Neither fundamentalism nor functionalism offer a way forward for the churches today in terms of their public witness and political engagement, says Simon Barrow. The different stances taken by church bodies in the 2010 general election suggest important lessons for the future.
What kind of 'narrative' is the new post-election, post-budget coalition government trying to create, asks Simon Barrow, and what is its ratio of substance to spin, of new politics to old-fashioned collusion? Moreover, how will Labour and extra-parliamentary activists who question the underlying Westminster consensus respond?
As the new coalition government settles down, it is important to see past the hype and fear to the real issues of power, says Jill Segger. Asking tough questions of the powerful remains especially important in this new situation, with warning signs and signs of hope both in evidence.
And so it begins. After weeks of election fever, the solid and well-oiled wheels of government have been set in motion: the big jobs have been meted out and the policy compromises of the coalition are being aired.
Last week the British public did something extraordinary. With millions of different views and motivations, we managed to vote in such a way as to deliver a hung parliament, driving the first wedge in the door of a system that has for too long kept most politicians far removed from democratic accountability.