Thank God that the Conservatives won the general election.

What a headline from someone who voted for the Green Party. Why would I say such a thing? And why would I put a picture of David Cameron as my desktop background?

The problem with our country is not that we don’t have the right political leadership, but that the citizens of our nation have abdicated our responsibilities as human beings to the government.   And now we have a government that is unwilling to fulfil those responsibilities.

This abdication of responsibility has been very attractive. If my neighbour loses his job, her house or gets sick, I can sympathise with their situation and blame the government. I don’t have to do anything practical myself. When a civilised nation is relying on food banks, we bear no responsibility for the situation.

Why do I thank God for the election result?

Because we must now accept that caring for those who are the most vulnerable in society cannot be left to the government. We now have to take responsibility for our neighbour. We now have to all ‘love our neighbour as ourselves’.

We have been given a wakeup call, and we need to respond – and when we do, it will make us better people.

Most of us will help out our friends and immediate neighbours if they are in trouble, but we are likely to be in similar financial circumstances to them. It seems unfair that we have to help them out when those who are much better off than us don’t. The political argument says that the big things should be covered by taxes, and the tax system should ensure that the better off help out the worse off.   The election result is telling us that we cannot rely on a political solution. The world is not fair, but we still need to show love to our neighbour.

Who is our neighbour? Two thousand years ago Jesus was asked that same question, and in his parable of the Good Samaritan, he pointed out that everyone is our neighbour, the poor and the rich are neighbours even if they don’t live next door.

Loving our neighbour means that in all our dealings with others we must remember that they too are human beings and deserve to be treated as such: whether they are richer or poorer than us, doctor or patient, banker or borrower, unemployment officer or unemployed, teacher or pupil. We are all fellow human beings – yes, even Mr Cameron.

The political solution – the tax system – means that the richer do help the poorer, but cuts will inevitably affect the day-to-day lives of the poor.

Less than a lifetime ago, when the government was not able to provide enough services,  private individuals did their best to fill the gap. Wealthy people of the day took the responsibility of wealth seriously and responded by providing the money for essential services. It is time for the wealthy today to do the same.

It is also time for everyone to accept that having one’s living provided free of effort by the state is not a right.

Both rich and poor deserve the opportunity of being able to contribute to society through work, and through sharing resources. Of course there are times when many will struggle, through losing a job, sickness, or other mishap, and in those times we need to continue to treat everyone as human beings, worthy or respect and dignity.

So, thank God for this reminder that we are all members of the same human race, all on this lonely planet together, and that we need to take up the responsibilities that we didn’t realise that we had neglected. May each of us to respond as best we can.

income distribution UK…………………………………………………………………………………………………………………………..

If you like the way I think and want to find out more, why not buy my book “The Big Picture”

About Minimalist Christian

Phil Hemsley is a graduate of the University of Cambridge, and a Fellow of the Institution of Mechanical Engineers in the UK. He works for a multinational company in the power industry, has presented technical papers at international conferences and holds many patents. He has published two books, the most recent is "The Big Picture, an Honest Examination of God Science and Purpose". He has lived on both sides of the faith fence. He is married, with two daughters.
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11 Responses to Thank God that the Conservatives won the general election.

  1. johngurnett says:

    Phil….

    “Because we must now accept that caring for those who are the most vulnerable in society cannot be left to the government. We now have to take responsibility for our neighbour. We now have to all ‘love our neighbour as ourselves’.” …. surely this is true whatever government is in office….?

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  2. j1ll says:

    Firstly, I fuly agree on the personal responsibility. I had not seen this graph before and the thing I find really shocking is that 60% of our population has earnings under about £25,000 and by my interpretation of the earnings vs income blocks is in some measure a nett receiver from the state. I would suggest that this ratio (60% dependent on 40%) seems pretty unsustainable, and can only be addressed by more fundamental economic measures than governmental redistribution of taxation to benefits. The major question for a government becomes ‘How do we enable more people to make a greater contribution to the economy to allow them to receive higher earnings rather than higher benefits?’. Alongside that, how do we ensure that workers who’s jobs cannot be measured in economic output are fairly compensated?

