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The Sway to the Right has become a lurch. Seen as some minority’s lunatic expression when Trump’s people raided the Capitol, it turned next into a rude political gesture. Now it is Farageing its way to war. Extremes are dangerous. They abandon reason, endorse violence and rabble-rouse the mob. They destroy trust and property. They kill people.

The planet can neither afford conflict – we see that already – nor handle insecurity of the sort being demonstrated by so many leaders today. In a sea as rough as the one we now sail, the first requirements are strong and steady hands on the tiller. Democracy is short of these. From religion to politics we see a tsunami of complexity outwitting the people whose job it is to determine strategy. They are chasing about like headless chickens searching for a roost. Seventy of the Conservative Party’s Members of Parliament in Britain, many of them moderates, are quitting at the forthcoming election. Great time to abandon ship?

At the root of the Sway to the Right is selfishness. “Haul in the ladder, Jack, I’m on the Upper Deck.” The Lower Deck can hardly be blamed for struggling to get there too. Indeed, the example set by the Upper Deckers is so appalling that it would be unthinkable for there to be no response. Poverty plays into the hands of anarchy. Division creates its own hierarchy of terror. Hunger is an offence by all who eat. Statelessness is a crime against humanity.

It takes power to mitigate extremes. It takes courage to speak up, unarmed.

There are nasty opportunists sitting on the edge of the present political debacle. They are waiting for a major war to start. When it does they will be the scavengers on the waste-tip of destruction. As we quarrel among ourselves they watch with growing surprise at the gift we are unthinkingly offering them. It is the gift of dominance in a wreck of greed. They may not even have to fight for it. It will be theirs for patience. They will enslave us.

What can rescue the world order?

The weakness of government is sometimes saved by the steadfastness of law. In the end we are all on a trial of one sort or another, even if we have to be our own judge. A legal judge is appointed for one purpose, to ensure the truth. The world’s ethics are in the hands of the courts and the courts are the souls of the judges. A lie is seldom harmless. A judge’s lie is always fatal – maybe for a reputation, sometimes for a life. Judges are the last bastion of personal safety. In many places they are being politicised. Observe Hong Kong and the USA Supreme Court. May all judges ponder their judgments as others ponder heaven and hell.

Good men and women, teaching rather than preaching, may save the world from fake everything. They will be people of a personal example who make ethical behaviour an aspiration instead of a wimper’s excuse. People whose dedication is primarily to others. People who care and who see the paradise we live in as somewhere to cherish rather than to exploit. People who mean what they say and say what they mean.

At present we don’t see many of them. But we do see some.

They are modest, persevering and principled. What has brought them to this treasured state? Only three things. A sense of personal responsibility, a conviction that they matter and a belief that other people matter more.

Bless them. They are our lifeline to the shore of safety.

Hold them fast.

Good morning

John Bittleston

Please congratulate anyone you know who you think fills the description of ‘the needed’. They must have all the encouragement you and I can give them.

12 June 2024