Quotes

Parliamentary Speeches and Interventions: 1979 – 2005

Mr David Alton

March 15, 1951 -

Constituencies

  1. Liverpool Edge Hill March 29, 1979 – June 9, 1983
  2. Liverpool Mossley Hill June 9, 1983 – March 8, 1988
  3. Liverpool Mossley Hill March 8, 1988 – May 1, 1997

Titles in Lords

  1. Baron Alton (Lord Alton of Liverpool, of Mossley Hill in Liverpool) 1997 -

Contributions

First recorded, on April 3, 1979 FINANCE BILL Commons

By year, 6560 in total: 1979 1980 1981 1982 1983 1984 1985 1986 1987 1988 1989 1990 1991 1992 1993 1994 1995 1996 1997 1998 1999 2000 2001 2002 2003 2004 2005

Last recorded on this site , on March 17, 2005 Mental Capacity Bill Lords.  For later contributions (2005-present) visit http://www.theyworkforyou.com

David Alton’s Maiden Speech, House of Commons 3 April 1979:

“Five days ago the people of Edge Hill decided to reject the old ways. They gave a massive thumbs down sign to both the other parties. I believe that that happened because people are frustrated and cynical about the way in which politicians have let them down. People of my generation are angry about the way in which the establishment parties have forgotten what service means and have forgotten about the way in which people should see and hear from their elected representative.”

“The bullet can never replace the ballot in a free society.”

“If you can’t afford the blankets on the bed, you don’t have the piano french-polished. If politics is about priorities, surely it means putting first things first and dealing with basic amenities and services, not spending money on grandiose pie in the sky dreams which will become taxpayers’ nightmares.”

Lord Alton’s Maiden Speech House of Lords 22 October 1997

“Along with my own children I have both British and Irish passports. Why? Because love of country need not imply a hatred of another country. In common with millions of others who draw on the diversity and strength of the British and Irish traditions I would add my voice as an encouragement to the Government as they painstakingly work for an end to sectarianism.

July 10th 1979 House of Commons Speech opposing the proposed £40 million Liverpool inner ring road and demolition programme (which led to censure by the Commons Speaker, George Thomas):

“Parts of the road were to be 10 lanes wide, and it was responsible for the decimation of homes and businesses alike. During that decade our city lost more than 70,000 people as a direct result of redevelopment plans. These plans ripped and tore the heart out of the city, created barren wastes, and shanghaied people to places they did not know and did not want to go to. And all for what? A decision taken in the early 1970s by the same group of dedicated megalomaniacs and lunatics led to the abandonment of this road that had led to nowhere.

“Those who argue in its favour say that the city needs the road, but I believe that Liverpool needs it about as much as a goldfish needs a folding bicycle.

“How can this road-bulding be justified while people still live in homes without inside toilets and bathrooms? The last census showed that in Edge Hill there were more people without inside toilets in their homes than in any other town in England. How can this road be justified while children in the city of Liverpool still attend schools that were built in the nineteenth century, and while our environment still bears scars left since the Second World War?

“The chairman of the Merseyside county council is said to keep in his drawer 433 a photograph of Adolf Hitler. At any rate, that is what he said in the local newspaper. Perhaps that is where he derives his megalomaniac delusions from. Certainly he is trying to finish off the job that Hitler started in wrecking and ruining the city of Liverpool.

“The construction of the road must be seen against the background of public expenditure cuts and the energy crisis. It must also be seen in the context of Liverpool’s inner city problems and their possible solution.

“Yesterday the … Association of County Councils issued a press release detailing a package of what it called ” revolutionary ideas “. If one accepts that revolution is bred out of disillusionment, cynicism and rebellion against measures that are basically repressive, the ACC’s ideas could be called revolutionary. It talks of delaying fire protection in elderly people’s homes and stopping the pocket money given to them; charging for nursery school education and further education; stopping free school milk, stopping subsidies for school meals, and reducing nutriment in those meals; repealing consumer protection legislation because it costs too much, and abandoning public participation in planning for the same reason.

