An idea whose time has come

Brexit has unambiguously exposed a country fragmented, unequal and divided. But in the midst of the unfolding political upheaval, we see a space opening up. Common themes are emerging across the parties, between traditional conservative values and the authentic currents of socialism. There is a clear desire for a more meaningful story that engages with the things that matter. There is now an opportunity for an ethics and virtues model of justice: a politics for the Common Good.

This is a turning point for both the left and the right. In spite of the noise from both extremes, neither the narrow preoccupation with rights and utility coming from the left, nor the cute libertarian promises from the right, address what matters most to families and communities. What may be emerging is a new politics, one that resonates deeply with our Judeo-Christian traditions - because it speaks of community, inheritance, fraternity, tradition, faith, virtue, honour, ethics, love, truth, reciprocity, gift, duty, sacrifice, responsibility and relationship. These words, and the actions that must follow, speak to the deepest nature of our humanity, unlike the dry transactional language of a technocratic, utilitarian approach founded on rationalism and individualism. 

The churches can play a key role to help bring about this change at all levels, but only if we are true to those traditions. There is no place here for demonisation, sectarianism or ideology. The Common Good is not, as is often misinterpreted, a utopian ideal to be imposed by one 'enlightened' group upon another. On the contrary, it involves working across tribal differences, having honest conversations, respecting the reality of how other people live - and then doing the hard work of negotiation to reach a settlement that balances different interests.

With the party conference season almost upon us, we explore the themes emerging in politics and the transformative potential of Churches throughout this newsletter. We hope you will be encouraged that together, our combined efforts are beginning to show signs of changing the terms of debate.

This is from our newsletter of 18 September 2016. To read more click here... 


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