Some thoughts for the night before (and the night after) a General Election

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I’m not going to tell you how to vote: you are intelligent and have already weighed carefully what to do. I might not agree with your decision, but I respect it. This blog is not about that.

These are some random observations about this campaign ; my biases are evident. I’ve always voted Labour in a national election. If I lived in a seat where I had a chance of unseating a Conservative, I’d vote tactically for any other party to do so. Part of the reason is that I am a Methodist minister: we tend to see things through a Left/Liberal lens (see for example the above prayer. I find it hard to see how any Christian with a working knowledge of The Magnificat* could do otherwise), another reason is one of my children’s’ godparents is standing for Labour. There are many, many other reasons which are of no consequence here; I just wanted to be honest about my biases.

Here goes (I’m guilty of some of these points):-

1: Please can we retire emotive phrases like ‘the will of the people’ , ‘Britain has decided’ or ‘the people have spoken’? The most any governing party has ever got of the popular votes since 1948 is 48%. Most governing parties gain between 37% to 45%: that is not even  a majority of the 65-75% who vote. As soon as you recognise that, it would be a good idea to be less strident & have a little more humility.

2: ‘We won and you lost’. Is the kind of phrase that I’d expect to hear on the lips of a 9 year old boy, boasting in the playground and not a grown adult. It over simplifies, ramps up the emotions and…have we learned nothing about the divisiveness of this phrase on social media post 2015? Also: see number 1.

3: Too many of us share things on social media that are not true– but we desperately want them to be so due to the way we see the world. In this election this reached almost epidemic proportions. Check your sources: it is a shame there is not a search engine- we could call it ‘google’ or something- to do this. By the way: did you know that Tesco are giving out £50 vouchers: please share…

4: Hyperbole: beloved of leading politicians and used unwittingly by us. For example: if this is a ‘once in a generation election’, given recent elections I must be around 226 years old. Please stop: my head is hurting.

5: Most aspiring politicians believe in what they are standing for and have the kind of integrity that you or I have. They are not all corrupt, ‘muppets’ or standing against ‘the will of the people’ (see number 1 again); labelling them as such damages us.

6: If you have any kind of intelligence and expect me to listen to you on social media, please drop the ‘pejorative adjective’. As soon as you talk about ‘the racist Johnson’, ‘the anti Semitic Corbyn’ or go on to say ‘all Tories are c**ts’, ‘Rees Mogg is a b**tard* I stop listening to you and wonder who gives you the right to talk about another human like that. Express annoyance and anger, but like you are talking about another human being and not like you have disappeared down the rabbit hole of your own echo chamber.

7: If you feel aggrieved about the result don’t label people who voted differently to you as ‘stupid’, ‘idiots’, ‘ignorant’ . Likewise, don’t blame ‘old people’ if there is a heavy Conservative majority; the clue is in the 2nd part of that: ‘people’- you and I will be old one day. I’d hate to be considered less of a person just because of the way I voted.

8: Stop playing ‘racism olympics’. On surveys (which is only one measure), all parties have members that have racist opinions. Although Labour’s measure tends to be lower than other parties and has arguably declined in the past few years, that is not cause to play ‘whatboutery’ (yet, in the antisemitism furore, it was a constant source of joy to me that people on the right with little previous record in anti racism suddenly became very interested in and zealous about Labour and antisemitism…). No party can be complacent until racism is eradicated: I hope that the EHRC investigation into Labour will underline this and I look for similar investigations into other parties.

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That’s about enough and double the length of my usual posts. I’ve not mentioned my doubts about the BBC, wondered ‘what a time to be alive’ that in a world with Hamas, the AfD, an increase in Far Right terrorism, Isis etc that Jeremy Corbyn is still apparently the number 1 danger to Jews, speculated about the level of lying that came out of BoJo and the Conservative campaign, the fatuous and disingenuous nature of ‘Get Brexit Done’ and… that’s enough, apart from one specifically Christian one:-

9: How distant I have become from many evangelical analyses of ‘a Christian guide on how to vote’. I’ve read quite a bit on ‘right to life’ (which is important), personal morality (ditto: although Boris seems to get a free pass) etc, but very little on the vast increase in foodbank usage, the blaspehemy of Austerity (I do not use that word lightly- but when you seem to ignore the image of God in the real human cost and the deliberate choice to cut from those with little, ‘blasphemy’ seems appropriate) etc as ways in which your vote might be guided. I’ve practically stopped reading you: particularly when you seem to be ‘genitally obsessed’ with the way that you read culture.

The end.

 

(* See Luke chapter 2- google it. It is also referred to as ‘Mary’s song’)

2 thoughts on “Some thoughts for the night before (and the night after) a General Election”

  1. “The blasphemy of Austerity” – yes, I like that. I think a (reworked) understanding of blasphemy could be immensely useful – it’s why I say ‘all human beings are made in the image of God’, because then anything which defaces the human being (like poverty) is seen as having a religious weight, which is blasphemy – and religious people need to reawake our sense of shock at it, which is why the word could be handy.

    (Sam, if the registration doesn’t work)

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