THE BLOG

The Week That Was: A Time and Place

15/06/2013 23:38 BST | Updated 16/08/2013 10:12 BST

We are all living through history; that much is certain. There are, however, specific times or incidents when it is possible to imagine the school lessons in decades to come, when pupils will be studying with rabid intensity the very events unfolding around us right now.

The saga of Prism, or the saga of Edward Snowden as Hollywood will surely repackage it, has to be one such event.

With a script to rival a new Bourne movie (and I choose the word movie rather than film for good reason), the 'spy story of the age' as the Guardian prefix it, has all the hallmarks of a milestone in global history.

Forget the breach in privacy for a moment - well, don't forget it; that alone is a story of epic proportions - and just focus on the storm around it. That is worthy of a gripping history lesson all by itself. The months of preparation, the choice of newspaper, the girlfriend left at home, the presidency in turmoil, the uncloaked Hong Kong hotel room, the beyond bad power point presentations (seriously, I'm allergic to the format and even I could have done better) ad nauseam, until there is a whole term's worth of fact and fiction to sort through.

If history of the digital age was being made this week, the old-fashioned topic of war was never far away. The tragedy that is Syria continued to unfold, with Clinton urging President Obama to make a decisive decision about America's involvement in the crisis, or risk looking "a total fool". Just a day after the comments were made, Obama announced he was indeed getting involved, with the US agreeing to help arm anti-Assad rebel fighters.

Downing Street has said since that nothing is "off the table", following the White House's decision, which came after weeks of intense discussion, but was only confirmed when the US finally accepted President al-Assad has used chemical weapons against his opponents. Sadly "something must be done" does not often translate into something successful being done. 93,000 people have been killed in the country since fighting broke out in 2011. Will US weapons slow that tidal wave of human tragedy, or prolong it?

Despite dominating headlines, The NSA Files and Syria weren't the only topics of conversation this week.

Caroline Lucas kept the No More Page Three campaign alive and kicking, demanding that The Sun be removed from parliament shops until the paper scraps its semi-naked photo-shoots.

Nick Clegg and Boris Johnson had a conversation, mainly between themselves it has to be said, although not in person, about which of them was most useless.

And in what has to rank as one of the weirdest questions ever asked on Question Time, one audience member suggested Scottish independence might make it easier to find aliens.

More seriously, Tessa Jowell sparked outrage on BBC Radio 5 when she told presenter Stephen Nolan that women are "much more driven to work together and to work through an issue to a solution". Sexist? Nolan certainly thought so, accusing the MP of making "blanket statements".

My tuppence worth: blanket statements are made about men and women all the time, and I've got no issue with people suggesting women are better at X and Y, but nor do I dispute there are many areas where men might shine more brightly. Thankfully, there are plenty of individuals who buck every gender trend. If I learnt anything from my own school history lessons, it was certainly that.