What I (Dick Rodgers) am about and my cv.
I have been a Christian since my childhood in my parents loving home. I am a member of the Church of England and ordained to its ministry although not responsible for a parish. I have been a full time salaried clergyman fora total of four years in the past and hold the Bishop of Birmingham’s kind permission to officiate in his diocese.
I am a medical doctor (graduated at St Bartholomew’s Hospital London in 1970 and a Fellow of the Royal College of Surgeons of England since 1982) with some specialisation in children’s orthopaedics, but not a consultant. I was a doctor first before being ordained in 1977 following training at St John’s College Nottingham.
Two campaigning efforts: Russia and Sudan.
I spent 1985-1989 working full time in a voluntary capacity campaigning independently for the release of Russian poetess Irina Ratushinskaya and other Christian people in Russia who were incarcerated in prisons, labour camps and prison psychiatric hospitals for activities inspired by their faith. To campaign for Irina’s release, I shut myself up in a replica prison cell at St Martin’s in the Bull Ring Birmingham for the 46 days of Lent 1986 on something like prison rations and a single blanket and with my head shaved as hers was. She was released some months later and she and her husband came to live in London. I did a similar “vigil” for Vasili Shipilov at St Martin’s in the Fields in London’s Trafalgar Square in 1988. I travelled to majors capitals to lobby governments for their release and then that of others, one by one, and in 1989 took one of Glasnost’s first printing machines to a former prisoner for use in producing a samizdat underground journal. It saw continued action a couple of years later when it was used to print leaflets urging troops surrounding the Russian Parliament to hold fire and allow the nation to emerge into an era of (imperfect) democracy.
In 1993-7 I worked for an end to the civil war in Sudan between the government and the rebels in the south. I travelled repeatedly to Khartoum (staying in a hotel that charged £3.50 per night!) to try to persuade the government to make peace by allowing the southern population a truly fair referendum on whether to separate from the north. I also travelled in the bush in southern Sudan to visit rebel leaders (including Dr Riek Machar and the late Dr John Garang) there and in Nairobi on several occasions. I am happy to say that despite the end of my work on this issue in 1997 progress was made and South Sudan emerged as the world’s newest independent nation on 9th July 2011.
Happily, both these campaigns reached a successful conclusion.
The Common Good party 2004. Roy and Nancy Hughes and I founded this party. They are valued long-standing friends. I have stood for election seven times: European election in the West Midlands in 2004, General Elections of 2005 and 2009 in Birmingham Northfield, once for Birmingham City Council and by-elections in Hartlepool, Dunfermline and Henley on Thames.
I campaign hard by making myself visible in the street and by knocking on doors but without a team to support me locally it has proved hard to gain much support. Often around 100 to 500 people vote for me. The high point was the European Election when 8,650 voted for me but that figure is from a much larger constituency.
I have campaigned on a lot of issues in the meantime. I have taken up the cases of people in various countries unjustly under sentence of death. I have tried and failed to persuade Birmingham City Council to build a stretch of the A38 in Selly Oak as a dual carriageway but it was built – and has recently been opened – as a single carriageway. It is not yet clear whether they or I were right as the full scheme has not yet been put into effect.
I have promoted Armed Forces Day in Birmingham and public appreciation of the armed forces for their work on our behalf. I have established a way for members of the public to send “Thank You Cards” to troops about to deploy to Afghanistan. Indications are that this is avoids overloading the military postal system since the cards are sent within the UK/Germany and that they are much appreciated. I would be glad to see Christians and other citizens take more to heart the exceptional courage and spirit of our armed forces both to express thanks to them and to uphold their admirable spirit as an example to the nation as a whole.
Light relief: our (rainy) holiday June 2011 on Bodensee southern Germany.
The fountain in the square at St Bartholomew’s Hospital London where I trained as a doctor.
Here I am collecting a petition against the sale of Dover Harbour as far afield as the marketplace in Dudley W Midlands. The people of Dudley understand how important Dover Harbour is to the nation. It isn’t only the people of Dover who do! But government is still thinking about selling the port.
Richard the Lionheart (another Richard) in front of the Palace of Westminster.