While I was away on my trip to Kenya, I managed to read three really depressing books, which I hope to review later. They were:
The Islamist: Why I Joined Radical Islam in Britain, What I Saw Inside and Why I Left, by Ed Husain
The Cult of the Amateur: How Today's Internet Is Killing Our Culture and Assaulting Our Economy, by Andrew Keen
Lessons in Depravity: The history of Sex Education in the UK - 1918-2002, by E S Williams
Each provides a particular insight into our own culture - how it got to be like it is, and where it might be going in the future.
On a more positive note, I also watched Amazing Grace on the movie channel. I must admit to approaching this with some scepticism, fearing an 'inspirational' bit of pseudo-Christian propaganda.
Actually, it is very, very good. Indeed, it is at times profoundly moving, and certainly enthralling, in addition to being very well acted. Not only does it capture the flavour of the times well, as one would hope, it also draws you into the political arena. Here is the still-fledgling House of Commons in all its glory - rowdy and rambunctious at times, deadly dull at others. (How Wilberforce and his friends use the latter finally to scupper the slave trade is one of the best moments.)
If you haven't watched the film yet, get it on DVD. It will lift your heart, and perhaps you will find yourself asking, as I did, where are the Wilberforces of today, and what are the issues on which they should campaign.