25 April 2009

Elections for the European Parliament

On 4 June 2009, every voter in the UK will have the opportunity to vote in the European Parliament Elections. The Methodist Church, The United Reformed Church and the Baptist Union are calling on Christians to turn out at the polls and use your vote.

Why is it important to turn out and vote? Because the proportional representation system of these elections allows a political party with a relatively small number of votes to win a seat on the Parliament. A seat won means additional funds given to that party.

The churches' concern is the British National Party which promotes a racist agenda. (My own Southern European ethnic background makes me an undesirable person according to their membership criteria). The BNP only need about 9% of the vote to win a seat on the European Parliament and they are campaigning to get their supporters out in force. During the last European elections in the West Midlands, the party won just over 8% of the vote. If voters who would normally vote for other parties don't turn out to vote, it is conceivable that the BNP could win a seat in the West Midlands.

Usually, I don't believe in a minister of religion telling people how to vote. And my first message here is 'Vote for any political party of your choice with a platform that promotes justice and freedom for all people.' I.e. vote for any 'mainstream' party or for any independent party with a track record of serving the community well. (Our own fine MP in the Wyre Forest is an Independent.)

My second message is don't be fooled by the BNP's campaign in which it seeks to link itself with the Christian Church ('Britain is a Christian Country. Vote BNP' and 'What would Jesus Do? Vote BNP') As The Methodist Church so succinctly put it: Jesus is one of history's most famous Jews. It's hardly likely that he would support the BNP. The BNP no longer publishes its Constitution on its website and I wouldn't want to send you there anyway. Here is a copy of the constitution that the BNP don't want you to see.

I call on all Christians in Britain to get out and use your vote on the 4th of June.

4 comments:

Tom said...

Hi,

good advice! The hijacking of Jesus by the BNP is truly disgusting.

Just an aside, although not a 'maintream' or an independent group I'm campaigning for No2EU, Yes to Democracy, which is an RMT union backed coalition. I think the BNP support is made up of
a) Middle class ex-tories who want to go further than UKIP in their anti-Europeanism
b) Ex-Labour voting working class white voters.
I think No2EU has more of a chance of attracting votes from the second group than any of the other parties and provide an oppertunity for a positive protest vote. (www.no2eu.com) Hopefully they can take enough votes from the BNP to stop them getting an MEP.

Doorman-Priest said...

A timely warning. Thanks.

Methodist Preacher said...

Pam, in a previous incarnation I was the member of the European Parliament for the area in which you now ministered and serve. I know just how much I was able to achieve, especially, for example, to support the local carpet industry.

Even without the threat of the BNP I would urge every Christian and citizen to vote, making an informed and prayerful decision.

PamBG said...

MP, thanks for sharing your perspective with us as it's not an experience that most of us will have.

I agree with you that we should all vote at every election if we are able - but not 'early and often' as the old joke goes! I take that as read. I think this campaign is trying to especially highlight the issue. If, overall, fewer people vote in European elections, then the more people who know about the current situation, the better.