Posts Tagged ‘Technology’

Lately, I have been thinking about the sort of cultural advances we as species need to make if we are to overcome some of the global hardships we face right now. Since I decided to renew my poetic endeavours, I have recognised that there is an emotional and intellectual vacuum in our society. We have become a race that seeks quick solutions to deeply complex historical problems, a race that wishes to ignore the grey moral areas and rushes to the blacks and whites, a race that believes in replacing subjectivity with defined rules about how the world should be run. Writing poetry again has reminded me that there are few things in life that we can fundamentally reject; poetry has allowed me to recognise the fluidity of language, nature and history that resides beyond politics and foreign affairs. This is not to say that we should live in a world of little to no boundaries, but that we should embrace a world that believes in challenging unquestionable truths.

I also feel that this flexible world will be encouraged by the works in science fiction, I am not necessarily talking about the big blockbuster Hollywood movies we watch from time to time (most of those films end up reinforcing the same societal stereotypes that have led us to this position), but the sort of science fiction that considers what a truly radical future could do for humanity. More importantly, it is the sort of literature that could encourage us to envision a world where political structures operate far differently, it also emphasises the value of discovery with the way it can interact with controversial scientific subjects without the moral weight that a scientist may carry. Finally and vitally, it is this sort of creative endeavour which inspires the reader to imagine a future that breaks with conventions of the past. This process of questioning, challenging and tackling unknown realms has positive repercussions when it comes to our attempt to be politically radical; history has shown that some of the most momentous changes occur people have the willingness to break down their socio-political barriers. But one of the most interesting aspects is how a certain revival in fantasy and science fiction is motivating people to envision new possibilities. I have always felt it is easier to break down structures and deconstruct systems than it is to build futures, this is especially relevant in a world where revolution and reform has become fashionable and little thought has gone in to the actual process of change.

Politics: Fiction, Non Fiction & Depends on Point of View.

Could Science Fiction teach us something about Political Science?

Politically and historically, new visions and prophesies were used often used a method to break down traditional social barriers.  There used to be a time in politics when our political representatives use to believe in far-reaching possibilities for the future. The Fifth Monarchists of the 1640s and 1650s were the perfect embodiment of a how a hostile political period could produce such grand imaginations for the future. As the Civil war in Britain and Ireland raged on. They prophesied that in 1666, Christ would make his return and bring forth his fifth monarchy (the first four being the Babylonian, Persian, Greek and Roman retrospectively). By modern standard, these views may seem slightly outlandish, but this was an ideological that was genuine and committed. I do not particularly wish for a revival of this sort of religious zeal but I do no think it is too much to ask for politics to include a similar level of principled integrity.

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A Leading Fifth Monarchist – Will our next revolution need a religious nature?

The Three Body Problem is an important example of how science fiction (and science itself) can help us to envision new futures whilst we go through the motions of revolution.

The book begins with the Character Ye Wenjie and the devastating way she witness’ her father’s ( a leading professor) persecution during the 1974 Chinese Cultural revolution. Having been born into an academic and therefore bourgeois family, she faces the brunt of the revolutionaries’ wrath: her own mother betrays her father for the survival of her position and her life.  Because of Ye’s scientific expertise she was luckily recruited into a top secret military base which gave her a chance to redeem herself politically. Whilst monitoring the air waves in spaces Ye encounters what she believes is alien communication. She then proceed to send a response as an invitation for the aliens to invade earth and reform human society. She also manages to meet with and persuade a billionaire environmentalist to invest in the preparations for the aliens to visit earth. The novel then fast forwards to the future through the life of Wang; a nanotechnology professor. The professor then has some very strange experiences including hallucinations of glowing numbers and strange coloured atmospheres. He ends up working with a police officer called Da Shi to investigate the mysterious recent deaths of some scientists. He come across a mysterious virtual reality game called Three Body, and decides to participate. The objective of the game is figure out how to create a stable weather atmosphere on the fictional planet called Trilosaris; Wang eventually develops a theory based on the orbit of the three suns around Trilosaris called the Three Body Problem. Wang’s reward for reaching the objective is an invasion to the Three Body Society which is led by our initial protagonist Ye Wenjie. The Three Body Society was developed the virtual reality as a sort of playful experiment based on research from corresponding with the aliens. When Wang attends the meeting it is broken up by the police officer Shi and Ye is thrown in to custody. As Ye gives her testimony, the reader begins to understand the moral breakdown of Ye as she reveals how she callously killed her husband and colleague to suppress the knowledge of alien correspondence – we also reveal how her disturbing political past became the main motivation for her to invite the alien invasion. For the final section of the story, the novel switches to the aliens’ perspective as they first receive Ye’s transmission. They decide to meticulously destabilize Earth’s technological advancement for the next 400 years through the release of certain protons towards earth. This is done in order to ensure that when the aliens arrive on earth, they will face no detrimental hostility as they look to sustain their superiority over humanity. The final chapter of the novel features a reflective Ye as she admits that the world will never remain the same.

