Cameron Miliband Clegg
Democracy

Forgive us our trespasses, as we forgive the politicians who trespass against us

 

Trust – or more precisely the lack of it – has arguably been the defining theme of this General Election. This was plainly demonstrated during last week’s BBC Question Time debate, when a studio audience was finally able to take on David Cameron, Ed Miliband and Nick Clegg and provide a level of interrogation that was almost brutal at times.

“Is needing a law to guarantee your lower tax rises promise an acknowledgement that you were in the habit of lying in your pre-election promises?” “Why do you think voters don’t trust your party with the NHS?” “Five years ago, the outgoing Labour Treasury Minister left a message: ‘There’s no money left.’ How can we trust the Labour Party with the UK economy?” “Your promise on student loans has destroyed your reputation. Why would we believe anything else you say?” And so it went on, with Miliband admitting at one point: “Trust is so low in politics.”

In the past many of us voted for the party which, in our minds, could be trusted to run the country most effectively, but now the general assumption is that none can be trusted and it comes down to who will break the fewest promises and do the least worst job. The outcome is debilitating for our democracy. As a result, voter confidence is at rock bottom and too many choose not to vote at all.

It’s easy to lay the blame squarely at the feet of our politicians. Sometimes this is justified. When David Cameron’s government announced that he would be bringing in same-sex marriage legislation despite failing to mention it in the Conservative manifesto, and then took no notice of a 600,000-strong petition calling for marriage to remain distinctively between a man and a woman, it’s not surprising that many Christians with strongly held beliefs felt utterly let down and rejected. However, too often the ultimate reason that politicians fail to keep their promises is due to the attitude of the electorate. If politicians honestly gave us the whole picture, telling us, for example, where exactly spending cuts will fall and how big they will be, they know full well they’d lose many, many votes as a result. Because we are too unwilling to accept that much of politics involves making difficult decisions that are not going to please everyone, our politicians are driven to over-promise at the risk of under-delivering as they compete for the votes of a fickle public. We have ended up with a situation where everyone is tainted and no politician who is or has been in power comes away unscathed. What makes this far worse, though, is the public’s unwillingness to forgive.

Let’s turn to the Bible for a moment and remind ourselves of some famous heroes of the Faith. Would we have trusted Moses, who was a murderer and went into hiding for decades? Would we have wanted David, following his forced sex with a married woman and arranged killing of her husband, to be our king? Would we have believed any promises Peter might make after he denied any knowledge of knowing Jesus, having said the exact opposite to Jesus’ face only a few hours earlier? Would we have had confidence in Paul’s integrity after he had systematically hunted down Christians, imprisoning and threatening them with death?

All of us fall short in life, but some, through their positions, have to live this out in public. God used these individuals we read about in the Bible for great and miraculous things despite flaws in their characters and serious errors of judgement. Just because our political leaders have been unable to fulfil every pledge and have had to go back on promises made, that does not automatically mean they should not be afforded any respect or confidence. If we were in their position with the unpredictability and pressures of running a country, there is every chance that we’d find ourselves making the wrong choices and mistakes too.

If there is a role for the Church and Christians to play in restoring trust in politics, then it will surely come from encouraging and exercising the same level of grace and forgiveness towards those in power as we have received from God. If we write off and refuse to forgive someone like Nick Clegg, who has spent most of the last five years saying sorry and apologising for breaking his pledge to not increase university tuition fees, then what hope is there for the restoration of our democratic system?

But it also needs to be stated that grace and forgiveness are not the same as an open cheque. Jesus calls his followers to be innocent as doves, but also as shrewd as snakes. To offer forgiveness for past failures is not the same as naively accepting everything at face value or blindly refusing to pay attention to whether the same mistakes will be repeated. When Ed Miliband boldly declared that Labour did not overspend when they were last in power, his remark was met with derision by the Question Time audience because the facts tell a very different story. The implication is that he still has not fully understood how and why his party’s levels of spending went so badly wrong and that he’d be happy to do exactly the same thing again given the chance.

Character, ideology and policy are not the same things. We should fully accept that politicians will never give us everything we want and get many things wrong along the way, but we still need to be wise enough to look to put those in power who, by their convictions and track record, will do the best job.

Politics is never a straightforward or easy game, and neither is voting for the right party, when ‘right’ is so difficult to determine. But Christians should at least make sure on Thursday, as we vote, that we are offering the same grace to our candidates as God has so lavishly demonstrated to each one of us.

This article first appeared on Monday 4th May at Christian Today.

  • Spock Puppet

    Christian theology is pretty clear that people to not get forgiveness for their sins until they repent and make some sort of effort not to sin again. On which basis, our incorrigible politicians are still in no state of grace.

    • dannybhoy

      I would like to see more true humility shown by our politicians. Being quizzed by real citizens as happened on that Question Time episode is a step in the right direction.
      A healthy democracy needs face to face interaction between the people and the politicians.
      We should do away with all the stage managed events, the adoring party faithful, the mud slinging and the gimmickry. It does absolutely nothing for democracy, it turns the whole serious business into a charade, encourages deceit and disillusionment.

      • sarky

        The whole stage managed campaign circus, is another American import we could do without. It’s a bit like macdonalds, seems like a good idea at the time, but leaves you sick and empty.

        • Anton

          MacDonalds actually tastes OK as far as I am concerned, but what on earth do they put in it that it manages to keep you feeling empty when there are so many calories – and as fat too, which is normally more filling?

          • sarky

            I dread to think! !!

          • dannybhoy

            Sugar and salt I am told are the culprits.
            Plus the relish.
            And probably that slice of gherkin.
            Oh, and the bun is pretty good too..

          • sarky

            Don’t let my kids eat it, it’s just crap. Make my own, cheaper, tastier and healthier! !!!

          • dannybhoy

            It’s the whole package baby!
            The drive, the piped music,the ordering, the straws, the napkins,the anticipation, watching other diners; and finally, the taste…
            Your kitchen kobbled version just can’t compete Sarky..
            Your kids are just too loyal to tell you the truth.. 😉

          • sarky

            🙂

          • The Pound Shop must sell cheap burgers. No?

