Wednesday, July 29, 2009

Long gap

Tomorrow it will be two weeks since my last posting, mainly because I've been down with swine flu for the last four days, feeling totally exhausted and with a temperature though not a high one as some people have experienced. We were to have been staying with Richard and Oriel in Norfolk and then going on to Lynn for the Hanse festival but have had to cancel the whole trip. Today I was better, still with a bit of temperature, but have spent some of the day trying to keep pace with the flood of emails.

One very good piece of news today is that the Bangladesh government is withdrawing a brigade from the Chittagong Hill Tracts (CHT), just a couple of weeks before the third mission of the international CHT Peace Commission (of which I'm vice-chair) is due to begin. The present government, which came into office at the beginning of the year, is committed to implementing the 1997 Peace Accords in full, and this is a solid move in the right direction.

Parliament rose for the summer recess last Tuesday, after the usual last minute rush to get Bills onto the statute book, and we don't return until October. Some people think this is far too long, and they imagine that we are all sitting on the beach for the whole of August and September. Actually, the party conferences, ovwerseas visits and outside meetings of various kinds take up a lot of the time. Among my own engagements (apart from 10 days in Bangladesh) are a visit to Derbyshire to lecture on religious freedom, a meeting with the President of the Royal College of Physicians to discuss alcohol harm, a meeting with the Minister at Communities and Local Government who deals with Gypsies and Travellers etc.

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