Saturday, May 09, 2015

Election Reflection

It still seems a bit like a dream, but that's a combination of sleep deprivation and reading too many opinion polls. Congratulations to everyone who was succesful on Thursday, and for those who weren't, 'comiserations' doesn't really cover it. MPs who have put their heart and soul into a constituency for years suddenly thrown out.

A few post-election thoughts.
1. Brace yourselves. This is always the season when the things that weren't front page, or indeed any page, on the manifesto get brought in.

2. The Conservatives won the election partly by taking credit for Libdem policies which they'd been converted to - e.g. on tax thresholds. I hope that continues - they could do worse than starting with Libdem policies on mental health and climate change, which are streets ahead of anything the other parties have offered.

3. The electoral system is a mess. If people are losing faith with our political system, they will lose even more if you have to cast 3.5m votes to get one MP, and then have this dismissed by those who win on the current system (as Francis Maude did on Question Time last night)

4. Unless there was some serious methodology error committed by pollsters, then voters are just as deceitful as politicians. Either that or a lot of people changed their mind at the last minute.

5. I'm deeply troubled by the fact that a country with epidemic levels of mental illness and family breakdown, in the process of bequeathing a broken planet to its grandchildren, with around 1m people using food banks, didn't really engage with any of this during the election. Instead we were told by politicians (and encouraged by the media) to think only of how awful it would be if Scots were involved in government.

6. I worry that David Cameron has a track record of using key political processes to party advantage: from the last minute attempt to unseat the House of Commons speaker, to the promise to put election promises into law to make sure they're kept (?) to exploiting the Scottish referendum vote, which in turn let the SNP genie out of the bottle. Without a set of coalition partners to explain, defend and agree with, my fear is that we will get more of this; policies and knee-jerk reactions that haven't been fully thought through. After all, it hasn't done him any harm so far...

7. Fellow Yeovil Church leader Adam Dyer wrote this:
today we survey a new landscape. A landscape of increasing poverty. Not just financial poverty, but social poverty, emotional poverty, spiritual poverty and political poverty. Poverty tells us that it will always be like this. Nothing will ever change. I will always be poor. It will always be each man for  himself. I will always be alone. It will always be an unfair system.
Poverty disempowers.
But the antidote to poverty is not just money, the antidote to poverty in all its forms is hope. A belief that this is not the end of the story. This is good news for the church, because hope is the currency we trade in.

Finally, having prayed for the election, it's now time pray for wisdom for the new government. 
They need it. So do we. 

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