As George Osborne’s first Conservative only Government budget was being delivered yesterday my Twitter and Facebook feeds began to be filled with anger, pain and scorn, with an undercurrent of a deep sense of helplessness.
And I agreed with everything people were saying. I agreed with the sentiments and my emotions resonated. There was not a single post in support of the budget, in support of the Government, in support of the direction this country is being led. It really got me wondering, why is it this way? If the Conservative Party were voted into power last year in such a huge swing where are all the Conservative supporters now? I pondered a few thoughts, maybe there is some truth in the 7 statements below:
Lots of people say they don’t like what is happening to the poor but when it comes down to it they will put their own interests first and vote for what they perceive will make them better off.
Lots of people like what the Government are doing but don’t feel confident to express this for fear of being heckled, or even abused, by others.
There are many who benefit a little from current Government policies. This means they enjoy a little extra comfort and security. In comparison to the significant life changes that are imposed on many of the most vulnerable this raises no emotional response and therefore there is no impulse to express anything on social media.
Nobody feels inclined to support the Government policies because they are self-seeking, income gap widening, dangerous and loathsome.
Those who feel upset by the political situation have got it wrong and are caught up in a deluded whirlwind of conspiratorial negativity.
It is cool to bash authority.
By my own conscious and sub-conscious choosing my Facebook friends and those I follow on Twitter are skewed towards my own fairly socialist, left leaning political views.
I asked my Facebook friends and Twitter followers if there were any views that supported Osborne or the Government. There was silence for quite a while and then a few people gave helpful responses. The comments ranged from factual to mildly pleased and were certainly void of any of the emotion that was featuring in my feeds. Also, I know that those who helpfully commented also have strong misgivings about other aspects of Government policy.
I am pondering all this because my thought processes always take me down the line of anger and a desire for action. Yet, I don’t want to indulge anger or take action for a meaningless cause. I want to ensure I am objective in what I expend my emotion, energy and time on.
However, nobody seems to be able to come up with a strong and passionate reason for supporting the Government. The budget and Government policies may offer small financial gains for many but these benefits are, in my opinion, woeful in comparison to the destruction that I see meted out on our communities.
I can only conclude that the anger is necessary and the need for change is critical. If we care about our communities, and especially those who are vulnerable, then we must spend ourselves to see justice. Action will look different for different people but I believe passively continuing with the status quo will lead to generations blighted by poverty and social exclusion.
Intelligent comment from Giles Fraser in The Guardian on American Christianity. In conclusion – American doesn’t believe in Jesus Christ, it believes in America. Worth a read.
I particularly like this quote, “On the whole, I defer to people’s self-description when it comes to religious belief. If people say they are Christian then that’s good enough for me – unless we are talking about school places or running for office. Then it’s worth a little more scepticism.”
A couple of questions to Americans who love Jesus: Does this resonate? Is the commentary fair?
There is no profit in peace. And that is why we are on the verge of going to war once again.
Tomorrow the House of Commons votes on whether we bomb some towns and villages where we are told there is a threat to our way of life. Yet can we be sure it is not our own previous military intervention and consistent supply of arms to all sides of Middle East conflicts that has provoked and perpetuated the violence?
Only this weekend our own government lawyers warned that the UK could be prosecuted for war crimes following the sale of arms involved in atrocities in Yemen. Surely if we are so prepared to facilitate the destruction of innocents in one country we cannot complain when death comes shockingly to our neighbours.
I don’t understand the world out there. I just know that killing people is only going to breed more hate. The corporations and governments of the world are not stupid, they know this. Yet the pull of riches and power are too much and so war must continue.
“When the rich wage war, it’s the poor who die.” There is no profit in peace.
Arguably the best book on leadership I have read is Team of Rivals by Doris Kearns; the Abraham Lincoln political biography. It masterfully depicts the challenge, heartache and passion that goes into leadership in the face of cruelly fierce opposition. Lincoln’s steady strength and fortitude became an inspiration for me and I can’t help but think of him as I observe Jeremy Corbyn approach his new task of leader of the Labour party.
I care nothing for political parties but care deeply about the outworking of politics. And so in Corbyn I see a man who’s policies resonate with me and who also appears to have been thrust into a position of power he never previously had ambition for. At this he already differs from Abraham Lincoln – who had longed for the office of president, in order to achieve the abolition of the slave trade, his entire political career.
The most intriguing part of Team of Rivals is where Lincoln is having to bring together the huge bruised egos of flawed characters to form a cabinet that can see his nation through civil war. The stakes are not quite as high for Corbyn – he is only leader of the opposition, the talent at his disposal is generally unproven, and the critical situation of the United Kingdom in 2015 cannot be compared to that of the United States in 1860. Nevertheless, Corbyn will need to employ all the guile, stubbornness, wisdom and resilience of Lincoln if he is to pull together an effective shadow cabinet that he can lead through to achieve some of the political goals that he has fought for his entire life.
I really wish Jeremy Corbyn every success. Certainly because I desire to see in this nation and world many of the same things he is working for, but also because he deserves it. He has brought a real honesty, vulnerability and humility to the messy and brutal world of 21st century politics. These are characteristics of a true leader and if he is able to persevere can only be a good thing for this nation and beyond.
It is amazing how in the short space of a week it is possible to feel so much love, hope and
affection for people that you have never met before. I met many great people during this past week at the YMCA Youth Unify camp in Poland and was most deeply moved through the immense privilege of getting to know an amazing group of people from YMCA Ukraine – specifically Kiev, Lutsk, Odessa and Kharkiv. They really ambushed me with their friendship and encouragement. I wish to use this blog post for two simple reasons:
To honour their faithfulness to their nation, the YMCA and, most importantly, to God. They work tirelessly in their home towns sacrificing time, money and man
y other things to serve young people. Their hunger to understand and know Christ is inspiring. Love and humility just pours out of them.
To call you to pray for the nation of Ukraine which remains in the midst of such violence and a heartbreaking war. This video shows four of the volunteers from YMCA Ukraine sing a haunting prayer for the peace of their nation. You may wish to use the song as a tool to lead you into praying for the peace of Ukraine.