Wednesday, April 22, 2009


You may have seen posters around London, urging you to consider the issues covered by the European Parliamentary elections: work life balance, the environment, etc. Now, at first I thought this was the European commission engaged in a voter drive, a political act which the UK government is guilty of often.

In the UK, the electoral commission spend thousands on adverts promoting voting. Choosing not to vote is a political choice - after all, if you think voting is pointless; that the parties on offer won't represent you; if you simply think the body being elected is illegitimiate; or think the elections are fixed or otheriwse unfair; then it is perfectly reasonable to refuse to vote.

As it turned out, however, the website given on the posters is actually something run by a group called CARE - a Christian activist coalition, or third party (as they're known in electoral law), trying to inform (i.e. influence) the vote.

This is a doozey:
In order to remind ourselves why withdrawing from the ballot box is a problem for the Christian, we must reflect on the implications of the Bible's endorsement of government and some of the problems associated with justifications for not voting. Christianity is 'for government'. There is no theological justification for anarchism. First, the Bible makes it plain that government is a good idea, instituted by God to create a legal framework that encourages right and restrains wrong (Romans 13, 1 Peter 2, 13-17, 1 Tim 2, 1-4). It also makes it clear that government doesn't always get it right (Isaiah 10. 1) and that the whole world, and thus including government, needs the projection of Christian salt and light (Matt 5. 13-20, Luke 8. 16).
And some wonder why we in the socialist party are hostile to religion. The above shows the whole problem. Firstly, that religions, in order to survive in the political world have accomodated themselves to the powerful, and thus become adroit at justifying the status quo. Further, their very existence is bound up with an appeal to authority - they say vote according to God's wishes (if you can guess what they are). A game of political "Simon Says". No wonder they find life without government hard to fathom.

We argue that indeed there isn't a need for the government of people, and that it can be replaced by co-operation and the administration of things. We don't need appeals to authority, but apeals to reason. We don't ask for votes based on appeals to loyalty or emotion - if you think common ownership is the solution to the worlds ills, indicate it by voting for us.

If you live, though, in a region where we haven't put up candidates, fine, don't vote for the parties that represent the continuation of capitalism. Or, as I've done in every election I've voted in for the past twelve years, postively abstain by spoiling your ballot paper (I write "World Socialism" across mine).

1 comment:

Anonymous said...

"...postively abstain by spoiling your ballot paper (I write "World Socialism" across mine)."

That's what I tend to do. But this time as you're putting a London wide ballot I can finally vote for a Socialist party.