The results from the English council elections are in. Big losses for the Tories, gains for Labour from the disaster of the last local elections, but still trailing badly. The Lib Dems, who always used to claim to be the party of local government, took a beating.
The big story is UKIP, formerly called “clowns” by other politicians, on 23% by the latest figure from the BBC, not far behind the Tories’ 25% and easily ahead of the Liberal Democrats, on 14%.
The Tories, the Lib Dems, the BBC, everyone wants to talk about the election being a protest vote about immigration, about the economy. The Tory spokesman says they got the message, they need to be helping working people, getting the economy going.
There may be a lot of factors behind the rise of a party from almost nothing to 23% in just a few years time. One is that the main parties left some voters nowhere else to go.
If you oppose homosexual “marriage” and think it is important, you had no choice. There was nowhere else to go for your message to be heard. The Conservatives, Labour, and Liberal Democrats, all the main parties, had told you they oppose your beliefs, that they think you are a bigot. If the churches disagree, the churches need to change, they said.
Messages were sent to the parties. Messages were not received.
20/8/2012 Churchgoers set to ditch Tories.
Nearly 60 per cent of churchgoers say they are less likely to vote for the Conservatives at the next General Election because of the party’s bid to redefine marriage, according to a new poll.
Labour and the Liberal Democrats are also set to be abandoned by churchgoers at the ballot box over the issue, but the biggest impact is likely to be felt by the Conservatives.
Where could they go? The Greens were no different. The only party big enough to be noticed that wasn’t pushing homosexual marriage was UKIP.
It wasn’t just churchgoers, either.
22/11/2012 Gay Marriage Plans are Turning Away Tory Voters
And overall, 62 per cent of voters say marriage should remain as it is – between a man and a woman. That number rises to 68 per cent amongst Tory voters.
More than half of Labour and Lib Dem voters (58 per cent and 52 per cent respectively) said that marriage should continue to be defined as a “life-long exclusive commitment between a man and a woman”.
Only 23 per cent of voters agree that redefining marriage would help the Tories win the next election, whereas nearly twice as many (40 per cent) disagree.
The majority of voters for each main party opposed homosexual marriage — but the politicians pushed on. How much of the UKIP vote was from those who felt they had no nowhere else to go, who couldn’t support a party helping to push through homosexual marriage?
Christians (and others opposed to homosexual marriage) may not like all the policies of UKIP, or trust the party and its leaders. But every other party made it clear — if you elect them, they will mock what you believe, and endorse what God calls an abomination. Some decided they had nowhere else to go with their vote. They have been warning the politicians, writing to MPs. No one should be surprised.
The BBC will be the last to tell us that opposition to gay marriage had anything to do with the results. Instead, we’ll get commentary like this:
The people have spoken. Now it’s time for the political classes to try to work out what on earth they meant.
Maybe. But when the main parties all ignore what their own voters were telling them, it is hardly surprising that the one party with a different policy saw significant gains. Sometimes, if you have been given nowhere else to go, you might decide those “clowns” aren’t so silly after all.
Will Scottish political parties pay attention, or will they hand voters to the UKIP as well? Christians are very far from a majority in the UK, but those who take Scripture seriously are unlikely to support a party that is disrespectful to their beliefs, and that group of voters is big enough to have an impact. If you, as a Christian, cannot support a party that is pushing for gay marriage, you might do well to inform the party for whom you would normally vote that you’ll be following the pattern they just saw in England.
The Scripture doesn’t tell us how to vote, because the privilege of being able to have any real say in government is not something most Christians, down through the centuries, have enjoyed. All we can do is try to apply Biblical principles to our decisions — principles like this one:
Woe unto them that call evil good, and good evil; that put darkness for light, and light for darkness; that put bitter for sweet, and sweet for bitter!
Those that want to affirm homosexuality as a good thing are calling evil good. It is easy to see why many Christians would not want to support those who are doing so.
There is another major reason for the rise of the UKIP. People do not see any difference between the three old-established parties of Labour, Liberal and Conservative. So they think that it makes no difference which of the three are elected. If that is the case, then there is a case for casting a vote for someone whose party’s policies are more in agreement with one’s own rather than voting for Tweedledee to stop Tweedledum being elected. If I had a pound for every time over the last year I have heard “You can’t get a cigarette paper between them”, I would be sunning myself in the Carribean right now.
I’m sure there are many factors, Fred. Certainly on moral issues (which is where I keep my focus), it’s hard to tell any difference between the parties (at least as currently led), and that extends to many other issues as well.