I felt that the book was a fascinating exploration of how humanity could actually respond to the prospect of alien intervention. The way in which the book contrasts the radical societal changes from the Cultural revolution with the psychological prospect of cosmic intelligent life is entertaining and stimulating. It examines the way in which historical legacies can make a drastic impact on how one perceives the world. Whilst this book was a great piece of creative work that broadened my mind I want to try and demonstrate how this book sort of is especially relevant in a politically unstable world that struggles to enter new ways of thinking.

There is prominent historical methodology called Whiggish History which asserts that humanity has been following a path of political, social and economic progress from its very inception to the present day. This book essentially challenges that mode of thinking, this is demonstrated when Ye decides to invite the Trilosarians on to earth because  Humanity has hit a huge obstacle which has ceased its ability to advance as a civilisation. Ye’s reasoning may be considered to be slightly extreme by some, especially if we consider the technological advances we have made in recent years however many current political commentators have stated about the cultural regression of society and how we have reentered the ideological arenas of the 70s, 60s or even the 30s and 40s.

The upheaval that preceded World War II and the need to to avoid repeating mistakes have cast a long shadow since Chancellor Angela Merkel was re-elected in September with no obvious coalition partner. While no-one is predicting a return to fascism, the unexpected threat of instability at the heart of Europe’s biggest economy has alarmed business and political leaders alike.

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The German election of 2017 is eerily similar to the one in 1933. Is this really a mark of political progress?

It is true that fascism has evolved in complex and sophisticated ways but it is important to recognise that it is a regression to a political idea which has shown to be morally defunct and politically ineffective (in the long term). Furthermore, although Germany has attempted to break away from its the horrors of its political past, they still suffer from the ghosts of their national failures. In a way this has some semblance with Ye’s belief that humanity has reached the point where it will eventually become prone to repeat its historical mistakes. Her belief may stem from witnessing the human rights violations that existed after the Cultural Revolution, but it may also resonate with an idea that perhaps humanity has already peaked. Popular Culture in terms of block buster television shows are increasingly portraying a world where our new machinery will eventually lead to our own demise. Sci-Fi films like GeoStorm and Tomorrowland have already explored the difficult relationship between human responsibility, technology and the environment. I once heard in a lecture from Alan Watts(dated 1970) that humanity’s ignorance with the spiritual/natural and their adoration for the technological is akin to self harm, he once claimed that this age is for “The Misuse of technology for the violent subjugation of man’s natural environment and consequently, its eventual destruction”. It is important to recognise that the advance of science can radically expand to our world for new possibilities, but we must also be aware like Ye Wenjie of Mankind’s tendency to revert back to a state of such primitive political thinking.