          • sarky

            Grrrrrrrrrr

        • dannybhoy

          Much as I generally like the Americans, we Brits have imported quite a lot of their negative stuff; snake oil sales techniques, ambulance chasing and other legal trickery..
          Selling the image rather than the substance, presidential style politics has further weakened democracy here.
          Although to be fair, apathy did most of the damage..

          • sarky

            But why is there apathy????
            Prehaps its because people realise that no matter who is in power, apart from a bit of tinkering, nothing changes.
            The real power brokers are far removed from democracy and the people know this, hence the apathy.

          • dannybhoy

            Quite so. That’s why politician-public face to facers are a very good thing. Incidentally I would credit Nigel Farage for giving the British public silent majority their voice back.
            He smashed through the blackmailing tactics used by the Labour Party who squashed people’s concerns about the (deliberate) surge in immigration by equating it with racism.

          • sarky

            Think it all changed with Brown’s ‘bigot’ remarks!

          • dannybhoy

            I was with a UKIP team leafletting on a very big, very run down, very mixed, housing estate on Saturday.
            There are quite a lot of eastern europeans living there.
            Not one of the indigenous British persons I spoke to ran down those eastern europeans as people.
            They simply pointed out that they were hard workers who were willing to accept a much lower rate of pay, and that was driving down wages.
            There are bigots amongst us, but far fewer than some sections of the media would have us believe.

          • sarky

            Exactly, doesn’t suit the agenda of some parties to acknowledge that.

          • dannybhoy

            I should have added that those same people were aware that this uncontrolled immigration is changing their/our culture, and that no major party is really representing their concerns..

    • Saint Sean

      Well, I have no problem with forgiving politicians and showing them grace, but that doesn’t mean I ever have to vote for them again!

  • Dominic Stockford

    On Thursday we have special Morning Prayer at 10am to pray for all candidates and council officials, and for the outcome of the election – whatever it might be. I urge others to get their church to do the same.

  • Anton

    Forgive but not forget.

  • educynic

    It is an interesting question as to whether politicians can tell the truth. Blair/Brown didn’t try it. The Brown-Balls-Miliband cabal were bent on massive political change to a much more socialist state with much more government expenditure. This deliberate move was concealed from the electorate, as was the open door to immigration.

    The Coalition had the opportunity to be honest about cutting expenditure. But they fudged the issue and increased the debt, choosing comfortable short-termism and leaving increased debt for our children to pick up.

    Cameron could have gone into this election with an honest ‘no-givaway’ strategy. I think that would have built trust and attracted votes.

    Instead, the major difference between Cameron and Miliband is about which group of the population they are going to bribe with their overspending.

  • Linus

    Poor David Cameron. Forced to beg forgiveness for something he doesn’t regret because a part of his electorate didn’t get to impose their minority will over equal marriage on the rest of the country.

    600,000 signatures is less than 1 percent of the population of the UK. But apparently that 1 percent thinks it’s so special that all it needs to do to stop a measure enjoying wide public support is to submit a petition against it.

    Democracy in action? For 1% to counter the will of a democratically elected government and a sovereign parliament that passed the equal marriage law with one of the largest majorities since WWII? Let’s thank your imaginary God that a tiny Christian minority was not able to stall the democratic process merely by stamping its petulant foot. That would have been a real sign that something was broken beyond repair in your political system.

    • Anton

      Did you check the figures for and against in street polls at the time?

    • Merchantman

      Petitions have a special place in politics, especially the US Constitution where the people have a right to petition.
      The UK has no written Constitution but for the Government to ignore one of the largest petitions ever shows the contempt these people hold the Christian part of the electorate. Many of us wont be supporting the major parties as a result.
      Oppression of minorities is another matter which you seem to think is OK.
      Good day to you Sir.

      • bluedog

        ‘The UK has no written Constitution’. Not that again. The UK does have a written constitution, it’s called the statute book and it contains the Bill of Rights, the Act of Settlement, the Act of Union and much, much more, including the increasingly contentious Scotland Act 1998. All of which were once appropriate to the UK as a partially devolved unitary state. What the UK doesn’t have but badly needs is a federal constitution. In this regard one awaits a moment of epiphany by the great and the good. It was Winston Churchill who allegedly said, ‘You can always rely on the Americans to do the right thing – after exhausting all other possibilities’. If only the same backhanded compliment could be expressed about the political class.

        • Shadrach Fire

          I have an admiration for the US voting system whereby you not only vote for Candidates but for individual motions,

          If we had had that at the 2010 Election with voting on SSM, I am more than confident that it would not have gone through. That is why Cameron concealed and lied about his intentions as he new it would be very contentious.

          Cameron is one of those who speaks about Jesus but Jesus will say on that day, I never knew him.

          • sarky

            Be careful, who are you to judge a man’s heart?

          • Shadrach Fire

            No Judgement. It’s plain to see in your words and your heart had nothing to do with it.

    • As ever, you get everything back to front.
      On Sky T.V. just before the 2010 election, Cameron was asked if he had plans to introduce same-sex ‘marriage.’ He replied, “We have no plans to do that.” He then introduced it without a mandate and ignoring the result of his own consultation. If he wanted to introduce such a thing, he should have waited until now and put it in his manifesto, or have held a referendum on it. FWIW, Cameron ignored a petition of 600,000 and accepted a petition with (if memory serves) considerably less than half of that number. No doubt you think that is democratic.
      Humanly speaking, it is vitally important that Christians (and others opposed to SS’M’) do not vote Conservative, because if they do, politicians will think that they can introduce any policy they like without putting it before the people. Notwithstanding, God’s will will be done in this election whatever the result, but that will may not be what folk might wish.
      If Cameron repented and asked for forgiveness, it would certainly be the duty of every Christian to forgive him (Luke 17:3-4), though that would not mean that we were obliged to vote for him. But as things stand, he is glorying in his deception and therefore there is no obligation to forgive him. I think it would be as well to read Luke 17:1-2 as well as 3-4.

      • Anton

        Is not the main reason for forgiveness to prevent ourselves becoming bitter, in which case it is unconditional? This is not to dissent from your view that forgiveness need not mean voting for him.

        • Shadrach Fire

          How many time should I forgive my brother?
          Seventy times Severn IF HE REPENTS!

          • Anton

            We are told to love our enemies. How can you love someone if you don’t forgive them?

          • You pray that God will give them repentance so that you can forgive them.

