I am doing some musical work in the USA at the moment, and it is intriguing to be here in the run-up to their midterm elections. TV stations are flooded with attack ads. Lawns are flooded with signs. Politics is especially in the blood for many here in the ‘cradle of the Clintons’ - Little Rock, Arkansas.
Hearing some of the stories of those who are standing for election reminds me how thankful I am for at least some better campaign finance restrictions in the UK. Only those of serious means have any hope of election here. One of the favourite lines in this part of the world is that “Our freedom isn’t free”. You see it on t-shirts and bumper stickers everywhere, mostly in support of their troops. Well I have been thinking here that free speech really isn’t free. It costs a lot. And rather than those with the best ideas making it into the public arena, it is those with the biggest wallets who can make their voice heard.
As Christians on the Left, we have an amazing group of candidates who are standing in the 2015 General Election in the UK. We live in a country where people power can still have an impact. However the only way these candidates will be able to fight on a level playing field is if we put our money where our mouths are and support these brave people who are stepping forward to represent the least, the last and the lost of their constituencies. Every week I hear them speaking up for those who cannot speak for themselves, or for those who do not have the means to lobby and influence. I am so proud of their hard work.
But I think we need a step change in how we think about supporting them.
If we are really serious about seeing change in politics, we need to back up that desire with sacrificial investment. We live in a consumerist age where people are happy to click their support, but not be on the street in protest or count the cost financially. Younger generations are not realising the need for the collective people’s purse that stands against the huge pockets of individual rich donors.
All of us giving a little makes a huge difference, so I am unashamed in my plea. If you can come to our fundraiser in Westminster next month, I'd love to see you! If you can’t join us in person on the night of the 24th November, please contribute the price of the ticket (£20) as a show of support. 500 of us doing that would raise £10,000 for our candidates to keep them going. Many of them operate on a shoestring budget, with friends and family sacrificing much by way of transport, printing costs and lost work time.
Buy a ticket to our fundraiser here
Donate to Christians on the Left here
Let’s stand together. I can’t promise a cost-free movement, but we are not called to a cost-free faith.