Don’t be concerned for your own good but for the good of others. (1 Corinthians 10:24)
After observing the unedifying General Election campaign nationally and being involved in several local Hustings, I have to honestly say I am feeling very uninspired and pretty low about the overall state of English politics.
In my view, we face an unprecedented global ecological challenge and a menacing destabilisation of democracy. Together these two call for an intense campaign to de-carbonise as soon as possible on the one hand, and a profound and radical overhaul of our political and economic systems and structures on the other.
This means we need to set out detailed programmes to tackle climate change head on and a total review of our governance, beginning with the setting out of a new UK written constitution along the lines of a modern country. This has to be accompanied by a reappraisal of the parliamentary Houses which are especially full of elite and privileged representatives, a much fairer voting system, a just and participatory democratic society, and the introduction of new and more sustainable economic models.
Yet from the mainstream political parties I hear extremely little urgency of the issues we face and a lot of the arrogant complacency of those who seem to play the system for Party or personal gain – especially middle aged, white men!
Most of the British public are not politically astute. We are cushioned from painful realities by a distorted media, and often live comfortably unaware of the dangers ahead. As the old African proverb recalls, we only worry about the bear at the entrance to the cave and fail to see the river rising to extreme levels in the valley below.
We are undermining our children’s children and their future by thinking that the future will simply be a tweaked version of the past. The scientific, demographic and political signs that I read draw me to the conclusion that we are in danger of sleepwalking into a social and environmental catastrophe. I am not usually alarmist but the attitude of so many in this Election process just drives me towards despair.
So is there any hope? What’s to be done?
Unlike Russell Brand, I intend to vote. In spite of the real situation outlined above, I want to have some impact now that will be a small step in the right direction.
So I pose three questions:
- Which party is likely to most urgently and deeply address climate change and the destruction of the planet’s life carrying capacity?
- Whose policies will work for the development of greater participatory democracy and social inclusion?
- Which party do I most believe likely to implement what we Christians call the ‘Reign of God’ on Earth now – with peace being brought about through justice, integrity engendered through truthfulness and a compassionate kindness that all can share in?
Once I have weighed up my answers to these, I shall be able to place my cross on the ballot paper as a sign of hope for this world to come…..
All best wishes – Martyn