Hobby horse warning. Long-suffering readers will have heard this theme before but I allow myself a reprise of big themes if the public ain't playing. Last night I heard the Bishop of Bath and Wells, in relation to losing the argument over unilateral nuclear disarmament, talk about it as leaving him with the responsibility to lose long and noisily. Love it.
I once got into trouble by re-writing some of the battle metaphors of the New Testament in different words because we didn't see life like that any more. Some people felt I was taking liberties with scripture. See an example here.
If Mrs M and I agree we need some time away, agree we need to go to the seaside and that it shouldn't be more than two hours away, we do not respond to a slight difference over preference for destination with, 'Let's fight.'
Our political candidates of most hues agree we need to deal with a deficit, agree the Yanks are our friends, agree (even UKIP) that co-operation with the rest of Europe is good, agree that we need to be careful about immigration levels leading to over-population and too much pressure on free social services, agree that we should defend ourselves and review our defences and agree there are some unfairnesses in our democratic system. Why, on disagreeing with the methodology about dealing with these things, do so many people jump to, 'Let's fight?'
'Get on board the battle buses.' 'Brown fighting for his political life.' 'No-one scored a knock-down in the debates.' I've read all three of these things in the papers. Why do we have to describe the election so?
Today, along with many people around the country, I will wander as gracefully as I can to a polling station where I will politely go through the procedure and cast my vote. No-one will harass me or try to kill me. I may be asked my name by a canvasser or pollster but I can refuse to co-operate if I want. I will have the power but I am voting not fighting. It is my response to an argument (as in exchange of views, not row) and it is done gently, humbly and after sauntering and serious thought.
It's not a fight folks; it's a vote. It's better than fighting.