356
Joined: July 4th, 2007, 3:35 pm

Re: TFTD campaign

#10 Postby Alan C. » December 31st, 2008, 8:04 pm

Very well put Bellman :thumbsup:

But don't hold your breath, the NSS have sent in many similar letters, all to no avail.
Abstinence Makes the Church Grow Fondlers.

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Bellman
Posts: 230
Joined: December 14th, 2007, 4:55 pm

Re: TFTD campaign

#11 Postby Bellman » January 1st, 2009, 6:56 am

Alan C. wrote:Very well put Bellman :thumbsup:

But don't hold your breath, the NSS have sent in many similar letters, all to no avail.


Agreed, but the idea of the campaign is to muster as many individual objectors as possible, all at once, for a mass attack. If everyone who is not religious emails in January even the religious nuts at the BBC may have to take notice.

PS I know I spelt 'achieved' wrong in my draft. Oh! the shame of it. :redface:

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Alan C.
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Joined: July 4th, 2007, 3:35 pm

Re: TFTD campaign

#12 Postby Alan C. » January 1st, 2009, 1:00 pm

I've just received an email from the Brights that includes two subjects we've discussed here.
ONE BRIGHT'S ACTION LEADS TO ACCEPTANCE AS SCOUTING LEADER (UK)

Andria of Gloucestershire reports:

"My role in the Scouting movement is that of a 'Group Scout Leader' (a manager, really) of our local beaver/cub/scout packs.

When I applied for the position there was much discussion at Scout HQ and after reviewing the Brights website, they decided that there was one phrase within all of the text (they did not reveal which one) which swung the deliberations in my favour. Apparently, it was a close run thing. There was no suggestion of it being difficult to amend their 'accepted beliefs' list.

I feel like a bit of a pioneer!"


BRIGHTS JOIN WITH OTHERS TO WRITE BBC (UK)

A BrightenOp to over four thousand Brights from Quentin, UK coordinator, invites them to join in a campaign to, in effect, ask the BBC to "turn a page" in its programming.

Apparently, the broadcast network excludes the non-religious from having a regular role in presenting a "Thought for the Day" whereas religious thoughts are routinely presented.

An online petition by a British Humanist Association member presents the case as either/or. Either the publicly funded broadcaster should accept non-religious contributors, or it should remove the piece from the schedule altogether because exclusion from the slot "...gives the impression the BBC believes morality is the exclusive remit of religious people, which is offensive, unrepresentative and untrue."

One early protester suggested that "Thought for the Day be broadened "to include presentations by those who subscribe to a naturalistic rather than a supernatural world view." Said another about the airtime slot: "I think it should just be renamed - Superstition of the Day."

We are not alone :smile:
Abstinence Makes the Church Grow Fondlers.

clayto
Posts: 384
Joined: July 22nd, 2007, 6:34 pm

Re: TFTD campaign

#13 Postby clayto » January 4th, 2009, 4:31 pm

We have sent our email.

Chris
clayto

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Alan C.
Posts: 10356
Joined: July 4th, 2007, 3:35 pm

Re: TFTD campaign

#14 Postby Alan C. » January 4th, 2009, 4:36 pm

A good article in The Guardian by Sue Blackmore. Followed by some good comments.
Abstinence Makes the Church Grow Fondlers.

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Alan H
Posts: 22257
Joined: July 3rd, 2007, 10:26 pm

Re: TFTD campaign

#15 Postby Alan H » January 4th, 2009, 4:55 pm

Thanks, Alan. I had missed it.
Alan Henness

There are three fundamental questions for anyone advocating Brexit:

1. What, precisely, are the significant and tangible benefits of leaving the EU?
2. What damage to the UK and its citizens is an acceptable price to pay for those benefits?
3. Which ruling of the ECJ is most persuasive of the need to leave its jurisdiction?

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Alan C.
Posts: 10356
Joined: July 4th, 2007, 3:35 pm

Re: TFTD campaign

#16 Postby Alan C. » January 5th, 2009, 6:58 pm

Image
Abstinence Makes the Church Grow Fondlers.