“Yet at the same time as all these things are happening the Merseyside County Council… is embarking on the construction of a £40 million monstrosity known as the Liverpool inner ring road dreamed up in the 1960s by planners and politicians whose eyes were bigger than their pockets…

July 1979 The Whiston baby case (baby aborted at Whiston hospital and baptised by nurses):

“I would like to add a supplementary question to that just raised by the hon. Member for Pontypool (Mr. Abse). The Minister said earlier that there had been public concern about the whole question whether it would be possible for a foetus to survive at, say, 19 weeks. Indeed, the incident at the Whiston hospital was a clear demonstration of that public concern. At the Minister’s request, I asked that his reply to my questions on that subject should be reported in the Official Report, and that was done.

But I was concerned that the Minister was not prepared to publish the whole of the report that was submitted to him by the area health authority. I should have thought that it might have answered many of the concerns and the genuine feelings of resentment and anger that exist in the Whiston area, especially among some of the staff who were involved in that incident if they had been able to get sight of the report that was submitted to the Minister. It seems to me also that hon. Members have been denied the opportunity of judging for themselves the information submitted.

The people concerned maintain that that foetus was capable of life. They saw it not only moving but making noises as well which resembled those of a newly born child, and because of that they had genuine concern. Would the Minister reconsider his decision and make available to hon. Members copies of the report of the investigations by the area health authority in that instance?”

2010 – Vienna Forum:

“In post-modern Britain we have lost our national identity. In part, this is because we have no common story to bind us together; and because we have tried to commit collective amnesia about those parts of the story which may make us feel uncomfortable”

“The trend in Britain has been towards a very narrow and ideological form of secularisation. This encourages the suppression of all religious belief or the fostering of comparative religion – that is the belief of nobody, taught by anybody and paid for by everybody, but, on no account, please don’t teach us what you really believe. This is a nonsensical merry-go-round.”

“Knowledge without values, and without a common story, is a disaster: and nor should we seek to hide behind the pretext of tolerance.”

“Tolerance should never be presented as a substitute for conviction. It is not a belief in itself. If it requires everyone to give up their religious beliefs – or the right to wear a cross or celebrate a religious festival – because such characteristics make the non-believer uncomfortable, it in turn becomes a form of intellectual fascism.”

“Being socially inclusive then is not like Jonah in the whale or the chicken in the fox – it’s not about forcing a Christian, Jew or Muslim to give up their beliefs to accommodate those who have none. Inclusion is different from ingestion. It is not about enforced conformity. Just because some have lost the faith of their fathers, we do not need to lose the faith of ours.”

“For myself, despite its manifest failings, give me Britain’s hobbled democracy any day if the alternative is a society in which adulterers are flogged, gays are executed, women are stoned for not being veiled, churches are burned, so-called apostates are killed and non-Muslims are forced to convert or be treated as ‘dhimmis’ or second-class citizens.”

“A few years ago, I was travelling in Israel and the Palestinian West Bank leading a group of pilgrims. We were drawn from seven different denominations. As we left the town of Jericho we saw a lorry over turn on the road ahead of us. The lorry’s load of fruit was scattered over the road and the Palestinian driver, who had fallen asleep, was badly injured and thrown out of his cab. Ironically, it was on this road that Jesus chose to set his story of the Good Samaritan who stopped to help the Jewish traveller who had been set upon by thieves.

“From our air conditioned coach stepped forth a young German born catholic doctor. She lived in Liverpool. With her was a nurse from Leigh who is a member of the Brethren. I don’t suppose that mattered much to the driver, a Muslim, who desperately needed help. A little later some Jewish Israeli paramedics arrived and lifted the man to safety and took him away to hospital.

“Muslim, Jewish, Christian. Humanity is at its best when reaching out to others; When we lose sight of the human being made in the image of God and substitute hatred or enmity, we succumb to evil, we diminish ourselves and we make the world a little crazier. By contrast, endless cycles of revenge are no way to live. When you go on taking an eye for an eye the whole world ends up blind.”

