Friday, November 29, 2013

CAB continue to help residents of London and another shed break-in

I recently attended a West London Citizen's Advice Bureau (CAB)  Annual General Meeting and was reminded of the challenges facing many people in our population.
The meeting was held in a local library which is now managed by the CAB as a library-come- advice centre, this has the twin advantages of keeping a library in the community and providing a centre where residents can receive impartial and free help and advice.
CAB takes over library 
Although many ministers within the coalition government and the current Bank of England Governor   have trumpeted the return to growth within the UK economy we are from being at the end of the 'cuts'/'reforms' (choose your preferred characterisation), these will I fear hit London disproportionately with it's shortage of affordable housing.
Many might consider that reform is overdue but there are many who are less able and resilient who need to be helped as the social support environment changes.
Of late issues that the CAB have highlighted such as Energy poverty and Pay day loans have been reassessed - expect early warnings from the CAB to continue to influence the UK government of the day.

Shed break in (again)

I don't know it it's connected ..
But sad to report I've again had stuff pilfered from my allotment shed this time a clock and camping stove, it's curious why some things left and other things taken but it is sad and irritating - this published item suggests locking the shed can make life and shed damage worse?

Spotify worth Billions?

On a 'techie' type note I've seen in the last few days that Spotify has been valued at $4 Billion here's an article about it - if the valuation is true it is astounding.

Thursday, November 28, 2013

VLV conference and appeal.

The line up for this years 30th anniversary Voice of the Listener and Viewer was impressive to say the least, had the founder Jocelyn Haye CBE been able to attend she'd have seen it as another example of 'kicking above their weight'.
The conference was held at the charming Geological Society in Burlington House W1.
As well as erudite figures from the press (Poly Toynbee and Richard Brooks) Media commentators like Torin Douglas and Raymond Snoddy these was the academic Prof. Steven Barnett and industry figures Steve Morrison (formerly head honcho at Granada) and Lorraine Heggessey whose CV includes the role of head of BBC 1 TV.

Venue for this years conference
Stand-out figures though were  Tony Hall the new-ish BBC DG and Peter Bazalgette (chair Arts Council) , both very impressive- I've seen most of the BBC DGs speak over the last 30 years or so and reckon Lord Hall will prove to be one of the more worthwhile holders of the post, rather patrician in style but measured and direct in response to most of the questions he fielded.  Peter Bazalgette  is a bright cookie and recognises just because we like something in the past does not mean that we can recreate it.

Here's Tony (Lord) Hall's speech and some commentary on Sir Peter's critique of the hirsute Bragg.  

Regarding BBC there does seem to be some concern of political posturing amongst the ideologues of the right who wish to emasculate the BBC (election looming) but this is something we've seen before Chris Patten, remember him  now chair of BBC Trust in an earlier life as Conservative Party Chair  he said ''Phone them, write to them, above all phone them on the spot - if necessary, jam the switchboards.') 
Also it was slightly amusing seeing Tony Hall's refusal to provide conjecture on the effects of an independent Scotland on the BBC.
Also it was slightly amusing seeing Tony Hall's refusal to provide conjecture on the effects of an independent Scotland on the BBC.
VLV does great lobbying for the shared cultural space that is Public service broadcasting if that's your bag do support their 30th anniversary appeal 

Wednesday, November 27, 2013

Visiting the Lords and 4oD is added to Now TV Box

Iconic London landscape
On Tuesday at the invitation of my Brother (Lord Bourne of Aberystwyth)  I visited the House of Lords once more and had a delightful Lunch.
It was as usual very busy around the Palace of Westminster with tourists both UK and overseas taking photo's and admiring the chocolate box appearance of the architecture.
What I learnt this time was how professional the business of the Lords is and that it is a commitment which entails hard work and (of course) political lobbying.

NOW TV now has 4oD

Here's the e-mail I got today from those nice people at NOW TV...

All the 4oD stuff added
From today, the 4oD app is available for you to install onto your NOW TV box. You just need to go into the Roku channel store, to the New section and add the 4oD app to your homepage. Then you can watch the best of Channel 4 on demand.

I'm not sure if the addition of 4oD to the £10 NOW TV box is a further encroachment on the YouView proposition but as it's very easy to install and works just fine I won't be complaining - if you've got broadband and your current TV aset up does not support on-demand why not go for it?

