Friday, 7 May 2010

Political hang-over

Well, the experts have got excited. Britain is going to have a 'hung' (or will it be a 'balanced'?) Parliament. It's not actually such a strange beast. But personally I think it holds some promise - as long as the financial gamblers don't exploit it on the money markets and stock exchanges. The situation could well have a moderating influence on extreme dogmatism and even generate - dare we hope? - cross-party cooperation in the face of national need. That would be a happy outcome of a not very edifying campaign. There's a sensible response to the churches from leading establishment Christian, the Rev Steve Chalke, on It's noticeably different from the speculative horse-trading indulged in by politicians egged on by media men and women. I don't like to sound pompous, but isn't politics too important a matter for that now? I've said it before, but it's still true, politics is about service not power. Here's wishing the new MPs a large dose of humility in the heady celebration of election. And let's hope they don't forget the most vulnerable and needy in society. (Didn't someone talk about the 'Big Society' in the campaign - something different from High Society?)

PS I've just come across an interesting local footnote to the election, which concerns our neighbouring constituency of Abingdon etc. The Lib Dem incumbent MP, Dr Evan Harris, was not my favourite Parliamentarian, having an aggressive pro-euthanasia and humanist stance. Driving through the north of the constituency last Wednesday, the leafy suburbs of North Oxford were a forest of bright orange Lib  Dem diamonds. Well, the Tory Nicola Blackwood, who was supported by a woman vicar who trained with me, overturned his majority of 7,000 and squeezed in by the skin of her teeth. I wish her well. (The full story's on


  1. Hi,

    Just thought I'd mention that Nicola Blackwood might have been "supported" by the woman vicar (in a pamphlet that attacked Evan Harris), but in fact (to her credit), Nicola publicly distanced herself from the pamphlet, saying she wanted to win by having a positive campaign and not by making negative attacks on her opponent.

    The pamphlet was seen by Evan Harris's supporters as "Christians playing dirty" and I'm inclined to agree and am glad that Nicola distanced herself from them.

    I attended the election hustings in Abingdon, and thought that Nicola was by far the most impressive candidate there, as opposed to Evan Harris who didn't really answer the questions that were put to him. I also corresponded him about his wish to end the NHS chaplaincy service, and got the distinct impression that he wasn't willing to listen to me, but instead was operating from a poorly thought out anti-religion agenda, promoted by the National Secular Society.

  2. Thanks for that info, Iain, and I'm glad to hear it. And I publicly repent of the negative account I gave of Dr Harris. I'm glad that Nicola Blackwood ran a wholly positive campaign. The more credit to her.

  3. Hi, Michael,

    No need to worry about your negative view of Harris. I'm not too smitten with him either. What I was concerned about was the negative image being used during the campaign - which doesn't help in the atheist vs Christian wars! Already I see Nicola Blackwood is being dubbed a "fundamentalist Christian Tory" and a "bigot", purely on the basis of being (a) an Christian, and (b) unseating the LibDem science spokesman.

  4. Thanks. I suppose that's the way of the world and part of the cost. Didn't Jesus say something, 'Beware when all men speak well of you'? Labels are such easy stones to throw, and never represent the truth. As a teacher I was taught never to label kids, eg Not 'You're a thief' but 'You stole that'.