The graffiti above is cynical but sums up my feelings heading into the general election. The bottom line is that I can not find a single party upholding the views of Christians. Who are we to vote for? It is a question many Catholics are asking. Perhaps we need to vote for local individuals over a party under the circumstances? Is that acceptable in a general election? I do not really know…but what I can share are two good posts from the last week that will help you in your thinking.
The first comes from Ordinariate priest, Fr. Ian Hellyer. You must read it in a lovely gentle West Country lilt to hear his authentic voice! He helpfully reminds us that Catholic teaching stresses how society should place the dignity of the human person at the centre. Not the creation of wealth at the expense of human dignity, not the following of ideology at the expense of the person, not the building up of the State at the expense of human dignity. The building up of humanity, especially protection of the weak, must be the heartbeat of the manifesto acceptable to the Christian. Shame I cannot really find one.
The second entitled “Who can I vote for?” was penned by Deacon Nick Donnelly for a local newspaper. As if the suspicion that the Christian voice is sidelined in modern politics needed highlighting, the paper then refused to publish the article due to its “political content!” Fortunately a blog picked it up. Having shown why the parties fail the Catholic he asks a huge question; has the time come for Christians to mobilise and form a better party? A fantastic vision but it will not help us in the short term.
My own feeling is that we might be looking in the wrong place in any case. Given that the majority of our laws are now formed in Brussels not Westminster why do we still behave as if this election is the big one? If Britain has become a Federal State, as I believe it has, then the political narrative on these shores needs to change in order to recognise the fact.
It is our European MP’s who hold the power over us and it is they who should therefore demand our fullest attention. But most of us do not even know who they are. If you doubt the power of Brussels consider how gay marriage, forced on the electorate without vote despite never appearing in any manifesto, occurred because promises had been given in Europe long before it was even announced in the UK Parliament. Don’t be sidelined by the issue itself – it is the process I am highlighting here. And it hints at something much less than authentic democracy.
Perhaps many, like myself, feel disempowered and apathetic precisely because we are not voting for the leaders of this nation but only for the figures who represent them locally? The servants of the massive corporations and the faceless eurocrats. It would explain why the genuine choice and excitement offered by Thatcher v. Kinnock in my youth has given way to the banal options of today. Our career politicians seem dull in comparison and are barely different one from the other. What do you think a Catholic should do in the forthcoming election? Keep it courteous please!