What I have in common with the Archbishop of Canterbury

Published: Friday January 23, 2015

Judith Knight

We both love The West Wing! On his Desert Island he asked for the complete DVD box set – seven series – to take as his luxury item!

It is an American serial political drama (1999-2006) in which you get to know President Josia (Jed) Bartlet and experience his presidencies as he leads from the Oval Office in the West Wing of the White House. He leads with intelligence, integrity and compassion and his faith is central to his life and the decisions he makes.

Bartlet and his senior staff have their ups and downs individually and as a team, internally and in the big wide world of domestic and international politics. Over the Bartlet years we get to know the characters well and start to believe they are real.   They are our heroes; we trust them.  We cry at all the ‘West Wing moments’ when something profound or noble is said or done. We ‘walk and talk’ with them; we remember key phrases, episodes that spoke to us; individual characters with whom we identify and by whom we are inspired. At the end of every episode we are struggling not to plead for “just one more episode”.

During the election which returned George W Bush for a second term, there were people who registered their protest by spoiling their ballot paper with “Jed Bartlet for President”. That says so much about our craving for politicians worthy of our respect – let alone be our heroes.   Our experience in the UK over recent years shows that people have a decreasing interest and increasing distrust in politics and politicians. This year is a General Election year. Sadly we can’t vote for Jed Bartlet but, if we so choose, we can hold our own politicians to account and make it clear that we expect more – so much more.

Post hoc ergo propter hoc.

Judith Knight, Head of Human Resources and Safeguarding

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