May 2010

Of Politicians, Cynics and ... hope in strange places.

Well, the election has been declared. In writing this article only a few days after Gordon Brown went to visit the Queen, I find myself already reaching for the remote and changing channels when the reporters, pundits and party spokesman come on the screen. I can’t think what heights of non interest I will achieve towards the end of the campaign. The surprising thing about this is that I am normally interested in politics, and have been known to stay up till midnight following some obscure political debate on TV.

But this time through, with the level of claim and counter claim reaching stratospheric elevations and the supposedly impartial media pontificating on the importance of the said claims and events with the perception of a head-down-hole ostrich, it is all leaving me cold.

I guess part of the problem is the knowledge that we have bought our way out of the recession (‘worse is living memory’), and if we hadn’t done the ‘quantitive easing’ (ie borrowing 100’s of  billions of pounds to pay for it) it would have been far worse, but, eventually, the bill still has to be paid.

All the politicians are accusing the other lot of not taking the issue seriously, but it appears to me that no-one is actually saying what they would really do, apart from the headline grabbing sound bites. There appears to be an acceptance that what ever they say now in the run up to the election in order to get elected, the real plan and the real level of pain will only come out after the election, when the new (or recycled) government is formed.

Don’t get me started on the expenses scandal, and the inability of many politicians of all persuasions to understand they actually did something wrong.

The cynic in me is growing ever larger. Perhaps I should sign up for the next series of Grumpy Old Men....

It has been some time since I first read the following quote, but I came across the citation again recently. It reads:- “In spite of everything, I still believe that people are really good at heart.” It made me stop and think. For it was written by Anne Frank while she and her family were hiding for being Jews behind a shop in occupied Amsterdam, and it was only a few weeks after that her family was discovered by the Gestapo. Anne Frank and her sister, Margot, were eventually transferred to the Bergen-Belsen concentration camp where they both died of typhus in March 1945.

It made me pause, for it is very easy to allow the problems of the world to overshadow the very real hope that we have in Jesus Christ. The gift of Jesus is that despite his ‘obvious’ defeat in being executed as a common criminal and the story ending there, God’s power is working and defeat, though palpable, is not all there is in the story. Could it be that God can even work in such a deficient group of people as our politicians and our media? Heaven forbid!

I wonder whether instead of being turned off  by the abundant inadequacies we see in the political and media establishment, perhaps God is wanting us to be concerned and informed about and even pray for the situations and the personalities that ‘make the news’.

Though I knew of the above quotation from Anne Frank, I had not however come across the full quote. It is both sobering and inspiring. It reads:-

Saturday, 5th  July, 1944  “It’s a wonder I haven’t abandoned all my ideals, they seem so absurd and impractical. Yet I cling to them in spite of everything, I still believe that people are really good at heart. I simply can’t build up my hopes on a foundation consisting of confusion, misery, and death. I see the world gradually turning into a wilderness, I hear the ever approaching thunder, which will destroy us, too. I can feel the suffering of millions, and yet, if I look up to the heavens, I think it will come out right, that cruelty will end, and that peace and tranquillity will return again. In the meantime I must uphold my ideals, for perhaps the time will come when I shall be able to carry them out.”