Change is the big word in politics right now. ‘Because of what we did on this day, in this election, at this defining moment, change has come to America’ was Barak Obama’s memorable cry. Change is a powerful word, it says a lot about what we think of the past as much about what we hope for in the future. And here in the UK, the tortuous ongoing expenses scandal is providing a volatile backdrop increasing the desire for a new era.
In the 1997 General Election, Parliament welcomed around 250 brand new shiny MPs. This was the biggest new intake since the (understandable) turnover in the post-war Attlee landslide. But current projections are that 2010 could surpass 1997 and come close to 1945. Whilst this could well reflect public opinion, what challenges will this bring? Certainly, there could be a lack of experience in making legislation- mistakes of the past might easily be made again. More positively, there might be less of a slavish following of party whips (particularly for those selected through open primaries) which might bring a welcome sense of independence and challenge to the party machines. But the metaphorical thumbscrews must not be underestimated.
So what? What does it mean for us? We have the opportunity to get to know the hundreds of new Prospective Parliamentary Candidates (PPCs) in the coming months. Engage them in debate, they will never be more keen to know your views. Demonstrating grace and truth in action is never a misplaced investment. There may be a few babies exiting with the bath water (bath plug not claimed). But lets do what we can to flavour the incoming stream with the fragrance of Jesus.