          • No. You forgive them – and leave their conversion to God.

          • Luke 17:3-4. ‘Take heed to yourselves. If your brother sins against you, rebuke him, and if he repents, forgive him. And if he sins against you seven times in a day, and seven times in a day returns to you, saying, “I repent,” you shall forgive him.’

            On the cross, our Lord did not personally forgive those who crucified Him, but prayed, “Father, forgive them, for they don’t know what they do” (Luke 22:34). We should do as He did.

          • Well, as Jesus was both God and man, it follows that as God He did forgive them – and us.

          • You have just committed the ancient error of Sabellianism. God is not modal, so that in Jesus-mode, He prays and in Father-mode, He answers.
            .
            It was not unknown for the Lord Jesus to forgive sins in His time on earth (Mark 2:5). But on the cross, when the sin was directly against Him, He did not forgive, but prayed to the Father. It is true that the Father always hears the prayers of the Son (John 11:41-42), and it is an interesting question as to who the ‘them’ were for whom Christ prayed. But the fact remains that we are not instructed to forgive the unrepentant, and if we follow the example of Christ, we shall not do so either.

          • Shadrach Fire

            God loves all man but that does not mean all men will be saved.

            I can love someone, even my enemy. But that is a love of the lord. I will not and can not forgive someone who is not sorry. You, like most antagonists of Christianity love to take the scriptures and use them out of context thinking you can catch us out.

          • As Jack understands the Gospel, we are required forgive all sins against us. Whether that translates into forgiveness by God, depends on a reformation of the heart of the sinner. However, this doesn’t mean we shouldn’t exercise discernment with regard to future conduct – especially if there’s a likelihood the offence will be repeated.

          • Anton

            Put your gun away. I’m an evangelical Christian too.

          • dannybhoy

            I would put it slightly differently.
            To forgive someone who has no awareness or acknowledgment that they have done wrong is pretty senseless.
            Until a person has a comprehension of the Law and the consequences of breaking the Law, they won’t understand forgiveness.
            I think where some Christians have gone wrong is in assuming that because one of God’s divine attributes is forgiveness, that means we should forgive everybody regardless.
            But to my mind we then make forgiveness meaningless and make light of God’s holiness. To value forgiveness we must be convicted of wrong doing: which is where the Law comes in..

      • Shadrach Fire

        I think the Government only counted one vote in the Governments Consultation because the votes in petition were not entered as part of the consultation. That is why the government were able to say that those in support were greater than those against.

    • Terry Mushroom

      “…wide public support…”

      SSM wasn’t in any party manifesto. Nor in the Coalition Agreement. The Consultation was clearly not about “if” but “when”. And Cameron, just before the election specifically denied that he had plans to introduce SSM. Governments are supposed to seek mandates and authenticity through one person-one vote. Not by polls or lying. And the current discussion about the accuracy of polls is significant.

      You are poorly informed if you believe that the only opposition came from Christians or only for religious reasons.

    • Shadrach Fire

      A 100,000 petition will get a measure in the house. So what should 600,000 do? How daft or twisted are you to present such an argument? Every one with some nowt of intelligence knows that if you get a petition of 600,000 then the true representation is going to be at least 20 – 30 times that as you can count on a far greater majority not being able or to vote but generally in support of the motion.

    • dannybhoy

      It was about 650,000 votes actually Linus. When I quizzed my MP on the issue she said “most people are in favour of same sex marriage.”
      I said ‘that’s not support, that’s good old British apathy!’

      I asked her to produce the evidence.
      She said, ‘What do you mean?’
      I said,
      ‘I can produce 650,000 signatures saying they are against it, where’s your signatures supporting it?’

  • This is an extremely poorly reasoned piece.

    Forgiving and showing grace is one thing. However, the particular politicians at issue – unlike Moses, etc. – are not coming asking for forgiveness, or requesting grace.

    They’re coming to explain why everything they did was correct, and asking us to give them power once again.

    The ballot paper does not have a box marked “show grace” on it, or places to tick to show human kindness to fellow sinners. It only has boxes on it to tick to delegate political control of the British state.

    Oh, and – God showed forgiveness and grace to Moses. He also refused to let him enter the promised land. He showed forgiveness and grace to David – but allowed him to experience the severe consequences of his evil deeds in his family history. Even were David Cameron et al in the slightest bit sorry for endlessly promoting ungodly policy (concerning marriage, the unborn, motherhood,creating debt for those too young to vote, etc.), rather than very proud of what he’s doing and willing to defend it on all occasions, then even then voting for him would not be some sort of proxy for channelling divine forgiveness for him.

    • Politically__Incorrect

      Thank you David. Very wrll said.

  • preacher

    Gillan, let’s be straight about this, many Churches speak of faults & flaws, why can’t we call these by the proper name – Sins? There I’ve said it! not too difficult was it? It seems that even in Christian circles we are trying to be too P.C & the message we give lacks the power to convict of sin that leads to true repentance & redemption. There seems to be a universal problem with honesty, the Bible clearly states “Let your yes be yes & your no be no”.
    We can all fail when tempted by lust or greed, anger or persecution of others because of radical religious beliefs. But in many of the blatant lies that political leaders tell, there is no sense of shame, just a burning desire to win at all costs, even if the voters are manipulated by shameless promises. That’s why so many of the electorate don’t believe or trust them & don’t bother to vote.

  • Graham Wood

    I agree that this is a poorly reasoned piece, confusing a NT view of forgiveness with an attempted application to a current political scene. “Forgive us our trespasses ….etc in the NT is all about personal relationships not a collective or a vicarious exercise, and it follows we cannot “forgive” on behalf of others, or collectively forgive personally unknown politicians, political parties, or organisations.

    Thus to remove forgiveness from the context into which Jesus spoke is a distortion of the context.

    If the politicians deceive and lie, and they do, the question is not so much do we forgive them, so much as whether God forgives them if they continue in their hypocrisy in deceiving those they purport to represent.

    As Spockpuppet points out below forgiveness is predicated upon true repentance, and incidentally reparation for wrongs done. Where this is missing then of course trust disappears as for example in the lies and deception surrounding the SSM issue.

    All three main political parties unite to approve of this policy (UKIP is excepted) and therefore on this issue Christians trust in the whole political class has been betrayed.