Tuesday, November 26, 2013

Part 2 of "A History of The Beatles Through Their Music" and New Channel 292 on Sky (

What has struck me at week two of the CityLit course about the Beatles is the work rate of 'the boys', it is astonishing how much they did in around 8 years of making recordings and writing music.
If you reflect on the fact that McCartney's 'New' is his first album of new work (ignoring the self penned numbers on Kisses on the Bottom) for around six years at the height of Beatle-mania as well as touring, and making films the Beatles regularly put together two albums a year that's apart from side projects like John's books.
The accomplishments are clear when listening to the music develop, from the work of Paul with the use of Bass chords on All I've Got To Do to the walking bass of  All My Loving to the Carl Perkin's flavoured guitar work that George contributes to the same track.

While playing in Paris in 1964  in the space of around 3 weeks they pretty much wrote the album A Hard Day's Night the first of their albums to be totally self penned - the first side being the soundtrack to their first film.
What was also interesting is how the Beatles drew in outside influences, in artistic terms Bob Dylan was hugely influential and tracks like You've got to hide your love away owe a great deal to his  lyrical influence
Our course leader David Harrison brought to our attention that there had been a cultural phenomenon with some parallels to Beatle-mania in the dedicated following of Franz Liszt in the mid 19th Century.

It was interesting to hear how David Harrison met Paul McCartney at a music store in London's Rathbone Place and Paul was able to fill in some details that David needed for a book he was working on and to hear of another of the course members talking about Paul playing at a George Harrison tribute in Liverpool.
John not so happy

What this course is providing as well as a chance to analyse why I like the music of the Beatles so much  is a space to reflect on the cultural changes that happened at the time of as well as a result of the Beatles and an opportunity to get more pleasure from revisiting the albums and learning more of the scale of the endeavour (as Leonard Cohen might say).
This week's session finished with a troubled looking John playing in the US Shea Stadium - more undoubtedly next week.

What we need -another channel.

New TV Channel 292

On my journey into town I saw (from the Evening Standard) that there's a new TV channel on Sky, not surprising but this one sounds like something I've been expecting for some time in that it uses the profusion of perhaps come to Freesat too (it's not subscription)?
broadband for contribution, it's called and it might be a sign of other social-ish channels
Will have thoughts to share when I've seen it!

Sunday, November 24, 2013

Raised bed, La Rueda and Can Religion Answer the Big Questions?

Raising the bed
Bit weedy looking Asparagus
Yesterday I spent some time manoeuvring the railways sleepers into what will be the raised Strawberry bed - plan is to add a section for Asparagus at the end.
Asparagus is growing but still looks a bit weedy my hope is that using a bed will enable me to adjust the 'balance'.

 La Rueda -Bond Street Ealing

Soon to be Maggie's
What was until; fairly recently Williams restaurant in Bond Street has been re-branded as  La Rueda and has undergone (a slight) Spanish makeover, last night we visited to try their Tapas sub menu.
I don't know if the arrival of Galaxy Grill   across the or or the demise of the long running La Siesta  (which was close to Nando's also in Bond Street) is what has spurred on the owners to change it's style.
Overall the feeling was a bit underwhelming the food was okay but not in the league of Domingo's and we felt that the menu deal on Tapas should have included the glass of Prosecco on the menu (told it was weekdays only).
Atmosphere was not electric and there are so many eateries around which will soon include around the corner from La Rueda Maggie's (not sure about the name) formerly Pizza Hut that it might need to sort itself out.

Can religion answer the big questions?

A few days ago I heard the door bell go and who should it be? It was two of those people from the church of the latter day saints (often known as the Mormons), they left me a leaflet and spoke about the unusual shape of Ginkgo leaves  that were falling from a nearby tree.
I (and I think they) avoided any real discussion of their particular take on the bible and their expectation that 144,000 of the followers of this variety of what some say is Christianity will go to heaven. (Actually the Mormons think this will be on earth).
Like some of the more pessimistic environmentalists followers of the Church of the latter day saints believe that the earth is sliding towards Armageddon - on past visits the line has been (to paraphrase) 'Don't you think things are in a bad way?'
Well in many ways things are not going in a bad way mortality is improving, standards of education around the world continue to provide better lives to the next generation.
So why does this (and several other) religions choose to deliver an analysis of doom, does this tell us more about the life and condition of the individual than a supposedly greater 'spirit'?
Now I'm not really a seeker in terms of a religion but picked up a book in my local library that would help me understand some of the subtleties of different world religions - it's called The Religions Book and I've already found out a bit about the difference between the main branches of Islam Shia and Sunni those being  (like the Christian faiths the tension between different interpretations of the same faith can greater than those with other faiths).
It might not answer all my queries but will at least help me deal with anyone knocking on the front door.

