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Badger’s Easter message



badgerseastereggsHELLO, READERS. Badger begins this week by acknowledging a grave error In last week’s column. In that article. Badger described the IPPG Cabinet as “a gang of time-serving nincompoops.” He apologises: Shelley wrote Ozymandias, not Keats. You know how it is. readers: distracted by the sheer commonplace idiocy of Jamie Adams saying that -change is never popular- (think winning the lottery. bucko!) Badger got his nineteenth century poets confused. Readers of Badger’s past columns will recall that he has. occasionally, expressed views which might lead his readers to suggest that while he appreciates and understands that others are possessed of religious faith. Badger is rather more sceptical. Badger is sceptical about many things: UFO’s. ghosts, the Loch Ness Monster, and conspiracy theories of any stripe.

Simply because some things are on the periphery of understanding does not mean that they cannot or could not be explained. With the caveat that Ken Rowlands clearly defies explanation. Every year. in December. national newspapers of a certain type produce acres of newsprint bewailing the loss of the spirit of Christmas. At some point in such an article painted wooden soldiers. nutcrackers. tangerines and the words “traditional Christmas fayre” appear with startling regularity. Along with an exhortation to say “Hurrah for the Black Shirts!” Easter is different. For an event that should be a celebration. there’s an awful lot of moping around and glumness. One expects on or around religious festivals a given number of (necessarily) pious pronouncements by Church leaders. a reaching for meaning and relevance.

But readers , are you ready for the zillionth showing of The Robe. Quo Vadis. The Greatest Story Ever Told, or Ben Hur as TV networks try to strike the right note of constipated cinemascope solemnity/ When he attended secondary school. Badger remembers one fervently devout teacher espousing the opinion that the television series Jesus of Nazareth, starring Robert Powell. was a blasphemous trivialisation of the message of the Gospels. Even then, Badger remembers thinking that this was a pretty rum position: now. Badger thinks it ignores – providing one believes in an all-knowing and all-powerful God – the likelihood that such a deity would be as much behind the making of television programmes and popular entertainments as he would be behind the oscillations of the stars in the heavens and the existence of the beasts of the field.

And that. for Badger, sitting in his sett and occasionally scratching his head, is at the heart of Badger’s Easter message. If you are inclined to believe in a deity. your faith does not exist in a vacuum. The world changes: faith – does not necessarily change but the context in which one exercises it does. A god – or gods. whatever one believes – did not create an unchanging world. The world might be “without end” but it is not pickled. Change, if one is inclined to believe Jamie Adams (please see above. then take two of the 80mg tablets and go for a lie down), is never popular. Badger could not agree less. Change for the better, whether personal or collective is always popular. It isonly with some people that some change is unpopular. For example the National Health Service is a jewel in the crown of public welfare provision. When it was first proposed it was as unpopular with the BMA as free thought is the County Council’s Cabinet.

The medical profession attended the NilS’s inception in the same way as – according to the Christian bible – Pharisees and Sadducees regarded the person of Jesus. Or as the !PPG greets scrutiny. Badger believes that change is the motor that drives us all forward: a necessary part of living; an essential pan of our growth as human beings. Badger notes that if you are a Christian. your faith is rooted in a radical change in Judaism that your belief tells you took place two millennia ago. While religious faith might he “the assurance of things hoped for, the conviction of things not seen”, scripture is itself endlessly changeable. Politics – both worldly and ecclesiastical – as much as faith were behind the collation of the New Testament in the third and fourth centuries and the finalization of the Old Testament around the same time.

The same considerations underpinned the creed at the heart of the Christian faith. As Badger has noted before: words, even ones supposedly divinely inspired. are slippery and elusive. In such a way, doctrine and dogma change while faith can remain constant. Direction of travel remains the same. even when the highway code changes. And so it is with marriage. There’s been an awful lot of hullabaloo about same sex marriage in the sort of papers that buy into Christianity periodically and selectively. At the same time there has been an outpouring of outrage by those who regard the idea of changing the institution of marriage as a sign of the approaching end of times. Badger’s readers might know that before 1753 there was no statutory law underpinning marriage. The absence of banns or a licence – or even the fact that the marriage was not celebrated in a church – did not render the marriage void.

Then Parliament regularised and regulated marriage by statute. Statutes are drawn up and passed – however one regards George Osborne – by humans. And it is by humans they are changed. Human-made law governs the worldly actions of all of us. We render to Caesar what is Caesar’s. Badger remembers reading that somewhere. Since 1753. it is the law of the land that has governed marriage. And now the law has changed. It has
changed because the: ad has changed and so has society. Put it this way, if the English language had not mutated and evolved we would have no way of describing how we live. We would be like the French: fighting a losing battle against the modern world of le weekend, e-mail. le parking and le budget. And readers, nobody – surely, nobody! – wants to be like the French.

