None of the above – a Christian view of the UK general election

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When Theresa May called a snap general election in 2017, the BBC did a vox pop on the streets of Bristol. An elderly woman went viral with her frustrated declaration – “You’re joking … not another one … there’s too much politics!” When Rishi Sunak surprised not only the media but also many of his own MPs by announcing there would be an early general election on 4 July, I suspect that the sentiments for many were somewhat different. There has been a sense of inevitability about this – the government seems tired and worn out. If the opinion polls are to be believed, then a Labour government seems inevitable.

We live in a democracy where each person’s vote is as valuable as the next. But it seems as though there is a weariness with democracy and a sense of pointlessness about voting. While the church should not endorse political candidates or advocate particular political parties, we should encourage people to use the little power they have to influence events in this nation. The vote is a precious gift which we should use.

But therein lies the problem. As a Scottish exile in Australia, I still have a vote in my native land. But I am debating whether I should apply for a postal vote or not – although given the state of modern postal communications, I may already be too late! Why this hesitancy? Because I would really struggle in knowing who to vote for. I confess that in my life I have at different times voted Labour, Lib Dem, Conservative, SNP, Green and even Scottish Socialist Party – the latter was entirely a frustrated protest vote.

I have no idea how I would vote this time. Latterly I have tended to vote for the candidate, not the party or the party leader – although obviously they cannot be ignored. But the trouble is that the political class has narrowed. Our political parties seem to be run by technocrats and kids just out of school. It is hard to tell the difference between the main parties – they are all different shades of beige. And those that are not are off the edge of the rainbow.

Where does someone who would have traditionally been seen as economically left wing, and socially conservative go to vote? I support the NHS but think that the NHS aborting babies or potentially euthanising old people is wrong. I support the equality of women but despair at politicians who don’t know what a woman is. I want to help refugees but don’t agree that open borders will do anything other than create more refugees. I agree with freedom of religion but don’t accept that the de-Christianisation of Britain and the Islamification of some areas is a good thing.

I want to do what we can to help the environment, but not at the expense of making the poor poorer and the rich richer. I believe in real education and not the social indoctrination that so many of our schools now provide. I hate hate but I don’t want a new blasphemy law which will be used by the progressive elites to enforce their doctrines and demonise the Bible. So can anyone tell me of a relatively sane political party where I would be welcome?

Like millions of others, I feel disenfranchised. My world is not the world of most of the chattering classes, the academic, civic, entertainment and arts establishments. I recall a BBC producer telling me that my views were representative of at least 50 per cent of the population, but that it was a 50 per cent that the BBC was not diverse enough to cover.

The temptation for the disenfranchised is to express frustration by voting for fringe extremist groups, but that is not really an option for me as a Christian. I want to vote positively. So, what can we do?

Firstly, we will pray – that God raises up political leaders who have more respect and honour for Christian principles than many of their colleagues. Secondly, I will vote for anyone, Christian or not, who embodies at least some of the values that I believe should be within our society. And thirdly, if my vote arrives in time, and I couldn’t in all conscience vote for any of the candidates. I will spoil my ballot by writing ‘none of the above’.

Meanwhile I will watch from a distance and reflect on how, as the UK in general, and Scotland in particular has rejected the Christian faith (this week it was revealed that for the first time 51% of Scots said they had no religion), it has not led to a secular Nirvana but rather a confused, broken and despairing society. I will cry out in the words of the Proverbs 14:34, “Righteousness exalts a nation, but sin condemns any people.” And in the words of Graham Kendrick as I think about the great darkness that covers the earth, I will plead with the Lord to come and shine forth his light.

In the coming weeks I hope to look in more detail from a biblical perspective on some of the major issues facing the nation at this time.

David Robertson is the minister of Scots Kirk Presbyterian Church in Newcastle, New South Wales. He blogs at The Wee Flea.

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