Don’t you hate it when politicians bicker and spend their time sniping at each other rather than explaining what they stand for?
Don’t you wish that they could learn to see past their differences and learn to work together?
It would be great if they could cooperate more but we need to realize that cooperation will involve some compromise.
One of the things that has dawned on me over the past few days is that many of us think we want politicians to work together, but when they actually do, we get upset if our preferred party members compromise too much.
Coming into the last general elections, the Liberal Democrats were doing better in the opinion polls than ever before. After the election, with no one winning an outright majority, they chose to form a coalition government with the Conservatives and their popularity has decreased ever since. I thought Nick Clegg spoke well at the leaders debate last week but many of the polls rated him poorly which is another example of how unpopular his party are.
The Liberal Democrats chose to compromise and this led to them accomplishing some of their aims but it also resulted in them having to go back on some of their election promises. I know that the Conservatives have compromised as well, but it looks as though they have largely got their way in the partnership where they are in a majority.
I still haven’t made up my mind how I am going to vote in the national elections, other than there is no way that I am going to vote for UKIP. As I have thought through the issues I am becoming more and more impressed with Nick Clegg and the difficult decision that was taken to form the coalition government.
I would love to ask Nick (and I would hope that I would get a straight answer) whether if he could go back 5 years, would he make the same decisions? Would he work with the Conservatives? If so, would he make the same compromises?
I find it unlikely that any one party is going to win enough seats to form a government in the upcoming election and so we are likely to end up with another coalition. Learning how to work together may be key to shaping the future of British politics.
Whatever our political persuasion, I hope that we can agree that working together is a good thing.
In life, we will have the opportunity to work with people who are very different to us. How will we respond to them?
I find the teaching of Jesus helpful, when he said that we should;
Treat people the way that you would want to be treated.
Can we come to respect people, even when we disagree?
Can we learn to treat people well and to work with others?
Part of working with others is knowing what compromises to make or not to make. As we find clarity about what are our non negotiables are, we should also realize that these things shouldn’t affect how we view other people.
We need to realize that we can disagree with others whilst still treating them well.
One of the most surprising positive responses that I have had to a talk that I have given came at Easter a few years ago. A Muslim came up to me at the end of my talk to thank me for how helpfully that I had explained what Christians believe about Easter. I knew that he hadn’t agreed with everything that I had said because part of the talk had been explaining the Christian belief that the only way to God is through Jesus, but despite this he was still positive. Instead of picking a fight, he was polite and respectful, complimentary about what I had said.
We do not all have to be the same and we should not feel under pressure to conform to what others believe but I hope that we will choose to work well together and to respect one another.