On Monday the 10th December John Battle, former MP for Leeds West, came to speak to an audience of 60 or more on this intriguing theme. Bishop Paul gave the introduction and then John energetically set about talking us through some of his experiences, first as an MP and then later with Citizens UK before he invited us into group discussion and a signpost of what may follow.
What follows is a personal recollection of, and reflection on, the talk. Others will have a different take. It is in the spirit of the talk for me to encourage you to ask them.
- We are called to link prayer and action. Powerful things can happen as a result of bringing people together and sometimes especially powerful things come from bringing what conventional wisdom labels the ‘wrong type of people’ together.
- There is a need for us to transform ourselves and the society we live in. We need to improve. It can be better.
- There is a need for leadership but also for strong local groups to form and cross link. It is not ‘them’ it is ‘us’. We need come together and express what is important to us. We need to define “What are our shared goals?” We need to learn to listen to each other.
- Citizens UK is a movement of the people. Existing groups with a strong identity can be cross linked to other groups in dialog and build a consensus and pressure for change.
- Politics is not all about the Westminster Parliament, it should be about how we, as mature citizens, as a society, want to shape our world.
- Citizens UK aims to facilitate the discussion, foster the leadership, help make the connections and so bring us all together to become a powerful force for changes we collectively want.
Following on the success in other towns and cities, Citizen UK have plans and a tentative timetable for Preston. Watch out! Do we get involved or run away? It is all to play for.