It is almost two years since I began working on a memoir (I've reached that sort of age!). We all know the huge changes since my childhood days of just two or four TV channels and the Berlin wall as a new and frightening presence. But a general election and NATO summit remind us how much has not changed.

As a political ideas addict, I can think only of the ecology movement, starting during my childhood with Bookchin and Carson, for something relatively new. Otherwise, we are still running on themes from the 18th and 19th centuries at the latest - from Burke to Marx. For the Middle East the themes are far older than that.

In this case, stability is NOT reassuring. Rather we have stability of conflicts and indeed fear, as well as contempt for the political class. Change is actually needed for peace, reassurance, and security.

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