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“The root of universal human rights is universal respect for human beings. We can all do something about that.”
James Mawdsley

“The prolife cause is the pre-eminent cause of our time, and this struggle between the gospel of life and the culture of death will determine the destiny of mankind.” Peter Garrett, LIFE

“when sorrows come, they come not single spies but in battalions.” – Claudius in Hamlet.

“The just man justices” Gerard Manley Hopkins.

“It seems to me as clear as daylight that abortion would be a crime.” Gandhi

“Those who love stay awake when duty calls, wake up from sleep when someone needs help; those who love keep burning, no matter what, like a lighted torch. Those who love take on anything, complete goals, bring plans to fruition … But those who do not love faint and lie down on the job.” – Thomas a Kempis

William Wilberforce on introducing the legislation to end the slave trade: “We can no longer plead ignorance. We cannot turn aside.”

“The relationship between friends is more intimate than that between brothers; therefore friends call each other ‘brothers’ and the closest of brothers are ‘friends.’Friendship surpasses kinship only in this respect: kin need not love reciprocally; friends must. In fact relations of kinship remain even without love between the kin; but if you take away mutual love between friends, how can the essence of friendship subsist?” Matteo Ricci SJ

“The love of power must be replaced by the power to love.” – W.E.Gladstone.

“To kill one person is murder, but a million is statistics” – Stalin

“One human soul is worth all the railroads in Italy” -Pius -IX

“I have often said that man’s unhappiness springs from one thing alone, his incapacity to stay quietly in one room” – Pascal

Josef Haydn: “a secret voice within me whispered, “There are but few contented, happy peoples here below; everywhere grief and care prevail; perhaps your labours may one day be the source from which the weary and worn, or the man burdened with affairs, may derive a few moments’ rest and refreshment.”

- “Elected silence, sing to me, and beat upon my whorled ear, Pipe me to pastures still and be, The music that I care to hear.” (Psalm 23 – pipe me to pastures still). – Gerard Manley Hopkins “Habit of Perfection”

- “our past is the capital of life” – Edmund Burke

- A plot in Middlesex is worth an acre in utopia – McAuley

The most important knowledge is knowledge of our own inadequacies

“Circumstances rule men, men do not rule circumstances” – Herodotus

“Nothing stamped with the Divine image and likeness was sent into the world to be trodden on,” said President Lincoln. This is the essential meaning of our Declaration of Independence, that God has created all of us equal and bestowed us with “certain unalienable rights,” the foremost among them the right to life.

John Maynard Keynes once said “I would like to warn the gentlemen of the City and High Finance that if they do not listen in time to the voice of reason their days may be numbered. I speak to this great city as Jonah spoke to Ninevah…. I prophesy that unless they embrace wisdom in good time, the system upon which they live will work so very ill that they will be overwhelmed by irresistible things which they will hate much more than the mild and limited remedies offered them now…”

“No society can surely be flourishing and happy, of which the far greater part of the members are poor and miserable.”

E.F. Schumacher – “ Infinite growth of material consumption in a finite world is an impossibility.”

“A nation that kills its own children is a nation without hope.” -Blessed John Paul II

“They dwell in their own countries but simply as sojourners. As citizens, they share in all things with others, and yet endure all things as if foreigners. Every foreign land is to them as their native country, and every land of their birth as a land of strangers. They marry, as do others; they beget children; but they do not destroy their offspring. They have a common table but not a common bed. They are in the flesh, but they do not live after the flesh. They pass their days on the earth, but are citizens of heaven. They obey the prescribed laws, and at the same time surpass the laws in their lives. They love all, and are persecuted by all. They are poor, yet they make many rich; they are completely destitute, and yet they enjoy complete abundance. They are reviled, and yet they bless. When they do good they are punished as evildoers; undergoing punishment, they rejoice because they are brought to life.”
Epistle to Diognetus, author unknown (Written about AD 130, this is one of the earliest descriptions of Christians).

