Euro Elections: Green. Climate Change is the biggest issue facing the planet (bigger than the debt crunch), and if we don't sort it out soon there will be hell to pay for those who are too poor to insulate themselves against its effects. Needs to be continental co-ordination on this.
Local Elections: Libdem. It's them vs Conservatives (mixed track record in Somerset, plus a nearby delivery of horse manure) or communists. The Libdem councillor seeking re-election has been very supportive of Street Pastors, someone we can do business with.
General Election: there isn't one (at time of writing), despite David Cameron's desparation to get one called. Why is he in such a hurry? Are there expenses secrets about his front bench that he's afraid will get out if he leaves it too long? A couple of thoughts about this:
1. If there were a General Election, I would probably vote Conservative, because I think they've got the Broken Britain stuff about right, and are the only party who are prepared to take social breakdown seriously. But....
Cameron's team impress me more than Cameron, who (it seems) can't see a bandwagon without jumping on it. The seeds of the debt crunch were there - he did nothing. MP's were fiddling expenses - he did nothing. Electoral reform was always an option - he did nothing. Yet as soon as these become issues he is jumping up and down at the despatch box, projecting himself as the man of action.
I'm struggling to think of a distinctive Cameron policy - most of the best ideas have come from his team (and he does seem to be better and buildling, and getting the best out of, a leadership team). I'm not parroting Labour lines here, it's just that Cameron is quicker out of the blocks than Brown, and that looks like decisiveness. Appearances are deceptive. Not a single Tory MP has actually stood down over the expenses scandal, though several of them should. If Cameron were really as angry as he says he is, he would have thrown some of them out by now.
Clearly, Cameron is a much better communicator than Brown, but how much more to him is there?
2. I find myself praying for Gordon Brown more than usual. Why?
- The Bible tells me to (Romans 15)
- I'm praying that he doesn't get distracted. His line at PMQ's today was spot on - there are major national and international issues going on, thousands are losing their jobs every day, and all the other parties can do is talk about expenses, electoral reforms, and calling an election. There is too much important stuff at stake for the PM to take his eye off the ball. Yes the expenses scandal is serious, but so are a lot of other things.
- In Browns early days, he seemed rather good in a crisis. He's done reasonably well over the debt crunch too, though we won't be able to judge that until we're out of it.
- If you're a leader under pressure, you need all the encouragement you can get. We probably get the political leaders we deserve: everyone knows that praise gets more out of people than criticism, yet we repeatedly whinge about our politicians, never give them credit for getting things right, and then complain when they under-perform.
- Patience is under-rated. It's easy to grab headlines, but some things need some thinking time to come up with the best solution. Brown looks indecisive, when perhaps it's just that he (like Rowan Williams), likes to take his time to think things through. Wisdom is knowing when to act immediately, and when to bide your time and get it right. And wisdom is granted in answer to prayer (James 1).
- If I had as much responsibility as the PM, I'd want people praying for me too. I only co-lead a church of 120 and I ask people to pray for me in that, so goodness knows how much prayer you need to run one of the most powerful and prosperous countries in the world.
and having said all that, I reserve the right to change my mind between here and the ballot box....
Update: good election day coverage at Andrew Sparrows rolling blog at the Guardian