The causes of the events currently unfolding have been brewing for years. The people have spoken, and for those who didn't realise what was wrong, this is a wake up call about the feelings and experiences of their fellow citizens. Perhaps the sense of crisis will make way for opportunity - for the rebalancing that is required, for the forging of a common life and the rebuilding of social trust. For some time we have been calling for a new settlement for the common good - a balance of interests.
Ideology, of the left or of the right, will not be helpful here: we should be suspicious of promises of false hope. We need an ethics- and virtue-based politics of the common good with a one nation approach and deliverable policies that foster good relationships. This is the moment for honourable, competent leadership that models honesty, responsibility and humility.
There is a unique role for the churches at this point, especially the laity, at the grassroots. The Christian traditions of love, human dignity, reconciliation, family, community and sense of place are needed now. We must work with, not speak for, people in communities who have for too long been left behind. This is a time for mutual respect: to discover who we are, to build relationships with people who may hold different views and live different lives, to be ready for what may yet unfold.