Another important and thoughtful aspect that Three Body Problem touched upon was the ever-changing relationship between the subject and the state. Although Ye Wenjie was given the opportunity to work in her profession without political prosecution she was still effectively a political prisoner who was forced to abandon not her and her family. It could be argued that these suppressed feelings of shame, anger and injustice eventually exploded in her drastic decision to invite the Trilosarians to Earth. I have often felt that Ye Wenjie is the embodiment of the modern day populist; the subject who has felt ignored and deserted in a world that rapidly evolved around them. In many cases this could result in fear or docility, but it could just as dangerously lead to rage, resentment, the emboldened rise of the Far Right in Europe and the persistent and  continued support for Donald Trump is strong example of what cultural suppression can do for a nation. Furthermore, this also has repercussions for political radicalism. Many activists and commentators acknowledge that a huge moral awakening is needed if we are bring about genuine progressive change. However due to the fact that humanity has been in the dark for so long about the corruption and unethical standards of our political framework, are we in any actual shape to bring about the sort of large scale revolution that our society so desperately craves? Perhaps the political awakening of the last few years is too big of a shock to the human core for us to enact any sort of rational yet extreme challenge to the status quo. I think it is fascinating how The Three Body Problem uses a science fiction plot to unpick the entangled influence of political shocks on the human psyche, to discuss how our political history affects our capability to maturely confront society and also to explain our inability to morally comprehend our own political achievements.

Ye Wenjie

Ye Wenjie at Red Coast Base. Is Ye Wenjie’s political suppression symbolic of modern populism?

Finally, I believe there is a great sense of political irony within Three Body Problem. Ye initially calls for aliens to come to Earth and reform society but her movement eventually splits in to two groups. One that despises human nature and wishes for the aliens to eradicate mankind, and another groups that worships the aliens in some sort of godlike manner. The two groups eventually became symbolic of mankind’s desire to idolise everything or for its tendency for self-loathing. The Aliens were never meant to be some sort of political Tyranny but a race that could guide and raise the human intellect, the fact that the movement evolved into such a simplistic divisions was the Author repeatedly trying to show humanity’s lack of creative ability and its wavering sense of integrity given the fact that the movement had made such a big departure from Ye’s initial principles. Could it also demonstrate that sometimes our we have tendency to try and achieve revenge for political injustices that happened in the past without remembering the contextual included. For example, one might resent human society during the eighteenth and nineteenth centuries, for its global complicity in the Transatlantic Slave Trade whilst also forgetting the organised and persistent abolition campaign that led to its end or the creation of the welfare state and the nationalised institutions that sought to protect the British populace should another world war ever occur. The humans that wished the Trilosarians to overrule them are just symbolic of that selective political feeling that resides in all of us, it is the knee jerk reactions that seeks quick solutions to complex problems.

Three Body Problem is a great work that draws from different philosophical, historical, scientific and political perspectives and attempts to use these to challenge our sense of primacy and superiority in this world. But I believe that the secret strength in Three Body Problem is its support of the art of discovery and the joy of possibility. We live in a world that attempts to be progressive but ends up being inadvertently regressive and we also face groups that use the rhetoric of change and revolution to mask their aim of restoring outdated and failed ideology. Change is necessary. But it must be meaningful and refreshing. Humanity has continuously displayed its ability to create ways of thinking, interacting and surviving. We must continue this trend or face path of stagnation and self-destruction.

Future Blog Posts

I am going to continue in this strand of thinking by discussing the concept of futurology and more specifically people in the past who attempted to predict the future. Some these predictions were politically motivated whilst other tried to be in their clinical in vision based on the contemporary state of science. I will try and examine all of these futuristic ideas and assess how accurate they were and what relevance they hold for our unstable political and social culture.

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Lately, I’ve been watching the new television show called American Gods (based on the Neil Gaiman novel of the same name). Whilst being a fantasy and mythological drama, I found it to resonate quite subtly to our confusing and ever-changing political landscape. One of the central premises of the novel is that the mythological gods (such as the Norse God Odin and Egyptian gods such as Anubis) that once dominated our thinking and lifestyle have lost their power to newer and more modern powers, such as the ‘power of technology’ and the ‘power of the media’. Which got me thinking, isn’t that a closer representation of the societies  that exists in the ‘western world’?

american gods

The God “Media” from American Gods. Has new media technology taken the place of traditional religion?

