For the sake of France and her neighbours, one has to wish the new President of the Republic, M. Hollande, well, but with the feeling that he will be hard put to satisfy all those who have pinned on him so many of their hopes for a better future.
Polliticians are fallible human beings, working in collaboration with other fallible human beings and, as often as not, trying to lead people where they would prefer not to go; without any allegation of bad faith or hypocrisy, simply by the nature of things, they are bound - sooner or later - to disappoint.
But what I find particularly hard to understand is the rhetoric. Perhaps this rather prosaic "Anglo-Saxon" (not an entirely accurate description) finds it hard to hear words such as 'justice,' 'equality' or 'youth' without asking what they might mean in practice . Nor, having lived through the aftermath of the 1997 election here in Britain, is my blood particularly stirred by cries of 'change!' It strikes me increasingly that those who clamour most loudly for 'progressive' political change are those who are at war with the reality of human nature and, by embracing change as an ideal in itself, seek to avoid hard choices and tough decisions, politically, economically and personally.
And for so many, of course, politics has become a substitute for a long- vanished religious faith - they are those most doomed to disappointment and disillusionment, unfortunately the keynotes of our age. True hope lies elsewhere.
BE present, O merciful God, and protect us through the silent hours of this night, so that we who are wearied by the changes and chances of this fleeting world, may repose upon thy eternal changelessness; through Jesus Christ our Lord. Amen.
A reminder of the things which endure, even through all the vicissitudes of history and politics: