Sadly the suburban demiparadise I call home was in the news yesterday, for the worst of reasons - featuring in a report on vandalised war memorials.
A couple of weeks ago, the fine plain memorial that overlooks the ponds was stripped of the bronze plaques naming our war dead, prised out and taken for scrap (and probably worth no more than £50). Much can be said about the downward path from demystification to ethical relativism to moral nihilism - but what could more eloquently symbolise a culture where nothing is sacred than a vandalised war memorial? The depth of pain and outrage such an act inflicts on a community is beyond calculation - and sadly, in this case, the stripping of the brass was not the first act of desecration. Last year the York stone paving from around the memorial was laboriously jemmied up and carted away. Happily a local firm replaced the stones free of charge - an act demonstrating that, of course, all is not lost. Not yet. The brass will probably have to be replaced with stone plaques (of not too valuable stone) - just as, all over the country, churches are now obliged to replace the stolen lead on their roofs with something less attractive to passing scumbags. We must not despair.