In Search of Altruism...some post election thoughts
Well, it’s done.
We’ve voted. Now the government is being reshaped and all those in opposition are picking up the pieces.
As a voter, it’s also time for reflection on the campaign. And here is what disappointed me most: politicians of all parties assumed that I was primarily motivated by self-interest - self-interest amounting to little more than concern about how much money I would have.
Promises on tax, on pensions, on my bus pass and winter fuel allowance – they assumed that I would vote for them if they protected my pocket.
They misjudge me.
Many years ago there was an important book entitled ‘The Gift Relationship’; it explored our capacity for altruism as expressed in the donation of blood. Millions of us do that – half an hour of discomfort to benefit someone we will never know.
Comic Relief, Children in Need, donations to support those suffering from earthquakes or more humble challenges – all evidence that we have a capacity for empathy and compassion that our politicians underestimate. As some of you know, I travel widely – and experience has shown me that most people go out of their way to help a stranger in trouble with no thought for recompense.
The world is full of kind, generous people. Millions of them live in the UK – but you’d never know that from reading the party manifestos.
That saddens me.
I shall always vote. But I dream of the day when a candidate overlooks our egocentricities and talks of compassion, and empathy, and understanding of people and places and institutions that are truly in need.
back to 'Columnists'