The world is undergoing radical change as Nature unleashes its arsenal of deadly weaponry to remind us that its force is more powerful than anything Man can produce.
This winter, North America had to cope with the worst blizzards one can imagine, which still continue, where whole towns suffer a total freeze-up and their inhabitants are confined to their homes, seeking protection from the severity of plunging temperatures that constitute a real hazard to health.
In Britain, we had an unusually mild winter, which seemed to have brought with it torrential rain and gale-force winds that caused an untold devastation that we had rarely seen before. A large part of the south-west coast of England and Wales, primarily Somerset and Dorset, were battered by massive sea waves and heavy rain, causing flooding on a large scale. Rivers broke their banks and made thousands of people homeless and in urgent need of shelter – and the tragedy continues. Even at the outskirts of the capital, the River Thames, a stone’s throw from Heathrow Airport, has brought flood misery to hundreds of people who have until now felt more or less secure.
Scientists disagree as to the cause of it all. Those who claim climate change is the culprit are opposed by those who refute it with the same kind of arduous conviction. In other words, no one has been able to tell us conclusively why Nature’s behaviour is erratic to the point of incomprehensibility.
Putting the weather aside, the world is now in great turmoil. The Middle East is a volcano waiting to erupt; the divisions if not contained will eventually boil over to make the region a bed of fire, turning everything in its path to ashes. In the Far East, China and Japan are at loggerheads over some disputed islands that could lead to an all-out war where the US might get involved. Afghanistan remains a contentious field of conflict even when all foreign forces are no longer there. Its neighbour, Pakistan, has got serious problems of its own with lack of stability as the main perilous factor. North Korea, with its savage regime, will remain a threat to world peace unless some crucial reforms take place, which sadly are unlikely to happen. The UK has its problems with Europe and Scotland. Both concerns are not to be easily dismissed. We need Europe, and can ill-afford to be isolated. As for Scotland, if it were to vote for independence both countries will suffer and Great Britain will no longer be Great!
These are mammoth difficulties that could haunt us for generations to come. The present coalition government is tottering and clearly unable to address the enormity of the challenges, which are by no means easy to solve.
Let’s hope some fair wind, when it finally blows, will bring with it a whiff of common sense to every combatant in the world today, and to our politicians in particular, so as to lessen the multitude of exasperating quandaries that lurk on the horizon.
These lumbering thoughts might be as frustrating to the reader as they are to its narrator, but nevertheless they should form the basis of a useful debate where participants can let off steam for a more pragmatic consensus.