Gary's News and views

Gary Streeter MP for South West Devon

Gary writes a weekly article which appears in the Plympton Plymstock and Ivybridge News in South West Devon. The articles are published here.


Thursday, 25 March 2010

Easter is about life and death, or more precisely, death and resurrection. Spring is also about new life after the slog of the winter months. Whether or not we are religious, this time of year is an opportunity to reflect on the things that really matter.
We live at an age where most people's daily toil is not about life and death. It is full of other stuff. This is a good thing. It was not many generations ago where the primary focus was on the raw essentials of food, water and shelter. Many children would die before the age of five and many mothers in childbirth. Killing diseases would cut a swathe through whole communities. In the last century, on two occasions, millions marched off to war and many did not return.
We must be one of the first generations where most of us, thankfully, can put issues of life and death onto the back-burner – they do not surround us on a daily basis, although of course we all know of individual tragedies.
This is progress indeed, but it has a downside. In the absence of a constant awareness of the big issues in life, we can become obsessed with things that are trivial. This is perhaps why celebrities have assumed such a massive role in our society. Look at the headlines in newspapers and magazines. Does anybody really care whether Cheryl Cole has hair extensions or Jordan marries Pete or the other one? Well apparently many do.
Some perspective is required. Two thoughts may help. First of all, we do have thousands of our people for whom each day is very much a matter of life or death (or injury) and that is our incredibly brave armed forces serving in Afghanistan and Iraq. Every time they step out they are at risk of roadside bombs. This Easter they, and their families, should be uppermost in our mind and in our prayers. Secondly, for many people around the world, the daily focus still remains on eeking out enough just to stay alive. It was moving to note the impact this harsh reality made on the celebrities who went to see for themselves during Sport Relief last weekend.
We have come a long way in Britain. But this is a good time to remember again the sacrifice of our armed forces, the plight of the worlds poorest and the eternal truths that constitute ultimate reality. Happy Easter!

posted by Gary @ 14:45