What are we going to do about UKIP? It is clear that there is strong support for the ‘anti-Europe’ sentiment in most areas in our country. I live in a relatively safe Labour area in Leeds and UKIP increased their vote share (of those who actually voted) by more than 20% for the local elections, and got three of the six seats up for grabs in Europe. I think this is quite worrying, but if we are going to win the next general election we need to have a clear positive agenda.
Just a quick note to let you know that you can read our latest newsletter online by clicking here.
You can also see the previous issue on the same page. As time passes, we will build an archive of Christians on the Left publications to read online.
After Labour lost the 2010 General Election we realised we needed to reconnect politics with people. We needed to rebuild a broad-based coalition around our values that was inclusive and which gave a voice to many who felt politics no longer did anything for them. It would be a real shame if Labour let these results tempt it away from this mission.
Rachel Burgin selected as parliamentary candidate in Hitchin & Harpenden
On 29th March 2014, Rachel Burgin was selected as the prospective parliamentary candidate for the Hitchin & Harpenden constituency. She is tasked with taking on Peter Lilley MP at the next General Election. This is her story.
There is a school of thought that says Christians shouldn’t get involved in social action: they should simply preach the gospel. That’s right: no foodbanks, homelessness shelters, debt advice services, no rebuilding Iraq and Afghanistan after the wars, no feeding the hungry in Africa. Just tell people about Jesus: pure and simple.
My life over the last ten years has a different message. I’m not a “career politician”: I didn’t plan to come this way. I just set out to serve God in the best way I could.
Watch our video
Shane Claiborne is the visionary leader of The Simple Way, a faith community in inner city Philadelphia that has helped birth and connect radical faith communities around the world.
Shane writes and travels extensively speaking about peacemaking, social justice, and Jesus. Shane’s books include Jesus for President, Red Letter Revolution, Common Prayer, Follow Me to Freedom,Jesus, Bombs and Ice Cream, Becoming the Answer to Our Prayers – and his classic The Irresistible Revolution.
While on tour with Christians on the Left Director Andy Flannagan, they took time out to chat about economics, neighbourhood, politics, faith, and fun.
You can watch it here
If ever there was a video that is worth sharing, this would be it.
Take ten minutes to be encouraged over this Bank Holiday weekend. Then share it as widely as you can!!! We are attracting plenty of new members via Twitter and Facebook, but it only works when members do the sharing!!!
Here's a URL for your tweets, posts and shares: http://bit.ly/ChrLShane
As Christians across Great Britain and the rest of the world gather to celebrate the most important event in the Christian faith, I would like to wish you all a happy Easter.
It was a privilege for me to visit the Holy Land in the lead up to Easter this year. I will be thinking of Palestinian and Israeli Christians in particular at this time, many of whom are unable to celebrate Easter in Jerusalem.
For hundreds of years people have celebrated Easter. It is a powerful story that speaks of hope born in sacrifice. Here in Britain I see that hope in the actions of Christians and others up and down the United Kingdom who give their time volunteering in projects such as food banks, debt-counselling centres, and youth work projects. So often their sacrifice of time, expertise and energy is not recognised - but Easter is a good time to do exactly that. As local services are withdrawn, some communities are reliant on the support of churches and their programmes.
I also see hope in the thousands who spend their time not fighting for their own rights, but instead speaking up for those who cannot speak for themselves, crying out against injustice. It is encouraging to note the Gather conference happening in London later this month, bringing together the church networks from all over the UK which are supporting this type of work.
As I see communities coming together to give hope to others, the challenge to those of us who are politicians is to be servant leaders – leaders who are called to roll up our sleeves to serve, who will identify with the struggles of ordinary people, and will strive for fairness and equality.
I want to end by wishing you, your families and your friends a peaceful and joyful Easter.
- Ed Miliband
With the Easter holidays fast approaching Andrew Pakes, Labour's Parliamentary Candidate for Milton Keynes South and long-time friend of Christians on the Left, has joined with Waitrose staff to donate some chocolate eggs for MK Foodbank.
MK Foodbank has reported that demand is up 70 percent compared to this time last year as many families still struggle to make ends meet
Andrew approached Waitrose to ask for a donation to help ensure the children of parents receiving help from the foodbank did not miss out this Easter. The store donated 100 Easter eggs and Andrew is asking for more donations to ensure every child gets a treat over Easter.
"I would like to thank the partners at Waitrose for their kind donation of Easter Eggs. Many families are still facing a tough time in Milton Keynes and will be relying on help from MK Foodbank to get through the Easter holiday.
"I am delighted Waitrose have helped kick start the Easter Egg appeal to make sure children whose parents are relying on MK Foodbank also get a treat this holiday season.
"The foodbank is always looking for donations of food, not just Easter Eggs, so pleased get involved and help make a donation if you can."
You can read more about this story on the MK News website by clicking here.
You can find out how to donate to MK Foodbank by clicking here.
Christian Progressive Politics and the looming battle over Europe
Last month's debate on Europe between Nick Clegg and Nigel Farage didn't stir many passions on the left. This week's second-leg of the 'Nick and Nigel show' could be dismissed by many of us as a circus sideshow, save serving to reinforce the importance of the European dimension to so many aspects of government and our lives. As we move closer to May's European election and the looming possibility of a referendum this may be no bad thing.
Highlighting popular discontent with Europe has been a popular rallying-cry for the right wing in Britain for decades. Broadly speaking four decades after membership the European Union as it is now called remains a largely un-loved institution in Britain, the punch-bag of populist right-wing press, the bug-bear of successive governments.
Last week saw another successful Tawney Dialogue with a great discussion between theologian Dr Anna Rowlands and shadow Secretary of State for work and pensions, Rachel Reeves MP.
As ever, the discussion in the room was interesting, thoughtful and passionate. This year we even got a mention in Parliament.
I'm delighted to be able to share ...
This month, Members of Parliament will receive a copy of the latest Advocacy Report from Open Doors. Freedom of Religion and the Persecution of Christians is the 2014 report based on the extensive research behind Open Doors annual World Watch List, which highlights the 50 countries where it is hardest to be a Christian.
The key findings in this report are that there continues to be an increase in the persecution of Christians worldwide and that the persecution of Christians is becoming more intense in more countries of the world: the most significant factor for this change is increased persecution in African countries.
Zoe Baldock, Head of Advocacy at Open Doors says “While the report indicates that it is not the only source of persecution, the main engine driving persecution of Christians in 36 of the 50 countries where it is most difficult to be a Christian is Islamic extremism. Last year we drew the attention of Parliament and the Foreign Office to the new trend of persecution in Africa, including states where Christians are in the majority. This year we reinforce that, emphasising that the most violent region for the persecution of Christians is the African Sahel belt.”
The report also highlights the extent and prevalence of persecution of Christians in failed states, which strongly indicates that freedom of religion or belief is a major casualty of civic and political breakdown – and, indeed, may also be a contributing factor to that breakdown.