Top Ten Christian Blogs

The Staggers presents its list of top ten Christian blogs from around the world.

To herald the news that Rowan Williams, Archbishop of Canterbury, guest edited this week's New Statesman magazine, The Staggers has compiled a list of the top Christian blogs from around the world that offer commentary, advice and analysis about Christianity.

And they are:

1. The Church Mouse Blog - The Church mouse sees and hears all, but being a mouse, he can't speak. So he blogs.

2. What Does The Prayer Really Say? - Blog of U.S cleric Fr. John Zuhlsdorf.

3. The Hermeneutic of Continuity - Personal blog of Fr. Tim Finnigan, Catholic priest of the Archdiocese of Southwark.

4. The Twurch of England - Twitter aggregate of the Church of England.

5. The Gospel Coalition - fellowship of US evangelical Churches.

6. The Resurgence - US based website seeking to popularise the Christian religion.

7. Archbishop Cranmer - Right-wing blogger pontificates on moral matters.

8. Desiring God - Blog of US pastor John Piper.

9. Next Gener.Asian Church - American Asian Christians blogging about culture and religion.

10. Missionary Blogs - A collection of blogs from around the world.

N. B. The list is not exhaustive, but gives a flavour of what sort of online resources are out there for the global Christian community.

Emanuelle Degli Esposti is the editor and founder of The Arab Review, an online journal covering arts and culture in the Arab world. She also works as a freelance journalist specialising in the politics of the Middle East.

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Who is responsible for an austerity violating human rights? Look to New Labour

Labour's record had started to improve under Jeremy Corbyn and John McDonnell. 

The UN has made it clear the Government’s austerity programme breaches human rights. This is not because of spending cuts - it is because because those spending cuts target women and disadvantaged groups, particularly disabled people and asylum seekers.

The degree of injustice is staggering. The Coalition Government used a combination of tax increases and benefit cuts to reduce the net income of the poorest tenth of families by 9 per cent. The cuts faced by disabled people are even more extreme. For instance, more than half a million people have lost social care in England (a cut of over 30 per cent). Asylum seekers are now deprived of basic services.

The injustice is also extremely regional, with the deepest cuts falling on Labour heartlands. Today’s austerity comes after decades of decline and neglect by Westminster. Two places that will be most harmed by the next round of cuts are Blackpool (pictured) and Blackburn. These are also places where Labour saw its voters turn to UKIP in 2015, and where the Leave vote was strong.

Unscrupulous leaders don’t confront real problems, instead they offer people scapegoats. Today’s scapegoats are immigrants, asylum seekers, people from ethnic minorities and disabled people. It takes real courage, the kind of courage the late MP Jo Cox showed, not to appease this prejudice, but to challenge it.

The harm caused by austerity is no surprise to Labour MPs. The Centre for Welfare Reform, and many others, have been publishing reports describing the severity and unfairness of the cuts since 2010. Yet, during the Coalition Government, it felt as if Labour’s desire to appear "responsible" led  Labour to distance itself from disadvantaged groups. This austerity-lite strategy was an electoral disaster.

Even more worrying, many of the policies criticised by the UN were created by New Labour or supported by Labour in opposition. The loathed Work Capability Assessment, which is now linked to an increase in suicides, was first developed under New Labour. Only a minority of Labour MPs voted against many of the Government’s so-called "welfare reforms". 

Recently things appeared to improve. For instance, John McDonnell, always an effective ally of disabled people, had begun to take the Government to task for its attacks on the income’s of disabled people. Not only did the media get interested, but even some Tories started to rebel. This is what moral leadership looks like.

Now it looks like Labour is going to lose the plot again. Certainly, to be electable, Labour needs coherent policies, good communication and a degree of self-discipline. But more than this Labour needs to be worth voting for. Without a clear commitment to justice and the courage to speak out on behalf of those most disadvantaged, then Labour is worthless. Its support will disappear, either to the extreme Right or to parties that are prepared to defend human rights.

Dr Simon Duffy is the director of the Centre for Welfare Reform