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Politics – a Crossroads

This article was published in the Presbyterian Standard, Issue No. 23, July-September 2001.

COUPLED with the resounding victory that Tony Blair and the Labour Party won at the General Election, was the utter inability of the Conservative Party to gain any ground. Two successive defeats, the magnitude of which has thrown the Conservative Party into utter disarray with the resignation of its leader William Hague, have brought conservatives into a period of deep introspection. What is the way forward for them as a Party? And who will be their best leader?

The leadership contest, fought out no doubt in every tabloid from John O'Groats to Lands End, will be interesting. It has already begun to reveal much of what characterises politics in Britain today. For many, expediency rules the day. What do the people want? What will get us elected? Principles will be sacrificed on the altar of what is envisaged to be the 'politically correct' stand. This no doubt will be the case with regards to our further involvement in Europe. It is proving already to be the case with regards attitudes towards the homosexual lobby.

As one party vies with the other to see who can be the most socially inclusive, contestants in the leadership race reveal their past secrets. Michael Portillo had a homosexual experience when he was younger. This, according to some, makes him sensitive to others and a suitable prospective Prime Minister of our country. Wemust, after all, be socially inclusive. Deviant groups must be recognised. Same sex marriages must be given equal status to that of Biblical marriage. This is what the people want. This is why the Conservative Party lost the election and why Labour won so convincingly. Yet can this assessment be substantiated by the facts? Do the majority of people in the country agree with homosexual marriages? Did the electorate refuse to vote Conservative because of its 'puritan' stand? Did Tony Blair win because his Government condones homosexuality (as it undoubtedly does)?

In Scotland, 43% of the electorate signed a petition against the removal of Section 28, which protected children from being taught sexual deviation in schools. This single-issue figure is almost equivalent to the total that voted in the General election. Yet for all this, the Conservative Party made little impression in Scotland. It follows that there is something more fundamental as to why the Conservative Party did so badly and why Labour did so well. To cast off family values is not the answer. To become a 'socially inclusive' party boasting in immorality will not of itself secure the election for them or anyone else. What is the answer?

Firstly, one reason why so few voted at the last General Election is because most MP's are simply not trusted. Conviction politics is rare. We need MP's who say what they believe, and believe what they say, by conviction. In this respect, a departure from political correctness and a return to Christian values is needed. Sadly, few MP's would be willing to go down this road. It is not perceived to be politically correct.

Secondly, Christians need to be more clear and persistent in their vocal opposition to unbiblical practices. Sadly, too many Churches give an uncertain sound. Others are timid. It is not perceived to be expedient to speak out. Sadly, political correctness infects the Church as well as political parties.