Monday, 6 June 2016

Liberating quicker politics?

I'm intrigued, and wonder if democracy is speeding up. After all, a general election every five years [with a sprinkling of local and European elections in between] is not much opportunity to express a view.

There are so many other signals we can give: signing a Parliamentary petition, or expressing views on social media, or even good old fashioned letters. As newspapers move towards an electronic platform [the Independent no longer appears on paper], they are becoming responsive. Many articles end with an invitation for feedback; sometimes there are thousands of contributions.

I recently cycled to Upwey [International] Railway Station, took the train to Salisbury changing at Southampton, and then cycled around the corner to St Paul's Church Centre for an excellent training day considering the vital part autists can play in Church life. 

Over coffee I had a fascinating conversation with the Chancellor of Salisbury Cathedral, who a couple of years ago taught me about keeping bees. He agreed that UK politics has become very responsive to opinion, and also unfortunately to celebrity. Jesus refused to become a celebrity.

So for example, the government announced earlier this year that it was going to abolish rules concerning the welfare of animals. Without a debate in parliament, or any other traditional democratic activity that I could pick up, they changed their minds. There must have been a huge outcry that the high standards we have come to expect for the care of livestock was in jeopardy.

Why am I just talking politics when many have expressed to me that they are glad the referendum is over, because they are fed up with endless almost entirely negative commentary? Jesus said that 'true disciples will know the truth, and the truth will set them free' [John 8.31b-32].

Recent debate has not been liberating, but tiresome fear tactics, ego trips, or distortion of the truth by taking it out of context. If you take something I've said or written out of context you'll distort it. Same goes for any of us.

Perhaps our fine mother of parliaments needs an overhaul. It's based on an adversarial system, rather than one of consensus. Jesus was politically very shrewd, and I'm sure he would encourage government to take the truth more seriously for the liberation of all citizens.

Come to think of it, that's no bad formula for every level of society. Here's to liberation rather than tedium, and to reality rather celebrity.

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