thoughts on faith, justice, politics and philosophy

Month: April 2015

Why I’m Voting Labour

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This time it’s not an April Fool. I really am voting for Labour on 7th May, I promise! I’ve been overwhelmed / offended / confused / amazed at the volume of people who didn’t realize that my previous post was an April Fools joke. So, in case some of my arguments actually managed to sway you in any way; here’s a swift debunking of why they are all totally made up:

Ed Miliband Is Not Incompetent

The Tory press has been relentless in its criticism of Ed. There have been countless “bacon sandwich” type incidents, attacks on his family, attacks on his kitchen (by a press that supports a cabinet of millionaires) and so on. But none of this has gotten to the heart of the matter. Then one day a Conservative spoke up and talked about ruthless Ed. And he has been.

  • Ed stopped Syria from being bombed, which would have escalated the conflict in the region
  • Ed has signalled that Labour would stop the Bedroom Tax
  • Ed has pledged to increase the minimum wage, reform zero hours contracts and protect the rights of workers.
  • Ed has promised to change tack on the way the government deals with the NHS, no longer following the privatisation policies of old. No more New Labour.

Nick Clegg? An honourable man, but a footnote of history after this government is finally a thing of the past. He may have stopped Tory horrors. But why stop Tory horrors when instead you can calm down Labour zealousness?

I don’t claim to believe that Labour are either a) radical enough on economics or b) sensible enough on policies such as immigration. But I do think a Labour-led government will be better than a Tory-led one. The key here is better. Yes, we can abstain, complain, moan, and whinge about how the gap is too small; but that gap contains a whole lot of hurting people that we can help. It’s the least we can do.

The Green Party, contrary to being “Sandal wearing loonies” are economically extreme but socially very, very insightful indeed. They see a return to caring for the earth and for one another as the core principles behind their social policy, and I couldn’t agree more. It’s just a shame I don’t live in Brighton or Bristol West.

UKIP? I got that one the most wrong. They’re not so much loony as evil. Cold, calculating, racist, xenophobic evil. Benefits claimants are not statistically a problem in this country. Overseas aid is less than 1% of GDP, gays do NOT cause thunderstorms and to top it all off  they’re headed up by an investment w…sorry… banker.

As for the Tories? Well…

  • The Bedroom Tax
  • Warmongering
  • Benefit cuts
  • ATOS
  • NHS privatisation plans
  • Free schools
  • A massive increase in the need for foodbanks

And the worst of all sins, hypocrisy: an ever ballooning deficit.

As far as my previous “praise” goes? well:

  • Marriage equality would have become legislation under any party leader, given the climate. Look at how many Conservatives opposed it!
  • Creating jobs is all well and good, but only if they’re not zero hours or part time!
  • The public sector did a better job of running the rail network than any of the current lot
  • Universal Credit still isn’t fully here, is still a joke, and should still be scrapped

Locally? Charlotte Leslie works tirelessly for the people of Henleaze and Westbury. She puts a token effort in for Southmead where her government continues to screw over the primary demographics. And she defends their abhorrent record. Who cares about a railway line? Seriously? Henbury is too far away to walk to anyway, for most people.

As for the Southmead Survey? I was more than a little disgusted at the way in which she piggy backed the hard work of many volunteers in producing a Southmead Community Plan, by then sending out “Charlotte Leslies Southmead Community Plan” which was, of course, hugely politically biased. That was the nail in the coffin for me.

Darren Jones on the other hand is a pleasant local lad whose government will stand up for the many and not the few.

So, on May 7th, I’ll be voting Labour. I’d encourage you to do the same.



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It’s Always Good Friday Somewhere

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This Friday, as we remember Jesus’ death on the cross, we remember his abandonment. We recall that he cried out to God and asked “why have you forsaken me”? We remember his torture, loneliness, and death.

And then on Sunday we switch back to the other 364 days of the year where we proclaim Christ triumphant.

Triumphant. Because that’s what Christianity has become. To its detriment.

We’ve been too busy being the world’s biggest religion. Invading countries, fighting Muslims, telling people how to think, behave and feel. And then declaring that God has given us worldly riches as some kind of crude pre-rapture thank-you to butter us up before the big day when we get to stand in front of him and boast about all the wonderful things we have done.

It’s Good Friday. God is dead.

Jesus was abandoned.

It’s always Good Friday somewhere. There’s always pain, always suffering, always evil, always doubt, always struggle.

Today as you remember Jesus going through the worst of all kinds of pain, think of those who struggle with their faith. Those who feel as though God really has abandoned them. Those for whom Gods abandonment has been self evident in their rejection by mainstream church – either explicit for their “sins” of homosexuality, or unorthodoxy; or implicit for their flaws and failings as human beings, rejected by a subculture that no longer looks anything like the man who came to create it.

We share in this responsibility. We are a community. We are all in this totally, totally together.

Remember what happened when Israel disobeyed God? When it didn’t listen to his advice and his help, and his commandments? God abandoned Israel.

God has promised, through Jesus, not to abandon us in the same way. The least we can do is return the favour.

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[APRIL FOOL] Why I’m Voting Conservative on May 7th

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Just for clarity, this was a joke! There is no way in all of hell I would ever even begin to consider voting for the Conservative party in its current guise. Or, realistically, in any guise.

As many of you will know, politics is an issue dear to my heart. I happen to believe it the pursuit of noble causes far more than I perceive it to be the cynical they’re-all-the-same-and-in-it-for-themselves alternative.

I’ve spent some long evenings thinking about where my vote should lie. My natural inclination has always been to vote Labour. Yet Ed Miliband fills me with dread. The man is nothing short of utterly incompetent.

Then there’s the Liberal Democrats. Nick Clegg, better known for… breaking his promises – than for delivering anything  tangible in government. No thanks.

What about the Green party? sandal wearing loonies. And UKIP? Just plain loonies.

Which is why, with much caution, bemusement, regret and a heavy heart, I’ve decided to place my vote, this year, for the Conservative party.

I may not agree with David Cameron on all things but the man is at least serious about deficit reduction, equality (look at his record on gay rights, for example), creating jobs and employment, and furthering the role of business in the miserable mess that is the public sector. Yes, some of his policies unnerve me – I winced every time I heard Michael Gove on the television over the last five years – but take a look at some of the other things the government has achieved: the universal credit being a great example. While faced with a difficult rolling-out phase, brings benefits into one, manageable, sensible, understandable system that those who use it can follow.

Locally, Charlotte Leslie has been a fantastic constituency MP, working tirelessly for the people of Southmead. She has been at the forefront of work on local campaigns such as her Southmead Survey, and the re-opening of the Henbury railway line, to name just a couple of things.

So, this coming election, I will be placing my vote with the Conservatives. I’ve grown in private, to admire their approach and their attitude – that we need to work hard and contribute to society; and enable others to do the same. I implore you to do the same as I will on the 7th May – vote Conservative.


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