A tough few weeks preparing for General Synod and the inevitable struggle to meet deadlines before the summer recess has meant blogging has taken a back seat. The public’s fixation with News International and the phone hacking scandal has also pushed foreign policy concerns very much onto the back pages.
Erudite and witty posts exploring the folly of intervening in Libya can’t compete with the distraction offered by the Murdoch saga. It’s a sad day when our media are more intrigued by a custard pie thrown at Rupert Murdoch than they are with famine in the horn of Africa or the threat of genocide on the borders of South Sudan.
I actually feel sorry for David Cameron that his efforts to promote British business and trade in Africa have been curtailed by the speed of unfolding events at home. His visit raised important questions as to the role that trade can play in alleviating poverty. Sadly these questions will not now get the public airing that they rightly deserve.
Walking back to the office after a two-day international conference at Lambeth Palace on Tuesday, a conference that tried to shine a spotlight on the vulnerability of Christians in the Holy Land, it was hard not to be struck by the media circus camped outside Parliament. This encampment was of a similar size to that which followed last year’s general election - I really did wonder whether the government had resigned.
Not surprisingly there was no mention of the Holy Land Conference in any of yesterday’s papers. Indeed you have to wonder whether any journalist bothered to turn up for the post conference press briefing involving the Archbishop of Canterbury and the Archbishop of Westminster. For once in their lives, I suspect that both Archbishops would have been slightly miffed by the lack of media interest not least given the significant amount of time and resources that went into organising the conference.
Fortunately the Lambeth Palace website contains both the transcripts of speeches given as well as video streams of the conference itself. If you want to hear testimonies from young Palestinian Christians and Muslims as to what it means to live under occupation then do check out the site. There’s some good material there which needs wider dissemination.
None of this is to say that the issues raised by the phone hacking saga aren’t important, they are, but can any one shed light on why a story about the media has become a media story itself?
With Parliament no longer sitting, we are now well and truly into the silly season. This story is likely to run and run over the summer break and will no doubt feed into and fuel the party conferences.
With that in mind I’ve decided to pack up blogging and take a well deserved break riding my horse across the Weald of Kent. For once in my working life, I’ve decided to leave the mobile at home.
Have a good summer