This is the final post in this political series, and as I said at the beginning all these posts represent just my own position. I am very aware that many genuine Christians would think differently to me on these matters. In particular these posts must not be taken as in any way reflecting the position of the church I attend. I have not discussed their content with the other leaders there. Politics is much less important than the work of building the church and sharing the gospel.
Long-term readers of my blog will not be surprised that I do not support Gordon Brown’s continued premiership. He was not elected by his party, nor by his country to lead us. He has not, in my view, proven a good leader. I have blogged about him before in previous posts on politics. I supported Blair throughout most of his premiership as a good leader. I now support Cameron as the best leader of the three, though I have some concerns about his style. I never thought of myself as Labour. I don’t think of myself as Conservative either now. It seems that Cameron may not have done enough to win the election outright, though I predict he will get a small majority despite the current polls. By rights, however, he should have been cruising this election towards a massive majority. I am convinced that Clegg’s apparent popularity is more about a country eager to rid itself of Brown, and yet unsure of Cameron. I think that Cameron has not turned up the contrast enough. Perhaps his latest “contract” with the voters, his nine radical ideas to shake up politics, and announcing calm but clear plans of what this Friday would look like under a Conservative government, will be enough to close the deal with the electorate.
My biggest problem with Brown is that he does not seem like a good leader to me. Decisions seem to be dithered about for too long, and not clearly communicated when they are made. He spent too long deciding what to do about failing banks in my view, and then did not agree good terms with the banks. To see him complaining about things like bankers bonuses when he had every opportunity to insist on things in the contracts made when we bailed out the banks is laughable.
He was the architect of the failed system of financial regulation in this country. He was the chancellor who repeated year after year that he had “abolished boom and bust.” He presided over an unprecedented expansion of personal, corporate, and government debt which took place during an unprecedented boom. He continually fueled a bubble which then burst with disastrous consequences for us all. He does not inspire confidence when communicating, and does not want to make me follow him. There are so many rumors about him being a bully that the phrase “no smoke without fire” springs to mind. His angry reaction towards an ordinary member of the public was compounded by his clear anger towards his staff about this situation and the way he initially blamed the media. No wonder he was at one point the most unpopular leader of our nation since records began! No wonder there is a real chance that Labour could come third in the popular vote.
I am deeply concerned that no real steps have been taken so far to tackle our national debt crisis. Why on earth did he not do the right thing and call for a general spending review months ago? I do not buy the idea that government spending should be exempt from the belt-tightening the rest of us have had to undergo. So, yes, I do think that we should be able to save £1 in every £100 of government spending this year as the Conservatives are advocating. Thinking that Brown will be able to lead us out of our debt crisis is like asking the same alcoholic who led us astray to help us cut down our drink problem!
I also think that if we have a hung parliament, there will be no real opportunity for anyone to give us a strong lead as a nation. I believe that we should elect a man who is well qualified for the task and who inspires loyalty in his immediate circle, drawing out the best in them. It has been fascinating to watch the way that Cameron has been able to largely unite the Conservative party, which previously appeared to be as unleadable as a herd of cats! Talents like William Hague and Ken Clarke have been recruited to the team. Building a strong team, many of whom are in some ways more talented than himself, is one of the best marks of a genuine leader. Cameron, to me, sounds more and more like a Prime Minister. Well, at least more like one than either of the other two options.
The harsh reality is that Clegg will never be prime minister. It is simply impossible given our electoral system and history. Even Clegg did not say “If I am your Prime Minister” once in the leaders debates.
There is a long Christian tradition of wanting to limit government. The Bible warns us that the King will take more and more from us (see Samuel’s warning about Saul). In this background Cameron wants to give back money and responsibility to the “Big Society.”
The truth is that due to the reactionary views of the liberals, a vote for anyone other than the Conservatives risks five more years of Brown or worse than that, the paralysis of a hung parliament. Does anyone really want that?
As a result of the tight nature of this election, a vote for anyone other than one of the top three parties risks being a wasted vote. I did take the “Vote for policies” test, and found that I was in agreement with the Conservatives on almost everything.
One thing I am not so sure about is immigration. I do understand the need for us to limit immigration. However, I am more concerned about the state of chaos that exists at the home office. Decisions need to be swift, transparent, and fair. To leave people in a state of legal “grey area” without a visa or true leave to stay and work, but unable to leave the country as their passport is held for years. I hope that a new leader will get a strong hold on the Home Office and sort it out. It is time it was made very plain that people who choose to marry a British Citizen should (once they have demonstrated it is a genuine marriage) be left in peace to live their life and settle in this country.
So as I said at the beginning, if David Cameron is elected I will be a critical friend, and not a fawning “right wing blogger.” If he isn’t elected, maybe Hugh Palmer’s prediction that our children may well go to prison for their faith in the UK will be a step closer to coming true. They will also no doubt be paying for Brown’s stewardship of our nation’s finances for decades to come whatever the outcome.