The reactions and tributes to Margaret Thatcher's death have illustrated the way in which modern conservatives have emptied the words 'freedom' and 'liberty' of all meaning and import. If (wo)man is judged by the company (s)he keeps, then Thatcher must be judged a champion of despotism and dictatorship, not of freedom or liberty.
Sexual orientation is, I think, a complex thing and not reducible to the facile and outdated categories of nature or nurture. Likewise, rights can be complex. But the case here is simple, whether that way by chance or choice, gays and lesbians deserve the right to marry. Granting that right in the UK is a good choice, let's make it now.
If you gave birth recently, did you feel you had real freedom? Freedom to choose where you gave birth, who was present, what interventions took place and how you delivered your baby? Were you given access to all of the facts needed to make your choices truly informed? Who was the most powerful person in the room at the moment of birth? And did the experience leave you feeling exhilarated, disappointed, or downright traumatised?
Sitting, lounging, reading books - as I am now - by a swimming pool overlooking the Mediterranean Sea, it is natural to absorb more sunshine than news. But the full horror of the Denver Dark Knight killings has penetrated this tranquil state and destroyed the lives of hundreds of innocent people oceans away from here.