Left Out Liberal

A left-wing/liberal look at the UK's General Election of 2005.

Tuesday, March 22, 2005

Not what we like to see...

Tony Blair is off out courting the "Christian vote" this morning, whatever that is. In a country that is allegedly Christian, but with a significant majority of them non-practicing, there should really be no need to stick a label on a group as "the Christian vote" because it should theoretically be so wide and disparate that it's impossible to get hold of the lot of them.

So we know what this story is actually referring to - the small but devout core of Christians who put their faith central to any decision on public policy, and if the example of the US is anything to go by, also like to thrust their religious views on others.

Michael Howard and Charles Kennedy have recently been making speeches to this group too. So what is going on? Religion and politics do not mix. As I have written about before, we really must stop copying everything America does. This is Britain, and we play politics slightly differently here. No one has ever chose to make religion a key focus for policy or campaign strategy, despite the fact that Church and State are not disestablished, and we should do our utmost to remain that way. The only "religion" in politics should be those attached to ideology.

I'll be very disappointed if we stoke this any more and cause it to become a dangerous cleavage in the country, allowing a small but vocal minority to dictate the direction of discussion, as we have already seen when the issue of abortion was raised. This is totally avoidable, and the politicians should be wary that playing games with religion is not a path to be taken lightly.


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