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About Simon Barrow

Articles by Simon Barrow

This week’s front page editor

Rosemary Bechler

Rosemary Bechler is the mainsite editor of openDemocracy.

Constitutional conventions: best practice

Beyond Synod: Church and state need to be set free

The recent Church of England vote against women bishops underlines the urgent need to keep religion independent of the state. 

From welfare to warfare

This week, the Lords battles it out with the government over the fate of Britain's benefits system. Faced with a small army including bishops, Lib Dems and enraged disability campaigners, their tactics are getting tougher and dirtier.

NHS: Lansley promises to upgrade the self-communicating of his reforms

Sorry, I'll try and be clearer about.... my NHS reforms

Changing the agenda on faith schools

Simon Barrow (London, Ekklesia): For a number of years now the media has both witnessed and rehearsed a ‘debate’ about publicly funded faith schools in which two narratives pass each other in the night and important issues get lost in the shadows.

On the one hand, some say that religious schools are divisive, sectarian and biased, hijacking what should be the secular enterprise of education to perpetuate religion at the taxpayer’s expense. Others retort that faith schools are part of a rich diversity of provision, support community cohesion, give affirmation to minority communities and promote tolerance.

When Jerusalem turns to Little England

Simon Barrow (London, Ekklesia): Mention the word ‘Jerusalem’ in your local high street and the chances are that the first thing to come to mind will not be a city tragically divided between three faith and two peoples, but Blake’s famous hymn – associated, through many mutations, with the left’s dream of a new society and the right’s assumptions about ‘quintessential Englishness’.

Whose welfare, what provision?

Simon Barrow (London, Ekklesia): The new report commissioned by the Church of England on faith groups, government and social welfare, Moral, But No Compass, has been portrayed in sections of the media as a whining ecclesiastical broadside against Gordon Brown and a plea for special treatment from an Established Church fearful of decline and loss of influence. It’s actually rather more interesting than that, raising a host of thorny questions about how public services are shaped, to what ends, and in partnership with whom.

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