Ranters of Mow Cop

Ranters of Mow Cop

Wednesday, 13 May 2015

First steps in a 50 year struggle

I couldn't agree more... Lets buckle down to the 50 year long task of rebuilding a broad based progressive left movement...I won't be here to see its fruition but let's start by sowing some seeds now...
George Monbiot's article sums up what I've been thinking over the last week.

Friday, 8 May 2015

The feebleness of our Christian involvement with politics


Reactions to today's shock election results among the Christians I know personally, or through social media are mainly screams of disbelief and dismay. The future for people living or serving in less affluent appears exceedingly grim as the interests of the super-rich have won the day. Our food banks, money advice centres, job clubs and homeless drop ins are likely to be busier than ever.


There is a plethora of  Christian comment in the blogosphere today asking what next?  Most of it seems to be gentle and conciliatory, as if the default position is to be like Mr Cameron a one nation Tory.  Some contains good sense grounded in a Biblically shaped world view such as Antony Billington's piece 


not just the world of politics, but of education, business, economics, media, arts, law, health, family – spheres which can be influenced by the presence of Christians within them, more than we might imagine, as we build relationships, seek justice, make a gracious stand for the truth, be a messenger of the gospel.


Let's inform MPs of matters that concern us – not simply the narrow range of topics where people expect us to speak out, but on other things too – austerity, education, health, unemployment, environment, immigration. Let's get involved where we're able to do so.


There are pieces that encourage us to look at politics with a long view in the light of God's eternal plan such as Steve Latham's blog


To follow the Anabaptist understanding, we must build the church as an alternative community of God's kingdom, his future breaking into the present.


A piece from the Evangelical Alliance follows a traditionally conservative reading of Romans 13 and rightly stresses


that relationship be at the heart of our political engagement. .... so get to know your MP and local councillors.


It advocates, following the ideas promoted in the Show Up Campaign that Christians should be engaging in the world of politics though it then seems to make this rather instrumental, suggesting


our engagement with politics should first and foremost be about sharing the gospel so that others can be in relationship with God. This is after all the Great Commission.


It's rare however to read much about the practicalities of community politics by which other people in our churches and communities can become more fully engaged with the democratic process and become more politically literate. This sort of local involvement seems to have paid off well for some of the leading politicians in the Christians on the Left group, such as Stephen Timms, Gavin Shuker and newly elected Cat Smith.  The Citizens UK General Election Assembly was another good example of this practical engagement build on the foundations of two decades of community organizing in London faith communities.


Nor is there sufficient serious Christian engagement with the hard intellectual work of political theory, and translating it for ordinary believers so they can unmask the powers and principalities behind the ideologies of neo-liberalism that drive contemporary global capitalism and the dark path of fundamentalist secularism. The rediscovery of the theology and politics of the common good are perhaps the best attempt on offer. However, in the end this tends to boil down to a middle way of consensus loving social democracy, with lots of  motherhood and apple pie values that rarely lead to radical social transformation.


For me what is missing above all is the crucial dimension of prophetic rage. The rage that I and many others feel that

·       five years of austerity politics and welfare reform that have made thousands destitute and sent over a million to food bank queues, issues which were largely ignored in the campaigns

·       that once again it's clear that our democracy is overlaid on a general acceptance of inequality based on money and power.

·       a dishonest media campaign where perfect fear drove out love including the demonization of the Scottish National Party, and the scapegoating of migrant communitiesby almost all parties

·       incompetent or misleading polls, mainly paid for by the Tory press where the supposed poll equality suited the "Terror: Labour and SNP Coalition" narrative

·       the political illiteracy and mean spirit of so many voters in England shown by so many people punishing the junior partner of the coalition government by transferring votes to the dominant party

·       the electoral system which delivered an overall majority to a party with only 37% of the votes, one with 5% getting 56 seats and one with 13% gaining only one.

·       Britain seems to have voted for £12bn additional cuts to benefits.

·       Katie Hopkins will be staying in the UK!


As Christians our integrity demands that we name and own that rage. We need to recognize the feebleness of a Christian response that denies the anger and ignores the injustice and the pain and our fears for the future. It will not do simply to honour, befriend and pray for our elected authorities.  We cannot say "Shalom, Shalom" where there is no shalom, or just whitewash over the cracks in the system.


for when the wall has fallen, will you not be asked: Where is the coat of whitewash that you put on it? (Ezekiel 13.12)


So where there is evil, confrontation will need to continue.


But then comes the more difficult task of dealing with these emotions and seeking to engage effectively, and as far as possible constructively, and graciously and in the Spirit of Jesus.


a depressing day after the election night before draws to a close ... But politics doesn't just happen once every five years, it happens every day: in creative action, in voices speaking out about what they believe, in changing hearts and minds.


How long O lord, how long?

A digest of Laments from Christian Friends in my Facebook Network Today


speechless.... knowing that the work we do among the poor and the vulnerable is just going to grow! This is not a good thing.


Gutted Katie Hopkins is staying in the UK!


'The British election is still more proof that the problem with government of the people, by the people, and for the people, is the people'. (Tweet of God)


how on earth do we respond to what has happened in this country...


The Lib Dems have got exactly what they deserved. Now we can look forward to another 5 years of food-banks and austerity.


I despair of our so called democracy...maybe local organising of communities, local economies and welfare support is the best way forward..."politics" seems to have failed those on the margins... there are lessons from Scotland and it's new style of politics


Struggling to find an explanation as to why those who voted Lib Dem last time would now vote for the Conservatives in huge numbers - they have nothing in common!


I suspect the young people who we work with who may now be made homeless if changes to housing benefit for young people go through, may need a bit of hope just to survive. The future for them looks very bleak ...


So, those of us who can need to dig a little deeper in order feed, house, clothe those who the government have overlooked and will continue to overlook


Britain seems to have voted for £12bn additional cuts to benefits. Basically a pound of flesh from every person in need. All completely avoidable and unnecessary pain.


The news this morning is even worse than it was looking when I went to bed at 2.00. Labour wiped out in Scotland and losing a lot of seats in England, apart from in London. At least Caroline Lucas won in Brighton, and it looks like Farrage didn't succeed. It is not looking good for the poor, the vulnerable, the unemployed, disabled or homeless under this next "One Nation" Conservative Govt. It feels even worse than the second Thatcher victory following the Falklands.


The election result demonstrates for me that the Westminster establishment is no longer trusted in terms of its moral authority to lead a nation. I suspect the conservative success has a lot to do with the return to the Conservatives of LIberal defectors last time having lost confidence in Nick Clegg's leadership, and the poor Labour showing of the same problem with Ed Milliband. Cameron towers above them as a natural leader. Then there is the fact that what people seem to want for the time being is financial success in government on behalf of the successful in the electorate. What else would you expect in a society devoted to self and materialism? The social vision of Britain is in rags.


Farage fails to win his seat. I know it's a low bar, but I can safely say that it's the best news I've had all day.


The NHS, Education, Working Benefits, A Safety Net. Yesterday 58% of the UK voted against these priorities. A lot to ponder


Tough night for Labour but glad to have increased our voter numbers in East Surrey by 33%


Maybe now the church will rise up, speak up & be the radical, subversive, dissenting, advocating voice for the poor & excluded. Please?


Today should be a day of much rejoicing. And we will celebrate ******'s birthday and thank God for him. But in the midst of it all, we will also pause to reflect on the growing realisation that our country is becoming ever more divided and torn apart by social inequality and an access to opportunity only afforded to people by consequence of their social class and status. Watch the exponential growth of food banks, waiting lists for hospital treatment and the numbers of those in extreme poverty in our land, over the next five years. May God have mercy on us - heaven knows we'll need it......


"So a depressing election night draws to a close ... But politics doesn't just happen once every five years, it happens every day: in creative action, in voices speaking out about what they believe, in changing hearts and minds. So I will not cry into my morning cup of tea, I will aspire to go out and continue with the real politics I and others can believe in. Because boy will there be work to be done!"


There are things to celebrate election wise, great news in Lancaster, and the green vote is up. Mainly tho I can't quite believe so many people do not seem to care about the destruction of the nhs or the rise in food banks. So whilst I will today be despairing at the thought of yet more conservatives, I shall be grateful for all the amazing people I know who despite those "in power" will continue to do the powerful work of being alongside those struggling.


God help us all now! Foodbanks, poverty, inequality, demonising diversity, detaining asylum seekers > Where now for progressive politics?


Oh dear I can't believe it


Not Ed Balls

Reasons to be depressed this morning: Tory majority, Murdoch victory, likelihood of Scottish independence, boundary changes & further shifting of BBC towards right-wing agenda making it even more difficult for other voices to be heard or prevail. Oh, and 5 years more of nasty, divisive scapegoating, marginalising the most vulnerable and cuts like we haven't seen.

Reasons to be hopeful: passion, compassion, solidarity and real politics start local, between neighbours; truth and justice, mercy and love *will* have the last word.

Now, as friends of mine have already said this morning, time to roll up sleeves and get stuck in. The politicians won't do it. We need to.

Can any of my friends tell me where one fills out emigration forms.....?


If you're moving to Scotland we're coming too........Isle of Mull is really nice, so I've heard!!


more years of government murders then?


My picture is one of mourning for our country and the impact this result will have on the most vulnerable. For the fact the Tory party have gained support despite what they have done for the last five years. For the disappointment of people voting to benefit the individual rather than the community. Devastating.


Whatever political landscape we find ourselves in, we all have the capacity to inspire and work out a soulful politics from below. Shalom.


A more hopeful message, "Politics is about far, far more than parties, elections and polling days. We need to resist the plans for a massive extra £12bn in welfare cuts, the privatisation of the National Health Service, the ongoing attacks on education and the welfare state, the fuelling of climate change, the sale of arms to tyrants and the plans to throw £100 bn into a new generation of weapons of mass destruction... We can resist such policies in Parliament, through fresh ideas, in the media, on the streets, in our workplaces, in our communities and faith groups and places of education, through strikes, through protests, through nonviolent direct action and in our daily lives."


Retweeted Polly Toynbee (@pollytoynbee): So much to fear - for the NHS, for the BBC, for the low paid and the sick

Labour seat in Lancaster & Fleetwood just announced!! a small piece of good news.. Congratulations Cat Smith.

I'm conflicted by the fact that despite getting 12.4% of the vote, UKIP has one seat. Glad we were protected, devastated that it can happen in a 'democracy'

Its a long way up this bloody hill !

I am tired of politics... I wish I was stood here again watching the sun go down over Derwentwater & Keswick. In fact - If I get my way, I might just do that tonight!

Pray, pray pray for our best beloved community- it's gonna get a lot worse

getting the Blues; feeling so sad; wish i were asleep...

Moment of silence please, for all those trying to make it in the arts industry for the next 5 years under a Tory-led UK.

What a disaster

Perfect fear casts out love. I cannot believe the political illiteracy and mean spirit of so many voters in England. More years of increased suffering for the poor and vulnerable looms. Those who voted Tory and hid their intentions from the pollsters should be ashamed.

Shame on you who voted Tory !

PR is a fairer system

Something has gone horribly wrong when the best bit of news all night is that George Galloway and Tim Aker have failed to win.

 Exit poll looks like UK could be on way out of EU and Scotland out of UK. Disaster all round then.

I can't bear the thought of another Tory government. They will destroy everything. I cannot believe so many people have opted for such an uncaring, selfish, arrogant, bunch of blockheads.

I am without hope !

 Would you please join me in hoping that those exit polls are wrong, I fear the people I love and work with simply won't last another five years. Especially with the threat that 'we will finish the job'.


Woke to find I live in a country where the desire and greed of the well off and rich few is put before the needs of the many

Shocking number of people in ‪#England who lied to the pollsters about their voting intentions..

I dread to think what will happen to the poorest areas now. It will signal the death knell of Local Government as central government funding is decimated.

I'm going to be having to work even harder for disabled people

Cameron's victory speech. Horrible, cruel drama tonight. Some bewildering losses. Expectation raised by polls & lost. So sorry. Knackered...

Looks like Conservatives will govern the Union, but have laid the foundations for destroying that Union in the process.

Reading Facebook posts, I don't seem to know any Tories . Do they just keep their heads down more than gobby lefties?

One consolation is that the lib dems are being destroyed (given how much they sold their supporters short of their 2010 manifesto, they deserve it!)

My former home, Nuneaton, stays Tory. Feel sorry for friends there.

Wow, scary looks as if the tories may have a majority, umm ukips getting some votes

Sorry to see Douglas Alexander go. One of the good guys, with a world-wide perspective on the common good.

Get Boris off the air!!!

Retweeted Milton Jones (@themiltonjones): Think tonight all returning officers should start with 'it's great to be back

Hey ho. The great British public have bottled it and voted in favour of another 5 years of Katie Hopkins. Self-interest once again looks like trumping the common good, but that's democracy for you (or at least what passes for democracy in a first-past-the-post system).

Tories taking Nuneaton with increased majority is bad news. Outcome is becoming clear. Sickening. The implications for the vulnerable and weak in our society are grim.

It just hit me and I sobbed my heart out. I am genuinely frightened for the sick, young, poor, disabled, all of us.

I think that I'll be re-discovering my Scottish Roots. I think that the Australian ones are less attractive at the moment ...

cannot tell you how sick the election results are making me feel