The forthcoming election


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!

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15 thoughts on “The forthcoming election

    1. I am not sure UKIP answers my initial concerns at all. I deplore the demonisation of immigrants, just for starters…

  1. Once more, Fr Ed, you highlight a serious problem for all Christians, but especially Catholics, as to where to place one’s cross at this election. There is, my Daughter-in-Law tells me, the Christian Alliance. However they have no candidate where I live.
    Ought we to create a UK Christian Democrate Party here?

  2. As Churchill said, democracy os the worst possible system apart from the other.” al;l parties are coalitions. My MP, before the last election, said the conservatives could work with Lib dems because they both believed in civil liberty. In government however, statist extensions of power and more surveillance become the norm. however, we should not be too cynical. Most MPs do want to serve society, but the political machines lead to banality.Catholics believe in subsidiarity, that decisions should be taken as locally as possible. Christians should see which party most supports their views. Gay marriage is a side issue. It benefits those who think it important; it does not effect anyone else.

    1. Gay marriage is anything but a “side issue”! It is a “game-changer” because it attacks the very roots of society. Furthermore, it is highly dangerous, as it is a measure that, once enacted, cannot be reversed. It is the reason why very many Christians (Catholics) will never vote Tory, Labour or Lib Dem again.

      1. How does equal marriage attack anything or anybody?
        It is the behaviour of heterosexuals over the past 50 years that has devastated family life.
        Two people making a commitment to each other can only strengthen society.
        A great deal of noise has been made about defending family and marriage which has only been a vehicle for homophobia.
        I have not seen one valid argument supporting the view that equal marriage is a threat to anyone or anything.
        If one does not vote for a party because of equal marriage then one will never vote again.

        1. Equal marriage is not a term that means a thing. Marriage is equal in that anybody is free to enter it or decline to do so. By suggesting marriage can be open to people of the same sex then my marriage is obviously affected because you just changed the definition of the word. Suddenly it is centred on adult desire rather than children’s needs. This passage from the marriage service is rendered meaningless
          The gift of marriage brings husband and wife together
          in the delight and tenderness of sexual union
          and joyful commitment to the end of their lives.
          It is given as the foundation of family life
          in which children are [born and] nurtured
          and in which each member of the family,in good times and in bad,
          may find strength, companionship and comfort,
          and grow to maturity in love.

          1. Fr. Ed
            Equal marriage does not harm Catholic sacramental
            marriage .The church does not have a monopoly on marriage outside its own jurisdiction. All the positive things we believe about marriage and our experience of marriage don’t cease to exist just because other people have a different perception from us .
            Just as we are free to believe what we believe about marriage so others who have a different view should be respected.

          2. David Knowles is in popular, if not good, company. To re-define something as fundamental as marriage is to society, is to high-jack the language. It is what all totalitarians do.

            Talk about “equal marriage” is to alter what both words mean. Same-Sex marriages are neither equal nor are they marriages. Until the government forced it to change, the Oxford English Dictionary defined marriage as being between one man and one woman.

            It is the same as throwing in (as David Knowles does) the word ‘homophobia’. There is little or no homophobia in our society for very few people are afraid of homosexuals. Many find homosexuality distasteful and Catholics know homosexual acts are sinful – as by the way – are heterosexual ones outside marriage.

            As to never voting for a political party again, well that is exactly the problem Fr Ed has raised. that is indeed the problem.

  3. We have the same dilemma down here in Australia. At the recent New South Wales state election ,Muslims were going up to Christian Democratic party supporters ( this is considered an anti muslim party) and asking for the how to vote card as the other parties-Australian Labor party and the Liberal party ( conservatives) were for the Muslims “immoral”.
    How about Independent Eurosceptics ??

  4. UKIP don’t “demonise” immigrants, they simply want to restore control of our borders, which seems to me perfectly fair to all concerned (except the members of the political establishment and their cronies).

  5. I don’t see any obvious place for the so-called Catholic vote. From a Catholic point of view there are pros and cons in all the parties which make it impossible to make a choice from a purely Catholic standpoint.
    Even it were possible to form some sort of a Christian alliance party I dread to think how few seats it would achieve in Parliament in this secular age.
    In Ireland where the Constitution actually began with the invocation to the Trinity, mass attendance is dropping like a stone and society is becoming ever more secular.
    I think the days where Christianity per se can influence elections to any great extent are over.
    However by influencing and joining with other people of faith and people of good will to achieve a more altruistic society, we can have an effect on public opinion and thereby influence the manifestos of political parties.
    In a democracy the force for good in a government can only be in direct proportion to the force for good in the electorate.

  6. I think one has to grasp essentials. If one believes – as I do – that the Conservatives have systematically lied about the nature of the economic crisis since 2008, then no moral person – let alone any Christian – can vote for them. After that, one makes one’s choices (though UKIP is obviously excluded, on different but equally compelling moral grounds). Can we please have some Christian rigour here, Father Ed.!

  7. Some random thoughts:
    The Big Society argument resonated with my Catholic faith last time out. One up to the Tories. Unfortunately David Cameron dropped it quicker than Nick Clegg’s commitment to cap tuition fees. Since then our PM has displayed all the gravitas and leadership of a snake oil salesman, signing up to anything (gay marriage included) that might win a few votes. As a result, the current Tory election campaign is terribly opportunistic and very shallow.

    I sort of applaud UKIP because they are prepared to surface issues that the other parties have strenuously pretended aren’t issues at all. However in doing so they pander to our worst prejudices and for that reason alone I would give them a wide berth.

    I will take the time to see what the candidates in my own constituency are actually saying and to see which come closest to ticking the proverbial boxes in relation to the issues about which I feel most strongly. That to me is more important than holding any particular party political loyalty.

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