• I am not a vicar. I used to be one; but I retired more than five years ago. On Sunday mornings nowadays I sit with my wife on the back pew of our local church, carefully avoiding her sharp right elbow, which is always poised to dig me in the ribs if she thinks I am about to make a comment. Like most of the congregation, I dress casually.
They talked for a couple of hours – about music, film, their interests – then Valente invited her back to his friend’s house. She went, but soon left. “I didn’t want it all to happen that night. I went home and the next day he messaged me inviting me to his house.” A few months later, she says: “Valente said: ‘I never asked you, by the way – do you want to be my girlfriend?’ We were together, but I guess we became official.”
But Jamie Reed, a former Labour MP who quit two years ago to become head of community relations at Sellafield, said: “Our people have been brilliant. They understand Sellafield is changing. The mission is now clean-up.”
More people would trust the agencies if they hadn’t got so much so wrong so recently. In 2009 Moody’s issued a report titled “Investor fears over Greek government liquidity misplaced”; within six months, the country was seeking a bailout. Meanwhile, S&P’s sovereign debt team miscalculated US debt by as much as $2tn when it downgraded America’s credit rating last August. Small wonder the Independent called the team’s then head – the mustachioed, chain-smoking David Beers – “the most powerful man in the world that you’ve never heard of”.
Facebook Twitter Pinterest Doors have been installed in a huge silo filled with nuclear waste Photograph: Michael Lishman/SellafieldIt is an emotional milestone for Thorp’s 450-plus staff, who are facing new, sometimes less prestigious roles, engaged in either winding up the plant or working on decommissioning of the wider site.
The Church of England tradition is one of tremendous flexibility. The discussion at the general synod about the wearing or non-wearing of robes was no big deal. It was simply legalising what has become common practice in the expression of that flexibility.
The site, known to be the most hazardous industrial facility in Europe, dates back to the dawn of the nuclear age. This is where British scientists rushed to develop nuclear weapons during the cold war. The opening here of the world’s first nuclear power station in 1956 was billed as the start of a “new atomic age”.
As the physical vestiges of a fashion industry calendar all but disappeared, I turned to my existing wardrobe as a coping mechanism of sorts. Wearing a long, slinky Vampire’s Wife dress to fry eggs was satisfying. There was something weirdly reassuring about donning a Simone Rocha dress and watching the 5pm briefings. I put my Gucci frilly pink shoes up on the couch in front of re-runs of Line of Duty. If the outside world was becoming a monotony of park walks and fraught trips to Tesco’s, loba negra mobi my stay-at-home attire would be a reminder of an admittedly indulgent life.
But in fashion at large, holding on to the “show must go on” mentality is pervasive. Time will tell whether we see any actual change to how the industry showcases collections, and whether the frenetic pre-pandemic pace will return. Fashion can’t help but to reach for superlatives, excess and spectacle. The key is balancing bombast with a measured sensitivity and awareness.
People still look to the church for relevant and radical challenges to issues of social cohesion, poverty, inequality and justice. At least vestments enable congregations to know and identify who the presiding minister is.
One of the things she likes about Valente, she says, is that “he just gets up and goes. If Valente says he’s going to do something, he does it, usually straight away. He’s really creative and funny. I just feel really comfortable around him, that I can say and do anything. I really feel that I’m myself with him.”
Taking Pips nationwideEarlier this year, I hosted jointly with the University of Northampton a major conference on Pips. I was delighted to announce that we will be establishing a new charitable foundation, Parent Infant Partnership UK – Pip UK for short – which will provide co-funding and practical support to those local authority areas that wish to establish their own early-years service.
Isla got to her school and told her friend about the man she had met. “I felt it was something out of the ordinary. I wasn’t looking for anything. I had just come out of a long relationship, but it just sort of happened.”
It’s not what clergy wear that sets them apart (Surplice to requirement: vicars don’t need robes, says C of E, 11 July), but rather what they say and do, which for many, especially young people, renders the church irrelevant. Beliefs in forms of literal biblical fundamentalism and doctrinal orthodoxy do not resonate with much of contemporary culture. It is unfortunate that the church spends time discussing ecclesiastical millinery and human sexuality over and above those matters that really have effect and consequences upon ways of life and living. These do not have to be named, they are too well known.