Skip to main content

Andy Murray's vote counts too

Andy Murray started the new year in style with a 6-2, 6-0 crushing win over Rafael Nadal to reach the World Tennis Championship final. Already commentators look for the superlatives. Is this the 'new' Andy Murray, coming back strong after a difficult 2014? Can he win another Wimbledon? Will he tell us who to vote for in the general election?

One thing I do know is that he should not have been expected to apologise for making his views known about the referendum on Scottish independence. He has a right to express his views. Andy Murray expressed regret after tweeting his support for the "Yes" campaign. The Wimbledon champion received a torrent of abuse after tweeting his support for the Yes campaign on the morning of the referendum. He should not have felt it necessary to regret. There is nothing to regret. He now realises that his views matter, perhaps more than he realised. But why anyone could get angry about a Scot expressing his views about independence demonstrates how some people cannot distinguish between the sporting hero and the expression of his own views. We do not own Andy Murray.

His infamous tweet was an expression of the extraordinary enthusiasm generated by the referendum. Politics came to life. Politics finally mattered, and nothing is now the same. It was a 'no' vote by a reasonable margin, and yet it changed our politics for ever. We need now to find a way of injecting the same enthusiasm into the general election in May. If we can get the same kind of fierce debate, real debate — and argument about ideas, then no matter what the outcome it would be good for British politics.

It is expected that the Tory party will outspend Labour by 3 to 1. That is a wide margin. Should our elections be decided by who can spend the most? How will the Liberal Democrats Square up against their coalition partners in the general election? It will be a difficult election for them. But will Labour be able to offer a coherent and credible alternative, or will the arguments be about a slither of difference?

Politics matters. I cannot think of an election where so much could change and where the outcome is so uncertain. British politics may never be the same again as we truly move into an era of alignments rather than clear party dominance. Will that be a good thing? It will be good if it broadens the debate and brings into the mainstream ideas that challenge us. It will be a bad thing if it further narrows the middle ground over which the parties fight.

If it galvanises Andy Murray to be brave enough to give his opinion, and if it galvanises others in the same way, then perhaps 2015 will herald a new start for British politics. But, it is for Andy Murray at least a good start. Let's hope he really does have a better year than 2014 - in Tennis that is.

Comments

Popular posts from this blog

The lion and the wildebeest

Birds flock, fish school, bees swarm, but social being is more than simply sticking together.  Social groups enable specialisation and a sharing of abilities, and enhances ability, learning and creating new tricks. The more a group works together, the more effective they become as a team.  Chimpanzees learn from each other how to use stones to crack nuts, or sticks to get termites.  All around us we see cooperation and learning in nature.  Nature is inherently creative.  Pulling together becomes a rallying cry during a crisis.  We have heard it throughout the coronavirus pandemic.  "We are all in this together", a mantra that encourages people to adopt a common strategy. In an era of 'self-interest' and 'survival of the fittest,'  and 'selfish gene', we lose sight of the obvious conclusion from the evidence all around us.   Sticking together is more often the better approach.  This is valid for the lion as it is also for the wildebeest.   We don't

Noise pollution puts nature at risk

 "I just want a bit of peace and quiet!" Let's get away from all the hustle and bustle; the sound of endless traffic on the roads, of the trains on the railway, and the planes in the sky; the incessant drone; the noise. We live in a world of man-made noise; screeching, bellowing, on-and-on in an unmelodious cacophony.  This constant background noise has now become a significant health hazard.   With average background levels of 60 decibels, those who live in cities are often exposed to noise over 85 decibels, enough to cause significant hearing loss over time.  It causes stress, high blood pressure, headache and loss of sleep and poor health and well-being.   In nature, noise has content and significance.  From the roar of the lion, the laughing of a hyena,  communication is essential for life; as the warning of danger, for bonding as a group or a pair, finding a mate, or for establishing a position in a hierarchy - chattering works.  Staying in touch is vital to working

Ian Duncan-Smith says he wants to make those on benefits 'better people'!

By any account, the government's austerity strategy is utilitarian. It justifies its approach by the presumed potential ends. It's objective is to cut the deficit, but it has also adopted another objective which is specifically targeted. It seeks to drive people off benefits and 'back to work'.  The two together are toxic to the poorest in society. Those least able to cope are the most affected by the cuts in benefits and the loss of services. It is the coupling of these two strategic aims that make their policies ethically questionable. For, by combining the two, slashing the value of benefits to make budget savings while also changing the benefits system, the highest burden falls on a specific group, those dependent on benefits. For the greater good of the majority, a minority group, those on benefits, are being sacrificed; sacrificed on the altar of austerity. And they are being sacrificed in part so that others may be spared. Utilitarian ethics considers the ba