In the UK, the power of the Church and Christianity itself has significantly lost the ability to influence its members, and many citizens no longer identify themselves with Christianity. A recent report has been published which outlines that since 2009, the amount of non-secular religious people have always outnumbered Christians. Now of course we can’t use this an absolute barometer to measure the types of religiosity in the UK, but it may indicate that we have moved to new forms of ‘religion’.  For example, our obsession with social networking and social media has reached record high levels; to the extent that many young people hold on to their smartphones with same precious sacredness as priests do with religious texts. And whilst materialism has always been prevalent since the beginning of mankind, the evolution of technology has enabled us to embrace a greater diversity of items than ever before. This has also affected the way in which we access our media; with the relatively recent introduction of 24hr rolling news stations we have the ability to surround ourselves with sensational and false news stories that many people consider to be gospel.

However, there is a sign that things are changing. Whilst these new powerful forces dominate our current public and private sphere, older ideologies and forces are making themselves more relevant. In particular, Nationalism. Nationalism, has been what many would call a ‘sleeping giant’ during the past couple of decades, the rise of the Alternative-Right and the populist demand for ‘sovereignty’ has unleashed Nationalism back on the social scene. And just like the power of Technology, Social media and even Christianity. Nationalism is in a way like a religion, it requires support and devotion towards a vision of a preferred environment. Nationalism often (but not always) operates in a religion by transcending our material needs; it can often provide a spiritual purpose by uniting different types towards a theory of how the world should be.

In this short passage, the American Academic Carlton Hayes, eloquently outlines the interchangeable aspects of both conventional religion and nationalism:

“Nationalism, viewed as a religion, has much in common with other great religious systems of the past. It has, for example, a god….one’s fatherland, one’s national state.”

“Nationalism, like any religion, calls into play not simply the will, but the intellect, the imagination, and the emotions. The intellect constructs a speculative theology or mythology of nationalism. The imagination builds an unseen world around the eternal past and the everlasting future of one’s nationality. The emotions feed the theological virtues of faith, hope, and filial love of the national god, who is all-good and all-protecting. For nationalism, again like any other religion, is to a large extent a social function, and its chief rites are public rites, performed in the name and for the salvation of the whole community.”

nationalism

Is this true? To what extent are nationalism and religion linked?

There has been much talk about the UK being a godless and secular state, but the re-emerging rise of nationalism as well as the forces of technology and media demonstrate that we still share a devotion to religion, just not in the traditional sense of belief. However, if Nationalism is becoming relevant in today’s political discussion, it can’t be assumed day that traditional religion will not resurface on the political scene. This could present a dramatic shift in the way we perceive our roles in society, there are several historical precedents in British history which indicate that this could either be a positive or detrimental to the idea of a progressive society.

There were several instances in the seventeenth century when religion revolutionised not only our political system but our political culture as well. Lets start with the death of Elizabeth I, her reign is often seen as one of prosperity and stability. Her religious reforms as well as her strengths in longevity (one of our longest living monarchs) and administration made Protestantism as the established religion in British culture. But her death created a succession crisis which threatened to possibly bring Catholicism back on the political agenda. Elizabeth’s cousin James I took the reigns and displayed strong political skills in keeping England relatively harmonious, but the hostility between Protestants and Catholics never reduced throughout the seventeenth century. The Gunpowder plot of 1604 was the first of many violent attempts by religious non-conformists to overthrow the establishment. The entire political political elite then increased their intensity of persecutions against Catholics which then provided the basis for the “English Civil War” that occurred in the 1630s, 40s and 50s. Prior to the Stuarts taking the throne, Britain was relatively stable due to Protestantism facing no serious challenges throughout Elizabeth’s reign. But the Stuarts had reopened a box of religious turmoil and tension that led to both James I and his son Charles taking oppressive measures against their subjects. It was not until the English Civil War, when English and Scottish subjects started to witness progressive effects of religious politics.

