2015 General Election: You can still make a difference!

With the majority of constituency results announced it is clear that we will be seeing a Conservative formed government.  The polls leading up to yesterday’s election had the Tories and Labour neck and neck but I was expecting that many of our population would put an X by their Conservative candidate within the privacy of the voting booth.  We’re a rich country which means those in work will always be fairly comfortable and it’s difficult for people to vote against that and to stick up for the vulnerable.

I’m disappointed.  However, political involvement is not limited to voting in a General Election.  We all have a new or a newly re-elected MP who is accountable to us, the same goes for our local Councillors.  Engage with your MP and with your Councillors, get to know them and ensure they make your voice heard.  Even if they don’t represent your political views they are still your public servant.

There are also opportunities for those who feel powerless in an election to come together and make a collected voice heard through marches, letter writing and other peaceful protests.  If you feel helpless now then resolve to continue to campaign for the issues that are important to you.

Personally, I am most gutted for those who are more vulnerable for various reasons – the young, the elderly, the poor, the homeless, the unemployed, the disenfranchised, the asylum seeker, the looked after children, the disabled, those with mental illness, the addicts…..  These categories don’t generally vote Conservative, if they vote at all, and will undoubtedly be further down trodden.  If this bothers you then get ready to serve these people in your local community.  They may not be able to rely on their government for support and empowerment but they must be able to rely on their neighbours.

We spend a lot of time talking about our politicians but even once elected they do not have to be the ones who direct and shape our country.  Stand up and make a difference!

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May 7th…..Remember the poor

Where will you put your X on May 7th?  How are you going to decide?

If you have a secure job and want what is best economically for you then without doubt you should be voting Conservative.  You won’t go wrong with Labour or Lib Dem either.  If you are comfortable now then stick with the political establishment and nothing is going to change much – the colour flying over Downing Street might be different but our social landscape will remain the same.

However, if your desire is to see the poorest and most vulnerable in our society protected and empowered then maybe think of an alternative to the political establishment – and I’m not talking about the purple migrant bashers.  I would suggest that if you have a care and hope for those excluded from society then consideration should be given to a Green or Independent vote or maybe a spoiled ballot.

As a follower of Jesus I cannot bring myself to vote for my own needs and comforts.  “Let each of you look not only to his own interests, but also to the interests of others.” (Philippians 2:4)  If you love Jesus, if you love your fellow human – then don’t waste your vote selfishly.  Maybe you will come to a different political conclusion to me but do vote with your conscience.

West Bromwich vicar, Neil Robbie, has written a great and succinct post commenting on political thought processes with a different twist on who the poor could be.  Definitely worth a read for just 1 minute of your time.

If you have an hour then do invest it in listening to the late Simon Pettit’s biblical mandate for the poor.  This was recorded in 1998 and was a real watershed moment for the Newfrontiers famly of churches that I belong to – it provides a great introductory foundation on Christian teaching regarding the poor.

Election and Poor

Spoil your vote

Tomorrow in the West Midlands we have the ‘wonderful privilege’ of voting once again for the Police and Crime Commissioner.

I am not happy about this. I was speaking with a local councilor yesterday and he told me this election is costing approximately £3,000,000. On top of the cost of the actual election the Commissioner is to paid £100,000 a year and those selected by the Commissioner to represent the different boroughs in the West Midlands are each paid about £12,000 per year to attend a few meetings.

Because of that I am going to spoil my vote. I expect the turnout tomorrow will be minuscule and every spoiled vote must be counted I understand so, who knows, maybe the spoiled votes could win!

I think it is an important principle that we should make use of our right to vote. And not matter how apathetic you feel about a specific election or bunch of candidates I believe you should still make time to head down to the polling station tomorrow.

Anybody not going to vote?