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Monthly Letter - July 2024


Dear Friends

Before starting to write this letter, I decided to look at one of my previous
letters written just before a general election. I chose the year 2010 which
began, ‘I ask myself what I should write about.’ The answer was the same
then as it is now. Times may have changed but a general election is still a
huge event. When I was younger, I remember there were posters in lots of
people’s windows, and cars going around with loudspeakers. In this area I
have yet to see a poster or anyone out campaigning. The modern election
seems to be fought on the media and dominating is the leaders’ debate.
Ways of doing things change with time as does politics. I also wrote in the
letter of 2010, ‘As Christian minister there is only really two things I can say
about the election one that we all should vote but not for the BNP.’ The
former has not changed, and the sentiments of the BNP still exist today.

In 2010 my letter consisted mainly of pointing out why one shouldn’t vote for the British National Party by referring to St George. I wrote how, ‘on my desk I have a small card that was a gift from a priest whose church we
worshipped at in the village of Taybeh near the town of Ramallah, which lies to the north of Jerusalem on the West Bank. In the church building in that village there is a huge painting of George and the card shows that painting.’ I still have that card on my desk, it reminds me of a visit to Israel/Palestine in times that were bad but demonstrating how things can always get worse.The relevance in 2010 was this, ‘the BNP launched their election manifesto and their leader was led in by a representation of St. George. How strange for the best knowledge that we have tells us George had a father from modern day Turkey and a mother from the Middle East. What a contradiction of their racist policies.’ That political party may not be active today, but their ideas are still around and we need to remain vigilant. 

In 2010 my emphasis was also on how we should all vote. Increasingly in
recent times I have heard some suggesting reasons for not voting. Some
say something on the lines of, ‘all politicians are in it for themselves.’ We all
know there are examples of this, but I react badly to such comments, I point
out my daughter stood for selection to be a candidate as a MP and had it not been for personal circumstance she could very well have been standing now for election. The truth is the vast majority of those who seek political office do so for the best of motives, they are seeking to make the world a better place; that said none of the voters are perfect either and it is too easy to point the finger. Another criticism is that ‘they are all the same.’ I don’t know how anyone can think that if one looks back to the previous general election, the two men seeking to be Prime Minister were Jeremy Corbyn and Boris Johnson, hardly alike!

One of the leaflets I have seen is from an independent candidate saying
how if elected he would fight for our local community in Parliament which
illustrates another argument for not voting, the widespread
misunderstanding of our democratic systems. Parliament is a national body with international responsibilities; for instance, many are concerned about immigration but that is driven by factors around the world. Climate change affects every local community but can only be tackled by international action. On 4th July it is not about our little corner of the world but all of it.


Then there is the most important reason for voting. Our responsibility for the world God put us in. This is God’s world, and for that reason everything
about it matters, as the Psalmist says, ‘The earth is the LORD’S and the
fullness thereof’ (24:1). Everyone in it matters: as Christians we should be
concerned about how it is run. It is the world God loves as the most well-
known verse in the Bible reminds us, he loves it to the extent of giving his
only Son (John 3:16). How little is asked of us in comparison.

With best wishes,


Part of URC Reading Group with Grange and Tilehurst United Reformed Churches


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