During the 1640s, a new political group emerged from the crisis between Charles I and his parliament. This group who called themselves the Levellers, criticised the oppressive religious reforms that Charles I had implemented and called for a new policy of religious liberty and tolerance. But interestingly, the levellers claimed that this liberty was a fundamental part of English identity; they claimed the evidence for this rested with the civil liberties and freedoms that previous English medieval Kings and Queens had endorsed. However, this progressive thinking was eventually crushed by Oliver Cromwell a pious protestant who used conservative politics as well his military reputation to quell all anti-establishment thinking. During the later part of the century, the relationship between British politics, religion and national identity intensified significantly. In the 1670s and 1680s, Stuart monarchs came under particular pressure for their close relationship with Catholic monarchs across Europe. There was a growing fear of Catholic Monarchs attempting to invade England with the help of a Stuart Monarch. It is important to remember that this was during a time when the conflict between Catholicism and Protestantism often spilled over into a xenophobic conflict between England and Catholic France. England had historically found it difficult to engage with their European neighbours in a positive manner as it wasn’t just France, but Spain and even Scotland were often targeted by the English as potential threats.

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Religious non-conformists burnt at the stake during the Tudor period. Could this be a possible future for British society?

There were however were some turning points towards the end of the seventeenth century; Charles II decided to welcome many French protestants who were seeking a safer and more prosperous life away from a French Catholic state. The way in which French immigrants were welcomed is in stark comparison with the way Theresa’s Mays government has handled the influx of EU nationals and non-EU nationals in the UK.  In the 1680s and 90s French immigrants had security and stability from the government;

“From 1689 to 1693 King William and Queen Mary allocated the (French Protestant) refugees a sum of £39,00 from the Civil List, the so-called ‘Royal Bounty’. This was supported by Parliament which provided a precedent for further grants”

This is in stark comparison with the way Theresa May has used immigrants as a political football in the Brexit negotiations and also in terms of developing a patriotic agenda to gain votes.

The decision that Theresa May has made and supported over the last few years, to effectively deport non-eu nationals who were earning less than £35,000 was seen as an ethical mistake which is unfair to immigrants.

Josh Harbord, the British citizen behind the Stop35k campaign which has attracted the support of SNP, Labour and Green MPs. “I don’t want to live in a country that values people’s incomes over people’s contributions to society.”

The measure has also been deemed discriminatory for British natives on the basis of gender, age and region. A spokesperson from the Migration Observatory has claimed that; “Any policy which places a financial threshold on the ability of someone to bring a partner into the country naturally discriminates against those who earn less, particularly women, those who don’t live in London and young people”. It can only be seen as a regressive decline, that immigration is now perceived as a potential threat to our economy and society. Indeed, it also seems as though some ministers are actually willing to use religious extremism as a way to subvert the law. A former military officer and a member of the joint intelligence committee has claimed that any potential religious extremists should be deported even if they are innocent to avoid future catastrophes.

If we believe that they pose a threat to us then they have to be got rid of. They should not be here any longer… Some of them may be innocent but I would rather take that risk than I would risk having dead children on our streets…..It was counterproductive in Northern Ireland but we can do it in a different way than we did it in Northern Ireland and make sure it is both productive and effective.

The idea of Muslim being deported because they happened to speak to an extremist at a mosque or a somebody having their citizenship status revoked because they happened to visit an Jihadi website is a dangerous prospect. Furthermore, this idea gives intelligence agencies the power to work outside of the law, it is also a draconian idea that harps back to the time of the Gunpowder plot where Catholics and other ‘undesirables’ could be exiled from a country based on either word of mouth or little to no evidence.

