PARLIAMENT has only just returned from the recess for party conferences. But everything has been overshadowed by international events. These are frightening and depressing times. Conflict in the Middle East has seen war in Europe almost forgotten but, tragically, it’s still ongoing.

Atrocities perpetrated against civilians must be condemned unreservedly and by whoever perpetrates them. But what is badly required is a ceasefire and de-escalation, and both the UK and international agencies must push for that.

READ MORE: Israel steps up bombardment of Gaza Strip

That is what I will seek to work for with others within Parliament and agencies and organisations without. Ultimately, there requires to be a just settlement for all. A crushing victory for one side simply leaves a legacy of hate.

It’s not just humanity dictating that, with us all bleeding the same irrespective of faith, creed or colour, we need to see an end to the killing and atrocities. There’s a self-interest as a widening of these conflicts threatens Armageddon for us all.

It’s also deeply harmful to our need to address climate change. Recent weeks have seen a turn in the weather and some areas facing rain of Biblical proportions.

READ MORE: UK minister hits out at UN chief’s remarks about Hamas’s attack on Israel

The military is the largest polluter in the USA and waging war anywhere immeasurably exacerbates the harm to our planet. It’s why for all our sakes’ we need peace.

The turn in the weather is also an opportunity to remind people to get a smart meter installed. There was rightly condemnation of forced entry and smart meters being installed in pre-payment mode. That was simply unacceptable.

But smart meters are of benefit and, whilst I’d counsel against pre-payment mode, some do prefer it. It’s up to the individual. But the smart meter itself is helpful.

READ MORE: Paul McLennan MSP: Solidarity with the victims in both Israel and Gaza

That call is supported by fuel poverty charities. Many current heating systems operate on technology that will be turned off.

A smart meter is essential to allow access to current low-cost tariffs. Ask your supplier to get yours installed.