Kent Messenger Maidstone
Helen Grant MPOUR
THE best of times, the worst of times. Last week I witnessed both. The murder of Drummer Rigby was a stark reminder of the darkest depths of humanity. Images of the kind usually confined to Hollywood or foreign newsreels briefly became reality on the streets of Britain. Our nation showed the fullness of its heart in condemnation of the perpetrators and in sympathy for the family. It has sparked renewed debate about ‘preachers of hatred’ and the extension of lawful surveillance upon them. While freedom of speech is a precious national treasure, those who choose to deliver extreme messages deserve equivalent restrictions. I hope party politics does not frustrate appropriate new measures being considered for our protection in a rapidly changing world. Maidstone and the Weald restored some balance and light later in my week. On Friday I was reminded of the beauty of Kent, travelling from Allington Lock to East Farleigh along the tranquil river Medway. Simon and I were among friends on the Allington Belle at the AGM of the Maidstone River Users Association. Cranbrook School’s speech and prize giving day kept the positive flow running on Saturday. An amazing cohort of students showed everything Britain can be proud of in its youth. I look forward to visiting again soon for a joint Q & A session with students from the High Weald Academy. We returned home to join young Sam Lain at the Memorial Hall in Marden. I met Sam a few years back when he was just 15 organising Kent’s Got Talent. This time he and his family had organised a memorial ceremony for Sam’s grandfather and his twin brother who both died in recent years. Sam is another good news story about strong families and a reminder of the better side of humanity.