HAYES IN THE HOUSE: By MP John Hayes
Sometimes what we read in the newspapers and watch on the television can seem overwhelming. In recent months we’ve seen the momentous referendum result, shocking acts of terrorism in Europe -culminating in the extraordinary horror of Father Jacques Hamel’s murder in his French church - and violence in America, as well as unprecedented political upheaval in Westminster.
Here in South Holland we endured our own particular local tragedy with the senseless loss of three lives. Such things seem to appear from nowhere – like an earthquake, shaking to the core everything we thought we knew to be true.
Witnessing such a myriad of unpredictable, confusing and sometimes deeply unsettling events it’s difficult not to worry about what they mean for each of us. World affairs –even if they take place on another continent- feel much closer to us than they are, because of round-the-clock TV news and social media.
No one can doubt the significance of these events, but whilst we consider their respective impacts and the changes that they bring, it is wise to pause to reflect upon the durable continuity of communities and society, even in the face of the most traumatic circumstances. For though sudden change is bewildering and it is confusing even trying to keep up with events, most lives simply go on.
Each of us continue with our own plans and routines, taking the family out for the day, going to work, planning holidays or visiting loved ones. Our businesses continue to trade; our shops and restaurants continue to serve; our churches continue to offer sacred peace. For our wellbeing it’s important to maintain a sense of what’s normal; to know that even as things change, much stays the same.
So it is with public affairs; Governments and Prime Ministers change, yet much of the mission of public office remains the same. Change, with continuity, is the natural order of things.
The future is always uncertain and impossible to predict; the present constantly changes, as – disconcertingly - now becomes then in an instant. It’s in the certainty and comfort of the past where we can find the answers we seek to tomorrow’s questions – there are the lessons to be learned to cope with current challenges.