“ The only thing that we now have to say is, that if our religion do make us traitors, we are worthy to be condemned; but otherwise are and have been, as good subjects as ever the Queen had. In condemning us, you condemn all your own ancestors, all our ancient bishops and kings, all that was once the glory of England — the island of saints, and the most devoted child of the See of Peter.
“God lives; posterity will live; their judgement is not so liable to corruption as that of those who are now going to sentence us to death.” – St.Edmund Campion, 1581, speaking in Westminster Hall before his execution at Tyburn.

“The State is not an abstract entity. It acts and suffers only as those individual agents through whose actions the functions of the state are discharged act and suffer. And it is their actions that conform to or violate norms and values…. the state is just or unjust, protective to those whom it ought to protect, and scrupulous or unscrupulous in its dealings with other states, only insofar as the relevant individual persons have these characteristics.” – St.Edith Stein before being taken by the Nazis to Auschwitz.

“No one in the world can change Truth. What we can do and should do is to seek truth and to serve it when we have found it. The real conflict is the inner conflict. Beyond armies of occupation and the hecatombs of extermination camps, there are two irreconcilable enemies in the depth of every soul: good and evil, sin and love. And what use are the victories on the battlefield if we ourselves are defeated in our
innermost personal selves?” – St.Maximilian Kolbe, who was executed at Auschwitz by the Nazis.

“The Church cannot and must not remain on the sidelines in the fight for justice….The promotion of justice through efforts to bring about openness of mind and will to the demands of the common good is something which concerns the Church deeply… Abject poverty is an offence against human dignity.”
– Pope Benedict XVI

“A state which is not governed by justice is just a bunch of thieves.” – St.Augustine of Hippo

: “A man would do nothing if he waited until he could do it so well that no one could find fault.” – Bl.John Henry Newman

“We are not born for ourselves , but for our kind, for our neighbours, for our country: it is but selfishness, indolence, a perverse fastidiousness, an unmanliness, and no virtue or praise, to bury our talent in a napkin” – Bl.John Henry Newman

“God has created me to do Him some definite service. He has committed some work to me which He has not committed to another. I have my mission. I may never know it in this life but I shall be told it in the next. I am a link in a chain; a bond of connection between persons; He has not created me for naught. I shall do good – I shall do His work. I shall be an angel of peace, a preacher of truth in my own place, while not intending it, if I do but keep His commandments. Therefore I will trust Him whatever I am, I can never be thrown away If I am in sickness, my sickness may serve Him, in perplexity, my perplexity may serve Him. If I am in sorrow, my sorrow may serve Him. He does nothing in vain. He knows what he is about. He may take away my friends. He may throw me among strangers. He may make me feel desolate, make my spirits sink, hide my future from me – still He knows what He is about.”- Bl.John Henry Newman

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Thomas a Kempis:

“Love is a mighty power,
a great and complete good.
Love alone lightens every burden, and makes rough places smooth.
It bears every hardship as though it were nothing, and renders
all bitterness sweet and acceptable.”

“Nothing is sweeter than love,
Nothing stronger,
Nothing higher,
Nothing wider,
Nothing more pleasant,
Nothing fuller or better in heaven or earth; for love is born of God”
Although he believes that ultimately “man proposes, but God disposes” this is not to be read as an excuse for shrugging off our responsibility to act.
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Thomas a Kempis : “At the Day of Judgement we shall not be asked what we have read, but what we have done…..Those who love stay awake when duty calls, wake up from sleep when someone needs help; those who love keep burning, no matter what, like a lighted torch. Those who love take on anything, complete goals, bring plans to fruition … But those who do not love faint and lie down on the job.”
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Thomas a Kempis: “It is great maturity and wisdom to think nothing of ourselves, and to think always well and highly of others.”
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Jean Rostand, the French biologist, said: “For my part I believe that there is no life so degraded, debased, deteriorated, or impoverished that it does not deserve respect and is not worth defending with zeal and conviction.