    We know that Mr Cameron categorically and publicly lied about his policy on SSM days before the 2010 election, and not only has he not recognised his sin and hypocrisy, but he counts the policy and his unwavering support for the “gay” cause ever since as one of his crowning achievements.

    Finally, Gillan’s confusion is further confounded viz “But Christians should at least make sure on Thursday, as we vote, that we are offering the same grace to our candidates” We do not offer “grace” at the ballot box but a temporary and limited offer of governing power, nothing more.

  • Shadrach Fire

    A Great Piece Gillan, even if slightly flawed in places.

    It’s easy to lay the blame squarely at the feet of our politicians…….When David Cameron…….announced that he would be bringing in same-sex marriage legislation despite failing to mention it….
    we are too unwilling to accept that much of politics involves making difficult decisions……..our politicians are driven to over-promise at the risk of under-delivering

    Our politicians are nothing like the Bibles ‘Heroes’. They all repented when they became conscious of their sin. Never do you hear a politician say they were sorry. Their arrogance and conceitedness means they can never admit they did something wrong. There is a big difference between being sincere and sincerely wrong.

    Minor abrasions of mismanagement can be tolerated from an imperfect Government but unless I see a profound sense of remorse from Cameron over SSM I could never forgive him. Not that it affects me in my latter years but I see the knock on effect that it is having in the spread of LGBT acceptance in society, particularly in the area of the education of young ones. It is wrong to subject them to the concept that LGBT is acceptable because they are like to try it.
    Mark 9:42 And whosoever shall offend one of these little ones that believe in me, it is better for him that a millstone were hanged about his neck, and he were cast into the sea.

    I would have loved to have seen a party of Integrity standing at this election as their is no ‘Party’ to vote for, only individuals.. A secular party, based on a Judeo/Christian society with politicians of great integrity whose policies are created with integrity, would have, I believe, been an strong alternative for Christians and decent people to vote for.

  • Graham Wood

    Gillan. You attempt to justify an appeal to trust by reference to some Biblical characters and heroes of the Faith…..”Would we have trusted Moses……& etc.
    Unfortunately this again is to distort the context of both OT and NT.
    Nowhere are we encouraged to look to such “heroes” as Moses, David, Jonah and many others in their evident sins of disobedience, unbelief or failures, weak and human as they were, but rather for what God eventually made of them as sinners saved by God’s grace.
    Quotations need to be accurate and not ripped out of context. It means understanding to whom the text was written, in what historical situation, and in the much wider context of these character’s subsequent history.
    Your examples of both Paul and Peter do not stand either, for you know that both deeply repented of the course of their former lives and actions and became leading Apostles of the Christian faith.
    That is all we ask of politicians today, namely that they have the integrity and honesty to publicly admit their lies and hypocrisy when it occurs and to change their policies accordingly as demonstrating real repentance.

    • I agree with much of what you say here. The situation is very different, but what I am looking at is our attitude towards others in our current society. We have become very judgemental of others, not just politicians. We are quick to criticise and enjoy the pursuit of those who have sinned with their falls from grace providing our entertainment. We rightly demand integrity and honesty from our politicians but give them little if any reward if they act in that way unless it benefits us in the process.

      • Graham Wood

        Thanks for your further comment Gillan. I agree with your earlier point made about the difficulty of political comment on a Christian blog – in reality always in danger of a hiding to nothing.
        As I see it the main difficulty is the incompatibility of seeking to reconcile in any meaningful way God’s kingdom and the ‘political’ and always power hungry, kingdoms of this world, including Westminster.
        I stand by my point about SSM in that sadly our political leaders in the three main parties deliberately endorse this as part of their secular world-view based on the illusion of “human rights” of the LBGT community, and the delusion of what they call “equal marriage”.
        That puts them outside the norms of any traditional Christian view of what marriage is and, worse, they have legislated via equality laws to forbid the exercise of Christian conscience and freedom of religion with it. That is completely unacceptable and IMO renders them unfit for office on that count alone. (only UKIP have now added to their manifesto giving Christians liberty of conscience on such matters – an extremely important and crucial development).
        Presumably you agree?

  • “However, too often the ultimate reason that politicians fail to keep their promises is due to the attitude of the electorate. If politicians honestly gave us the whole picture, telling us, for example, where exactly spending cuts will fall and how big they will be, they know full well they’d lose many, many votes as a result.”

    That’s the central challenge of liberal democracy and it calls for maturity and integrity in both the electorate and the those seeking to represent them. Place responsibility in the hands of sinful man for making choices and decisions about the future and a politician can opt to pander to base motives.

    “Because we are too unwilling to accept that much of politics involves making difficult decisions that are not going to please everyone, our politicians are driven to over-promise at the risk of under-delivering as they compete for the votes of a fickle public.”

    No, most of our politicians chose to lie and misrepresent reality in order to prostitute themselves to obtain power, then spend 5 years spinning truth. There’s no defence for this. If they were subject to advertising regulations, they’d be deemed to be acting criminally.

    • dannybhoy

      (Big Wink)

      You got my vote Jack!
      (Now where’s that envelope…)

  • Politically__Incorrect

    Gillan, you seem to be suggesting that the impending political paralysis of this country is due to voter unforgiveness of the politicians. But what have the politicians done? Have they sinned against us individually or against us as a nation? Mostly it is as a nation. You cite the example of Nick Clegg and tuition fees. He has indeed expressed much regret, knowing that it has cost him dearly in the polls. Has he expressed “regret” for wanting to call opponents of SSM “bigots”? No, he hasn’t. Because he knows there would be very few votes to gain. Has Cameron expressed “regret” or apologised for calling UKIP supporters “racists” and “swivel-eyed loonies”? No, he hasn’t, because he doesn’t see it as being electorally important.

    “Regret” is very different from offering an apology. The regret may be for the individual’s political cost, not contrition for causing a gross deception or deep insult. I forgive them, even though their policies were not targeted at me personally. That does not mean I have to vote for them. And I will not vote for them because they look to false gods for their guidance. That’s nothng to do with unforgiveness, just trying to be as shrewd as a snake.

