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Is fair play really still alive?

As I write today, the good news on the Resolution from the Windrush scandal has just been announced. It is very hard to imagine how vulnerable those immigrants who came to the UK from the Commonwealth decades ago must have felt. They have been threatened with deportation or refused jobs or healthcare.

How would you cope if the government demanded you provide four pieces of documentary evidence for every year you've lived in the country? I know that I would struggle to go back more than ten years and most of that would be work related documentation. I would certainly fail to produce any evidence of my childhood. There has been a real outcry at the injustice and the attitude of a hostile environment created by the Home Office. Legal immigrants have been unable to prove their status and there is almost a presumption of guilt. Rightly, through strong lobbying, a terrible wrong is now being addressed. However, we were warned there may be other groups who may find themselves in a similar situation.

On a different subject, the English cricket season is already up and running. I am still stunned by the ball tampering scandal in South Africa. Steve Smith admitted that the Aussie "leadership group" had devised a plan to tamper with the ball. David Warner instructed Cameron Bancroft how to carry it out. Smith, Warner and Bancroft were sent home and banned from the test team. Do you remember the phrase "it's just not cricket"? It is when the ideal is distorted to something less than it should be, it is unfair. We instinctively know that there should be fair play and real integrity. Sadly, we live in a time where the standard of sporting excellence has been marred by outrageous bad behaviour or even systematic cheating sponsored by the Russian State. We rightly are concerned by the mixed messages that are being passed on to the next generation of sports people. It conveys a completely selfish attitude and a lack of concern for the rules that it undermines. There is also a concern that these attitudes and values will transfer to other parts of people’s lives.

In stark contrast to these incidents, is a sense of God’s concern for justice and righteousness. Time and time again in the bible God’s concern rests with the victim, the dispossessed and the marginalised. A good test of culture or community is whether it looks out and cares for the less able and less well off. There are two good reasons for us to be concerned, firstly we should out of common humanity help others rather than help ourselves. Secondly, we may find that in life we need others to help us. How can we hope to be helped if we failed to help others? Most remarkable is that God is already waiting to help before we even think of asking for help.

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