I have the weakness to believe that it is an honour for our society to desire the expensive luxury of sustaining life for its useless, incompetent and incurably ill members. I would almost measure society’s degree of civilisation by the amount of effort and vigilance it imposes on itself out of pure respect for life.”

Promise me you’ll always remember:
You’re braver than you believe,
and stronger than you seem,
and smarter than you think.
— Christopher Robin to Pooh

C.S.Lews: - l believe in Christianity as I believe the sun has risen, not only because I see it but because, by it, I see everything else.”

 Everything that  is connected to the intellect is permanent -  William Roscoe

 “Be joyful, keep the faith” – St.David

 

  “The sense that human beings are limited and dependent is not, for religious believers, something humiliating or disempowering; it is simply an acknowledgement of the way things are which… is liberating, because it delivers us from aspiring to mythic goals of absolute human control over human destiny”. Rowan Williams

 

 

“All that is gold does not glitter
Not all those who wander are lost;
The old that is strong does not wither, 
Deep roots are not reached by the frost.”

JRR Tolkien

A Franciscan goes to a barber for a Haircut. The barber tells him he loves Franciscans and especially their vow of poverty and their commitment to peace.  He tells him the haircut is free. The following morning the barber arrives at his shop to find a basket of flowers and a copy of St.Francis prayer celebrating Brother Sun and Sister Moon.

Later that day a Trappist monk comes to the barber for a Haircut. The barber tells him he loves Trappists and especially their love of silence and prayer. He tells him the haircut is free. The following morning the barber arrives at his shop to find a basket containing bread and wine from the monk’s monastery.

On the third day a Jesuit  comes to the barber and asks for a Haircut. The barber tells him he loves the Jesuits especially for their role as educators and Ignatian spirituality. He tells him the haircut is free. The following morning the barber arrives at his shop to find ten more Jesuits.

An angel transports a Franciscan, a Dominican and a Jesuit back in time and they find themselves in the stable at Bethlehem. Meeting St.Joseph and Mary and gazing at the Infant the Franciscan goes into reverie and re-commits himself to the cause of peace; the Dominican is spell bound and promises to redouble his efforts to preach the Word of God. The Jesuit discreetly take St.Joseph to one side, puts his arm around his shoulder, and asks whether he has thought about a Jesuit school for his son’s education.

Quatrain by Dorothy L Sayers:

“As I grow older and older/

And totter towards the tomb/

I find that I care less and less/

Who goes to bed with whom”

 

Bertrand Russell : “But for children there would be no need of any institution concerned with sex. It is through children alone that sexual relations become of importance to society and worthy of being taken cognisance of by a legal institution.”

 

Nothing is real that isn’t local – G.K.Chesterton

If you judge people you don’t have time to love them – Mother Teresa

We should be careful of eachother while there is still time – Philip Larkin

J RR Tolkien: “The board is set, the pieces are now in motion, at last we come to it – the great battle of our age

 

You may either win your peace or buy it: win it, by resistance to evil; buy it, by compromise with evil. – John Ruskin

…to sin by silence when they should protest makes cowards of men. – Abraham Lincoln

There is no now and a life beyond it just eternal life in God. This is what we mean by the communion of saints.

JDWeatherspoon named his pub chain after the teacher who told him he would be one of life’s failures.

St.Francis on his deathbed – “we’re only just starting.”

Rex Mottram in Evelyn Waugh’s Brideshead Revisited remarked of Catholic marriage, “that’s one thing your Church can do,” he said, “put on a good show.” 0put another way – “We hatch, match, and dispatch better than anyone else.

“Success is the ability to go from on e failure to another with no loss of enthusiasm” – Churchill

I shall be telling this with a sigh, Somewhere ages and ages hence: Two roads diverged in a wood, and I – I took the one less travelled by, And that has made all the difference.” Robert Frost

 Knowing God is more important than knowing about God – Karl Rahner SJ

 A sad saint is a sad sort of saint – St.Francis de Sales

Joy is the noblest human act – St.Thomas Aquinas

Deep calls to deep -Psalm 42

Seeing God in all things and all people (Damian of Molokai –  caring for those with Hansens Disease).

