Wherever you choose to look, read or listen, the news channels are saturated with talk about Brexit, the General Election, Trump’s possible impeachment and the general state of chaos which seems to surround us.
Over the last few months (or years?) I have frequently heard campaigners, politicians, commentators and journalists bemoaning the broken state of our institutions in general and Parliament in particular. At times there seems to have been a despondent air hanging over any discussion of politics or institutional life and yet, I don’t quite see it like that. From my viewpoint I believe that, though we are certainly living in challenging times, there is much that is very positive happening around us.
I am an optimist (one of my favourite of our school values) and I have seen that we are living in exciting times where the status quo is being challenged, orthodoxies are being upset and new ways of achieving things are being established. Importantly for me, in recent weeks I have seen that, far from being stuck in some sort of quagmire as depicted by the press, Parliament has become even more disruptive and democratic and politicians have chosen to forgo the party whip and vote as their conscience or constituents dictate. This might have upset the apple cart, however, it has also been a powerful force which seems to have fundamentally changed how Parliament works and feels to me to be somehow more democratic.
The unprecedented statistic that 73 members of Parliament have changed party affiliation (a mixture of becoming independent or joining a new party) since Theresa May was elected in 2017 bears testament to the scale of the disruption that has been taking place. To my way of thinking, we are living in an optimistic world where anything is possible. The price of this, of course, is that little is certain any longer. It means that without optimism we are doomed to despair and that, in a nutshell, is why I believe that optimism is so vital for a happy life.
This made me recall the classic line spoken by Dev Patel in the 2012 film, ‘The Best Exotic Marigold Hotel’:
“Everything will be alright in the end... if it's not alright then it's not yet the end.”
I for one am happy to be optimistic and believe that it will all be alright in the end....
John F Gilmour