  • Johnny Rottenborough

    We should fully accept that politicians will never give us everything we want and get many things wrong along the way, but we still need to be wise enough to look to put those in power who, by their convictions and track record, will do the best job

    I would have thought that, from the point of view of every Christian, if anything counts as getting things wrong along the way, it’s the Conservative and Labour policy of transforming a Christian country into a Muslim country. It shouldn’t need spelling out but there will be no ‘role for the Church and Christians to play’ in a Muslim Britain.

    It really does beggar belief that any Christian would even consider voting for parties which are deliberately using Islam to trash Christianity. Christians need to rediscover their survival instinct if their faith is to survive and a good place to start would be to vote for the main anti-Establishment party, UKIP. The party isn’t yet remotely hostile enough to Islam to get my vote but it’s the best anti-Establishment party currently available and it deserves massive Christian support.

    • Inspector General

      It’s curious JR, that for all your impassioned pleas on the silent Islamification of England, and urging us to act now in any way we can to warn all who’ll listen to us, you yourself will not be voting UKIP. You say yourself the party is not strong enough in your opinion at preventing unwanted Islamic influence. But sir, the Inspector contends that it is.

      If you are waiting for UKIP to organise torch lit marches through the Pakistani areas of Rotherham, it’s not the English way. We both know that had a UKIP administration been in place when the warning signs first appeared, we would not have had a local police force under PC intimidation to do nothing nor would we have had the albeit Labour run council in denial. Don’t we?

      • Johnny Rottenborough

        @ IG—I hope very much you are right in your assessment of UKIP’s anti-Islam credentials but my heart sinks when, as today, Mr Farage promises to create a ‘more harmonious and integrated society’. That’s the kind of feel-good multicultural spiel we get from the LibLabCon and it no longer impresses me. Islam doesn’t do harmony and integration and the first step in getting our country back is to recognize that. I voted UKIP in 2010 but not this time. Even so, I wish them good luck.

        • Inspector General

          Integration being the word, what! We should be able to integrate 2.9 m muslims into 60 odd m other types. You won’t find the word in that dead duck which is multiculturalism. That was hinged on non integration. Of course, not all muslims will want to be integrated, in which case, we bung them 5 grand and tell them to piss off somewhere else of their choosing, like IS.

  • CliveM

    As Happy Jack says this is one of the problems with Democracy. We want our politicians to be honest with us, but will punish them if they are and reward the liars (or at least reward those who appear to have the most appealing lies). This is a problem across the whole of the west and undermines a Countries democratic institutions. It is part of the appeal of parties such as UKIP and the SNP. They play the outsiders, but in reality neither are any different. Both have blurred the realities of their proposals, both have trimmed their policies and obfuscated their promises. UKIP have blurred their policies on both immigration and the NHS and the SNP ran a referendum campaign claiming black was white and that the UK would let them parasite on Sterling.

    What of the current campaign? Well Milliband has unveiled a tombstone with promises so vacuous as to be completely meaningless and Cameron has done pretty much nothing but bang on about the SNP. Let’s not pretend this is down to type of system i.e. first past the post. Disillusionment with politicians is common across Europe despite the variety of voting systems used. This can only get worse with coalitions and the built in requirement to compromise their policies.

    I repentance is required, it’s by the nation as much as the politicians.

    • The reason disillusionment with politicians is common across Europe despite the variety of voting systems used is because morality across Europe is in freefall decline.

      • CliveM

        Is it? It’s hard to take a dispassionate look at public and private morality of the last 300 years and identify a real decline in morals. Child rape, prostitution, rape, violence, pre marital sex, extra marital affairs, corruption, are not modern phenomena. There is no evidence that rates have risen and some that they have declined. It’s hard to identify a ‘golden age’ of morality’.

        • When nations were God fearing they were more moral you just need look back at the politicians of yesteryear, more of them were truly honourable than those of today. Of course population has increased and changed drastically too, and instead of aspiring to high standards western populations have sunk to lower moral standards. If leaders are corrupt, liars, cheats, rapists, paedophiles, promiscuous and disrespectful of God, the people follow.

        • Whilst true, to some extent, in the past society stigmatised such behaviour and people actually had an awareness it was wrong and sinful.
          You’ve omitted the ‘crowning glories’ of modern morality ….. the epidemic of abortion and the acceptance of homosexuality. Both have become a part of the moral fabric of the West.

          • CliveM

            Well I wasn’t intending the list to be exhaustive, there is so much you can add!

            Well abortion did exist although not a current rates, but in its place I could have put infanticide, which had much higher rates then today.

  • DannyEastVillage

    the scriptures use the device of purposeful forgetting when it suits the writer’s purpose. In the American office lectionary we’re currently reading the Book of Wisdom at Morning Prayer. This morning’s lesson referred obliquely to Jacob as a righteous man who had fled his murderous brother. The writer fails to mention, of course, that brother Esau wanted to kill Jacob for taking advantage of their father’s blindness to rip off Esau’s birthright–with the connivance of their mother! Jacob nevertheless becomes hero of the story and “father of a great nation” by producing twelve sons (by multiple mothers, btw). This unsavory story is the foundation of the epic tale of Israel. Some would argue that this proves that God can and does work out his purpose despite the frailty of our humanity. Another lesson some extract is that, no matter how heroic we or anyone else thinks we are, none of us has all that much to brag about.

    Becoming a political leader exposes one to the risk of doing worse things than anyone else – or, at least, of doing rotten things that cause more widespread damage than most of us can reasonably hope to accomplish. In the US, the now fashionable but revolting marriage of political and religious discourse accentuates the disconnect between what one is driven to promise and what may reasonably be delivered. I can’t help noticing that many who bray the loudest about their “christian” values are oftentimes the most judgmental and unforgiving of the results of this disconnect.

    • Martin

      Danny

      Actually the point is that Jacob is chosen of God and made righteous, not because of anything in Jacob but because God chooses so to do. No one who God saves has any good points for God to choose, but God glorifies Himself in saving and changing the sinner.

      • Linus

        So maybe David Cameron is chosen of God and made righteous despite his heinous, unforgivable crimes of giving women control over their reproductive choices and letting gays marry.

        Vote against him and you may be voting against God.

        I wonder what sort of retribution he’ll mete out. Perhaps he’ll give you over to unnatural lusts, or visit a plague of boils or chronic halitosis on you, or even suddenly convert you to Catholicism with Sad Jack as your spiritual advisor and mentor.