Friday, November 22, 2013

Co-Op crisis for Labour and the movement (bye-bye from me) plus NOW TV with Plex server

Today after around 30 years of holding a current account with the Co-Op bank I opted to move to the (still mutual) Nationwide, the toxicity of the Co-Op bank should not be underestimated.
Although many have known of the problems the formerly 'ethical' bank has the sting around the Reverend Flowers has brought the matter to the British nation's newspapers front pages.
Unlike the other banks the Co-Op has for those on the left had a whiter than white image until the near disastrous merger with the overstretched Britannia building society, the merger which was a matter of pride at one time to Ed Balls has perhaps shown the limitations of mutuality in banking.
The loss of faith in the Co-Op bank needs to be resolved urgently before the fallout dramatically affects the high street grocer as well as Britain's Labour party where it has acted as a sympathetic backer and banker for many years.
If David Miliband were to listen  to his younger  brother Ed  on Radio 4's Desert Island Discs this Sunday he might be thanking his lucky stars that he's not Labour leader on what to all intents and purposes could be moving to a path of what could be sadly a  route to terminal decline.
Labour (as the Times points out today) will be even more reliant on the Trades Unions without the support of The Co Op bank which was to be backed by merchant bankers, the economy is even if it is despite rather than because of Osborne's policies beginning to improve and there could (almost) be some reflected glory for the Lib Dems at the next election.
I plan to further extricate my financial contacts from the Co-Op (although the story here is that customers are not voting with their feet ) and this is not something I do lightly but the Co-Op bank I joined is not the Co-Op bank that now exists and I should practice what I preach in getting the 'best' deals that I can where I can back the organisations with a clear conscience.

 Plex loading on NOW TV box

Sometime ago I mentioned that I'd not been able to resist the NOW TV Box which Sky was selling for less (just) than £10 - well this week I found a youtube clip which very clearly explained how  I could extend it's use to playing clips held on my PC and (coincidentally) youtube.
The quality and ease of use are great and Plex is easy to load and navigate too.

Here's the clip (well done VGJ Felix).

Thursday, November 21, 2013

Art at Tate Britain and Saatchi

What's the story of these graves?
Yesterday I opted to take the opportunity and free glass of bubbly that the Saatchi kindly offered me on the opening of the 'Body Language' exhibition.
By it's nature the chance to see new works can be a bit of a hit and miss event and I'm sure I will revisit and re-evaluate the works that are on show.
On the way in
The curator gave a short tour and I suppose somewhere there's something of a theme but it's pretty loose (I reckon).
So you may realise that I was less than blown away and was reminded that most of the new is not great for me the works by Henry Taylor had some merit but I found Eddie Martinez's revisiting of the graffiti riff unexceptional (he's no Keith Haring that's for sure) and the naivety of Makiko Kudo was a little overdone.
For me the most enjoyable/intriguing work that I was introduced to was that of the Russian photographer Denis Tarasov - I'm not sure when photograph becomes art (when it's on show in an art gallery I suppose) but this was close to documentary and made me want to know more about the story between the gang warfare that caused so many deaths and so much monumental stone-masonry.

Tate Britain reborn

Now not all new work is technically disappointing, prior to seeing the Body Language show I popped in to Tomma Abts managed to create in her her abstract works (Zebe 2010 being a good example), I also liked Simon Ling's explorations of the real battered architecture of the London I know but wish he hadn't gone down the 'untitled' avenue of not describing his works.
Well Solid
the revamped Tate Britain (I hadn't realised what a great building it is and how oddly it was working recently). The'Painting Now' show is definitely worth a visit I liked the feeling of depth that
Well I'll go to the top of the stairs
But without doubt the revelation for me was the 'trompe l'oeil' of painted works by   Lucy McKenzie, I'm willing to admit that I'm a sucker for technique and tricks when it's performed so well - I only wish that I could get as close to works at Tate as I can at the Saatchi.
Gillian Carnegie was showing some technically strong works too - there was (for a me) a hint of Patrick Caufield in the paintings that had no people in them.
It was good to see that painting is far from dead and that women are playing such a big part in modern painting.

