Raising the retirement age is completely unnecessary

Today is the day the state pension age for women rises to 65, the same as for men. From now on the Government intends to raise the age for both men and women together: to 66 in 2020, 67 in 2026 and 68 in 2039. The Cridland Report so decrees.

Why? Why do we have to work longer and longer before we retire? I am a baby boomer, brought up to believe my generation had the best living conditions ever. Things were going to carry on getting better without limit. New technology was going to mean we could spend less and less time at work. Why is everything is being put into reverse?

Read more ...

Poems for justice part 3

This is the third of three posts about the ancient Hebrew prophet Micah, based on sermons I preached at St Bride's Liverpool.

This one is about what we mean by peace. It focuses on Micah’s vision of everyone sitting under their own vines and fig trees, with no-one making them afraid. It is a vision of peace and satisfaction, the kind of situation people long for when they are in the middle of a war.

Read more ...

The meaning of life in East and West

When I went to hear Harvard Professor Michael Puett’s lecture at the University of Liverpool on ‘Chinese Philosophy and the Meaning of Life’, I had no idea that the strongest values of western culture were about to be turned on their head, but that’s what happened.

I can’t do justice to his case. You’ll have to read his book for that. I’ll settle for describing how it affected me.

Read more ...

Climate change: More hubris won't stop it

John Vaillant’s shocking description of the recent fires in California, hotter than anything seen before, melting everything in urban landscapes, should wake us up to the future awaiting us all if we carry on with our destructive lifestyles.

Now, the latest Report of the Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change demands ‘urgent and unprecedented changes’ by 2030, only 12 years away.

Read more ...

Poems for justice part 2

This is the second of three posts about the ancient Hebrew prophet Micah, based on sermons I preached at St Bride's Liverpool. This one is about the relationship between justice and fairness.

The first describes how Micah lived in a society with conflicting beliefs about justice. So do we. To illustrate the difference, here’s an old story. You may have heard before, but it makes a point.

Read more ...