I have seen many emotional moments in the Commons but none equalled President Zelensky’s address from a capital in the midst of a war zone. He quoted Churchill’s stirring words when Britain had its back to the wall in 1940, words that still stir emotions today with the ringing phrase “we will never surrender”.
The U.K. was the first in Europe to recognise the imminence of the threat to Ukraine, one of the first in Europe to deliver defensive weapons and has been at the forefront of efforts to implement sanctions on their banking assets and currency transactions which are having such a deep impact on the Russian economy.
Against the intensity of this backdrop it was a huge pleasure to be able to attend meetings in and around Horsham on Friday/Saturday which included, alongside surgery appointments, the NFU (on maintaining food production while meeting environmental targets), visiting East Surrey Hospital for discussions with the new Chief Exec (including explaining, again, why Horsham so clearly wants a new, local hospital), congratulating Zeytin Restaurant on the British Kebab Awards, meeting the WI to discuss their “Show the Love” environment campaign and attending Horsham’s “Kinder Living Show”.
The Kinder Living Show was enormously positive. In the midst of so much horror and carnage on our continent, people are still looking forward as to how we can do things better and above all reach a net zero goal that remains critical for every country on earth. It was a very welcome reminder of how determined people are to make the world a better place whatever our current fears.
On “current fears” I can recall as a child towards the end of the Cold War taking a close (perhaps much too close!) an interest in international politics and being fearful of their implications. I am sure most children will similarly have become aware of recent events – and seen some of the recent dreadful footage.
I am sure parents, carers and teachers will have been trying to explain to children the events in Ukraine which I know are very much being discussed among younger generations. If helpful Save the Children have put together five tips on how parents and carers can speak to children about war: https://www.savethechildren.org.uk/blogs/2022/how-to-talk-to-children-about-war
On a happier note young people celebrated the 25th World Book Day last Thursday. Launched in 1997, WBD aimed to promote reading for pleasure and to offer every child the opportunity own a book. I hope children enjoyed dressing up as their favourite book character and picking up a brand new book.