Monday, 13 March 2017
MONDAY MARCH 13th 2017
DAY OF HISTORY
We are on the way out of the EU. Mrs May will trigger Article 50 in the next week or two and so the negotiations will begin nine months after that historic referendum. Nine months: some pregnancy.
And at the same time, Scotland may well vote to split the UK before Brexit happens in 2019 - and this has come as a complete surprise, a reverse elopement. Nicola Sturgeon wants a divorce with the rest of the UK in order to grow a new relationship with Europe.
We live in extraordinary times. We also live in the worst of times.
Sitting on our sofas watching the news, we are confronted with what happens when politics does not work at all. From our political difficulties, our thoughts and minds are pulled away from the plushness of the Houses of Parliament across thousands of arid miles to the drought-hit, war-torn, provinces of South Sudan and Somalia.
These are places where politics by another means - war - is disrupting the lives of millions of people. Three million have fled the warlords in South Sudan, leaving slaughtered family members behind. Many who have made it into Uganda are women and children, courageous women who have left behind the bodies of their slaughtered husbands and sons. Many more millions are besieged in cities and towns in Somalia. Cholera stalks the lands. But simple supplies of clean water and grain are saving lives.
And then, we are taken to the Netherlands, where a nation divided votes in a couple of days time. It has a choice between a poisonous politics of backward-looking hatred and something more hopeful yet somehow with less momentum.
Where is the hope? Where is a sign of another narrative?
A group of young people from 70 nations stood with their flags in front of Buckingham Palace today to signal the start of the Commonwealth Games' torch run across 140,000 miles linking every competing country. Sporting rivalry can bring hope. Young people can show us a better way.