Outlook Issue 14 Spring 2011
News and Views from St. Mary's Woodbridge
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Good Read
Good Read Prime Minister John Stewart Henry Blackstone has just been elected leader of the Conservative opposition and the country is in crisis, banks going under, government debts spiralling out of control, terrorist threats etc., and the party in government is tearing itself apart. He receives a letter out of the blue from a man outside politics suggesting a different approach to the nation’s finances; a change of taxation from the earnings of individuals and companies to the value that accrues to land because of the presence of the community around it. This is the story of Henry Blackstone, thrust into the role of Prime Minister of a National Government picking up and running with this principle in the hurly burly of present day politics. It is the story of how a man, who making choices from what he knows deep down within himself to be right, unites a group of people across the political spectrum with the mission of making changes that will benefit all the people and not just one section of society. John Stewart has a terse almost staccato writing style but it has a powerful emotional punch which left me in tears more than once. There are some sensational (short) political speeches together with some lovely asides on seeing the personal qualities of people behind the political façade, the role of religion in our national life, and (close to my heart) the power of the words of the Bible when read out loud in company. The book appears to be written with the serious purpose of putting forward an economic principle which the author believes could bridge the divide between economic freedom on one side and social justice on the other, a divide which has bedevilled the political landscape of this country for over a century. Reading the book leaves no doubt that to transcend a century of party political dogma would require a leader of exceptional vision and courage who could tap into the real source of human strength. This book may not be to everyone’s taste but it is a very powerful story and I would heartily recommend it. John Davis