        Now I know that last one counts as cruel and unusual punishment, but as God is sovereign and you’re just his miserable chattel, you’ll have to grin and bear it, won’t you?

        So be careful how you vote on Thursday. If you wake up on Friday covered in pox, or a pipe bursts and you find yourself overcome by desire for burly Polish plumber who comes to fix it, or there’s a knock at the door and when you open it, a jaundiced, moon-faced little cartoon character is standing there bearing a hair shirt, a cilice and a cat’o-nine-tails, you’ll know you’ve made the wrong choice…

        • Martin

          Linus

          Rulers are chosen by God, and deposed by Him. And sometimes those rulers are appointed to bring sorrow and pain to the wicked by their foolish acts. Such, it would seem, is Cameron, for he has encouraged that gradual slide, a rapidly speeding slide, into degeneracy and abandonment of what is good characterised by the rise of the homosexual lobby.

          If you imagine that giving women the right to kill their babies is anything other than degeneracy then perhaps you should consider the weakness of those babes, how they have few to speak for them and none who seem to mourn their passing.

          What you see as advancement of freedom I see as the writing on the wall that preceded the destruction of great empire.

          • Linus

            Rulers are, in this day and age and in our part of the world, chosen by popular vote. God isn’t on the electoral role and if he tries to influence our choices then he’s making a mockery of the concept of free will and proving himself to be a liar. Are you worshipping a liar?

          • Martin

            Linus

            What free will? You gave away any free will you had to your sin long ago.

            The king’s heart is a stream of water in the hand of the LORD;
            heturns it wherever he will.
            (Proverbs 21:1 [ESV]

          • Linus

            Ecstatic claptrap that means nothing!

            Anyone can quote from a book. How about “One Ring to rule them all, One Ring to find them…”? Sounds spooky and magical too, doesn’t it? Wow! There really must be a Ring, and Hobbits, and a Dark Lord, and a White Wizard who comes back from the dead…

            The gullibility of Christians is really something. Just because we don’t know who wrote the Bible and it’s been around for a couple of thousand years, it must be true? So have the Mahabharata and the Egyptian Book of the Dead and many other ancient texts. So I guess they must all be true too.

            What a load of old cobblers.

          • Martin

            Linus

            Anyone can quote from a book but when that book has proven itself over countless generations then it should be attended to. When that book declares its author is God it should be especially attended to.

            You challenged my points, I showed you that it is what the Bible says, what Christians believe. Now you complain that anyone can quote a book. Well Christians, in case you hadn’t noticed, quote the Bible quite often, it is their authority, their rule of life and the source of all their doctrine. If you don’t like it, tough, you’re not a Christian.

          • Linus

            More incoherent nonsense from the usual suspect.

            Get back to poring over your book and swallowing everything it says hook, line and sinker. Then go out for a walk, find a donkey and have a nice conversation with it. I’m sure everything you say will make perfect sense to the poor animal.

          • Martin

            Linus

            Oh dear, have you run out of even the semblance of an argument? BTW, the Bible presents Balaam’s Ass as a miracle, an extraordinary event so I wouldn’t expect to meet an ass that could talk, present company excepted.

  • Shadrach Fire

    Talking about Integrity and regret, would the authors of this blog consider giving a considered response to the comments at an appropriate time after the article is published. This would give the commentators a small feed back on their reaction to the article and an update or correction from the authors regarding their interpretation of the article.

    • It would be good to offer more feedback to comments made, but due to the volume and lack of available time it is often difficult to achieve this.

      Perhaps the flaws in this piece are a demonstration of how hard it is to strike the right balance in our views and expectations of politicians. Forgiveness is certainly easier when aimed at politicians who are willing to repent and admit their failings rather than dismiss or ignore them, but again how much of this comes out of a fear that they will be seen as weak as doing so. When politicians do show contrition, do we accept it or write it off as posturing? But the question remains as to whether we should be willing to forgive those who are not completely deserving of it.

      Certainly we cannot directly compare those characters I mentioned in the Bible with our politicians – they are in completely different leagues, but it does show that God does not use just the pure and perfect for his purposes although the clear difference is that they chose to submit to God. This didn’t necessarily gain them public support. Jesus had enough trouble with this.

      Politics is a dirty game and the more light that Christians can shine upon it, the better. Turning our backs in disgust will not do anything to bring about change for the better.

      • Shadrach Fire

        Well done for taking up the challenge.

        • Criticism is very welcome! I do not have any convictions that I am above anyone else in my opinions and thoughts. I admit that I will get things wrong, especially in the context of blogging which allows very little opportunity for full and detailed explanations or much time for review and reflection before publication. But this is as much a place for debate as pronouncements. Politics in particular is a very messy game that can bring out the worst in all of us. In this case I’m looking to find ways to bring us out of the hole that we are in. I don’t claim to have all of the answers, just a genuine desire to see change and God’s purposes honoured.

          • Phil R

            “In this case I’m looking to find ways to bring us out of the hole that we are in”

            So I should participate and give politicians a mandate for things I don’t agree with. No I’ll speak plainly, give them a mandate for evil?

            I have never voted and as a Christian and I am increasingly comfortable with that.

            E.g. The involvement of Christians in politics (Republican mainly) in the US was a disaster. Yes it might have passed temporarily some good laws, but it was a disaster for Christian witness (Inc Church attendance) and that is actually what we are about.

            I think we can and should contribute to political debate (I do a great deal of this), but not support or vote for any particular party. That way, we can shine God’s light without saying that that party’s political views are Christian and getting a particular brand of politics and Christianity associated together in people’s minds,

          • sarky

            Possibly the most stupid post I have ever read!!!!
            If you have never voted, your opinion counts for nothing. You are like the ‘Russell Brand’ of Cranmer.

          • Phil R

            You think your vote counts in our one party state?

            Anyway as Christians we believe that God has the biggest vote by far!

          • sarky

            Does he vote in person or by post?

          • Phil R

            You always seem surprised when Christians put forward a Christian view point on a Christian blog.

            What else would you expect

    • Inspector General

      Dreadful idea Shadrach. Truly appalling….