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Val
Posts: 749
Joined: October 6th, 2007, 10:56 pm

Re: TFTD campaign

#17 Postby Val » January 5th, 2009, 9:49 pm

I say something similar - "the shortest distance between two people is a smile" it works too

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Nick
Posts: 10848
Joined: July 4th, 2007, 10:10 am

Re: TFTD campaign

#18 Postby Nick » January 6th, 2009, 12:33 am

Alan C. wrote:Image


Reminds me of an old girl-friend...... :D

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Nick
Posts: 10848
Joined: July 4th, 2007, 10:10 am

Re: TFTD campaign

#19 Postby Nick » January 6th, 2009, 12:41 am

BTW, WTF is Something Understood all about? Unfortunately I sometimes catch it on a Sunday, and it is utter bollox. And the presenter, Mark Tully, has been knighted!!! WTF for? I've just looked him up and found on Wiki that
When in India he lives with his girlfriend Gillian Wright: whilst in London he shares a house with Margaret, his ex-wife and the mother of their four children.



How about a half hour of reason? Repeated of course.


Stoning seems appropriate in the circumstances.

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Alan H
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Joined: July 3rd, 2007, 10:26 pm

Re: TFTD campaign

#20 Postby Alan H » January 8th, 2009, 10:42 am

********************************************************************************
Exclusive: BBC rejects Thought for the Day reform - inthenews.co.uk
http://www.inthenews.co.uk/entertainmen ... 259163.htm
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Exclusive: BBC rejects Thought for the Day reform
Thursday, 08 Jan 2009 07:56
[BBC on defensive over Thought for the Day]
BBC on defensive over Thought for the Day
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By Alex Stevenson

The BBC is resisting pressure to make the Today programme's Thought for the Day slot less "spiritual", Radio 4 controller Mark Damazer has told inthenews.co.uk.

He admitted to inthenews.co.uk the slot's religious emphasis raised "a genuinely difficult question" but was unwilling to extend its contributors beyond "believers".

It follows debate about the role of religion in British society after comments on creationism by Richard Dawkins, the Church of England defending its political comments over the Christmas period and the launch of an atheist advertising campaign in London earlier this week.

The Thought for the Day slot sees religious voices from across a broad range of denominations and other religions offer spiritual reflection for three minutes each morning.

It is an integral part of the Today programme but one which British Humanist Association chief executive Hanne Stinson believes reflects the unfair role of religion in British society.

"People who have a strong ethical viewpoint that doesn't come from religion don't get a word in," she told inthenews.co.uk.

"If they called it 'religious thought for the day' that would be fine. But the implication Thought for the Day has to be religious is actually quite insulting to other people who obviously… from their background as philosophers, ethicists, whatever, may have in some cases more important things to say but don't get a chance to say it."

Her views appear to be gathering widespread support. Gavin Orland, a humanist, attracted 1,660 signatures to his campaign calling for the slot to be scrapped or reformed.

He wrote: "If Thought for the Day is to remain, it must at least admit non-religious commentators (AC Grayling would be one who springs to mind). It is otherwise unrepresentative as a moral slot, and it insultingly implies that only religious people have any moral authority. This is unacceptable."

The BBC is reluctant to broaden the slot's brief because, Mr Damazer explained, this would detract from its "distinctiveness".

"We are broadcasting to the general Radio 4 audience which regularly engages with the comments and ideas expressed by our contributors from the world's major faiths - whether they are believers or not," he said.

"Outside Thought for the Day the BBC's religious output contains both religious and non-religious voices in programmes such as Sunday, Beyond Belief, Moral Maze. In these programmes atheists, humanists and secularists are regularly heard, the religious world is scrutinised, its leaders and proponents are questioned.

"Non-religious voices are also heard extensively across the general output in news, current affairs, documentaries, talks, science, history. These programmes approach the world from perspectives which are not religious. As, of course, do the other two hours 57 minutes of Today."

Recent Thought for the Day topics have included the creationism debate, wealth's impact on contentment and the connection between music and the soul.

[Retrieved: Thu Jan 08 2009 10:41:38 GMT+0000 (GMT Standard Time)]

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Alan Henness

There are three fundamental questions for anyone advocating Brexit:

1. What, precisely, are the significant and tangible benefits of leaving the EU?
2. What damage to the UK and its citizens is an acceptable price to pay for those benefits?
3. Which ruling of the ECJ is most persuasive of the need to leave its jurisdiction?


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