 

There is some good in the world and it is worth fighting for – Tolkien

 

“Individual lay people, by reason of the knowledge, competence or outstanding ability which they enjoy are permitted and sometimes even obliged to express their opinion on things which concern the good of the Church”  Lumen Gentium 37

Peter preached one sermon and converted 3000 people. We preach 3000 sermons and convert no one.

 Better a wild Catholic than a dead one.

 Samuel Butler characterises those who are determined to quarrel and create factions as “so perverse and opposite as if they worshipped God for spite.”

 “No peace with Rome” is still for some a principle of faith, doctrine and morals.

 Stratford and Leonie Caldecott…

We are witnessing the lengthening shadows of secularisation

 Quality of life comes through slow but gradual improvement and contemplation.

 The baby grows for nine months in darkness. But the slowness is part of the process and we shouldn’t wish it any other way.

 We have little appreciation of how much mayhem has been stored up for our society

 Cultural Catholicism is slow burn – passed from generation to generation, mother to child.

 We need to create islands of faith; oases of truly Christian culture – starting with our families and friends.

  Christian culture will not flourish without a revival of the interior or contemplative life.

 All of human experience is a waltz with the divine.

 Unless we embrace the Divine we will be without issue. Spiritual fecundity is what makes us grown and thrive.

Whosoever chases several hares catches none. He who tries to go everywhere will get nowhere (Campion).


The man who does not read good books has no advantage over the man who can’t read them.  ~Mark Twain

   All those in favour of abortion have already been born – Ronald Reagan

 

John XXIII (at the time of the Second Vatican Council) – “We do not intend to conduct a trial of the past. We do not want to prove who was wrong. All we want to say is: let us come together. Let us make an end to our divisions.”

 

St.Thomas More: “We may not expect to go to heaven in feather beds. It is not the way. Our Lord went thither through much pain and tribulation. May we his servants, expect more than our Master?”

 

Jean Monet (1953): “We must keep down the number of bureaucrats. Otherwise they will turn it into an organisation dedicated to rules and regulations crushing the dynamics of enterprise. That in turn will make it anti-American. And Europe must be in partnership with the United States to form a global system for freedom and trade.”

The army of Israel looked at Goliath through the eyes of man and said he’s too big to beat.  David looked at him through the eyes of God and said he’s too big to miss.

 

Churchill described appeasement as feeding a crocodile, hoping it chooses to eat you last. If humans learned anything from the 20th century, it should have been that if you keep averting your eyes to genocide elsewhere, eventually you will have to fight to save your own neighbourhood, and you will do so at enormous cost.


Cry, the beloved country, for the unborn child that is the inheritor of our fear. Let him not love the earth too deeply… For fear will rob him of all if he gives too much.
Alan Paton

Pascal – most of the evils in life arise “from man’s being unable to sit still in a room”

 It’s absurd rubbish to suggest that a broken society will be healed if and on ly when the State withdraws from people’s lives.

 It’s easy and cheap rhetoric to characterise the UK as nothing more than a health-andIsafety obsessed police state.

 Burke believed that “people should be left to their own devices because manners are more important than laws.” But take that to its logical conclusion and we would abandon all legislation.

 

Bl. Mother Teresa of Calcutta:

Life is an opportunity, benefit from it.

Life is beauty, admire it.

Life is a dream, realize it.

Life is a challenge, meet it.

Life is a duty, complete it.

Life is a game, play it.

Life is a promise, fulfil it.

Life is sorrow, overcome it.

Life is a song, sing it.

Life is a struggle, accept it.

Life is a tragedy, confront it.

Life is an adventure, dare it.  

Life is luck, make it.

Life is too precious, do not destroy it.

Life is life, fight for it.       

