There's much in the news about the aftermath of the Barcelona atrocity and a good deal of solid display by the public in that city that they will not bow to terrorism. We can all applaud their sentiment and the moral courage to go out onto the streets and defy the terrorist intent of trying to subdue Western cultures and societies. Bravo Barcelona !
It also seems probable that a larger terrorist plot was being devised and which, fortunately, went wrong and blew up a number of terrorists. This must remind every city and government in the West that these individuals, driven from the conventional battlefield by the equally tortuous civil wars of the Middle East, are likely to become involved in local, guerilla style tactics to try and further ISIL's odious cause. Homeland Security is a dedicated function in the US and the rest of the civilised world must now take steps to develop and support its detection and suppression abilities as this mindless threat grows. Governments need to step up their resources to counter this and woe betide the politician who says it cannot be afforded.
Britain's NHS gets worthy praise from Stephen Hawking this weekend whilst the low profile Jeremy Hunt tries to defend the stratagems and policies that he has proposed for the organisation. On balance, Hawking is a clear winner - and he is a notable and favoured public figure who has reason to know about what the intrinsic values and worth of the NHS are. There's no question that the NHS needs some pretty radical reform in certain parts but it's institutional value is indisputable and unless any government has a master plan to completely do-away with it and replace it with some wizzy, digital, futuristic copy then it should factor in the moral, social and reputational arguments that are embedded in this vital and treasured service provider.
Jeremy Corbyn is trying to get himself heard again - in Wales. His pledges and promises do not stand up to the reality test by any measure and I can only comment that whilst I am sure he believes in much (though not all) of what he preaches, his sense of economics, practicality and worthiness is distinctly wanting. He can best serve this country by providing a strong and effective opposition - something that has been both lacking and is increasingly necessary for a number of years - and whilst I don't have any partisan favour with the present government particularly, a Corbyn administration would be a mistake for us all to get duped into. All of which reminds me that our Prime Minister has adopted a very low, some would say invisible, profile on the political stage these days. She was surely damaged and personally bruised by the unexpected outcome of the election but with the Brexit negotiations pretty much stuck on the three fundamental, pre-cursor issues of hard borders in Ireland, reciprocal EU citizen rights and EU exit compensation Britain certainly requires, nay demands, a more visible, pro-Britain PM that is forcing the pace of the negotiations and upon expected outcomes. Hiding in the shadows, Mrs May, is not an option.
On US matters, the Bannon firing and his pledge to wage war in order to further the Trump election pledges is somewhat creepy. Given that President Trump has not been able to pass any meaningful legislation and has even taken reverse positions on big election issues like the Mexican Wall and American jobs creation, just what is Steve Bannon going to war for you may ask ? Well, given his penchant for talking one way and acting the other, we might well expect his 'war' to turn on Trump himself. Let's see what happens in this Byzantine world.
On a more positive note it is heartening to hear that the Indianapolis wreck has been found between Guam and Leyte Gulf in the Pacific. The dreadful fate of the crew following a Japanese torpedo attack in 1945 is testimony to the unstinting bravery of young men 'just doing their bit' for their country. It will now be an official war grave and let us hope that those who might have stoked and inflamed sentiments in the US by defiling and destroying statues of Confederate leaders will not demand similar insult upon brave men obliquely involved in the nuclear bombing of Japan. History is what history was and those of yesteryear do not universally warrant the current wave of hysterical outrage against their actions then.