  • IanCad

    OK! As far as I see it we must vote for He/It/She; Who, when their hands are put in our pockets, will take out the least.
    To me, it seems, a vote for Cameron, and after; a stiff drink. Many in fact.
    What a poverty of choice we have.

    • Shadrach Fire

      My vote will go with Morality. The economy can sort itself out. It always does.
      But when our society has no morals left, then we are stuffed.

      • IanCad

        I don’t disagree. A moral man will steal less than his brothers.
        On the bright side – A divided government will achieve very little. The best form of administration.

        • Politically__Incorrect

          Our politicians could be about to discover just how dispensable they are to the nation, as Belgium did in 2010. A paralysed administration may actuallly turn out be a blessing, compared to either a Labour or Conservative landslide.

  • Inspector General

    There is one concept drawn from Christianity which is abused more than the drugs brought in by deservedly executed traffickers…

    Step forward ‘forgiveness’

    What forgiveness has to go through in this world is, in itself, quite unforgivable…

    You see, four criteria must be met before forgiveness can be dispensed:

    One. There needs to be genuine remorse from the culprit. The remorse of being caught out is not enough.

    Two. An undertaking is required never to do what is to be forgiven again.

    Three. Reparations must be made.

    Four. Probably the most important of the lot. The culprit must ASK for forgiveness. Forgiveness given to one who does not crave it is not forgiveness at all. It does not count. It is null and void.

    Of all the people who cannot be forgiven, mendacious duplicitous politicians come very near the top. So anybody contemplating forgiveness for these insincere rogues in the 3 main parties best set up a standing order…

  • len

    ‘The Lords prayer’ has a condition in it.
    ‘And forgive us our debts, as we also have forgiven our debtors.(Matthew 6:12)
    In other words God will deal with us as we deal with others.
    So the forgiveness of the Christian towards others must be unconditional IF we want unconditional forgiveness from God.
    Difficult one I know because I have had to put this into practice with someone who did me great harm and would not accept any sort of responsibility for his actions, but I forgave him not because’ I felt like it ‘but because of a act of obedience to Jesus Christ….
    and I keep on forgiving because the flesh rises up and I have to start again over……

    • Inspector General

      You forgave him did you. Did he ask for forgiveness, or was he smiling at the time…

      • len

        He never asked for forgiveness , never admitted he had done anything wrong, this person amongst many other things drove a car at me and tried to run me over this was not the worst thing he did…

        • not a machine

          yes Len but is doing nothing saving the innocents ?

        • Shadrach Fire

          The Disciples went to one village to tell the good news and they were rejected. They shook the dust off their shoes and went on to the next village. Never a second thought for the those who rejected them.
          Clearly, like so many issues in the scriptures there is a balance to be struck. Seems to me Len, without being Judgmental, if you have to keep forgiving, you never forgave in the first place and cleared your mind of it.

        • Inspector General

          You’re not expected to forgive your enemies, you idiot. Just your brother, whoever he is. A more suitable response to your would be killer would be to curse him in the name of the Lord. Prophet style…

  • len

    The philosophy of’ no moral absolutes’ mean we can trust no one except Jesus Christ .
    We can however judge(am I allowed to use that word not very PC I know?) people(and political parties) by ‘their fruits’.

  • B flat

    You have this entirely in the wrong perspective, Gillan. The political parties, and especially their leaders, were not forced by anyone to accept advancement and political leadership. History gives examples, as does hereditary monarchy, of shy and reluctant leaders. But where within the english-speaking democracies, have we seen one in living memory? Our politicians try to sell themselves to the public at the only time our system makes it necessary for them to take account of us.
    They make offers, declare intent, and solemnly proclaim their policy or commitment.
    If they subsequently renege on those promises, or otherwise behave dishonestly towards the public, what is the individual elector to think? How can he impress on politicians that their love of a life of power and control of others – at public expense – is of no interest to one who tries to live and work, with family and friends, within the ordered framework of public law and individual freedom as understood and developed over many generations.
    An individual may forgive anyone for reasons of Christian Faith and practice. Those who are not Christian have no absolute moral reason to forgive anyone anything. There’s multiculturalism for you!
    To return power to those who have shown themselves weak, incompetent, or dishonest is simply stupid. There is no community of interest between our professional politicians, and the general public whom they are supposed to serve. A Christian must care, and should do all they can, to return public and private life to consistency with the following of Christ. This necessitates forgiveness, but also expulsion of those unworthy from their seats of power.
    They have become masters instead of servants, and simply milk the public purse in pursuit of their chosen way of life, with complete disregard of anyone but those like them who could influence the course of their careers, for good or ill. It is high time for the humble to be exalted.

    • Old Blowers

      Don’t they just adore being introduced as Honourable or right Honourable.An oxymoron surely?

      I prefer the term The Dirty Rotten Scoundrel for Doncaster North or
      The Dirty Rotten Scoundrel for Witney

    • not a machine

      That is powerful reply B flat , I bow

  • Old Blowers

    Dear sweet naive Gillan

    “And so it went on, with Miliband admitting at one point: “Trust is so low in politics.” He then went on to talk thereafter showing he didn’t mean it!
    You say “It’s easy to lay the blame squarely at the feet of our politicians. ” but we say verily verily.

    ” However, too often the ultimate reason that politicians fail to keep their promises is due to the attitude of the electorate. “That is just pretentious twaddle sir.

    “Because we are too unwilling to accept that much of politics involves making difficult decisions that are not going to please everyone, our politicians are driven to over-promise at the risk of under-delivering as they compete for the votes of a fickle public. ” They over promise because they belong to the Latter Day church of Pinocchio.

    You plead “Let’s turn to the Bible for a moment and remind ourselves of some famous heroes of the Faith..(Who this rabble in Westminster are not even worthy to be mentioned in the same sentence with..PS These are believers used by God showing His power in their lives unlike the godless numpties that desire our vote and who would gladly do a deal with Satan himself should the offer arise)” Err, lets not, shall we?

    “If there is a role for the Church and Christians to play in restoring trust in politics, then it will surely come from encouraging and exercising the same level of grace and forgiveness towards those in power as we have received from God. ” Most are responsible for more deaths through abortion than Herod “the Great” and the other child murderers in the Bible except their hands are always clean of the abominable act..They are merely offering choice under law to their electorate? In their eyes, How can it be murder to them if they don’t know the victims,

    “We should fully accept that politicians will never give us everything we want and get many things wrong along the way (That’s why they are called Chancers, Gillan), but we still need to be wise enough to look to put those in power who, by their convictions and track record, will do the best job.” Yup, UKIP will do me fine.

