IT is Monday morning and following last night’s incident in Prezzo I hear from a colleague that there is a rumour that the two people affected were Russian. The BBC news informs me that the fear of a third Novichok exposure is unfounded.

The more shocking news today is that 40 per cent of people think British culture is undermined by multiculturalism. I wonder what a poll of Salisbury citizens would reveal about our attitudes to migration.

The world is changing and quickly. It is not easy to know where to turn to for the truth. While we might have turned to faith leaders for help to enable us to understand this new geography, the landscape is changing. Religion and belief continue to be driving forces in world events yet almost half of the population today describes itself as non-religious. There is a general decline in Christian affiliation, belief and practice.

The resulting uncertainties about national identity, cohesion and community can lead to over-simplistic conclusions about the negative impact of such changes on society. These, in turn, may feed the very anxieties about immigration and the fear of the ‘other’ that need to be addressed.

What might we do? In short, we need to learn to live with difference now for our community and future generations.

The challenge for policy-makers is to create an environment in which differences enrich society rather than cause anxiety, and in which they contribute to its common good.

So, in Salisbury, how might we work together to build a city at ease with itself in which all individuals, groups and communities feel at home, and in whose flourishing all wish to take part.

What might this mean?

First, we should look at how we play our role in the national story and be clear that what it means to be British is not fixed and final. We should challenge small-mindedness that excludes and perpetuates prejudice.

Second, build a community where we listen to each other so that all participate in shaping its future.

Third, nurture freedom of enquiry, speech and expression. This means engaging with a wide range of groups, especially those who may feel vulnerable and excluded.

Fourth, we should work at much greater faith literacy in every section of society because this fluency has the capacity to transform misunderstanding, stereotyping and oversimplification based on ignorance.

In short, we need to explore the nature of truth and challenge half-truths.

How do we learn to live with difference in Salisbury?