So according to papers recently acquired from the former office of Ed Balls, Gordon Brown`s camp plotted against Tony Blair to hasten his departure as Prime Minister. Well what a shock that must be-for virtually none of us. So much for being inspired by those we elect ; unfortunately very few politicians seem to pass muster on this score these days. In reality it was probably ever thus. Shallow is a term that rather comes to mind, as yet more news media is wasted on such stories.
Cut to two separate, humble, but inspiring events in the truest sense of the word, that would put the cynicism associated with our political classes to shame. One took place last week at University College, Manchester. The other happens everyday in run down and chronically deprived areas in all our inner cities.
The former was a happy gathering to celebrate the valediction of students entering the ministry. Part of the event was devoted to an address by a Baptist Minister about the difference these students, and in effect all of us, could make in our small yet important personal stratosphere. She described the contributions that she felt were possible by reference to her own experiences and ministry, as the chaplain at a hospice in East Cheshire. Far from being a place filled with doom and gloom, the hospice was overwhelmingly a centre for great joy; those facing the trauma of serious illness and death were mostly sure that love, above all else, was the glue of life. The materialistic fripperies that we all come to rely upon, and the point-scorings with our fellow beings, were ultimately of no relevance whatsoever. These patients exuded a presence and grace that was truly inspiring-as was the case with the work and life of this particular Minister, little though would she appreciate me saying so.The second example of real inspiration came from a source we sometimes underrate; children. The BBC broadcast a programme highlighting the conditions that youngsters living in some of Britain`s inner cities are forced to endure. We`re all probably aware that life is tough in places such as the Gorbals in Glasgow, but just how tough became all too graphically apparent as the programme progressed .Put bluntly, the children featured were living in damp, infested and overcrowded conditions that without any shadow of doubt should have been condemned as uninhabitable. Most viewers would have been shocked by what passed for the everyday experience for far too many youngsters in 21st century Britain. What was truly inspiring however, was the response of those children, through whose daily lives the story was told. Far from self-pity they tended to just get on with life. They knew that they were living in something of a hell- hole, and that for some their family circumstances were less than ideal. But they remained both philosophical and positive; most seemed to have a firm idea of what was needed to be done to improve their lot. All were prepared to make sacrifices for the good of their families and friends. None seemed bitter; they just needed a break, be that the chance of a decent education, diet, or , safe, secure, basic housing. In short, the sorts of things most of us take for granted.
Set against these selfless lessons that those struggling at the end and starts of lives so inspiringly can teach us, the selfish in-fighting of elected politicians really does seem quite pathetic.