Five things to do before the general election
On Thursday, 8 June 2017, the UK will be facing a general election. Are you ready?
Surely you’ve heard the news? It’s election time!
We’ve had a lot of opportunities to vote recently. Perhaps you’re getting bored of the continual political conversations, arguments and divisions. Maybe you’ve run out of brain-space for yet another decision? Or maybe you’re the opposite of all that. You’re excited, whether it’s your first general election or your twentieth, and you’re looking forward to having your voice heard and your vote counted.
However you’re feeling, here are five top tips for engaging with the election this year. How can we honour God this election season, how can we ‘uphold the cause of the poor and the oppressed’ as Psalm 82:3 declares?
Have we missed something? Let us know what you’ll be doing by adding a comment below.
Whatever happens this election let’s pray for all those campaigning and all who will be elected.
The Message interprets 1 Timothy 2 by saying: ‘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 those we agree with and those we don’t. Every politician I’ve met is there because they care deeply about our country and our world, even those I disagree with!!
And crucially, pray for the people living in poverty to be a priority, 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! Sign up! Sign up! Did you know that in the last election more than one in three people didn’t even vote?
Make sure you have your say, and bug everyone you know to sign up before 22 May.
3. Actually vote
For some people the election falls in exam time, and for some, thinking about both the election AND exams might be too much… but that doesn’t mean you have to miss out!
Sign up for a postal vote before 23 May and have your voice heard well before the election day. Then however the exams go, you know you’ve had your say in the future of our country.
Print off this form today and post it off to sign up for a postal vote.
4. Ask a question
Why not ask your candidates how they will help people around the world to overcome poverty and fight climate change?
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 (just a meeting where candidates come to answer your questions – google ‘hustings near me’ to find out).
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 with them what matters to you.
We’ve written two questions you might want to ask if you get the chance:
… and if you’d like more information about these topics – you can read lots more here.
‘I care about aid, saving lives in the world’s poorest places. Will you party keep our great promise to give 0.7% of national income as aid?’
‘I care about climate change and the poverty it’s causing around the world. How will your party keep the promises made in Paris to cut greenhouse gas emissions faster?’
5. Join our #SpeakUp week of action
Whoever is elected in your area next month, it’s crucial we keep the pressure up and make climate change a top priority. We’re joining with loads of other organisations to run a week of action across the country.
We did something similar in October and it was a lot of fun, but we need your help to make it even better this year. Could you join with others from your church or local area and organise an event? Perhaps a picnic with your MP, a gathering at your church or a nature walk? It’s easy to do, and a brilliant chance for people to talk about the climate with their local politician.
We’ve got an awesome interactive map for you to add your events, or even just your interest to be involved. Keep checking back to see who else is signing up in your area and join together to make it happen.