The power of compassion in a time of Corona virus

Compassion in Politics (CiP) is a UK think tank campaigning for a new set of values to put the improvement of everyone’s lives and the protection of our natural world at the heart of public decision-making. 

Co-founded by Jennifer Nadel and Matt Hawkins it works cross-party to champion compassion as the main driver in the way politicians make policies.

At The Everyone Foundation we share the values of kindness, empathy, and collectivism, and a desire to ‘build back better’ actively through the pandemic recovery around the world.  

Before the COVID-19 crisis, Compassion in Politics was already campaigning for a code of conduct among British MPs that would see them sign up to collaborative action, truthful debate, and respectful behaviour.   More than 100 MPs are on board, and during the general election campaign hundreds of candidates pledged to electioneer to the code. 

CiP is Secretariat to the All Party Parliamentary Group for Compassionate Politics whose nine MPs and Lords agreed to focus 2020-21 on changing the political culture at Westminster by working with individual MPs to create a new code of compassionate conduct.

The growing CiP movement also wants to create a compassion threshold for legislation linked to socio-economic rights, meaning no government policy could push people of today – or our future generations – into, or closer to, poverty or destitution.

Jennifer Nadel is a qualified barrister, author, political strategist, activist and award-winning television journalist. She writes and advises on how to bring about individual and societal change.

Matt Hawkins has led a number of social and environmental justice campaigns. He was part of the Nobel Peace Prize winning team which successfully lobbied the UN to introduce a ban on nuclear weapons.

Now in the eye of the pandemic, Compassion in Politics is campaigning to make lockdown decisions more compassionate, such as its call for state funding of hotel accommodation for people escaping domestic abuse. 

It is exploring what we are learning about ourselves and society in the way we live and cope with lockdown, social-distancing, and public health. 

Its podcast series, Beyond Covid, is expanding and includes conversations with anthropologist Professor Alice Roberts, organisational psychologist and healthcare expert Professor Michael West, philosopher Professor AC Grayling, and the physician/writer/comedian Dr Phil Hammond.

A strong theme across the podcasts is the recognition of the power of compassion, and the need to model it in behaviours and policies – from healthcare and treatment regimes, to the decision frame-works of our politicians, to the individual choices every person makes to care, respect, value, consume and spend – for themselves and for others.

“We have seen how adaptable people are, so a lot of fears politicians might have had before … or possibly even expectations of campaigners that people would not be able to shift the way they  operate; on the whole it has been remarkable how quickly things have changed,” says Matt Hawkins.  

“And if we can do that for this one-off crisis, then I’m sure we can do that for climate breakdown, which is going to require even more levels of change, but sustained over a longer period of time,” he adds.  

Over to you: if you’re working to ‘build back better’ across communities, society, countries, get in touch and tell us about your #CompassionateActs and the consequential #BetterDecisions you are making happen, or want to see.