SIR PETER BOTTOMLEY: Remembering Srebrenica

Sir Peter Bottomley

Sir Peter Bottomley

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On Thursday, July 28, I hope to join the Worthing Islamic Society and others at the Town Hall on the 21st anniversary of the massacre at Srebrenica, the last organised mass slaughter in Europe. I have signed the Memorial Day Book.

The United Nations attempt at protection failed. Ten of thousands of Muslim Bosniak women and children were displaced and abused; six to seven thousand men and boys were massacred.

Sir Peter Bottomley signing the Srebrenica Memorial Day Book

Sir Peter Bottomley signing the Srebrenica Memorial Day Book

We shall remember them and we need to work together to reduce the risks of similar hatred leading to inhuman actions by bad leaders and compliant followers.

That requires collective memory, knowledge and community determination to stand together.

The Holocaust also rightly has its major annual memorial.

A happier anniversary was celebrated at Westminster Abbey.

The Dean, Dr John Hall, celebrated 40 years of priesthood. He served as curate at St John the Divine, Kennington at a time when I wrote and read intercessions there.

He also taught in Hull and this week he receives an honorary degree from Hull University chancellor, my wife Virginia.

In December he will unveil the memorial for Philip Larkin in Poets Corner.

This week I spoke in the Supreme Court. The Law Commission has been considering simple changes that could bring benefits to leaseholders without removing legitimate rights from freeholders.

As MP in a constituency with a high proportion of flats, I know the difference between sharp or illegal practice and good behaviour.

I said that during the next eight years, we need to make substantial progress, improving the law, outlawing unfair conditions, making charges transparent and reducing opportunities for exploitation.

Volunteers, relevant charities and some helpful professionals work together.

I joined because of constituency cases. The local can hopefully go national.

Over the weekend, I spoke again with the RMT union whose members are upset about more trains having driver operated doors.

I have backed the proposal for a period of respite. Travellers must be able to rely on the scheduled service.

Neither RMT nor ASLEF members can expect to stand aside from modern railway technology for long. It does not help just to point at the operators.

Remember the extended disruptions on the London Underground? It would be a mistake to think that transferring control to London would be a magic wand.

50 years ago, I was lucky to be awarded a degree in economics. Today I shall return to Cambridge to mark the 80th birthday of my supervisor, Professor Sir James Mirrlees.

When he was awarded the Nobel Prize I went to congratulate him, recognising that I may have been his worst pupil.

When I was honoured for public service, he wrote to say that he shared the credit for his first three knighted students; with me could he share the pleasure.

This Sunday, Andrew Tremlett becomes Dean of Durham Cathedral.

For five years from 2003 he served as Vicar of St Mary’s church, Goring-by-Sea.

I am sending best wishes on behalf of his many local friends here on the south coast.

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