It’s been a week of great and momentous and tragic events in the World. The appalling attack (by Daesh, we presume), on a Mosque of the wrong brand of Islam, and the murder of 305 wholly innocent people as they went about their prayers is an atrocity in itself, and may well have long-lasting consequences for efforts to find some kind of peace across the whole region. We may have celebrated the end of the Caliphate in Raqqa and Mosul a little prematurely.
The end of the dictator Mugabe in Zimbabwe should, we all hope, signal a new start for that great country. It used to be known as the bread basket of southern Africa, and was a prosperous and well run country. It is barely recognisable now. A stable and prosperous Zimbabwe would have greatly beneficial effects on the neighbouring countries, and potentially all of sub-Saharan Africa. We can but hope that the new President has the will and the power to start to turn the country around.
In Europe, Mutti Merkel is holding on by her finger-tips. I have thought for a while that she would be gone by Christmas with huge destabilising consequences for Germany and the EU. Brexit trundles along meanwhile, with the hope that we may soon start trade talks, albeit perhaps with a heavy price tag attached to them.
At home, Spreadsheet Phil seems to have survived the Budget, largely by making it pretty boring, with the sole exception of the stamp duty tax exemption for first time buyers. Steady as she goes.
Amidst all of that, you would have thought that my post-bag would be brimming over with views on any and all of those great matters each of which has the significant potential to affect our everyday lives as well as the prosperity and peace of the Globe for generations to come.
But no. My post-bag has been stuffed to the gunwales with letters about animals- mainly whether or not one of the Brexit Bill votes last week may have downgraded our concern for animals as sentient beings, on which I received many hundreds of letters, each of which will be replied to. Meaning no disrespect to the very concerned people who wrote to me, I hope that I am able to assuage their concerns. The amendment proposed, which was anyhow flawed in its drafting, was designed specifically so that Labour could claim that we Tories were uncaring about animals. The social media and 38 degrees storm which followed was a carefully planned scam to try to discredit we Tories.
The reality is that our standards of animal welfare in the UK are higher than anywhere in Europe, and across the Globe. Of course we recognise that animals are sentient beings, and having now lost two of mine within a week, I need no lectures about animals having minds and hearts. But all of that, plus a whole lot more, is now and has for many years been written into UK law. We had no need of a bogus amendment to the Brexit Bill to pretend to be forcing us to do something which we already exceed.
We really must try to focus our attentions to the great and important events which are happening around the world, and beware of silly political scams like the sentient animals one. Let us raise our gaze just a little.