Growing up in my secondary school I was in a class which had Jewish boys in it.

Looking back I can now study the surnames which clearly indicate that several were from Jewish families. At the time I was completely unaware of the difference between us.

Perhaps they did not attend Assemblies but I have no memory of this. Throughout my six years of secondary school education I was never confronted with any racial or religious tension between any of my fellow classmates.

We all seemed to get on well together despite great differences in family wealth and background and different religious backgrounds.

One of the best footballers in the year was Jewish. His religion was totally unimportant. It would appear that young people just get on and mix with each other regardless of any background religion or ethnic inheritance. It is only when they are exposed to the prejudice of adults and indoctrinated into animosity towards people of difference that their perspectives change for the worse. 

Religious intolerance has many forms. The restrictions placed on women being forced to wear head scarves is a clear example of a religious dogma having a massive impact on the human rights of thousands of women. Why people cannot be left alone to wear what they like represents oppression of the worse kind.

Recently Rick Stein made a programme which had as its focus a Midlands city that has a very mixed ethnic community. He was able to show how the different cultures had all made a contribution to the dynamic cuisine now in evidence. It was a joyful programme proving how we can all benefit by celebrating differences rather than being hostile to others.

The Israel v Hamas war is one of great tragedy. Far too many have died on both sides. A cease fire seems to be being given serious thought but the road to peace seems a long way off. Religious intolerance has inflamed the conflict.

Cities across the country have seen marches and riots as conflicting groups try to make their points. Little but chaos has resulted in these efforts. That members of parliament are in need of increased security because of their views on the current conflict is a sad reflection on the nature of our society. The Speaker of the House of Commons had always been highly regarded.

Faced with the prospect of members of the House being under real threat if the SNP motion was put before the House he stepped away from the normal convention and allowed the Labour motion. The outcome was chaos which was a poor reflection on our democracy.

He was caught between a rock and a hard place and suffered for his efforts to protect members. He seems to have survived in post despite over 80 calling for him to be removed from office. This is to my mind a good result for an honourable man.

In this chaotic world I’m reminded of a bible text: “All things are possible to those that believe”