    As Thomas Tusser in Five Hundreth Pointes of Good Husbandrie, 1573 said and I topically paraphrase his rhyme:

    A foole & his vote,
    be soone at debate:
    which after with sorow,
    repents him to late.

    • not a machine

      I cant get Blowers from diamonds are forever as voice on that post , what was the actors name , he was good ?

      • Old Blowers

        Charles Gray..my favourite for his tongue in cheek remarks…others like the macabre donald pleasance version but me being me prefers good old witty remarks from my Blofeld.

        • not a machine

          Thanks for that he had dome good one liners I think he was in the devil rides out as unusual baddie ?

          • Old Blowers

            Indeed and the narrator in cult movie rocky horror show, hamming it up crazily.

          • not a machine

            rocky horror show LOL
            Charles Gray better than Donald Pleasance (although Donald was good too) still quite a good opener on Diamonds are Forever for a bond movie even if not many remember it ..Best of luck in the mini sub …

          • Hmmm ….

  • not a machine

    I perhaps am more with B flat on this post , for me I perhaps want to remind of 1997 it was obvious the conservatives were in trouble , the Charismatic Blair wooed all those Tories launching a new and dazzling style of politics , I voted or him much to my regret but the torrent of verbs (and not a great deal of substance) did its mental trick and compelled me to vote for errrm better yes things can (and there’s the disclaimer from the legal student ) only get better , not will , not should , but can .Little did any of us know we were about to get one of the biggest busts, the realignment of the UK to the EU and that “can” was a subtext for progressive .Yes we were to be put in the driving seat of an increasingly media sea until reality was on our mental periphery .Verbs have power when you are travelling it is the language of how to get from hear to there. Debate ,testing by opposition ,speeches started to become an eccentric hobby of the privilege few that were elected .The non answer may well be an important art of PMQs ,but the none manifesto has no traction with the electorate , simply tell people things can get better or things are getting better make them think , there is no need to ask questions no need to be curious , and well you can have a house of commons that feels it is fine to get the belfry done or the moat cleared or even an astonishing 25k of home furnishings without anyone disagreeing , of course once the person feels life is one big expense account you can start passing the rot on , some where out there area number of empty fire control centres empty but cost to you £500mn (get a few carers for that money rather than death pathway if no doctors at weekend) , we perhaps could touch on an equal £500mn on defunct museums and my favourite the green technology theme park near Doncaster that was erm a bit poor. No gas storage , £30bn off balance sheet on network rail and other things of balance sheet
    lobby groups funded by the tax payer ,board places for NGOs funded by the tax payer .70%of GDP dependent upon finance , 1mn manufacturing jobs gone , 2mn net immigration and I am sure many that only those in parliament can know about but may be embarrassed to admit they over saw on our behalf .
    You see here is my problem they are elected to act on our behalf , to steer this country from troubled waters , to work at the best interest for the people , they are not meant to give the biggest debt for the grandchildren to pay off , run a Ponzi scheme in PR, or for that matter waste money that may be useful should any need come along .Selling half the gold reserves was either deliberate or a bad idea .
    So I answer to your post and the one about the debt forgiveness by the master no being shown by the servant when demanding his debt is interesting , in the sense that when you make finance complex and obscure and it goes bust less forgiveness is found further down the chain , the person who writes of £70mn of interbank debt does not lose there house or wealth in the same way as the bank demanding its mortgage payment , which the last labour government subjected millions of people to.The game across the despatch box is the empty verbs transcribed into reality for millions , and in labours case , not so much on there watch but as a direct result of their polices , has damaged a lot of peoples lives while telling them things can get better , or never admitting they were corrupting .
    So I don’t know quite who we should forgive , the liars or the beneficiaries of the liars who thought it would be a wheeze to corrupt and make rotten the primary legislature and some other institutions. I think it perhaps is best to leave it at individual forgiveness as God revenges the corrupting of the innocent .
    I might go on to totally finish the basis of socialism (which does seem to have damaged a lot of people/nations in its use) but it would seem I have to put that tool away for today although perhaps it could be useful for another election hopefully in a few years time, but I pretty much have worked out how utterly rotten what Labour did from 1997 to 2010 was .
    But our grandchildren need the ability to pay off labours debt and they wont do it if Labour get into government , so even though the coalition has done a miracle in getting some growth (when all labour had to offer was flat line) and never did offer an alternative or better result idea , we still need some carefull handling of the economy and David Cameron is the best man for the job and he must achieve a majority or second best another coalition , if labour get in , imagine getting an Ed Balls response for another 5 years or another invention of figure fudging . I don’t agree with some of the conservatives ideas , but they are more broadly right then what labour have offered .
    So last day positive economic message from conservatives to people , steady hand on tiller as it looks like our European neighbours are not out of trouble , and a promise to try and get better local growth and job security .
    Following lucy powells rather unfortunate misunderstanding of a 6 point pledge written in stone , being always breakable (it may have lost its fizz by now and other ones are available cheers)
    meet the Skintstones Yabba dabba , hell yeah dooo
    Ed Skintstone , Yvette Skintstone ,Lucy Skintstone (peebles), and dino (Chris leslie) and the neighbours Barney Economicrubble , Betty Economicrubble and Bamm bamm salmond
    the modern stone age family with rock bland polices , where it takes ages to get an honest answer .
    the theme tune is called rise and shine

    • not a machine

      Jurassic farce … gratis night night

  • Martin

    It is no excuse to say that if we tell the truth they won’t vote for us. If you don’t tell the truth, if you make promises you cannot possibly keep, there is no way of knowing what you will do. It is a way of depriving the voter of his vote in order to further yourself.

    As for those heroes of the faith, they weren’t made heroes by their acts but by God working in them. The only way we see God working in our politicians is in terms of Romans 1:18-32, the wrath of God descending upon our wicked society. We see the hand writing on the wall, yet there is no condemnation of those who have brought us here.

  • big

    Never forgive them its a sign of weakness!