Monday, 2 May 2011

To AV or not to AV?

I can't in all honesty say I have wrestled over the question if AV vs FPTP, but I have pondered it a little with the help of these guys, had brief chats with friends who know a lot more than I do and come to a conclusion in time for Thursday's referendum. I'll let you guess what it is. :-)

However, standing back from the whole thing, I'm reminded that great social improvement doesn't come from tinkering with the systems, but from transforming the people. (Yes, I realise that is somewhat simplistic and that people and system are more intimately connected than I make out, but indulge me for a moment ;-)

Political systems, like money and guns, are not inherently good or evil, it's the hands of the humans who use them that dictate the reputation they end up having. It doesn't matter whether you have euros, pounds or dollars, people will still embezzle money. It's a transformation of the heart that makes people less greedy and more generous. Similarly, with monarchy and democracy. If the monarch is righteous, the people will love, honour and serve them for their own good and the good of the country. If the democracy is corrupt, everyone will grab what they can whilst the ship goes down, leaving many to flounder and drown, and whilst law may slow this process down, it's powerless to stop it.

I read an excellent quote recently, and can't remember for the life of me where it was, but it went something like this: Democracy worked well in the West when the voice of the people was the voice of [the Christian] God, that is to say that the Reformers had done such a good job of teaching the Bible to common folk, that whilst disagreements were plentiful, there was an essentially Christian view of the direction of history and a biblical moral consensus that held the people together. The voice of the people could therefore be trusted. With the loss of that consensus has come the loss of trust and direction.

Freedom makes a great soundbite, it's a soundbite that the Post-Christian West is trumpeting across the world, but it's a meaningless soundbite, if you have no idea where you're going. The self-centredness of “Survival” is not a common direction and it isn’t worth dying for.

So whether you vote or abstain on Thursday, do so with a clear conscience before God, and spend at least as much time praying for the government (1Tim.2:1-3) who will have the unenviable task of figuring out what your, my and everyone else's vote/abstention means in practice

Whatever the outcome, may the glory of Christ fill the earth as the waters cover the see. (Hab.2:14).

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