Well, you`d think that was the case, given the state of last night`s long-awaited televised debate on the management of the economy. And maybe not just for poor old Alistair !
Imagine this morning`s headlines;"Darling hits home with Stamp Duty" (closely followed by his eyebrows), or maybe "Cable`s Promises Left Dangling";oh hang on no ,what about "Osborne Stakes Death Tax".
Whatever your political persuasion, it wouldn`t have been too hard to predict such well-worn cliche`s, permed and ready to sit atop the obvious piece of journalistic interpretation,written it seems increasingly to order to suit the newspaper`s owner and financiers. Enough to make us all feel ill; or at least a little depressed.
Fine. That`s the world we live in you might say. It`s a democracy thank God (how often do we forget that?).People can say and write what they want. Newspapers are newspapers; they reflect the readership. Don`t take it to heart. If you don`t like what you read, don`t buy `em. Oh, and the economy is `king`, or as someone quite important once said "it`s the economy stupid!" Get that wrong and we`re all in the soup.
Hard to argue with any of this of course. Capitalism drives both our our individual fortunes and our welfare state.It depends for its life upon the oxygen provided by our democracy and freedoms of speech. But wait a minute. Isn`t that oxygen becoming more than just a little polluted? Isn`t it causing us to start to splutter a little ? There is no need to remind anyone in the UK of the appalling damage done to the already diminished reputation of our elected representatives, by the various expenses scandals. We also share the world-wide disease generically referred to as `bankers sleaze`.
Well, when I get a cough that sticks I visit the doctor. But where is the doctor just when you want her, particularly when it comes matters of the economy, wealth, fairness and social justice?
Poorly or not there are a few things we can take as a `given`.We all have a free conscience and a moral compass. We all share an overwhelming and common desire to do good (I have to believe that), and we can all get quite excited when our rights are threatened. But are we exercising those qualities enough ? And isn`t there something extra in our armoury, that we`ve forgotten to look after ?
Many of us I`m certain feel that there must be more to life than becoming rich or powerful, or the very best; even when we ourselves may feel so driven. The vast majority of people`s everyday actions are designed to be supportive, co-operative, and caring. Most will know for example that the increasing disparity between the rich and poor , both in the UK and globally is, almost by definition, wrong. People, contrary to the often expressed exasperations , generally do `get it`.
For many though, not least those fortunate enough to be `secure` in their personal material life, isn`t there a growing urge to think "there must be more to life than this?". And doesn`t the `than this` bit also include points-scoring and power-grabbing debates on the economy such as we saw last night, and the toilet flush of media headlines that follow ?
Isn`t it time that we searched our souls, our hearts, our spiritual-selves; you can call it what you like (I call it `visiting the doctor`), and grabbed some of the balance back ? Shouldn`t we be moving towards a newer unity ? Can`t you just see it-Osborne, Darling and Cable, the `Three Amigos`. "Those boys sure done good together" states leader in The News Of The World. Well maybe not, but you get the drift.
We all have it within us to develop our own spiritual lives both for our own good and perhaps more importantly, for the good of others. And that extends to influencing our democratic leaders at whatever level, our media, and even those lovely bankers. We all have it within ourselves to search for a deeper and greater understanding to our purpose in life. And of course, we all have it within our hands to make the public debate on the economy, and indeed on all matters worthwhile in life, so much more conscious of these issues. In the process we may just begin to discover our true selves. We may even find a deeper happiness.