Father Ed's Blog

A Catholic priest reflects…

Feeling glum on voting day

As Father Nicholas reminded us on Sunday- voting is important. Be that as it may I cannot remember feeling as disillusioned before heading to the voting booth. In more recent elections the problem was a lack of discernible difference between the main parties- now we have difference but both seem broken in different ways.

On the one hand there is a Conservative party offering a sensible handling of the economy but who seem in thrall to big business at the cost of the vulnerable. Too often recently I have counselled disabled and vulnerable people, and their relatives, whose lives are looking bleak thanks to very harsh cuts on budgets that support them. How can a nation that affords Trident and war abroad not have enough money to support the genuinely needy? My heart struggles with a Tory vote.

On the other hand we have a Labour party now run by an extreme socialist. It is all well and good producing a little red book crammed full of promises- but does anyone  honestly believe the money exists for this vision to be realised? History has proved repeatedly  that socialism fails and wreaks total havoc on a nation. My head struggles with a Labour vote.

Then there are fringe parties- none of whom speaks up for people of faith. Most are pressure groups compiled of the disillusioned. It leaves me wondering if the Monster Raving Loony Party are running?

Please God could you help us raise up sensible and caring souls to form a credible party? One based on level playing fields and free markets that is not in the pocket of the elites. One that genuinely serves the people not big business and which looks out for the vulnerable. One that might actually help heal the divisions in this nation.

It is time, I think, that Christians mobilised and got more laity involved in politics. We need to get our voice into the mainstream and start working for change. Could you stand for a party? We need sound people in every one. Come on lay people- what are you waiting for? Christians stand for election. Give us a better option.

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  1. Julie

    I have a very bad feeling that we are going to end up with a coalition government which will be bad news for everyone!

  2. Matthew Tomlinson

    You have read too much biased media and fallen for some old narratives. Socialism, and we mean Democratic Socialism, has not wreaked havoc anywhere but has been the principal instrumentfor the increase in prosperity in Western Europe. And the idea that the Tories are good with the economy is demonstrably false – it is a misrepresentation put out by those whose interests it serves. I know that you are someone who likes to check the facts and seek the truth. Check them. The only times there have been budget surpluses have been under Labour governments. Borrowing has always been less under Labour governments. The two worst domestic economic debacles were presided over by Tory prime-ministers, Heath and Major. The Tories are not good with the economy.

    And then just compare the two leaders. One has not hesitated to throw every kind of abuse at her opponent to lie to the public again and again.
    The other has withstood more abuse and vilification than any other politician, even from his own parliamentary party and the left wing press, and yet he has never hit back. He has always maintained his integrity and been gracious to his enemies. Who do you think follows more closely the Dominical example? The agnostic or the vicar’s daughter?

    So, Ed, you know what to do. Get off your bum, and get out and vote Labour and be proud of it!

    • David Knowles

      How can anyone with a shred of patriotic feeling vote for a republican?

      • MV

        Is that a question? I think a lot of French folk are very patriotic.

        • David Knowles

          The United ‘Kingdom’ is a monarchy. Our Queen has served this nation for 65 years and our constitutional monarchy is the envy of the world. Our democracy is the equal of any republic and in my view a man who refuses to sing the national anthem, and is too proud to follow custom and kneel to his sovereign when admitted as a Privy Councillor is not worthy to form Her Majesty’s Government.
          Even his friends in N. I. who are not prepared to swear allegiance to the Queen and therefore do not take their seats in parliament have more integrity. Corbin probably had his fingers crossed when he took the oath when entering parliament.

          • MV

            You are funny, Dave.

          • Mary B

            Hi David, I see M “Going to be overly familiar just to be annoying even if it is unbelievably juvenile” V has popped out of the vinegar bottle again. as my late auntie used to say.
            Little things….

  3. Steve G

    I agree that the choices are not particularly edifying. It was ever thus and probably always will be. In the current context may I suggest that the act of voting itself matters infinitely more than whom we vote for. A massive turnout reaffirms our spiritual and societal values in the face of the bomb-throwing, backstabbing nihilists who challenge our very notions of humanity. #getoutandvote

  4. Tony Hill

    Another benefit of the traditional Mass is a political one in that it casts things magnificently sub specie aeternitatis. Always that is so, but especially when we are inclined to invest the passing parade with serious meaning.

    Rev. Sidney Smith (what would one give to share a bottle or two with him?) in his Advice Concerning Low Spirits, to Lady Georgiana Morpeth: “Don’t expect too much from human life – a sorry business at the best…”. The whole is hilarious and beautiful.

    And the sad Prime Minister, Arthur Balfour: “Nothing matters very much, and few things matter at all”.

    We must rediscover a sense of wretchedness, a proper tragic vision in Christ. What relief, what wisdom, what humble skill and craft might follow.

    Our suffering put at the heart of our lives and as an enduring occasion of love.

  5. Alan

    I think, Father, that Matthew Tomlinson has hit the nail on the head. Corbyn is certainly not an extreme socialist. Some might question whether he is a socialist at all. His politics might fairly be described as mildly left social democracy. Some policies in the Labour manifesto – public ownership of railways and utilities, undergraduates not charged tuition fees and assisted by maintenance grants -were uncontroversial, apolitical and axiomatic for more than half of my life.

    • David Knowles

      I would be really happy to embrace the Corbyn rationale if I knew where the money was coming from to pay for it. In my youth I thought Tony Ben and Michael Foot had all the right answers.
      Later when I had to learn how to manage my own finances I drifted more to the right! I suspect many of the young people who voted for Corbyn will do the same thing as they mature.

      • Admin

        That Tony Ben held his peerage on ice for his children and saved a nest egg for them in an offshore tax free account spoke volumes. I had huge respect for him, but in the end even he wanted other people’s money and not his own to sort the problems.

        • MV

          He renounced his peerage in order to hold a seat in the commons, as did the Tory Lord Home on the same day. In such cases the title does not become extinct, and is resumed by the renouncer’s successor. If the successor does not want it he must renounce it himself.

          • Admin

            So all animals are equal but some are more equal than others…

          • MV

            No, Edward, it is just the way hereditary peerages work, that’s all. They could be abolished altogether but that has not happened yet.
            On the other matter, while it was surprising to some that Tony Benn left his entire (and very large) estate to his children, it was never any secret in his lifetime that he was a very wealthy man, and he did not conceal it, and paid his taxes. Your claim that he placed his wealth in offshore tax-havens is libellous.

      • MV

        The Labour manifesto is fully costed. Governments pay for everything by responsible taxation and borrowing. The borrowing is paid back by future growth resulting from the investment made. Simple.

        • David Knowles

          How can governments pay for something by borrowing? Only by increasing a National Debt which under Labour only ever increases.
          What do they care about creating an insurmountable burden for young people they have brainwashed into voting for them?
          Yes I do know I am funny!

          • MV

            Keynesian economics, Dave. Borrowing to invest for the future. Its what all responsible governments with stable economies do, as contrasted to banana republics which stockpile gold because it is more stable than their economies which are subject to the vast fluctuations in price of the limited variety of commodities they export. And Dave, rather than taking your morning Mailograph as gospel, just look up the tables of government borrowing and national debt over the last 50 years. I think you will find it edifying. The only period of significant government surplus was between 1997 and 2007. It was also a time when there was much greater expenditure on public services. The present government is running at a deficit and borrowing annually rather more than the Blair/Brown government ever did except in its final two years when it had to offset a major global financial collapse. Which only Captain Hindsight foresaw.

            What does it all mean, Dave?

          • MV

            Just in case you have misunderstood: when governments borrow money, they don’t borrow from their neighbours. Britain doesn’t go to Frau Merkel saying “Look, we’ve got a bit of a cash-flow problem just at the moment. Do you think you could see your way to lending us 50 billion till next year?” The government borrows from its own people by issuing government bonds. They then buy them back later at an increased value – which is why they are the risk free component in most boring UnitTrusts that Joe Public invests in. The money borrowed pays for education, health, domestic security etc which all go towards boosting productivity and increasing GDP – usually by a greater factor than the bonds it issued have increased in value. Thats the theory anyway, and most of the time it works. A thick, sick and unpoliced population is an unproductive one – as scores of failed states demonstrate.

        • Mary B

          MV when you are obviously knowledgeable about politics, economics and the like why do you persist in this juvenile practice of using shortened Christian names? It detracts from your, otherwise, excellent arguments

          • Fr Barry Tomlinson

            Well, he got Edward right, even if the owner prefers the abbreviation.

  6. Martin Bridge

    hello Fr Ed

    You’re an obvious candidate for voting ‘Lord Buckethead’ next time; (not too far away in the UK’s distant future.) PS. He dresses in black too!

  7. David Knowles

    We may not like capitalism but we cannot live without it. It has created a world that nobody but a capitalist is capable of running. The only serious attempt to manage the world differently- communism-was so much worse in every conceivable way that nobody has the stomach to try that again.
    Even during those periods of labour government to which you refer this country still functions, as all successful nations do, as a capitalist economy. It is also worth pointing out that the successes of the Blair/Brown epoch were more to do with those gentlemen moving to a more centrist position no to traditional socialism. Corbyn is closer to Lenin than he is to Blairites.

    • MV

      Oh Dave, you Dacre dupe! How can capitalism work without the provision of labour, or without consumers? And those two categories almost entirely overlap. And how can capitalism flourish without an infrastructure which is provided by the state? I don’t think even the great Mr Sugar would be able to make a go of things in Somalia.

      • Admin

        What should worry all of us more than this is the sound economies tend to rely on the majority paying taxes. This requires a healthy birth rate and that is plummeting. Ten children caring for granny is easy. Two children providing for 10 grannies is not. There is the real problem looking forwards. A contraceptive mentality is killing productivity. It leads to short term gain- with less children to provide for…but long term pain with not enough children to provide for you.

  8. Mary B

    Fr. Barry,



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