Thursday, May 03, 2007

Voting and the BNP

Across the nation, it appears, BNP candidates are standing in the local elections held today. In some places, they might even win seats. Tom Allen has written the following briefing sheet in his capacity as Vicar of Oakworth.


May 3rd will see local elections in our community for both the Bradford and Keighley Councils. For Christians this is an opportunity to vote positively for the values and teaching of Jesus Christ.

1. We should reject the poisonous policies of the British National Party which are not the answer to the issues and problems of our communities. We should highlight the racist attitudes and political pedigrees of the national leaders of the party that lie behind the facade which presents local BNP candidates as “ordinary Yorkshire people”. Ignorance of this reality is no excuse for a “protest vote”

2. We should make plain the Church of England understanding that confirms racist beliefs as inherently “sin” which as the Bishop of Blackburn has put it: “In the Christian community it (sin) is the strongest word we can find. In terms of racism it means something not only off limits to people, but also to God.”

3. We should as Christians exercise our democratic responsibilities by voting. Seats in the elections will be won by very small margins (of perhaps ten votes), it is essential that all Christians use all their votes in favour of any of the parties which are committed to constructive co-operation between people of all races creeds and colours.

4. We should reject all attempts to misrepresent the Christian faith as being “traditionally” the faith of white or “indigenous” British people. We belong to a faith community which is worldwide, diverse and multi-national (and now predominately non-white - as was its founder and Lord!).

5. We should support the rights of all legitimate asylum seekers in the UK, - we have at Christ Church Oakworth supported financially the work of a local community group who work with asylum seekers in their search for secure legal residence, homes, jobs and an education. We believe such people of whatever faith, (far from being a threat or a drain) and when offered a warm welcome can enhance our society with their experience, insights and commitment to family life and community.

6. We should work with all people of other faiths and none to ensure that peace and justice are key features of our society.

“There is neither Jew nor Greek, there is neither slave nor free man, there is neither male nor female; for you are all one in Christ Jesus”. Galatians 3:28

Revd Tom Allen (Vicar of Oakworth)

There is an election today in our ward for a councillor to sit on Coventry City Council. This is the official statement of candidates I downloaded from the Council website (actually I've removed their home addresses and other personal stuff which seems a tad unnecessary in this context).


The following is a statement as to the persons nominated for election as Councillor for the


AKHTAR Bilal - The Labour Party Candidate

ALLEN Julie Margaret - British National Party

CLIFFE Christian Michael - The Conservative Party Candidate

HOWARTH Stephen - Liberal Democrat

Now, unlike in other parts of the country, there is zero chance of the BNP candidate getting anywhere close to being elected. But my problem is this: I believe that my role as a voter is to vote on my conscience. I cannot in all good conscience vote for any representative of a national political party in this local election, where elected members to Coventry City Council are totally self seeking and ignorant.

For example. Coventry City Council owns the local incinerator. This is where most of the city's waste is destroyed. When the incinerator ends its useful life - which will be in around 10 years - the city has already decided that it is going to build an even bigger incinerator on the same site with the expectation that other local authorities will also deposit their waste there. Meetings about this waste strategy are held in private - and you have to use powers under the Freedom of Information legislation to find out anything about what is being talked about.

At the same time, Coventry has a doorstep paper collection. Metal is removed at the incinerator. There is no other recycling collection, nor any effort by the council to start one - simply because more recycling means less rubbish to the incinerator, which means that it runs less efficiently and therefore takes longer to pay back the investment put into it. Council members regularly put out nonsense to justify their position - such as suggesting that the nearest plastic recycling facility is in Newcastle (or somewhere sounding a long way away) so shipping the waste there would cause a lot of carbon dioxide release wouldn't it?

Actually, no, there are several plastics companies who use post consumer waste in the West Midlands.

I do not wish to see the BNP elected. But I'm not sure if I can vote for anyone else instead.

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