I HAVE just returned from a visit to Bologna.

Apart from discovering that there is no such thing as spaghetti Bolognaise ­— spaghetti is not a suitable pasta to go with Bologna's special sauce ­— it seems that Bologna University is the oldest University in Europe ­— or perhaps, in the world.

In its first few hundred years, it offered courses only in law including canon law.

Why this emphasis on law and lawyers?

All the professions grew up in response to a need.

Generally, this need, in the case of the professions, involves putting the interests of other people before the interest of the lawyer, doctor, or teacher.

It seems that the founders of Bologna's University realised that law and order is a society's first requirement.

Shakespeare put it differently: "The first thing we do, let's kill all the lawyers."

But the point is the same, that any society's first requirement is an incorruptible, fair and enforceable legal system based upon an agreed ethical code.

Until recently, English law was broadly speaking based upon the moral code of the Church of England.

We can see, however, that our law is now coming under other influences eg political correctness and gender issues.

Personally, I would not like it to stray too far from the values of the Church of England.

The 10 commandments are a good foundation and there is that old adage “when in Rome do as the Romans do".

Michael Jackson

Altrincham Inter Faith Group