Votewise 2015

“Voting is the last thing you should do!”

Price: from £8.99£6.00

Click to read the Votewise talk at LICC by Guy Brandon


We are a nation of disaffected voters. The last three elections have seen the lowest turnout in living memory, and there’s no indication that 2015 will be any different. If there was a box on the ballot for the Apathy Party, voters would flock to their sofas to avoid ticking it.

The common complaint is that there’s no point voting, because nothing ever changes. Those we put in charge of running the country keep sabotaging our economy, backtracking on promises and buying duck houses at our expense. Small wonder that we opt out of politics altogether, if all that happens when we take our chance to change the system every five years is that we get another party, almost indistinguishable from the last.

Common though it is, this view is badly mistaken. Taking the trip to the polling station once every five years is not the beginning and end of political engagement – especially for Christians, who are taught to pray ‘Your kingdom come, your will be done, on earth, as it is in heaven.’ We are commanded to seek transformation here on earth, not simply to sit back and wait for the Age to Come.

215px Votewise 2015Votewise 2015 aims to help Christians understand how to think about the issues that affect us the most from a Christian perspective: the economy, debt and austerity; Europe and immigration; the environment; the NHS; education. When we understand more about God’s vision for how our society and communities should look, we can respond meaningfully to the challenges we face – as well as voting in a way that honours our faith.

God did not intend for politicians to bear full responsibility for transforming an imperfect world. That responsibility lies, first and foremost, with Christians. It can take many forms. We are called to pray. Then there are the countless ways of actively participating in our communities – supporting church and charity initiatives, becoming a school governor, getting involved with other local businesses and organisations that are well positioned to address local concerns.

Alongside these bottom up initiatives, there is direct engagement with the political process to effect top down change – lobbying your council, joining a party, offering your assistance or even becoming a councillor yourself, writing to your MP or visiting one of their surgeries: all the activity that occurs the other four years and 364 days before the next General Election. Although change can be slow, it is absolutely valid for Christians to seek to change a faulty system, as well as to address its injustices. As Desmond Tutu said, ‘There comes a point where we need to stop just pulling people out of the river. We need to go upstream and find out why they’re falling in.’

That’s why voting is the last thing we should be doing. It should be but one facet of all our efforts to change our society and the communities we live in for the better, not the entirety of our political engagement.

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Category: Books

October, 2014

Comments (7)

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  1. Colin Crumpton says:

    I live next to Stoke on Trent where they will elect three Labour M.P.’s. My constituency will elect a Tory. I know this before I even go to vote. They are part of a large number of safe seats. What is the point of me going to vote?

    • JubileeCentre says:

      Hi Colin,
      as we’ve said, ‘Voting is the last thing you should do’. There are many forms of political engagement and ways you can make a difference, beyond putting a cross in one or other box. Voting should be the reflection of your engagement, not its entirety.
      And whilst I agree that ‘safe seats’ are a problem, they will stay safe if those who think otherwise don’t indicate their preference.

  2. Stephen Pugh says:

    With apathy and aging congregation getting them to sit down and read a book like that AND pay to make the effort is impossible generally. Have you not got any one page leaflets that explain it then I could put some at back of church.
    God bless

    • Andrew Chapple says:

      I am asked continually about who to vote for in this extremely marginal seat. Majority last time 66 votes!
      So I tell people to examine the character of the candidates and assess with the Lord’s help who fears God the most and vote for them. In these days of Coalition all the manifesto promises are unlikely to be passed anyway

  3. I’ve ordered this book for a discussion group pre-election. Looking forward to getting going with this excellent resource.

  4. Njoki says:

    Dear Carol,
    That is wonderful to hear, please do let us know your thoughts on this page or via Twitter @JubileeCentre

  5. I organise our local election hustings, which gets several hundred attending usually (third one I’ve done so far!) and we have one young man in our congregation active in local politics, standing for council and active in parliamentary election. I am involved in local issues and run the local food bank, I am contemplating spoiling my vote (for the first time ever in a general election) because our local MP is retiring, and I am not convinced any of the parties are seriously addressing the real issues. But, I am active to try and make sure it isn’t necessary to spoil it again. Ours is a small local church in a key marginal constituency. If you are in a safe constituency, then concentrate on the selection process and the local party structures – that way, you can TRY and get a quality candidate selected next time.
    The discouraging bit is realising that the forces behind the media and the global money markets have driven nearly all our politicians together to support a non-functioning economic model called neo-liberalism, that is producing injustice and inequality – and changing THAT consensus is an even bigger task!

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