Saturday, 9 May 2015

A Christian Votes Conservative

This is an edited version of what I wrote on my Facebook page - I have removed some details which are personal and are the sort of I would only share with close friends:

Firstly, I have to say I am glad the election is over.

The way the Daily Mail has acted towards Ted Miliband, day-in day-out, has been terrible. Judging his dad on an adolescent diary entry is bad. Matriculation photo of Ted in sub-fusc spun in a way that shows ignorance of Oxford traditions. And the reliance on articles written by Martin Winter without mentioning that Winter was chucked out of the Labour party and had an axe to grind.

And is there anyone alive who can, hand on heart, say they have never had a bacon sarnie malfunction?

I know that among my Christian friends there will be differing views of the outcome. I have not agreed with everything the Government has done. I am proud that we have reached the UN target on international aid, helping the poorest and most vulnerable in the world. The Modern Slavery Act 2015 provides the tools to tackle the scourge of people trafficking. Recongising marriage in the tax system - although the financial amount is small - demonstrates that we believe marriage is the bedrock of society.

Although it was an idea we pinched from the Liberal Democrats, raising the Personal Allowance has enabled people on low incomes to keep more of what they earn, and reduced their reliance on the welfare state, which I believe is better than robbing Peter via his taxes to pay Paul via benefits and robbing Paul via his taxes to pay Peter via benefits. Creating conditions which allow business to flourish led to over 2 million jobs being created.

The effects of the "living wage" could be replicated by raising the Personal Allowance and the National Insurance threshhold to the level where someone on the National Minimum Wage takes home 100% of what they earn, and thus placing no extra burden on small businesses.

I tend to take a high view of politicians - whatever their party - and assume that their motivation for going into politics is to secure the best for this country and their constituents.

What has been painful is the level of hate on both Facebook and Twitter regarding those of us who are Christians who believe that the Conservatives are the best choice for the country. No, I do not hate the poor; I do not hate the disabled; I am surprised to learn that I have turned my back on the sick, considering how often I have ended up in A&E and rely on tablets and inhalers.

The Government has increased spending on the NHS, and IMHO, an article in the Telegraph by someone who is not speaking for the Conservative party, suggesting that the funding model should be along the lines of the German system does not mean the Government is going to abolish it.

Nor is it a case that those of us who voted Conservative were just looking after Number One. Being a middle-aged, childless person there is not much I will get from a Conservative government. Too old to benefit from the new discount, starter homes (have to be under 40), too well off (although it doesn't feel like it) to benefit from the new Right to Buy (not eligible for a Housing Association home), too young to benefit from anything aimed at pensioners.

The Apostle Paul emphasised being all things to all people. I know Conservatives who are non-Christians. Whenever a clergyperson tweets Vote Labour, or has Vote Labour on their FB profile, it makes reaching Conservative non-Christians just that little bit harder, as it helps reinforce the perception that the Church of England is just another soft left pressure group. Not that I want to see clergypersons tweeting Vote Conservative either, as it would make outreach harder to a different group of people.

While I agree that the Church should speak out, it should always be careful that it is not coming across as supporting a particular party, regardless of what that party is.

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