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Marloes pensioner in child abuse images case



A PENSIONER has been bailed to attend Swansea Crown Court by magistrates sitting in Haverfordwest Law Courts this week.

Derek Lister, 72, of Marloes is accused of making indecent photographs of children.

He appeared before the bench, represented by Redkite Solicitors, on Tuesday (Apr 13).

The court heard that between June 2009 and November 2019 in Marloes, Pembrokeshire, Lister allegedly created 3 indecent category A images of a child, 14 indecent category B images of a child and 152 indecent category C images of a child.

He will now appear at Swansea Crown Court on May 11 at 10am for the next hearing after the local court declined jurisdiction.

Lister has pleaded not guilty to all the charges

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Primary school teacher described as ‘touchy-feely’ on day two of trial



A HAVERFORDWEST primary school teacher, accused of sexually assaulting his pupils was “very touchy-feely”, Swansea Crown Court heard on the second day of his trial.

James Oulton, 34, of Haverfordwest would put his hands around students’ waists and touch their bottoms, an ex-female pupil said in a video interview played to Swansea Crown Court.

The defendant denies 30 charges of sexual assault at a primary school in Haverfordwest. The alleged offences took place between 2012 and 2018.

On the opening day of the trial, court heard that Oulton said the case was a “witch-hunt” and that he always behaved appropriately with children.

On Tuesday, the jury watched the video interview with one of Oulton’s former pupils, who said he was a “friendly person, very chatty and sociable and quite outgoing and wanted to know everything that was going on.”

She added: “Mr Oulton often wanted to know a lot of details on what we had done over the weekend, where we had been, and also who they had been with.”

“At the time I just thought he was trying to be really friendly but now when I look back at it now, it does seem odd.”

The witness also described the defendant as a “very touchy-feely teacher”.

She added: “If he was marking your work or if you approached him to ask him a question, he would put his hands around your waist or around your bum”.

“If he was standing by his desk, he would, like, motion to his knee, so he wouldn’t ask you directly to sit on his lap but he would tap his knee.”

Swansea Crown Court heard that the witness eventually came forward and told her parents parents after she heard them speaking about Mr Oulton being suspended from his job.

“Did you feel under pressure to say something had happened to you?” asked Mr Clee.

The witness answered “No”

Oulton, of Richmond Crescent, Haverfordwest, previously told the court he had behaved appropriately.

He also believed letters were sent by Pembrokeshire County Council to parents which encouraged “deliberately false evidence” and collusion between pupils.

The trial continues.

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‘We don’t want it’: councillors object to HGV tanker park plans



PEMBROKE DOCK town councillors have objected strongly to plans to build a HGV tanker park in the town.

The tanker park would be located on the south-western side of Criterion Way, behind the ASDA petrol station.

However, at a meeting of the town council’s Planning Committee on Tuesday, April 13, councillors were in agreement that it would create more problems for the town.

Councillor Jonathan George said: “I’ve noted the public input on this and they don’t seem very happy about where it’s going to be put.

“It is close to a small park area and I don’t think it’s suitable to put this here. I won’t be supporting this.”

Cllr George Manning added: “There are many aspects of this which are totally inappropriate for Pembroke Dock. There are many other sites available but they haven’t looked at any of them.

“This does not do anything for the Future Generations act and it will bring more disruption to the town.

“This does not bring about any improvements to the existing transport infrastructure. There are lots of things about this, we don’t want it. I don’t think they have looked into it in enough detail.”

Cllr Gordon Goff said that the impact it would have on the public and wildlife would be ‘astronomical’.

He went on to say he was not happy with one of the statements in the application and said they ‘don’t want to be blackmailed’.

One of the documents submitted with the application states that if the development was not approved it would mean that the applicants, Certas, ‘will either have to find a different site’ or ‘will have to cease operating in the area’.

Cllr Terry Judkins said that the Port Authority wanted to ‘use Pembroke Dock as a dumping ground’ and added that he could not support it.

Cllr Maureen Colgan added that she was ‘totally against’ the application and said that the area should be kept for leisure and be developed as an area where people can sit and enjoy themselves.

The application is due to be decided by Pembrokeshire County Council at a later date.

Cllr Paul Dowson has already called in the application for it to be debated by the County Council’s Planning Committee.

In his request he states that it is too near habitation, it is within the Pembroke Dock conservation area and that children have been using the area near the bandstand as play area for over 20 years.

The area had also previously been the subject of an application for a marina and other leisure facilities but that investment was written off in 2017.

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