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    • Excellent questions! One small thing that we can all try to do is less DIY, less self-service. For instance, every time I do my own garden I’m choosing not to pay someone else to do it. And if I use the self service checkout then I’m ’employing’ a machine rather than a person.

      But I think our whole attitude needs to change. To value people rather than the material value of goods.

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  3. Phil Groom says:

    Interesting: sounds like David Cameron’s “Big Society” all over again; and it’s something many of us have been quietly getting on with since long before Cameron came out with that notion.

    Personally I’m not thanking God that the Tories won: to do so would be hypocrisy, though I take your point. The reality isn’t so much that the Tories won but that the rest of us, the majority, lost; and I see nothing to be thankful for in that situation. But I do thank God for my friends who have stood with me and made 5 Quid for Life possible: it’s a small project that we said up when the Tories first started their demolition job on the benefits system. We’re a mental health safety net, providing financial help for people with mental health problems who have lost or are about to lose their benefits — you can read all about it on our ‘About’ page.

    Perhaps, if you mean what you say above, you’d like to help us, please? Either by spreading the word to help ensure that those who need our support know we’re here, or by becoming a donor?

    Thank you in anticipation.

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  4. newtonfinn says:

    No caring human being, religious or otherwise, would disagree with the Golden Rule. Surely, on the individual level, we should do what we can for those Jesus lovingly called “the least of these” or those suddenly put into a difficult situation because of a serious illness, loss of livelihood, etc. BUT, on the individual level, virtually nothing even minimally effective can be done about these terrible tragedies, nor about pending global disasters from climate change, mass pollution of land and air and sea, the looming threat of new wars wanted by neoconservatives/neoliberals, the inevitable next crash of the global casino economy, etc. And here in the States, I, as a middle middle class person, couldn’t begin to pay for a single emergency room visit needed by my neighbor, not even to mention major surgery or continuing medical care. When college costs 30 or 40 thousand per year (and often more), I can hardly begin to help my own children with their higher education, much less help out my neighbor’s children. No, the indisputable fact is that individual acts of love and kindness are wonderful and beautiful and blessed of God, but even on the most massive scale imaginable, they would constitute no more than a drop in the bucket when it comes to damping down or putting out the raging fires of an evil economic and political system. So often neglected in discussions of Biblical ethics and morality is COMMUNAL responsibility. Israel, and other nations as well, are called out by prophet after prophet for failing CORPORATELY to provide justice and compassion to their citizens. Indeed, it is “the nations” that are brought before the throne in one of the classic scriptural pictures of the final judgment. Thus, unless ever-dwindling government services for the needy (enabling ever-increasing subsidies for big-time business interests) are prophetically judged and condemned, LOUDLY AND RELENTLESSLY, as satanic evil by both individual Christians and their institutional churches, they are only putting band aids on festering wounds pouring out the blood of humanity. For a more radical take on this subject (again, not to deny the importance stressed in this article that we as individual citizens or in community groups step up and do what we can when government defaults on its most primary obligations), go to the Amazon internet book store and, free of charge, read the book description, but even more importantly the free sample, of “Life of Truth: a synoptic gospel,” written by yours truly under the pen name Theophilus (indicating that this new version of the Jesus story is a third-hand account, following the prior accounts of Luke and the other canonical gospels). All of us owe the host of this forum a huge thank you for the considerable time and effort he devotes to making discussions like this possible. And by all means, do what I just did and read his excellent book: “The Big Picture,” which is a great aid in sorting out a great deal of what matters.

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    • Thanks for your comments Newton. We need the human beings in governments and large institutions to recognise their responsibilities of not only controlling their personal wealth, but the additional money that they are entrusted with.

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  5. Pingback: “You can’t support them all can you?” | Thoughts from a Minimalist Christian

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