Peter Rhodes on our huge Parliament, the return of the hum and the loss of a turbulent priest

One of the Church of England's most intriguing bishops, Dr Michael Nazir-Ali, has resigned and joined the Catholic church. He explains that there is “a lack of teaching authority” in the Anglican church with “everyone doing what they want to do.” His resignation was covered in depth by the Daily Telegraph which informed us that “the fundamental questions” facing the Church of England today are gender, sexuality and the purpose of the parish church. Which pretty much makes the bishop's case.

Dr Michael Nazir-Ali
Dr Michael Nazir-Ali

Nazir-Ali is an expert on Islam and is a great asset in a changing world. However, having been branded a conservative on church matters he will not be missed by the modernisers who now control the Church and under whose care membership has halved in the past 20 years. As a wicked old atheist, I couldn't possibly comment on the theology of all this. Yet it seems that, with this resignation of a single priest, Catholicism becomes a more interesting institution and the CofE gets less interesting.

The murder of Sir David Amess raises once again the problem of providing security for politicians. It also reminds us that, with 650 MPs and 788 sitting peers, the Houses of Parliament make up the second biggest legislature in the world, after that of the People's Republic of China. If we had half as many politicians, the security solution would be half the size. And if we scrapped the House of Lords altogether? We can but dream.

Education officials were reportedly “left red-faced” when a video promoting an institute of technology in Dudley introduced the college principal as the “principle.” I was more surprised at the text that followed on screen: “If you look around our Institute of Technology, it's not got classrooms.” That rumbling noise is Shakespeare spinning in his grave.

Hist! Another rumbling noise. The hum returns. Welcome, old friend. When I entered journalism many years ago, a persistent low-frequency hum was being reported in places all over the world. And the funny thing was that the more we reported the hum, the more hums appeared. For us hacks, it was the gift that kept on giving.

And now the hum is back, reported from the Yorkshire village of Holmfield. Once again there are lots of theories (seismic movement, heating systems, et cetera) but no explanation. And I bet, if you try hard enough, you can hear it, too...

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