Politicians Need To Fear the People

Well the General Election has been called and its all bets off as to who will win. I notice that the party leaders are looking to find ways to encourage us all to go voting. As a nation these islands are now under threat not from an outside enemy but from ourselves. When it comes to politics and community issues we are living through the most apathetic generation of all times. Politicans should fear the people not their political opponents. For many the real enemy has been our politicans themselves. I think there are areas in the UK where less than 35% of the population turn out to vote. In Glasgow there are some constituencies where the vote was as low as 39% at the last general Election. When it comes to membership of political parties the numbers are even less. Put it this way on paper the membership of the Church of Scotland is around 600,000 the membership of the Labour Party on paper in Scotland is 18,000 and they claim to be the party with the largest membership. So while we hear much talk of the decline of the church why is it that the media seldom ask the politicians about the decline of politics. Fewer and fewer people seem to be interested in their policies and their speeches. Indeed the number of people listening to current affairs programmes is on the decline. More people listen to Songs of Praise. Yet religion is not broadcast to the same extent as current affairs and politics. Politicians should really be worried. Could we be seeing the first signs of democracy unravelling? We have had a long tradition in western thought that has been influencing our education system and our understanding of personhood. It is sometimes not spoken about but it is displayed in action. It is like an undertone that influences the colour of our thinking. It is a basic assumption that individual rights and personal freedoms are always ideas that fly in the face of community and living in communion. There is a philosophy abroad that says when all is said and done, it is every man for himself, we are isolated human beings, we might see need but we need to preserve self over against the other and against society as a whole. Could politics be seen as becoming almost a cult promoting individualism? Almost every politician speaks in defence of the rights of individual. This thinking has influenced politians from all the parties. This whole way of thinking was illustrated in the fiasco over MPs expenses. When it came down to brass tacks many were more interested in their own personal gain than the public purse. We the public should also be worried because if so few of us care about who governs our country and who makes the laws then we are surrendering power into the hands of fewer and fewer people. I believe that the Church is called to be an example to the world of how freedom and community are interdependent on each other and that they are not mutually exclusive but indeed part of the building blocks of the Kingdom of God. So while I throw out a challenge to the politicans I also exhort the Christian Church to step up to the plate and live out and model the Kingdom of God in the here and now.
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