There is also plenty of evidence of how religion has affected the way in which we interact with politics in the later centuries of British history.  The eighteenth century has often been viewed as the year that succeeded a hundred years of religious wars. In fact religion made its mark on our political system but in a much more profound and subtle way. Historians have spoken favourably about how the British economy developed due to a rising middle class that was engaged in alternative religious groups.

“The emergence of an evangelical approach to religion and utilitarian attitudes to ‘practical’ philosophy lay at the root of the middling orders claim to political power as well as reinforcing their growing economic dominance”

This evangelical approach to religion often led to the creation of denominational churches such as Methodism, Baptist Churches and Quaker churches. All of these churches initially rose in the seventeenth century due to a political upheaval of the ‘English Civil War’; but two factors led to the widespread growth of middle class non-conformism. Firstly, the liberation of censorship towards the end of seventeenth century allowed for various religious groups to develop and grow. In 1695, the licensing act meant that there was no more censorship before publication which meant that people could now access different forms of worship that were outside of the Church of England. As the Historian Castillo notes

Conventional methods to suppress printed material or books that threatened accepted religion were not much of a benefit in this period

The new found wealth that the middle classes had acquired from the rise of trade within the British colonial empire combined with the relaxation in censorship created the time and the respectability for other forms of religion to be explored. This revolutionised the eighteenth century from what was known as an Ancien Regime(old regime) of Church and monarchy towards a period of relative liberty that helped to usher in the enlightenment and the move towards rationalism and scientific theories.  These movements towards modernity are particular interesting when we consider the decision taken by the government to enforce censorship-type laws over the internet: the conservative manifesto has stated that Some people say that it is not for government to regulate when it comes to technology and the internet…we disagree”This is dangerously close to the justification  of censorship in the UK which is also an inadvertent method of clamping down on free speech.  May has expressed pride in her policy of moving the fight from the “battlefield to the internet” and also “to halt the spread of extremist material and hateful propaganda that is warping young minds”. I have already mentioned previously in this blog about the problems of clamping down on “hate speech”. But I believe the same logic applies in this instance; the use of terms like “extremist material” and “hateful propaganda” are still subjective terms which are open to interpretation and are in no way concrete in their meaning or purpose. The eighteenth century thus provides a good example of how the economy and civil liberties combined to provide a diversity of religious fervour, those principles of social freedom are now being challenged by today’s government using the excuse of “religious terrorism”.

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John Wesley was one of many radical religious nonconformists who rose to popularity.

In my opinion, the nineteenth century provides a good example of how religious politics could work in a progressive manner for Britain. Whereas the 17th century demonstrated how religion dismantled and replaced political systems in England and Scotland. The eighteenth century explained how religion was able to bring about a new set of liberal social changes to British society. The eighteenth century shared some of these developments as religion was adopted as a political and social movement to transform the welfare of society based on a sense of moral obligation to the people. As Prochaska stated:

The Victorians, who believed that Britain’s greatness rested on Christian foundation, assumed that religion and the public good were inextricably linked. It was axiomatic, as one social campaigner declared in 1800, that charity could only be effectively exercised under the influence of ‘sacred principle’.

These acts of christian charity were often delivered by the British middle class and their influence was seen in many sections of British life. Including health, education and politics. For example, many evangelical movements including the Quaker helped to inspire a pacifist movement against the British Empire involvement in the Napoleonic wars. This movement helped to garner a sense of respectability due to the involvement of notable and credible figures from the political scene. A Reverend called Henry Richard became an MP during his tenure as leader for the Peace Society, and attempted to contribute towards some progressive legislation in education, health and housing. He attempted to put an end to landowners evicting tenants in Wales who voted for their political opponents, as a non conformist his support for religious liberty often matched his support political liberty. He also had a strong support for welsh nationalism and saw education as a means to improve the morals of society; he was a member of both the royal commission on education and another committee which oversaw intermediate education in Wales. During his membership, he helped to create the University of Wales and helped to establish  a scheme to ensure that the Welsh language was being used in elementary schools appropriately.

