A stance on elections, mortgages, bombings, fires and voting for security

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Esther Ridsdale


With a hung parliament and pressing decisions that will have huge impact not just now but for future generations, how do I decide what issues are important to me? 

When I looked at repayment options when buying my first house my father suggested I consider how much of a risk I was willing to accept that the downside might occur – that my investment might do down rather than up. With his advice, I decided that I wasn’t willing to accept much risk of the downside happening with something as significant as my home. 

 2 days after my mortgage advisor unsuccessfully tried to coax me towards investing in the tiger economies of the east, they crashed, and with it the UK stockmarket.

My father was/is an actuary, interested in social policy and a Christian. Combining these perspectives his advice to me was to take a wide and long term perspective; a stance that didn’t gamble important things for the chance of a shiny possibility; (In effect, not to gamble with life).

I’ve been thinking how to apply this into considering political priorities and how I vote. Taking the wide and long-term perspective, the following considerations come up :

What political decisions could have a downside risk of … 

·      (Firstly,) what could risk destabilizing the economy?; 

·      Taking a wide perspective, what factors and decisions could de-stabilise the wider world? 

·      Taking a wider perspective again, what would affect my wellbeing, (rather than my wealth)? And what would affect the wellbeing of others locally (rather than just their wealth)? In considering this, it is worth noting that, in the West, wealth and wellbeing have become disconnected; wellbeing isn’t generally going up as our wealth goes up. What is it that could damage our wellbeing? And what could most help it? 

·      This opens up the wider question,… what could damage people’s wellbeing in the wider world and what could help it? What could damage (or help) it in the future – this generation and future generations?

It is fairly safe to say that war is pretty detrimental to wellbeing of individuals (except perhaps to individuals in corporates distanced from the wars but making money from them). And the chances of war are increased when people are in desperation. Also where there is a big discrepancy between the circumstances of different people. 

The strongest trade deal for us could be achieved at the expense of greater poverty and disadvantage for others. And that means more people trying to move (emigrate). And more chance of unrest. To me, this means the discussion of getting the absolute “best deal for us” could risk unacceptably disadvantageous conditions for others. Lets stop the rhetoric of getting ‘the best deal’. And the aspiration of ‘being great again’. This sets up a ‘win lose’. And win loses set up fragile circumstances.  

·      We are better looking for ‘win wins’. This creates resilience. I call it ‘divine design’; if it works for everyone, it is far more likely to be stable and life-enhancing. 

·      We need to work on deals that are fair. Or we create suffering. We increase migration, and increase chances of war. 

Considering the long game, I don’t think that any short term positive is worth even a small increase in the chance of future world wars. And it is not worth future environmental catastrophe. 

It is all interconnected. We are all interconnected. My security is linked to your security and our security is linked to global security. It is the same with wellbeing. So I reflect on my father’s advice; Let’s not gamble with life. Playing games in childhood (and beyond) we are conditioned into looking to win (and winning over others taking big risk to find the best win,). As we grow up, lets move to a more robust and life-enhancing frame. Let’s consider the long game and let’s consider the wide game. Let’s work on priorities that protect, preserve and nourish this life for all of us.

Esther Ridsdale, June 2017

'Building capability in ways of living, working & organising that help build a world where all can flourish'