Friday, 17 June 2011

Inspiring Balls ?

Post by Ash
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.


  1. I always wonder at people who seem to take life in their stride and can be positive about their situation, even in times of great hardship and difficulty. I envy them this ability as I tend to over-analyse a situation and can not help but worry over the potential consequences of my actions.

    I agree with your comments on politicians. All too often, their squabbles and "yah-boo" politics seem childish and petty. I distrust politicians as they only seem to be in politics for their own gain and power/status. I long for politics to have statesmen (and women), who rise beyond party politics - supporting the government of the day when they are doing something right and suggesting something else when they are not. In short, I want the to govern, not "play" politics.

  2. I fear for democracy. The electorate are so disillusioned by politicians that they feel it is a waste of time to bother voting. They never listen to the concerns of the people, are out of touch with reality and only seek to further their own greed and power seeking ambition.

    The trouble is, what are the alternatives to the democratic process ? - dictatorship? - communism ? both fail because "power corrupts and absolute power corrupts absolutely"

    Perhaps the heralded second coming of Christ will show mankind 'The Way'

  3. No matter what the political system no matter the time, criticism along the line of, being out of touch, ineptitude, moral bankruptcy, corruption and self-interest, is and has been endemic. It is a given for every government known to man no matter what era of history or culture you look at.

    I myself cannot think of a better era to be in, or place to be in, regarding the freedom we have to criticise without worry of catastrophic retaliation, or the opportunity to get involved peacefully and safely. It was not but a generation behind me that thousands of British lives (and others) were being laid down so that we can have the privilege of being despondent or dismissive of the quality of our politicians. People in the near east are laying down their lives today for the possibility to have such ineptitude within their own governments instead of the despots that they are presently saddled with.

    Graham was right in his assertion that people are mostly decent and not evil or debased. That goes for most societies, given the choice. We have the choice, and most of the time most of us try and do what we think is right. I include politicians and all other strata of British life. The wonder is not at how bad we do but on the whole how well we do, and at how easily we devalue the political system and participants we have as not being worthy of support or taking seriously (especially in the ballot box) I’m grateful that those at the top don not seem to take themselves as seriously as some power crazy rulers do round the world. And that we have the space and capacity to feel mildly put out by our politicians antics, and proud of those who freely rise above it.


  4. Sorry Anonymous Pete but I agree with OPTIMIST.

    Politicians when in power, tend to believe that they alone occupy the moral high ground. They divide the rest of us into either 'good' or 'evil'. Only their own view is permitted and all who dare to oppose, must be 'evil' and damned beyond the pale.

    We are living through a time of severe erosion
    of freedom of expression and dissent of any kind
    is regarded as subversive.

    Our great task is to reclaim politics for the long suffering electorate who find themselves dis-enfranchised.

    At present,we are over-ruled on a wide range of issues such as immigration, multiculturalism,global-warming,equality and anti-discrimination.
    This hijacking of language,morality and politics, threatens to engulf Britain and the West.
    We should not sleep-walk into serfdom by imagining that all is well with democracy and the so called 'Freedom of Speech'