Day: 10/10/2014

World Homeless Day

world homeless day 2014

It has been pointed out to me that, in addition to today being the UN International Day of the Girl, today is also World Homeless Day.

Homelessness is a blight that I have never had to face, and God willing I will never have to. But it is impossible to escape the everyday. I see rough sleepers on the streets of Southend and London, and it is heartbreaking to see.

When I was younger, I volunteered at the coffee bar of my local church in Warrington, and many local homeless would come in for a cup of tea or coffee — free of charge — and someone to talk to. These were people, with stories and lives of their own. I often think of the people I got to know there, and wonder what happened to them.

Here in Southend, the homeless are well served on a number of fronts. The Street Pastors, I know, do excellent work, and Del Thomas is a man with an abundance of compassion, and devoted to his work. I know their work is not always glamorous, but it is invaluable to those who are out on the streets.

We also have charities like the HARP, which does some absolutely fantastic work with those who find themselves homeless. There is always more demand than supply with this sort of help, but this is a local charity doing incredibly important work. If you are looking for a way to help the homeless, I know that donations to HARP are always put to good use.

It is important, as the weather starts to turn cold and we descend into winter, that we remember those who are out on the streets — and that there, but for the grace of God, go any of us.

01 “Monsters Among Us” (American Horror Story: Freak Show) [SPOILERS]

ahs freakshow

I have been looking forward to this. That can hardly be a secret. I am a huge fan of American Horror Story, of all three seasons so far. As a series it is far from perfect, with frequent flaws for me to gripe about, and irritating plot avenues going absolutely nowhere.

But what it does do, what really makes me love it, is that it breaks the mould of the boring, sameish, tired approaches to TV. It has a creative flare, and a will to experiment, which means that even when it doesn’t succeed, I love it for trying.

This season’s theme is Freak Show, which has been sending shivers down my spine for months. I am not terribly keen on clowns. Coulrophobia, wikipedia calls it. Common sense, I call it. Whether it is scary or not, whether it is successful or not, we’re in for some of the best TV going.

Read on…(and mind the spoilers!)

Day of the Girl

day of the girl

And now, as they say, for something serious.

Today is the UN’s International Day of the Girl, an awareness campaign for the plight of girls around the world, whose lives are blighted and potential left unfulfilled by the spectre of gender inequality. Violence against girls and women, even in a “developed” country like Britain, domestic abuse, sexual violence and horrors like female genital mutilation are still demons to be slain.

There is no easy answer, but the solution has to stem from education. Education on sex and relationships, and the fact that violence can never be acceptable in any relationship, for boys and girls is the only way that the cycle can be broken and progress made.

This is an international problem as well as a national issue, and education is a central plank around the world. There are a host of information and statistics each more sobering than the last, and really it ought to galvanise us into action.

This is not a party political issue, but nonetheless I am proud to belong to a party which has committed to real action to fight this evil.