It would be something only unimaginable to my mind, to receive a phone call from some stranger permanently inflicting me with the knowledge that my father had set himself on fire. On Thursday, a fifty-one year old man decided he would stroll into St. Peter's Square in Vatican City, pour petrol over his own body and set himself on fire for the whole world to see.
So what does this all mean for non-Catholics? Well, probably not a lot. For most people, Pope Francis is just another old man who should really be on a golf course in Florida somewhere, enjoying retirement. And yet we all tuned into the news when the signal was given that a new pope had been elected.
You would nearly feel sorry for the Tories. Almost. In a parallel dimension maybe. But the point is, things are not going well for them. They came third in the Eastleigh by-election which, to use the technical term, is bloody awful. Worse yet, they finished behind their yoghurt eating liberal bedfellows, and the granny privatising xenophobes of UKIP.