food banks, polling stations and the colour of hope

8 05 2015

As I try to untangle my thoughts across the worlds of politics and faith and family and community and my own selfish interests, you will know that politically I land on the left. And so this photograph, from outside our church yesterday, sums up the last 5 years for me, and the disappointment I feel about the result.

2015 polling station foodbank BA

My prayer is that with the Conservatives in power, they will

  • have the will to challenge their own obsession with austerity, which hits the poorest hardest, as we all know, but for some reason think they are worth sacrificing;
  • that they will have the will to challenge the obsession with private business running public utilities and services for profit;
  • that they will own up to the clear fact that unaccountable private individuals cannot (in large part) be trusted to redistribute wealth through better pay, and it needs to be done through good taxation and a Living Wage. Which is not perfect, but is at least accountable.

In 5 years time

  • I do not want to have a Foodbank in our church.
  • I do not want the poorest taxed for a ‘spare room’ when there is nowhere else to move them;
  • I do not want target-led benefit sanctions,
  • I do not want blame culture for the jobless, and these lies about people ‘on benefits’ who are so lazy, when the majority are in work, it’s just so badly paid they need to claim welfare to pay for living costs,
  • I do not want housing association properties sold off for private profit, the extension of ‘right-to-buy’ which benefits a few individuals and many landlords who gladly receive housing benefit from their tenants (1/3 of Tory MPs are landlords, maybe there’s a connection). 

If you are a business owner, pay your staff what you can, not the least you can get away with. If you are a taxpayer, pay your tax. If you can work, work. If you read a newspaper, never read the Daily Mail, especially since this headline “Trust Labour? I’d rather trust Jimmy Saville to babysit my kids.” If you care, get involved.  

There are many political questions that remain the same regardless of who is in charge. Europe, the UK, Scotland, debt, jobs, the environment, energy, fracking, the cost of living. As Christians we do our best not to get personal, but to get community. My prayer for us is that we get stuck into our communities, serving, helping, campaigning and hoping on behalf of others, prioritising the poor, the marginalised, the vulnerable as our God commands and exampled us to do time and time and time again throughout our salvation-history story.

Whatever colour we are. 



5 responses

8 05 2015

NEVER read the Daily Mail – Best advice ever given

(They do however, have a very good ‘pitcher wits’ section which I have to do surreptitiously. in coffee shops and Waitrose cafe).

8 05 2015

Oh dear, what a monochrome and negative world you see in 5 years time! There would be no Bill and Melinda Gates foundation fighting Malaria and Ebola and bringing health to poorer nations, no Welcome Foundation spearheading research into medicine and curing the sick, no Whitgift Trust housing the poor, no Rownree trust or Cadbury charities, none of the charities set up by sportsmen such as Jensen Button. No ground breaking University research funded by philanthropists and making the world a better place. Instead, in true left wing fashion it would all be controlled centrally by the state, and look what a mess they make of things like that. There would be no new businesses, setting new and great ideas to work for the benefit of the nation, because investment needs to see profit and you would abolish that.

I’ve spent 50 years working to play my small part in building a nation out of the ashes of the war. I see a world of freedom, where people can work hard, have great ideas and make money, which is theirs to do with as they want, because history says many do great philanthropic things, motivated by love and drive, not by state control. I see a country free to welcome refugees and allow them to build new lives and businesses in this land, adding to its wealth. I see a country where schools educate, not teach to exams and where Great Britain is great again, playing a big part in the safety and security of the world and influencing world affairs with christian values.

I see a land of the free, of the caring and of the enthusiastic, served by politicians we trust, elected not because they promised us more personal wealth but because they have a moral and ethical backbone on which they base fundamental principles that I can relate to. I see a nation whose driving aim is not more money but quality of life. Anybody want to join?

8 05 2015

I’m not quite sure how you got from me saying we should pay a decent wage and fair taxation, to banning philanthropy? Taxation doesn’t stop being being wealthy – remember under Thatcher the top rate of tax was 60%, it’s now 45%. The poor now pay a greater proportion of their wealth in taxation that the rich.

There are wonderful examples of generosity, and freedom of course, and long may they continue. Of course we will always need them. But individuals cannot build and maintain a universal health service, universal energy supplies, universal education – it needs overseeing, it needs regulating, it needs control, in the positive sense. I wish it didn’t. But human nature says it does.

I hope we can trust our politicians. I trust some. But ones who blame the poorest for the sins of the wealthiest, and call it justice? Nope, not them.

16 05 2015

I see a ruling party which is determined to demonise the most vulnerable in our society.
I see a ruling party for whom the _only_ thing that matters is balancing the books even if people die as a result.
I’m utterly with Kevin on this one.

10 05 2015
sue edgson

Thank you Kevin for an insightful blog. I share your prayers and your hopes for 5 years time. I’m still trying to make sense of what happened on Thursday and what I can do to try and make our society fairer.

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