Yesterday we reflected on what a ‘new normal’ might be like. In recent days we have heard many women express their concerns about safety when out on their own, and the need to address ‘chauvinist’ attitudes to women’s appearance, clothing and what is regarded as appropriate language and behaviour. This comes on top of the concerns expressed about the impact of the pandemic restrictions on women’s jobs, role in childcare and home schooling. Last month was LGBT History month, and stories were recounted of the dangers and difficulties faced by members of those communities. The Duchess of Sussex’s comments aired last weekend re-awakened concerns about racism in Britain, coming as it does after concerns that people of South Asian or Afro-Caribbean heritage are more likely to die from Covid-19, perhaps for socio-economic rather than genetic reasons. In the last few months topics like Islamophobia and Anti-Semitism have also been in the news – and here in the West of Scotland we are conscious that there is a history of sectarianism. It may be better than it was, but it hasn’t gone away. Do we want a free, fair and equal society, where everyone of whatever age can walk the streets without risking abuse or attack? How are we going to get that? What changes do government need to make? What changes do we need to make, in our attitudes, our behaviour, and our readiness to sit back and think ‘I’m not saying anything, I’ll just leave it to someone else’?
Lord, we believe you want a fair and inclusive world. Inspire governments to take the necessary steps. Inspire us to take the necessary steps. Keep safe those in danger of abuse or attack