On Thursday 12 December 2019, the UK will be heading to the ballot box for a general election. Once again, it’s time for the country to take a deep breath and make some big decisions for the future.
It’s been almost impossible to escape the ongoing rumblings around UK politics. Perhaps you’re getting tired of the continual political conversations, arguments and divisions. Maybe you’ve run out of headspace for yet another decision.
Or maybe you’re the opposite – you might be excited about making your voice heard and influencing the direction the country will take in the years to come.
However you’re feeling, it can be challenging to know how best to engage with the election season. How do we honour God with our words and our votes? How can we ‘uphold the cause of the poor and the oppressed’ as Psalm 82:3 declares?
Here are our five top tips for engaging with the election this year.
Whatever happens this election, let’s pray for all those campaigning and those who will be elected.
The Message version of 1 Timothy 2 says: ‘The first thing I want you to do is pray. Pray every way you know how, for everyone you know. Pray especially for rulers and their governments to rule well so we can be quietly about our business of living simply, in humble contemplation. This is the way our Saviour God wants us to live.’
Let’s be people who pray, thanking God for both those we agree with and those we don’t. We need to pray over politicians as people who hold influence and leadership responsibility.
And crucially, let’s pray that people living in poverty at home and abroad are not forgotten during this election season. Pray that God will be with those who will be most affected by the decisions made by our next government.
2. REGISTER TO VOTE
Sign up! Did you know that the 2017 General Election had one of the highest turnouts for 18-24 year olds? Yet still, nearly one third of eligible people under 25 didn’t vote?
The future of our country is too important to stay silent on. Make sure you have your say, and encourage everyone you know to register by Monday 25 November. If you’ll be at university on election day, then make sure you either register at your university address or sign up for a postal vote at your home address.
Sign up now – it takes just two minutes to register to vote.
3. ASK A QUESTION ON AID
Why not ask your candidates how they will help people around the world to overcome poverty?
Some of us might get a knock on the door or a phone call in the next few weeks – or there might even be a hustings near you soon (a meeting where candidates come to answer your questions – Google ‘hustings near me’ to find out). We’ll be streaming our own hustings on Facebook Live in the near future, so keep your eyes peeled for an announcement soon.
But even if none of these things happen, you can contact your local candidates directly. Try the political party websites for information and then drop them an email, or even better, give them a call.
Key point: You don’t have to be an expert. Just share what matters to you.
Here’s an example of a good question to ask on aid:
I care about tackling global poverty. How will your party help protect the UK’s excellent delivery of overseas aid, which positively transforms lives and enables people to lift themselves out of poverty?
4. ASK A QUESTION ON CLIMATE
As a result of campaigning and worldwide action, politicians are more aware than ever that they need a strategy to tackle the climate crisis.
This election season is a great opportunity to continue putting pressure on leaders to prioritise bold action on climate. You can make sure it’s on your MP’s radar by asking questions about what specific action they will take.
Here’s an example of a good question to ask on climate change:
I care about climate change and the poverty it’s causing around the world. How will your party deliver bold action on tackling the climate emergency? What plans do you have to help the UK progress towards a zero carbon economy?
5. ACTUALLY VOTE!
Finally (and very importantly)… get out there and vote!
If for any reason you can’t vote in person on Dec 12, you can sign up for a postal vote and have your voice heard well before the election day.
Print off this form today and post it to sign up for a postal vote.