James Gray, MP for North Wiltshire - Forgiveness set the tone for stability of a nation (From The Wiltshire Gazette and Herald)
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James Gray, MP for North Wiltshire - Forgiveness set the tone for stability of a nation
12:32pm Thursday 12th December 2013 in News
Of all of the things said about Nelson Mandela over the last week or – what a great man he was, how much South Africa owes him, how much the world owes him for an end to Apartheid and so on – one thing has struck me more than almost any other.
He had been a freedom fighter; his friends and relations were oppressed, tortured and killed by the regime; he spent 27 years in prison. His release almost certainly meant the end of the Botha government; the end of segregation and racism; it was a victory; the pinnacle of his political career.
You or I might have been triumphalist: “We’ve won!” Or we might have been bitter : “Now is the moment to get back at the people.” We might have been divisive: “I call on you all now to rise up to overthrow this regime, to suppress these whites who have been suppressing us for generations”.... Any would have been understandable, if regrettable. But not Mandela. Very simply, he used the immortal, if commonplace, words “let bygones be bygones.”
From that, South Africa has become secure and stable; and the world a better place. We could all learn from that.
It is astonishing how human beings fall out with one another. Organisations of every kind – government and political parties, local government, clubs and societies, families, human groupings whatever they may be – are subject to spats. It’s nearly always associated with personalities rather than real issues; involving motions of no confidence, threats of ‘going to the press’, resignations, bitterness and lifelong hatreds.
Poor Ed Balls got redder and redder as he tried to reply to the Chancellor of the Exchequer’s Autumn Statement the previous week. Mr Osborne had plenty of good news, pretty much proving that the government cuts and austerity package and so on have worked, and that the economy is now returning to stability if not yet quite prosperity. But Mr Balls was not ready to admit that Plan A had worked. He has always argued (as have Labour politicians down the years) that the only thing which will work is ‘public investment’ by which they mean rocketing public spending, paid of course by rocketing borrowing and/or taxation. Either way round it is we, the taxpayer, who lands up paying for it.
So as we approach maybe we should all take a bit of a lesson from Mr Mandela; sort out our disagreements, put our petty spites and resentments away; and in every aspect of life ‘let bygones be bygones’. We would wake up that much happier in the New Year if we did so.
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