There is a lovely story about a student in the late nineteenth century who gets on a train and sits opposite an old man in his carriage. After a while the old man takes out his rosary and begins to recite his prayers. The student, rather full of himself, feels obliged to correct the old man and explains that science has now disproved all that religious nonsense. The man expresses surprise so the student offers to give him the names of some books to read. The old man gives him his card so that he can write on that. After scribbling down a couple of names the student turns the card round to reveal the name Louis Pasteur.

What behemoth,  what monstrosity, is waiting for us, ready to spring?

 Social justice is not so much a law that orders distribution.  Seen from a Christian perspective, it is an internal attitude like that of Christ, who being wealthy, became poor to share his love with the poor.  I hope that this call of the church doesn’t further harden the hearts of the Oligarchs, rather that it moves them to conversion.  Share what you are and what you have.  Don’t continue to silence through violence those who are extending this invitation to you; much less, continue killing those of us who are trying to see to it that there is a more just distribution of power and of the wealth of our country.  And I say this in first person because this week I got a warning that I am on the list of those to be eliminated next week.  But, let it be known that it is no longer possible to kill the voice of justice. 

 Oscar Romero spoke these words on 24th February 1980.  He was shot on 24th March 1980, one month later.  However, his voice of justice lives on.

John Buchan:

It was from the _Pilgrim’s Progress_ that I read next morning, when in the lee of an apple-orchard Mary and Blenkiron and I stood in the soft spring rain beside his grave. And what I read was the tale in the end not of Mr Standfast, whom he had singled out for his counterpart, but of Mr Valiant-for-Truth whom he had not hoped to emulate. I set down the words as a salute and a farewell:

_Then said he, ‘I am going to my Father’s; and though with great difficulty I am got hither, yet now I do not repent me of all the trouble I have been at to arrive where I am. My sword I give to him that shall succeed me in my pilgrimage, and my courage and skill to him that can get it. My marks and scars I carry with me, to be a witness for me that I have fought His battles who now will be my rewarder._’

 

_So he passed over, and all the trumpets sounded for him on the other side._

 

 Chesterton saw no contradiction between a pint, a pipe and the cross.

 

All truth passes through three stages. First it is ridiculed. Secondly, it is violently

opposed. Third it is accepted as self evident.

Arthur Schopenhauer

But the Thousandth man will stand your friend, With the whole round world agin you.” Kipling

it would make St. Patrick’s driving the snakes out of Ireland look like a lame circus trick in comparison.

“As Kingfishers Catch Fire, Dragonflies Draw Flame” 

by Gerard Manley Hopkins (1844-89) – “The just man justices”  Gerard Manley Hopkins.

   AS kingfishers catch fire, dragonflies dráw fláme;

 As tumbled over rim in roundy wells

 Stones ring; like each tucked string tells, each hung bell’s

 Bow swung finds tongue to fling out broad its name;

 Each mortal thing does one thing and the same:

 Deals out that being indoors each one dwells;

 Selves—goes itself; myself it speaks and spells,

 Crying Whát I do is me: for that I came.

 Í say móre: the just man justices;

 Kéeps gráce: thát keeps all his goings graces;

 Acts in God’s eye what in God’s eye he is—

 Chríst—for Christ plays in ten thousand places,

 Lovely in limbs, and lovely in eyes not his

 To the Father through the features of men’s faces.

 
 

This story shall the good man teach his son;

    And Crispin Crispian shall ne’er go by,
    From this day to the ending of the world,
    But we in it shall be remembered-
    We few, we happy few, we band of brothers;
    For he to-day that sheds his blood with me
    Shall be my brother; be he ne’er so vile,
    This day shall gentle his condition;
    And gentlemen in England now-a-bed
    Shall think themselves accurs’d they were not here,
    And hold their manhoods cheap whiles any speaks
    That fought with us upon Saint Crispin’s day.

 

 

The Jewish sage Hillel said: “If I am not for myself, who will be? But if I am only for myself, what am I?”.

