I looked at the broken election billboards lying in the rain along the road to Easingwold and I harked back on the number of times the word ‘broken’ had appeared in the recent past; we have heard headlines like ‘Broken Britain’ or the ‘Broken NHS’; there’s a lot of potentially ‘broken promises’ maybe to come; there’s our ‘broken electoral system’; and there’s the broken world that Greta Thunberg reminds us about, just as autumn breaks into winter – last weekend was a stunner for me up in Scotland and yet today is positively grisly. So there are an awful lot or really broken issues out there, and as our politicians remind us all too often – that the other side, the other parties if they get in they will make it more broken than it is already. The Major/Blair/Cameron years where somehow the central ground seemed to hold good, that’s a world away from the positional angst and antagonism of those purporting to want to rule us all in but a few hours’ time contrasting promises of honey and wine if they get in and absolute disaster if anyone else gets in. Society seems to have become selfishly absorbed into more and more extreme positions – the tail oft wags the dog.
Isn’t it about time we started being a bit more civil to each other? Years ago I was taught to believe that lawyers should be healers not hired guns. With that same spirit, when Pariament meets next week, lets just see whether that example can be led from the very top. The disgraceful bouts of shouting at each other from opposite sides, not just at PM’s question time, but hour after hour. Lets perhaps redesign the chamber or even mix the sides up so anyone can sit anywhere. If the lion lies down with the proverbial lamb and we all recognise that there is a substantial common interest out there that needs fine tuning with better dialogue and bettter conversatiions between those that currently oppose or even hate each other our society might just work better than it does now. It starts with recognising those things that mean or should mean a lot to all of us – you can take the NHS and the planet as two obvious examples. But lets face the fact that you can’t have super care for the elderly, safer streets and you can’t provide excellent education for the many not the few without all of us paying a shekel or two more for it. But those conversations need to take place maybe via some sort of national forum a bit like the Truth and Reconciliation Comminission in South Africa – if genuine respect and better dialogue starts at the top, percolating down to our communities, percolating up to a new era of international co-operation it should work through to – these are big questions to solve big problems that deserve a more cohesive response. Lets put those who seek to govern us to the test and maybe when the next election comes along we won’t have so many of those broken billboards on the back of those broken promises.