Time to act over 
the Syrian crisis

You would like to think that in this ultra sophisticated 21st century that the welfare and security of our children might be something we could take as being assured.

After all we no longer send little boys up chimneys, nor do little girls go into kitchens, serving as cheap labour for the rich.

So why then have we reached the most appalling of milestones in Syria of a million children having to flee for their lives over a two-year period.

Shame on mankind, and in particular on those evil people - whoever they were - who poured poison from the sky on the suburbs of Damascus last week, leaving twitching fainting, confused children to suffer an indignity equivalent to horrors of German concentration camps.

The pictures beamed into our cosy East Gordon homes leaving the Nixon household stunned and then angry that such atrocities should still be happening in 2013.

If the world was looking for evidence of gas attacks, it was not hard to find.

So, given that the most powerful man on the planet the president of the United States had promised the world that once the red line had been crossed he would act.

And yet exactly one year later we have the unedifying sight of Barack Obama sitting on his hands, unwilling, or unable to act against the perpetrators of such appalling deeds.

The Syrian crisis is a tragedy that often seems impossible to fix, but that is no excuse for America not to be at the forefront of efforts to solve the problem.

In truth the president, now in his second term of office, has become a lame duck, not to be trusted with the leadership of the western world in these difficult, demanding times.

But while I am berating Mr Obama for his puny efforts, I am well aware that this side of the Atlantic the protection of our children is also an issue, best reflected in the failure of the Roman Catholic Church to face up to dealing with the abuse of our young over I suspect the centuries, but still going unpunished in so-called civilised times.

No one actually denies the offences took place, and yet bishop after bishop runs from squaring up to the problem.

Worse they run for the cover of the legal system, fearing that an acceptance of guilt will have financial implications for the church they so religiously protect.

In the meantime the victims, many of them who have gone public, are probably regretting telling their awful tales, given the lack of support their bravery demands.

Will there be no end to this tale, leaving the truth to die with those men of the cloth who shamed their profession.