It is almost a full day since the polls closed, and those commentators started their tireless work of unpicking every unfolding event. Channel 4 offered a good sanctuary from the machinations of the other channels, all of whom seemed hell-bent on over-kneading the dough, or so it seemed.
And so we have a Hung Parliament.
In the wake of said election, I went to Blenheim Palace (see pic) with my family and had a wonderful day, in draughty cool weather - with the people who I love most in the world. We went on the train, we enjoyed the Palace itself, we avoided the maze and flew through the Butterfly House (Rebekah had a hissy-fit when a gargantuan flutterby landed on her - and the glass in the roof was n'er well shattered with the screams). It has been a wonderful day, and I count my blessings for every moment of it. This all said, in the back of my mind has been the state of the political landscape.
My political prejudices are not shrouded in this Blog, and the prospect of a Tory outright majority filled me with abject dread - partly through my upbringing by a socialist dad, and also because silver-spoons and bums are not in proximity where I come from. However, a Labour government is not possible now, Nick Clegg (the 'impressionist resistant' politician - Channel 4) will probably buddy up with Cam the Man (well they look alike, so why not) - and we will have a hybrid government where the smaller parties will have a greater voice. Interesting times, and I am left hoping some hopes for the future.
Before you wonder why a rumination on politics is being spliced with news of my day - it is the latter that has framed my hopes for the political future:
It seems to me that if we use the family as the plimsol line of what is right and wrong, we won't go far wrong. I doubt any politicians of note will read this, but here goes ...
1. I want my children to be safe; safe from physical harm and safe from the insidious harm generated by hatred manifest in the next cool 'cause'.
2. I want to be a dad that doesn't have to work so hard that I can't see my children before they go to bed, or miss them before they rise the next day. I want some time in every month that I can spend with my family, and the reasonable ability to manage my work-life balance to that end. I don't want a Britain where quality of employment is measured by overtime hours worked for free.
3. When my wife or children need to recieve care, I want them to recieve it in a reasonable timescale.
4. I want my daughters to live in a Britain where the truth is paramount, and where questions are not answered in euphemism and semantic prestidigitation.
5. I want my daughters to grow up in a Britain where rights are not at the expense of responsibilities. (If polling stations close at 10pm, don't pitch up at 9.45pm and complain that your rights have been infringed when you could have used any of the othr 14 hours to vote - by the way)
6. I want my kids to live in a Britain where the level of bank-balances are not held in higher regard than personal qualities and human virtue.
7. I am want my family to exist in a country where it is a valued social unit, and where every step to preserve it are taken by the incumbent government.
8. I want my country run by a government who will deploy troops to defend my children against those who would seek to hurt them - once all else has failed.
9. I want a country for my family that rewards honour more than financial aquisition. I want happiness to be the measure of success, not the 'bottom line'.
10. Whatever potential my children have, I want them to be granted the best chance of realising it, in an environment where they are valued as individuals.
I am now quite clear that 'family' is king, and what hurts 'family' hurts the country. This list is not exhaustive because I am also tired like the politicians. Neither is this list constructed to be open to deep scrutiny. In simple terms, and in whatever measure 'family' is for people, I think we are all entitled to have lives where days like I have enjoyed today are the norm, not the snatched exception*.
*life as a priest is altogether more conducive to family life than than in retail, and it is with that remembrance that I write