Andy's letter from America

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.


Post topics:
Do you like this post?

Be the first to comment

Related posts on Politics

Christians on the Left member and volunteer Matthew Judson sets out a case for extending the franchise to 16.

The word democracy comes from two Greek words meaning for people (‘demos’) and power (‘kratos’). Thus a democracy is a state in which power belongs to the people. Throughout its history, the institution of democracy has gradually emerged as the political system which best empowers citizens, creates equality and provides accountable government. At the very least it is generally accepted in our society as ‘the worst form of Government except for all those other forms that have been tried from time to time’, in the words of Winston Churchill[1]. 

Last week's two by-elections included a Labour hold in Stoke-on-Trent Central and a Conservative gain from Labour in Copeland. However, as Christians on the Left member and volunteer Hannah Rich explains, low levels of voter turnout mean the main winner may have been apathy.

Last week, director Andy Flannagan, executive member Heather Staff and volunteer Matthew Judson visited Cumbria to campaign for Gillian Troughton, a Christians on the Left member and the Labour candidate in the forthcoming Copeland by-election. Matthew, a gap year student who had not previously been involved in a political campaign, shares some of his experiences and reflections.

More topics: