King's Evangelical Divinity School

21 April 2010

FITE Update 6: Importance of the Christian Vote

BBC New's website has run a quite lengthy article on the possible impact of the Christian vote in the forthcoming general election. The upshot is that in such a closely fought race as the 2010 election, the Christian vote might well have a greater impact than normal, particularly in marginal seats. So if you feel it's been a waste of time in the past, don't let this chance by. Get out there and do some research on your local MPs (there's a very useful little tool to do just that from a Christian perspective here, and a more detailed site across a wider selection of issues here), put prospective candidates through their paces (call and email them, make them work for it by telling you where they stand on issues you consider important), then get out there and canvas for the Christian vote. And don't forget to register to vote yourself.


Stephen Kneale said...

Is there a touch of inconsistency in bemoaning a hung parliament as 'undemocratic' because a minority party hold the balance of power but relishing the idea of Christians, as a minority, making use of their larger than size influence in a closely fought election, especially in the marginals?

Calvin L. Smith said...

Nope. It's quite possible to hold to the one while pragmatically exploiting the other.

Calvin L. Smith said...

Besides, while I've always preferred FPP this little article written in light of a third party surge usefully explains why it may now be time to look at FPP again:

If we really are moving to a truly multi-party system, FPP simply guarantees power for the main parties with regional heartlands, particularly Labour, where a failure to create opportunities for social upward mobility and aspiration guarantees the continued existence of support - ironically - from the urban slums which, ironically, vote for Labour (though the evidence is it is backfiring, allowing the BNP in). I felt the Telegraph article was a useful explanation by a Professor of Government at Oxford. Unfortunately, the downside is the danger of gridlock government. Heaven forbid we end up with something like Israel's system.

But why shouldn't Christians seek to impact the election?

Stephen Kneale said...

Of course it is perfectly legitimate for Christians to impact the election. However, I think PR would offer Christians a real level of influence at the polls instead of at present where, unless your vote is consolidated in one area, it becomes meaningless.

It just seems inconsistent to me to suggest that a minority party holding the balance of power is undemocratic but a minority group, such as Christians, holding influence beyond their numbers is quite democratic. Either they're both legitimate or they aren't.

Calvin L. Smith said...

When did I suggest Christians exploiting the current election situation is democratic?

Stephen Kneale said...

You're right, you didn't say that. I, perhaps wrongly, made the inference. But it is true that you bemoan the concept of a hung parliament on the basis that it is undemocratic but you positively represent Christians exercising influence beyond their numbers which is equally undemocratic. Given that your beef with the Lib Dems holding the balance of power is rooted in the proper exercise of democracy it does seem inconsistent to then support something as undemocratic as a minority group exercising influence beyond their numbers.

I, personally, have no issue with either a hung parliament or Christians exercising influence beyond their numbers because that is the nature of the FPTP system we run. I think the system is flawed because these things are both undemocratic and can clearly occur under FPTP. Nevertheless, given that this is the system we run, I have no problem with either of them occurring (I just think we should reform the sytem). I just find it hard to see how you can bemoan the one issue, on the basis of democracy, whilst supporting the other equally undemocratic position?

Calvin L. Smith said...

I think you're reading too much into this and missing the point.

When they represented just 15-18% of the population it would have been a joke for the LibDems to determine the shape of the next g't (my first post). But as we may be heading for a hung parliament anyway Christians may as well exploit the situation (my second post). So I'm not inconsistent - I prefer strong g't. But if we're not going to get it anyway, why not get something else out of it?

If there's any inconsistency it's your attempt to draw a parallel between the LibDems as a political party and me suggesting Christians vote for their values. I suggested they vote for the party which locally supports Christian values, not vote for a Christian party. Thus, those MPs elected on this basis will not hold the balance of power because they come from existing parties. It's like comparing chalk with cheese.