Tuesday, 20 January 2015

KLICE on the General Election 2015

The Kirby Laing Institute for Christian Ethics has commissioned some pieces in the run up to the General Election in Britain in May. They write:

‘Our major offering is a special series of eight extended Ethics in Brief essays on the main British political parties. Our contributions won’t advise you how to vote but may help to think more critically about your political allegiance. Some authors belong to and support the parties they discuss, others don’t.’

Two have already been posted:

It is nearly 150 years since a large part of the (male) urban working class were enfranchised by the Representation of the People Act 1867. For much of that time mass democracy has been realised through the mechanism of mass-membership political parties. This system is facing fundamental challenges. Do these amount to a crisis? This article explores the nature of the challenges facing political parties, and the implications for a Christian understanding of citizenship.

The Liberal Democrats are one of the smallest parties, but they have the biggest ideas. One cannot have liberalism without ‘liberty’. Liberty is a value that infuses all western politics and is not confined to any one party. The importance of liberty for the liberal western consensus arose from Christian reflection on the nature of creaturely and Divine life. Yet behind the one word ‘liberty’ lie two competing, even opposite, meanings. The liberalism of the Liberal Democrat party and beyond exists in tension with the liberty of Christianity, but is not for that reason inimical to it. Western liberalism can be a good home for Christianity, for after all, Christians helped to create it.

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