Spectacular day of joyful celebrations

THIS week’s news has been dominated by two topics, both of which have generated very different forms of celebration around the world.

The first, of course, was the royal wedding and what a spectacular day it was. It really did serve to unite the whole country and also brought thousands of tourists to London.

I was interested to see the preparations taking place a week or so before the big day – security checks, flags being unfurled and the arrival of world’s media.

The streets got steadily busier with oversees visitors keen to soak up the atmosphere – it must have been wonderful for businesses throughout London and the South East.

Whether you watched proceedings on the TV or travelled to London, you couldn’t fail but to conclude that this is what we Brits do best.

It was a day of tradition and pomp and circumstance but it was also always clear that at the heart of the matter were two young people, very much in love and celebrating their special day with their family and friends – as well as a couple of billion others!

I do hope readers enjoyed the day – or, if nothing else, the day-off.

The second of the week’s major news stories is of course the death of Osama Bin Laden and for that there was no build up – the news was announced in the early hours of Monday morning after a secret mission by US forces in Pakistan.

The news will obviously mean a lot to the friends and families of those who lost their lives or were injured during the 2005 London bombings and 9/11 – not to mention the many other outrages that Bin Laden orchestrated or inspired.

We mustn’t be naïve enough to think that there aren’t many other fanatics ready to fill Bin Laden’s shoes and we must remain vigilant to the possibility of future terrorist attacks but this is an opportunity to pause and think of those who have fallen victim in the past and those who work quietly and tirelessly to keep us safe in the present and the future.

Bin Laden wanted to attack the West and western culture and, on top of the news of his demise, it is gratifying to reflect that the so-called Arab Spring, which has been taking place over the last few months, is driven by populations on Bin Laden’s doorstep, pushing for democracy and economic prosperity.

Finally, today is local election and national referendum day and, of course, I wouldn’t abuse the privilege of authoring this article by making any party political points here.

I would, however, urge readers to turn out and vote – it’s the only way to make your voice heard, whoever you vote for.

FRANCIS MAUDE

MP for Horsham