Most interestingly, when Henry was allowed to vote on a new education bill in 1870, he actually refused to approve it because of a conscience clause which encouraged the idea of religious teaching in elementary schools. Richard refused to agree with this mainly because he thought that “religious instruction should be supplied by voluntary effort and not out of public funds“. Henry provides some interesting insight in the way some Victorians perceived the relationship between church and State. Here we can witness not the avocation of a secular state, but a nation that is supported by a grassroots religious fervour as opposed to a state-led approach to religion. Furthermore it also suggests a certain level of religious liberty, as it is down to an individual or a group to introduce their religious belief outside of government interference. For the Victorians, this was especially progressive particularly during an era when blasphemous beliefs such as Catholicism and Atheism were seen as dangerous subjects that were adopted by their arch enemy; the French.

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Charity Relieving Distress – Thomas Gainsborough. How can we become more charitable in today’s society?

Furthermore, I believe the actions of Henry Richard do provide some sort of support for society that is not dominated and controlled by a central government. Henry’s time was one where the local parish had a greater influence over the surrounding communities, particularly in terms of welfare and worship. The parish still had close ties to the central government in terms of foreign policy and taxation but the citizens of the parish still had greater influence of the identity of the local character  and the I also believe it demonstrates a world where the forces of nationalism, religion and a relative equality can co-exist peacefully and without division. In today’s society we have a regional divide where some northern communities have expressed the lack of integration between Asian Islamic neighbourhoods and the more traditional predominately white areas in Northern England. The division has been fuelled by a fear that traditional British customs and values are being eroded and replaced by foreign ones and that Islamic neighbourhoods are undergoing a culture of xenophobia against their way of life. Some may say this also coincides with the issues surrounding immigration and the strain of public services.

Wouldn’t it better if we had a decentralised system where local governments had the ability to allocate resources in a much more appropriate away?  Local governments would have the authority to undertake measures that could improve the cultural harmony of the community rather than having to deal with the bureaucracy of state governments, this is particularly true in terms of education and the way our national curriculum caters towards a generic sense of Britishness rather than taking into account the various regional characters across Britain. Some may argue that is could only create a broken Britain, but this isn’t necessarily true. As Henry Richard did in the Victorian times, Members of parliament will and should still be able to address their grievances to Parliament in order to share and understand the problems of the nation, but local governments would have a greater power in tackling their issues more decisively.

In the wake of recent terrorist attacks in London and Manchester, the forces of technology and the media are ever present in our society. They have become godlike in their ability capture attention and to distribute critical information in manner that could not be have been foreseen decades ago. They have the power to control what we understand about the world and also the power to change the way we perceive each other. The room then for bias, sensationalism and inaccuracy is particularly unwelcome as we approach one the most important general elections in decades. There is a tendency for some media and technology outlets to exploit brutal atrocities and twist our information to suit a particular narrative, this can result in an increasing feeling of paranoia and ignorance towards certain social groups in society. Because of this, I believe that a certain wave of (Anglo)Christianity could sweep the nation as people search for new ways to be compassionate and patriotic at the same time. Islamic immigrants have given Britain a level of diversity that has improved the cultural awareness of many of our citizens but it has blurred our sense of a British identity. Historically, Britain has always been a beacon for many different belief systems to come and visit, this diversity has allowed us to become a creative nation but it has also made us prone to division and conflict. This need for us to conform to a distinctive national identity whilst at the same allowing us to be harmonious and peaceful with one another could be fulfilled by Christianity. It has enough historical roots in this country for it be a part of British patriotism but it also has the ability in enabling us to be compassionate and merciful to one another. As I’ve explained earlier this suggestion is not a straightforward one, there are plenty of  historical examples of Christianity being used to divide us and turn us into a fragmented nation, and as an Agnostic; I am only predicating possibilities, not certainties. But with the rise of Far-right populism and also the desire for universal harmony, it may be inevitable that we will have to search for different solutions in how we care for each other. Could Christianity be that answer?