I tend to the view - as did my clergyman Father - that religion and politics do not and should not mix. He was a proper Tory, but always argued that half the congregation was Labour, others of no political views, and that it was not his job to offend them. Similarly I would count myself as a (not particularly good) Christian, but recognise that a great many of the people I represent in North Wiltshire may not be, even if the bulk of us probably broadly subscribe to Christian behaviour.
The Winter Solstice at Stonehenge just before Christmas (a pagan mid-winter festival adopted by the Christians) looks forward to the end of cold and snow and death, and to spring and new life. Easter somehow symbolises that re-birth. It’s new and fresh and looks forward to nature in full bloom. Our geese produced three lovely little yellow goslings on Easter Day - they look just as if they had popped out of a chocolate egg.
We are close to the end of the old Parliamentary Session. The Bills promised in last May’s Queen’s Speech have been debated, amended, dropped, improved, and most of them now signed off by Her Majesty. There‘s a little bit of tidying up to do when we get back after Easter, and then we can look forward to the next Queen’s Speech and a raft of new legislation to take us through to the general election.
Before then we have the European Parliamentary elections on 22 May and the Scottish Referendum in September. Around those events, most of the year is likely to become more and more political with the various parties doing their best to set out their stalls. That is an important and central apart of democracy, and I will certainly miss no opportunity to argue the case for a Conservative majority government in 2015.
My good Labour friends and I would disagree on at least 75% of current affairs, but we do so in a friendly and intelligent way. I respect their views, at least partly because the areas they represent are very different to North Wiltshire. That intellectual debate about the raft of ideas and policies which will be best for Britain in the world should be the central core of our general election discussions. It should not be an opportunity for party political bickering, far less for personalised attacks as one or two of the minority parties, lacking any kind of real beliefs, sometimes tend to do. People can have different opinions about the best solutions to the world’s problems without making it into a barney.
So I hope that our good honest, healthy political discussions and campaigning over the next twelve months will be robust and active (our electorate demand and deserve no less), but that it will also be constructive and forward-looking and devoid of personal attacks. It should be about the future and finding new solutions to people’s problems.
Perhaps we politicians could indeed take could take some kind of a lesson from the fresh, new feeling of renaissance which typifies Easter.