From the editor's desk

The common good excludes nobody Premium

21 June 2017
The fire which last Wednesday morning engulfed Grenfell Tower in North Kensington, killing many of its residents, ranks as one of the worst-ever peacetime disasters. The building was clad in flammable material and went up like a firework, with people trapped inside.

Knocking political establishments off their high and mighty perches has become a popular sport among ordinary voters in the United States, France, and now the United Kingdom.

This general election campaign was supposed to be about Britain leaving the European Union – Brexit – but was instead dominated by security issues, where Theresa May’s Government had a lot of explaining to do. Now Brexit looms large, with the opening negotiations only days away. Yet for all the talk, the issues are not much clearer.

Between a rock and a hard place Premium

31 May 2017
A British general election initially billed as being “the most important since the war” has turned out to be about nothing in particular. It was supposed to contrast the “strong and stable” leadership of Theresa May against the incompetent “coalition of chaos” offered by Jeremy Corbyn. But Mr Corbyn has benefited from the eclipse of Mrs May’s unique selling point – that she alone was tough enough to stand up to the bullies of Brussels.

Anti-terrorism experts always have to point out that while the security services have to be successful all of the time, terrorists only have to succeed once. And the terrorists know that, which is why they keep trying. Prior to Manchester’s murderous attack on an audience mainly of children and teenagers, British security services are said to have thwarted at least a dozen terrorist plots.

Bishops pull their punches Premium

18 May 2017
Not for the first time, an election issue given top priority by the Catholic bishops of Scotland fails to receive even a passing mention in an equivalent statement from their episcopal colleagues south of the border. The Scottish bishops’ pre-election message is unambiguously in favour of unilateral nuclear disarmament, hence against the renewal of the Trident nuclear deterrent.

Evil that cannot be redeemed? Premium

18 May 2017
This Sunday not many preachers will be eager to choose the death in prison of Moors murderer Ian Brady as the subject for their weekly sermon.

The establishment of diplomatic relations between the Holy See and Myanmar, formerly called Burma, turns the spotlight on a gradual but highly significant development in international relations – the role of the Vatican in promoting peace, harmony and human rights, especially now in the East.

Congratulations are due to Br Guy Consolmagno SJ, Director of the Vatican Observatory and a Tablet columnist, for helping to set up this week’s ground-breaking conference on science and religion. And for making clear what it was not about.

The world may be nearer to nuclear war than at any time since the 1962 Cuban missile crisis. North Korea has an undoubted willingness to use nuclear weapons, not only defensively but aggressively, and it would only take one misjudgement to push it over the brink.

It is 20 years since Tony Blair stormed to a landslide victory that ended Sir John Major’s political career. The scale and nature of Blair’s victory inevitably invited the question whether the Conservative Party, which had so obviously run out of ideas in government, could ever return to power.

End the war on welfare Premium

27 April 2017
It is axiomatic that the acid test of a decent society is that it does not neglect the most vulnerable. Britain is in danger of failing this test. The welfare state, invented in wartime to banish permanently the five “giants which stalked the land” – poverty, disease, squalor, ignorance, idleness – has reached a crisis not only of resources but of purpose.

Challenges face French favourite Premium

27 April 2017
The dilemma facing the people of France next weekend has been neatly summed up by one commentator as a choice between “hope and anger”. Hope is represented by Emmanuel Macron, who, having come top in the first round of the French presidential election, now faces a run-off with Marine Le Pen.

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