Wednesday, November 20, 2013

A history of the Beatles course starts

Monday evening was an occasion for me to join with like minded folk and Beatles academic lecturer David Harrison to muse on the significance of the Beatles and the cultural phenomenon that they were/are.

What I got from the session was what was around at the time 1962/3 the Beatles emerged nationally  musically and socially. The other factors included the fortune of being managed and produced by Brian Epstein and George Martin respectively.

The Covers continue to reference art

Mid period cover
David is an interesting chap with a background in Jazz and teaching, he pointed out rightly that the group was a repository of much information and also supplemented the talk with excerpts from the Anthology series as well as playing pieces on Ukulele and Electric Piano.
Listening to early tracks the limited musical palette that the 'boys' were working with was apparent but so too was the enthusiasm and vibrancy.
How difficult it is to relive those black & white days that epitomized limited horizons and narrow mindedness, Early Beatles album covers were typical product but soon they reflected the art of the time, working with such artists as Peter Blake and Richard Hamilton- even now McCartney continues to reflect Art in the more limited medium of a CD cover (NEW being an example of a cover influenced by Dan Flavin)

Monday, November 18, 2013

Cutting back on the allotment and taking a few leaks

Artichokes after the trim

Dying for a leak?
Although the growing season is all but finished I have spent some time out in the fresh (ish) air. As well as planting out Garlic which I had started in pots and Broad Beans (likewise) I have been weeding and this weekend cut back Globe Artichokes and Asparagus.  I have also managed to manhandle 2 more railway sleepers from the top pf the plot into the area where I plan to create my raised Strawberry bed.
What still gives me pleasure is the happening upon things that we can eat as well as a couple of carrots I pulled up a turnip and a few (rather weedy looking) Leaks.

Before the cut

Some 'Mulch' added

Sleepers at the ready

Saturday, November 16, 2013

National Gallery visit (again) and free help guy

On Friday as I was in town I decided to pay a quick visit to the National Gallery, outside the gallery in Trafalgar square there are now a number of street performers including this guy who appears to be suspended in space.- I guess there's a construction around the walking stick that supports him but it's a rather good illusion and I'm sure it impresses a lot of children (of all ages).

The National Gallery is amazing and can provide a decent cup of coffee too, I was a little impressed to see how many paintings the Gallery has by Courbet but also disappointed that only one (a still life with apples and a pomegranate  from 1871 that he did this while he was imprisoned) was on show.
Having said that going to look at it I was quite pleased to see 'The Winnower' by
Millet  was on show in the same room 41, this is a painting by an artist much admired by Courbet and one of a series that shows agricultural life in France, I fear rap fans will though be puzzled by Millet's 'Man with a  hoe'

A touch of the American Gothic methinks

I was also quite thrilled by the works of Degas that I saw particularly  Combing the hair and Miss La la at the cirque Fernado which is quite a brilliant representation of a circus high-wire act

Casting an eye around for my next visit I was drawn to a Gainsborough - Mr and Mrs Andrews , some
interesting things about this are the way that he's put the couple to one side - some say so he can paint more of  the countryside (which he likes) as opposed to landed gentry (which he was said to have disliked)
Nice explanation of the painting here
I wonder if the painting is anything of  inspiration of American Gothic as it reminded me of this.

Interesting link on this weeks newsletter from the  always engaging PoW by Jules Evans about the Free help Guy - perhaps a lesson here.

Handsome is as handsome does

Friday, November 15, 2013

The British Library and Paradoxymoron along with Proust

Nice sheep
Today I visited the New (-ish) British Library and well impressive it is, on the a couple of things you're not expecting like the Paolozzi sculpture of Newton  and some George I topiary.

Newton and his dividers
Inside it's even better, I wasn't after anything particular so didn't register and only had a bit of a wander but the free exhibition of treasures was brilliant .
What I like apart from learning about how the Decameron  perhaps led to  the birth of the novel was that the Football rules which form the basis of the modern game were decided in Holborn 150 years ago, also some original Beatles lyrics and a an interesting explanation and time-line of the Magna Carta (which means Great Charter)  (800 year anniversary coming up shortly in 2015).
It was pleasing to say work on the Natural history side of things by Hans Sloane a benefactor of the Chelsea Physic garden I visited a couple of weeks ago.

