The starting gun has been fired and we are now into the long race to the election. I suspect it is not just the politicians who will feel relieved come May 8th, though at this moment it is anyone’s guess what our political landscape will look like then.
Over the next few weeks we will, I am sure, be offered many contrasting policies and forecasts of the future from which we will have to make up our mind as to how we will vote, but to do this we will first need to ask ourselves first ‘what are we looking for?’ What do we expect of our politicians and their policies, what are our questions to which we look to them to address.
It was with this question in mind that the House of Bishops of the Church of England issued a pastoral letter in February. It does not make comfortable reading. They comment that ‘In Britain, we have become so used to believing that self-interest drives every decision’ and that we need to use our votes with the good of others in mind, to break free and vote for the ‘common good’. They don’t of course tell us who to vote for, rather they provoke us to challenge and test all those who would seek our support.
Ultimately we will get the government we vote for, a government made in the image of the choices and priorities we choose. Come what may it is surely therefore our civic responsibility to vote and to do so in an informed way with wisdom not just for our own needs but for the good of all.
The Venerable Robert Springett, Archdeacon of Cheltenham