The Common Good

Certificate of Participation 2022/2023 Heywood Prize


This certificate is awarded to Ray Simpson for contributing this proposal on January 18th, 2023.

‘The Common Good’ sets out principles of a civilized society drawn up by Catholic and Protestant Christians in post-world war 2 western European democracies.

Some claim that the Common Good ideal started with Moses’ Ten Commandments and the Jubilee Laws – honesty and accountability in each citizen, business and law court, rest and renewal for creation, justice and care for neighbour. It has been revived in post-WW2 W. European countries with a Christian background.

It argues that each Government, institution, business and individual citizen has their part to play. Each needs to learn what are the building blocks of civilisation and play their full part with honesty, hard work, good stewardship of resources - in mutual responsibility and respect.

Unredeemed capitalism cannot do this alone. When greed becomes god civilization breaks down. Unredeemed Socialism cannot do this alone – if citizens leave everything to the state and become lazy, greedy, dishonest or abusive, it breaks down.

Both each citizen and the state have an essential role to play in The Common Good. The state must provide education, health care, housing , honest, accountable law courts etc and essential services for all, and steward the environment. Its foreign policy should be to earn the trust and gratitude of its neighbours.  But the Common Good cannot be achieved by governments alone. Each citizen commits to be honest, work hard as they are able, keep themselves fit-for-purpose, build trusting relationships within families, work places, networks and neighbourhoods, respect others and love their neighbour. Healthy communities require institutions, networks , governments and citizens rooted in compassion, resourcefulness, sharing and stewardship.

For many, the gods of money, sex, power and pleasure are everything. That is why we need to put God first, live by the Ten Commandments and follow  the ways of Jesus. We either serve God or condemn ourselves to the slavery of human selfishness. Eschew greed and lies: love Go(o)d and neighbour.

The ‘Council of the Isles’ is the popular name for the British-Irish Council which was a fruit of the Belfast Good Friday Peace Agreement.  Since it includes the governing administrations of England, Guernsey, Isle of Man, Jersey, Northern Ireland, the Republic of Ireland, Scotland and Wales its nickname is in fact more accurate.  As the politics of UK and Ireland  splinter or evolve, this Council could undertake more responsibilities.

I propose that it adopts The Common Good as its fundamental value and Saint Aidan as its Patron Saint'.


Bowthorpe Ecumenical Church, Norwich, UK issues unique common daily prayer leaflets. The latest two are entitled: 'THE COMMON GOOD - Biblical roots for society'. Here are a few quotes:

'Lord, we treasure the ideal of The Common Good which started with Moses' Ten Commandments and the Jubilee Laws, and was incarnated in Jesus' Kingdom of God on earth.

Remind us that we are clay which holds the memory of eternal patterns and the means of their fresh expression...

Let this wondrous creation, plundered by alien forces, open wide its arms to its returning Saviour...'

Posted at 14:46pm on 20th July 2023
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