I also saw the astonishing Paradoxymoron  which has to be physically observed to enjoy it's by Patrick Hughes and is amazing (you can get a taste of it from this youtube).


Now Alain de Botton famously (well almost so) claimed that Proust can change your life and I think we're talking for the better so as BBC Radio 4 Extra is marking the centenary of  In search of Lost Time (or more romantically in it's French form A La recerche du Temps Perdu) with a six part adaptation that finishes on Monday the 18th November ( but the first 5 parts are currently  available on BBC iPlayer) I'm as Marcel wouldn't have said 'filling my boots' and really enjoying it - there's a possibility that I'm going to set myself the challenge of reading the 7 volume set having had a look at Swann's Way today (in Waterstones) it looks very readable.
Marcel gets into 'Mo-vember
Marcel Proust was something of an usual figure and wit in turn of the century (19th) France and I'm a little puzzled at why this series of books is in the fiction section as it appears to be autobiographical (or perhaps it as said  a novel disguised as autobiography).

Tuesday, November 12, 2013

Media battles (BT versus BskyB) and media content (BBC)

The sports right battle that BT 'won' over Sky (Also known as BSkyB) and ITV has got a lot of coverage in the media the early drops in share price of both BSkyB and ITV  is indicative of the jury being out on the value that BT have placed on  the Champions League and Europa League football matches.

Sky have been battling BT hard for the UK broadband business and BT continues to fight widespread  perceptions that it's little more than a 21st century POTS is this the time that the battle is won?

Sky are powering ahead with original content  as well as out-bidding the terrestrials for many o the best US programmes it has also developed the high end Sky Arts channels which features contributions from not only Melvyn (Lord) Bragg but also Frank Skinner.

There's an interesting story here on how BT customers can now access movies from Sky now - the different  distributor- operators are in many ways tied together and the market for pay TV in the UK  as well as competitive is developed and close to saturation.

  Two from BBC iPlayer

Often the vehicles for comedy duos do not work but I've really enjoyed the first two parts of Ambassadors the BBC2 comedy drama about a British consulate in a fictional country modeled on former soviet states such as Uzbekistan. Mitchell and Webb are not cast against type, the production values and script are both accomplished and the under lying ethos with its reverence for the British values is to use the phrase  without irony 'heart warming' . 
The fictional consulate team

There was (for me) a fascinating Imagine about the writer and potter Edmund de Waal last week - I know that Yentob is something of a figure of fun but the series he fronts does fit The Public Service ethos and de Waal did have such a fascinating back story that  I went off and listened to him on Desert Island Discs.
Yentob and his fascinating subject

Sunday, November 10, 2013

Energy Best Deals

Brrr it's turning cold..

The Big Six energy companies operating in the UK are now being daemon-ised in much the same way that the bankers were after the recent economic melt down.

On Friday I was present at an Energy Best Deal presentation learning how the information was made available to interested parties. In my mind there is little doubt that the market is not working to the best advantage of the consumer particularly those who are labeled as bing in fuel poverty.

I personally have been remiss in finding the best deal for our household and I have been presented with detail so have little excuse.

What you need to do to take control of the situation is:

1) Get you most recent annual fuel statement/s  which will show you what energy you have used.

2) Use a legitimate energy comparison site  -the Which one is a good one it is unbiased and non profit making

3) Consider how you can benefit from Government initiatives (like the Green deal) , older people are offered extra help and there are  grants and off-sets which may apply to you.

4) Look at how you can improve your own home's energy efficiency - e.g. use the latest high efficiency LED lighting or add lagging to your hot water tanks.

5) Reduce room temperatures in rooms you don't use so much -see if you can benefit from the modern washing formulas that allow for lower temperature washes in your machine (there seems to be some controversy on this).

6) Consider using energy companies other than the 'Big 6' to help alternative technologies blossom.

If you've other ideas let me know by email.

Saturday, November 09, 2013

Ealing Art Group Exhibition and choosing who you spend time with

Not a building site for too long we hope

Works that reflect the area and the people
Tomorrow is the last day of the Ealing Art Group 98th Annual exhibition of Original Painting & Craft at PM gallery Pitzhanger Manor Mattock Lane Ealing W5 5EQ.

