Election Cancelled

February 17, 2010

The whole idea that the next GE campaign will be fought on the internet leaves much to be desired.

Hardly anybody is on Twitter. Nobody really cares to read comments on blogs, posted by ‘rapid reaction task forces’. Editing party posters on websites is amsusing, but never hilarious.

The conservative party have some good ideas about websites. The idea of launching your own campaign from a web 2.0 style interface goes a long way to engaging people in politics in a constructive way.

But how many constituencies are going to be really rocked by the reality bloggery, and opinionless drivel that we read these days? Sure you might have the odd scoop on Guido Fawkes (please don’t read the comments) or whatever, but in the main its just news people and politicians twittering to each other. As long as they believe they are setting the agenda, they won’t.

I’m sure local people have for the most part decided what they will vote, although thats not to say that polls of how they feel can’t change.

If people want to campaign for a GE, do it not by telling people what you believe, but by living it. I left the Labour party because I thought I could do what I wanted to do more easily, or at least find more people with the same interests, within the church than politics. I mean I’ll still vote Labour. I’ve made my decision. But instead of handing out petitions for other people to act on some local issue, why not do it yourself?

I tried to organise some folks to go around to clean up estates etc, provide real assistance to single parents etc.
‘Ah its an election year though, maybe another time’ was frequently the lukewarm excuse, from various aspiring tony blairs.
Yet people from the church sign up in droves – from all affiliations. I think that folks would find it far more credible if political party groups spent the entire time between elections not as a rapid reaction blog comments task force but as a social action task force in their local area. Clean streets, redecorate flats, build parks, if you really believe in what you say you do then do it.

If you catch yourself trying to get people to vote for you, you’re on the wrong track.

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Religious Extremism

May 25, 2008

It really annoys me when I see references to “religious extremism” bandied about, especially by politicians.
They mean to distance themselves from language that refers to a ‘war on terror’. However it doesn’t go far enough; I wish people would say “religious criminality” instead of “religious extremism”.

I contend that many people in Britain are extremists. One may take an extreme view on femminism, another on cycling. One may be a fundamentalist trade unionist, the other a radicalised environmentalist. Diversity is a sometimes useful, sometimes beautiful thing; people should be ‘allowed’ any view they wish, and the freedom to communicate that view and in so doing make a real contribution to diversity of thinking in britain.

Its not the view itself that is the problem. One can hold any view they wish. Its the action which follows. For this reason I think the phrase ‘religious criminality’ is more useful than ‘religious extremism’.

Jesus was a religious extremist, in a sense. Not the type of extremist who murders indiscriminitely but the type of extremist who allowed Himself to be crucified for the sake of all others [John 3:16-17]. A whole different type of extremist. The term extremist should be reclaimed for those who want to live in that mold. They cannot be called moderates, and should not be made to fear being identified with such a pure form of fundamentalism.

You get labour lib dem and tory fundamentalists. SNP too! You get jogging extremists, gaming extremists, femminist extremists. Thank God. Just because they’re extremists doesn’t mean they’re evil. Just because their views are extreme doesn’t mean those views are wrong.

Extremism is fine – you’re all extremists you just dont realise it. Criminality is not fine – but even if the belief is wrong, its the action not the view that should be legislated against.