The future is not a gift, it is an achievement

Sir Peter Bottomley, MP for West Worthing
Sir Peter Bottomley, MP for West Worthing

Imagine if all decision making were inspired by a belief system championing the rights of humans.

Can this be the ideal we should aim at? The Zulu/Bantu word ubuntu comes in the epilogue of the 1993 Interim Constitution of South Africa: “There is a need for understanding but not for vengeance, a need for reparation but not for retaliation, a need for Ubuntu but not for victimisation.”

There are varied interpretations: I take it to mean that we are ourselves, part of each other rather than atomised individuals.

These thoughts have been brought back to me by a talk on Wednesday by a leader from the Robert F Kennedy Human Rights UK charity.

The aims are to do good in the areas of education, business and culture, developing programmes to speak truth unto power, to create a network of young human rights advocates, bring the investment community to consider the rights of people in business decisions, and to promote festivals to raise awareness of human rights challenges.

On Tuesday I was at No. 10 Downing Street for an informal discussion on issues that matter to constituents and to me.

In addition to the large topics of Europe and of leaseholders challenges, I talked about the inappropriate proposal to shoehorn a National Holocaust Memorial and Learning Centre into the Victoria Tower Garden, London’s smallest Royal Park.

I am working with leading Jewish members of the House of Lords and with knowledgeable residents to see how the specification might better be met at the nearby Imperial War Museum where nearly a million visitors a year learn of the atrocities in the existing Holocaust Gallery.

Since last week’s edition, I was able to hear the historian Andrew Roberts discussing his comprehensive biography of Winston Churchill.

|Also in the news - a drink-driver who killed a Worthing mother-of-two while she was on holiday in Cyprus has been jailed; the {https://www.worthingherald.co.uk/news/business/brooklands-park-regeneration-plans-divide-opinion-on-social-media-1-8666608plans for Brooklands Park’s regeneration} have divided opinion on social media; and a Goring man was arrested on suspicion of drink driving after a collision on the A27|

This week, Andrew’s BBC broadcasts have covered topics including his friendships.

In Worthing our county High Sheriff Caroline Nicholls led the Judges’ Service at Christ Church, across the road from my Worthing home; we then gathered for a reception in the St Paul’s Centre.

Long term residents will recall with affection and admiration the successful development by the Reverend Garry Guinness of the centre and the building of special needs flats.

When one neighbour asked if I would lead opposition to the flats, I said I would volunteer to be a patron of the scheme.

The location was good, the purpose was right and the residents would be welcome members of our shared community.

In Westminster Abbey I joined fellow charity trustees for a visit to the Triforium Queen’s Diamond Jubilee Gallery.

My first climb had been when I was eight and the upper vaults were full of hundreds of years of dust.

The present display is amazing and the view into the Nave is at least as good as looking into St Paul’s from the gallery there. Instead of 108 steps, you can take the modern Gothic lift.

The jollity of the weekend was being able to share a pirates party in High Salvington with community activists.

The sombre moments were sharing with her children and husband some of the last hours of a mother with whom we had shared primary school involvement and the years of our children growing up together.

I think parents, godparents and close friends can often by lives together show to their children how to understand and to accept the closing hours of life.

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