On Friday just before the heavens opened I went along a did a quick tour of what I found to be a very eclectic mixture of works which showed not only talent and skill but also a real passion to create.
 Along with many works that I'd be very happy to have hanging on my walls at home there are a number of  sets of  Christmas cards that are unusual and far superior to those in the run of the mill chain stores.
If you've a mind to join the group as a Full Member  you need to submit  three examples of your work to the Group which is then considered by the committee or if you prefer you can join as an Associate Member.
As I left the Gallery I noted that even Walpole Park is being rebuilt

What struck me today was how important it is to associate with people you can relate to and whose company you  enjoy, far more important to work or socialise with people you like and have empathy with than to strive solely for kudos and material gain - sadly this is not necessarily something that is immediately apparent until you recognise some of the pitfalls from what is to me now such an 'obvious truth' .

Friday, November 08, 2013

Ealing changes, Grayson's final 2013 Reith Lecture and more..

Big hole at the back of the Town Hall
London continues to change and evolve, new buildings over the lat 15 years or so have given a new dynamic to the city allowing great heritage landmarks to stand next to cutting edge architecture, London looks like the world city it undoubtedly is.
Art shop expands

As the change in the epicentre creates a wave of change that moves to the suburbs it is clear to see a lower level more bourgeois set of developments and Ealing as a point on the new Crossrail project is seeing change at a level I've not seen in the 30 odd years that I've been based here.
Hardly Power to the People

Pizza Hut closes after over 200 years

New flats everywhere

What once would have been new office blocks are now residential and Ealing continues its struggle to define itself as a shopping and cultural centre as opposed to being just a place to reside - how to capture anew a vibrant heart for this green and pleasant borough with it's film history remains a challenge.

Lecture 4 from Grayson

Mr and Mrs Perry
So Grayson delivered the final  (part 4) of his Playing to The Gallery lecture series and called “Finding Myself in the Art World” it majored on Grayson' being less of a construct than the previous three it connected with it's audience both those students and Art world inhabitants at the physical location (St Martin's school of Art) and and those listening anonymously on their radios and devices.
Grayson remains somewhat enigmatic a 'blokey' transvestite with the common touch and uncommon depths who wants to communicate his love of art but is second guessed by his own post modern Essex ironic-ism.
Interestingly I'm reading a book by his missus, Philippa called 'How to stay sane' Philippa is undoubtedly from a posher background that her husband, she's a psychotherapist with a fine arts degree who occasionally presents for the BBC's Art shows. Her book (so far) is proving to be an excellent and practical book.
Like Barry from Eggheads (and me) Philippa has trained as a Samaritan listener.

On the plot

Spent a splendid half day on the allotment on Thursday, dug stuff up and planted Garlic, Shallots and Onions and my new reformed behaviour means I've labeled what I've planted.

Garlic and Shallots
Onions red and white?

Tuesday, November 05, 2013

Tax returns, rough sleepers and Frank Skinner on Absolute Radio

For the last 3 or 4 years I have not needed to fill out tax returns, I had forgotten how unpleasant they were and had probably been less sympathetic to the other half when providing her with various records for her to submit to her accountant - unfortunately as is so often the case good things come to an end I find that I am required to submit 3 years tax returns.
So why do I record this here? Well it seems to me that as I hunt for records of Bank interest of 51p for one of the years that the information HMRC (UIK tax people) want  is retained somewhere by the banks, companies charities  and any submission   would likely be more accurate from them, I suppose there is a question of  visibility and agreement around this but tax returns are not fun.
As I'm moaning here's another - again it appears my allotment shed has been the home for someone uninvited again - I do sympathise and  I support and have for a number of years both St Mungo's and St Giles ( charities concerned with homelessness)  although I don't suppose a notice on the shed to this effect would help me.
Frank looking serious
I really enjoy Frank Skinner's Podcast of his Saturday Morning breakfast show - very amusing and listened to this way no adverts.
I submitted an e-mail to the show a couple of weeks back and it was responded to on this week's show a first I think for me.
Franks's a bit of a contradiction (I don't think he's alone in this), a working class reformed alcoholic who remains a Labour supporter. I'm confused by him holding  to his Catholic faith as his views appear liberal and considered.