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CARE calls for church-based hustings

In the run-up to the forthcoming Scottish Elections in May this year (2011), a new CARE report says that church-based hustings are still as important as ever.

 


 
MCC1 
 

NEW research published today by Christian social policy charity CARE demonstrates the key role played by churches in facilitating the democratic process through the provision of hustings during the 2010 General Election.

Published a week after CARE launched its new election website for the 2011 devolved elections in Scotland, Northern Ireland and Wales – www.makethecrosscount2011.net – it does not just look back but also looks forward to the elections in May this year.

Gareth Davies, CARE’s Development Officer commented, ‘In the run up to the 2010 election we wrote to churches across the UK encouraging them to hold hustings and were completely blown away by the response. 293 hustings were registered on our makethecrosscount2010 website making it - as far as we are aware - the largest single source of hustings in the UK General Election.

The provision of hustings is a great way in which the church can serve its community, emphasising to candidates the importance of the Christian constituency and Christian policy priorities. Holding hustings also provides a great way for local residents to get to know the candidates, one of whom will become the elected representative. After the election churches can continue to engage from the position of having an established relationship and point of contact.’

The findings of today’s report, written by David Binder, were based on questionnaires sent out to the 293 hustings organisers. Churches from a diverse number of denominations and from right across the UK were represented and, on the whole, the results make for very encouraging reading. They illustrate very clearly the hugely significant role church-based hustings play in facilitating democracy in the UK.

The report confirms that, on average, 136 people attended each of the 293 hustings. If this figure is projected across all 293 hustings it means that nearly 40,000 people - both Christian and non-Christian - attended a church run hustings during the 2010 general election campaign. This is very encouraging and demonstrates that high numbers of people view hustings as important and relevant.

CARE’s findings also demonstrates that Christians and those who attended hustings are interested and concerned about a whole variety of political and social issues. These findings are particularly interesting in that they dispel the myth that all Christian’s are only concerned about the same ‘typical’ issues. There was a wide variety of subjects of interest – indeed, as the report shows, issues around the economy proved to be the most popular topic of discussion – illustrating that hustings can play a key role in facilitating debate on diverse and relevant issues of real interest to the Christian and non Christian public.

Nola Leach CARE’s chief executive concluded, ‘We are delighted by the findings of this report. We hope that it will motivate people to run hustings once again in the context of this year’s elections which is why we are today releasing new hustings guides for Northern Ireland and Wales on our new 2011 election website, If you live in Scotland, Northern Ireland or Wales then why not encourage your church to host a hustings in your constituency. They are great fun and provide a really practical way of making a Christian difference at election time. If candidates turn up at a packed church hall it sends the important message that the church is here and Christian values must be taken seriously.’

Footnotes:
In the run up to the 2010 General Election CARE wrote to hundreds of church leaders to encourage them to hold hustings and took on two extra members of staff to assist. It is important to be clear, however, that whilst CARE provided advice and resources, the org not actually run the hustings. This task was undertaken by the local church.

 

A pre-election Hustings Meeting is being held in the King's Factory, Inverness.


CARE, 26/03/2011

Feedback:
(page   1   2)
Michael Dillon (Guest) 03/04/2011 19:37
King's Fellowship are organising a hustings for the forthcoming Scottish Election.

This will take place at the King's Factory, Smithton at 7.30pm on Wednesday 27th April.

It will be a chance to raise issues of concern to Christians, some of which may not feature largely, if at all, in the manifestos of the political parties.

All are welcome to attend, and to submit questions for the candidates in advance.

You can email your questions to: electionquestions@btinternet.com
Peter Carr 06/04/2011 07:37
What are the burning issues for Christians, are they really any different to anyone else's?

Rosemary Cameron 07/04/2011 22:01
I think one of the burning issues for Christians should be the erosion of our freedom to live by the Bible and to preach from the Bible through the so-called equalities legislation recently brought in by our elected representatives!

Apart from that, Christians should also be concerned about the repeated attempts to bring in assisted suicide or euthanasia legislation and other legislation which affects the vulnerable, such as abortion legislation.

We should also be concerned about the effect of policies on the poor and needy in our society.

Many of our concerns will be the same as those of non-Christians but the order of priority may (and quite possibly should) be different.
Peter Carr 11/04/2011 12:41
Any body know where info can be obtained on the runners and riders of the forthcoming election?
Peter Carr 12/04/2011 13:07
When in doubt...

http://www.bbc.co.uk/news/special/election2011/overview/html/scotland.stm
Rosemary Cameron 12/04/2011 21:20
Yes I find the BBC website is usually a good source of info on elections!

Peter Carr 13/04/2011 08:46
Hi Rosemary,

Talking of info, any idea how many candidates that SCP are fielding this time around compared to 2007, and any regrets that you are not standing this time for them?


Peter Carr 14/04/2011 11:36
No mention in the article below how many candidates, but reading between the lines it appears only to be one!!

"Dr Boyd, who is also standing in the Inverness and Nairn constituency, believes the Highland and Islands region is where the Scottish Christian Party has its biggest chance of returning its first MSP."


http://www.bbc.co.uk/news/uk-scotland-scotland-politics-13054401
Rosemary Cameron 14/04/2011 21:26
If you read lower down the BBC article referenced above it says that the SCP are fielding 37 candidates in all 8 regions. The CPA have candidates in 2 regions, one of which is my own, Mid Scotland and Fife. Given that the CPA has a lead candidate who lives in the region, and the 4 SCP candidates look like paper candidates parachuted in from down south, I don't know why the SCP are standing and thereby splitting the vote in my region. I'm not going to vote for someone who doesn't live in the region. (I have asked Donald Boyd for info on the 4 candidates in my region but have not had an answer.)
Peter Carr 15/04/2011 08:01
Thanks Rosemary, I missed that. 37 candidates is a far cry from the number fielded 4 years ago! I emailed Mr Boyd a question re their manifesto about a month ago and am still awaiting a reply. I guess now that he is the leader of SCP that he is too busy for the potential voters!!!!

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