The stories from Iraq are getting worse. There is news of massacres and threatened massacres, reported deaths and abductions, the sufferings of Yazidis, Christians and the many Muslims who reject the message of ISIS. It makes me sad and angry in equal measure.
The recall of Parliament during a recess is a signifier that grave matters are afoot. As the debating forum of a democracy, it does more than make decisions – it expresses itself in full view of the electorate it is there to represent.
Every day the gap between real life experience of the economy, and the version of events offered by the government and mainstream media, seems to get wider. It is surely only a matter of time before somebody tells us we have never had it so good.
The 2014 Commonwealth Games brought moments of sporting glory, and a grand finale with Lulu, Kylie Minogue and Deacon Blue, to Glasgow. It also brought protests exposing the gap between Commonwealth ideals and reality in many member countries.
Last week, the Prime Minister and First Lord of the Treasury did something which should cause us concern, wherever our political allegiances may lie. I give David Cameron his full title in order to place firmly in the frame the constitutional duties and responsibilities of the head of government in a democratic state.
‘It looks as if the end could be very near.’ This was the emotional response of Canon Andrew White, the Vicar of Baghdad this morning, when asked about the prospects for Christianity in Iraq. He was at pains to stress that Christians and Muslims in Iraq have lived and worked together peacefully for centuries: it is terrorism, not Islam that is the problem.
“Make your mind up”. “You're sitting on the fence”. The culture tends to rebuke us for uncertainty. We are supposed to know where we stand, particularly on important moral issues. But to admit that one is still on a journey and that the destination is as yet over the horizon can be difficult.