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Ronald Reagan told the story of a candidate who went up to the first voter he saw sitting on a bench, who asked him what he would do if elected about a flock of geese that roamed the park. The candidate replied that he would ensure that they were preserved unharmed.  “You’ve lost my vote”, the man said. “I can’t stand these geese and the mess and noise they make”.

The candidate moved to another bench and was asked the same question. Determined not to make the same mistake he replied “I would get rid of these darned geese straight away”.  The voter was outraged. “You’ve lost my vote”, he said. “These geese are a national treasure, and I come here especially every day to look at them”.

On moved the candidate, and the very next voter he met asked him the inevitable question about the geese.

This time the candidate put his arm around the voter’s shoulders and replied: “Brother, on the question of geese, I’m with you.”

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Ronald Reagan was told by his staff to get out on the campaign trail at some ungodly hour in the morning.

“Governor”, his Chief of Staff said to him “you better get used to it. When you’re President, that fellow from the National Security Council will be there to brief you at seven thirty every morning’”.

After a pause Reagan said “Well, he’s going to have a helluva long wait”.

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Ronald Reagan, standing  on the beaches of Normandy on the Anniversary of D-Day, his diary records that he fought back tears as he spoke. Among his listeners were some of the Rangers who had stormed the cliffs of France in the face of intense enemy fire 40 years before, when the future of Britain and of Europe hung in the balance.

The President said “behind me is a memorial that symbolizes the Ranger daggers that were thrust into the top of these cliffs. And before me are the men who put them there. These are the boys of Pointe du Hoc. These are the men who took the cliffs. These are the champions who helped free a continent. And these are the heroes who helped end a war”.

“You were young the day you took these cliffs; some of you were hardly more than boys, with the deepest joys of life before you. Yet you risked everything here. Why, why did you do it? What impelled you to put aside the instinct for self-preservation and risk your lives to take these cliffs? What inspired all the men of the armies that met here? We look at you, and somehow we know the answer….it was the deep knowledge – and pray God we have not lost it – that there is a profound moral difference between the use of force for liberation and the use of force for conquest”.

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 Ronald Reagan: “no arsenal or no weapon in the arsenals of the world is so formidable as the will and courage of free men and women.”

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Like a Jacobean tragedy it is impossible to predict it is impossible to predict how many bodies will lie scattered across the stage when the. Drama reaches its climax.

 The old fool Claudius says in Hamlet; “when sorrows come, they come not single spies but in battalions.”

It seems to me as clear as daylight that abortion would be a crime.”  Gandhi

Marie Stopes protested against societies that “allow the diseased, the racially negligent, the careless, the feeble-minded, the very lowest and worst members of the community to produce innumerable tens of thousands  of warped and inferior infants.” 

 Her beliefs were echoed by Margaret Sanger, the most celebrated champion of the euphemistically titled “reproductive rights movement” and founder of Planned Parenthood. She insisted that   

 

“…There is only one cure for poverty and ignorance, and that is to stop breeding these things. Stop bringing to birth children whose inheritance cannot be one of health or intelligence”

 

 We should remember the words of William Wilberforce when he introduced legislation to end the slave trade: “We can no longer plead ignorance. We cannot turn aside.”

  Where law ends, tyranny begins. William Pitt, January 9th 1770

 Losing our identity is like the fable, the childhood fairy tale of the boy who lost his shadow – no moorings, no point of reference any longer. Like the boy, we know we have lost something integral that makes us less the peron that we were intended to be.

Some politicians are like the finger dancers of Sri Lanka, street children turned pick pockets who can remove your wallet without you even knowing

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“People who say it cannot be done should not interrupt those who are doing it.” — George Bernard Shaw

Whose lintel is over the door? “By their love for one another you will know that they are my disciples.

 Goethe on his deathbed ‘mehr Licht’ – more light.

  Satis babisti, satis ludisti tempus est abare – the drinking is over, the playing is over, it’s time to go.



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