Today as I was working at home I stuck on the debate about the renewal of the submarine system Trident (the launch vehicle for the UK’s nuclear weapons capacity). I put it on the telly at about 2pm and didn’t switch it off till the two votes had occurred at about 7.30pm. I know, over FIVE hours of listening to politicians.
But you know what I found? Some quite stimulating debate. Honest and logical argument on both sides of the discussion. Passionate pleas for an acceleration of our disarmament process, as well as passionate pleas for us to keep out nuclear option.
I was quite amazed. Parliament does get a really bad press – MP’s apparently know very little; are not interested in due process and generally toe the line. Well all this may well be true sometimes but it wasn’t in evidence today (I know it’s probably because of the nature of what was being discussed).
At college I toyed with the idea of doing an MA in the Politics of Globalisation (I even got a place on the course but then met my wife to be). The idea was to do this over a year and then get a job as a civil servant and work my way up the political ladder. However, I quickly decided that I had lost confidence in our political systems and decided against this path. (I now see the irony in all this in my going forward for ordination in the Church of England.)
Today I think some of my faith has been restored – it wasn’t all about towing the political line – rather it was people passionately arguing on behalf of (sometimes using the language of) their constituents. Good stuff!
So for anyone who has no faith in politics – turn on the live Parliament channel (on a BBC channel on Freeview) you might occasionally find your faith increasing.