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.
Our long-term member and Copeland by-election candidate Gillian Troughton was in the BBC TV studio this week, recording for BBC One's Sunday Politics with Andrew Neil (airing 12th Feb 11am).
If you can, do tune in to hear what she has to say or watch it on iPlayer this week. The Sunday Politics homepage can be found here:
Still not sure how to pray for the coming year? Nearly 6 weeks in, our member and volunteer Hannah wasn't sure either. Next Wednesday 15th February, we will unite across the country to pray for our communities. We also want to lift up to God our MPs, our government, our nation and our world.
But where to start? The Bible is always a good place, so turning to Jesus' example of how to pray, she wrote this for us:
Rachel Burgin writes about a task unfinished in the Copeland by-election stating that CotL member Gillian Troughton 'is exactly what we have been yearning for in our MPs'. She calls on members to defy the odds and get behind Gillian.
“What on earth happened there?” That seemed to the be the immediate response to the selection of Gillian Troughton as Labour party candidate.
I don’t blame them. After all, the national media had all but decided that the outcome of the selection was a foregone conclusion. There was a “favourite” they said. And it wasn’t Gillian Troughton. But I wasn’t entirely convinced that this was based on any conversations with members of the Copeland Labour party.
There have been all sorts of stories swirling around in both the local and national media about the conduct of the Copeland selection. I don’t intend to repeat those rumours here.
I can tell you what Gillian had at her disposal. She had no campaign website, no mailshots, she had a handful of friends making a few phone calls and she was sending emails to the 473 members the old-fashioned way.
One Day Without Us imagines what the UK would actually be like for a single day without migrants? The impact would be disastrous with economy, food supply, health service, education system, transport system and much more being crippled.
At September's Labour Party Conference in Liverpool, Christians on the Left promoted our #patriotspaytax campaign.
A number of MPs endorsed the campaign, and both party leader Jeremy Corbyn and shadow chancellor John McDonnell referred to it in their speeches. We also organised the annual Conference Service, and continued to use the Christians in Politics slogan #diagreewell. This led to various mentions in both the Christian and mainstream media.
The Independent: Nine Things to Take Away see point two on this list (by Jon Stone)
The Guardian: Unity or Terminal Decline there is a paragraph on the importance of patriotism (by Owen Jones)
Church Newspaper: Why We All Need to Learn to Disagree Well (by Stephen Beer, our political communications officer)
Christian Today: Labour Can Learn Lessons From Faith Groups' Unity (by Stephen Beer, our political communications officer)
Church Times: Collaborate as Faiths Can, Divided Labour Urged (by Tim Wyatt)
Additionally, Andy Flannagan, our director, was interviewed on BBC Radio Merseyside and Trans World Radio (a Christian station).
At the end of November, our Future Candidates met together for the first time, to begin a journey on the Christians on the Left Political Mentoring Programme. Equipping and training a new group of members to be the best public speakers, activists, debaters, policy writers, community organisers... These are just some of the areas that our mentees will be exploring as they explore what it means to be a Christian on the Left. Here are a few words from some of them on their experiences so far...
Our director, Andy Flannagan, talks to Shane Claiborne, the American activist and author, on the need for theology, policy and lifestyle to intersect. Shane discusses the importance of loving our neighbours as ourselves (see Matthew 22:39), what this means in a world beset by economic inequality, and shares with us about how he tries to live out this love by sharing and caring in his community. A fascinating conversation, and one which provides a Christian framework for a radical commitment to social justice.
Christians on the Left participated in the recent ShowUp North event, hosted in Manchester by Christians in Politics.
Zac Bowyer, a sixth form student visiting from South Africa, was at the event and shared some of his thoughts: