James Gray, MP for North Wiltshire - Home life is at odds with worrying world affairs (From The Wiltshire Gazette and Herald)
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James Gray, MP for North Wiltshire - Home life is at odds with worrying world affairs
4:00pm Thursday 12th September 2013 in News
Human beings sometimes seem to have an infinite capacity to just get on with their everyday lives, no matter how awful the surrounding circumstances may be.
We acclimatise to our surroundings and focus on the basics of living – sometimes oblivious to what may be just about to occur.
Did you see the remarkable TV coverage of central Damascus the other day? Streets packed with cars and bicycles, people shopping, smart hotels full of visitors. It looked just like any normal international city centre. Yet something approaching 100,000 people have been killed by the brutal dictator living in a magnificent palace in the centre of it, his English-born wife carrying out photo opportunities in a local primary school.
You would hardly know that, at that moment, the US was planning to rain down rockets and bombs and no doubt create a firestorm across the city. (I pray that they do not do so.) I voted with the government last week because the motion simply decried what Bashar al-Assad had done; called for an end to chemical warfare; asked for the UN inspectors to be allowed to complete their work and then to report to the UN Security Council.
It is hard to see how anyone could object to any of that. And crucially, the motion then stipulated that there would be a second House of Commons vote before British involvement in any military action.
I made it plain to the PM that I would vote against the government if there were to be any such vote; but that I would support his fairly anodyne motion in the meantime. I am alarmed that some people have interpreted that as being supportive of military action. I am not.
Yet with the world spinning out of control, life at home is surreally normal. It was great to spend the weekend celebrating the lovely new facilities at the Royal Wootton Bassett Rugby Club; visiting Wiltshire College principal Di Dale to hear about her exciting new plans for redevelopment and growth; looking in to the Calne Food Festival and the Green Bike and Hike; holding surgeries in Calne and Royal Wootton Bassett; stopping by the Emergency Services Show at Hullavington and accompanying my ministerial colleague Dr Andrew Murrison visiting the new developments at RAF Lyneham. Life Behind the Looking Glass continues at its pleasant pace despite worrying world affairs.
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