Politics – 4

Christians in politics

Back in the 1990’s, an organisation called ‘The Movement for Christian Democracy’ was born.  It was brought into being by three MPs, one from each of the main political parties.  It was an attempt to bring together all those who believed in the teachings of the Bible applied to political thought.  I was excited by its breadth and balance.  There was a ‘maturity’ about it not found in the manifestos of the various political parties.  The original attention was not to form a ‘Christian Democratic’ party but to influence Government policy and thinking.  Unfortunately, as far as I was concerned, a number of its members believed it was the right time to do just that, so the Christian People’s Alliance (CPA) was born.  A number of other groups were also spawned from it.  Even though the CPA has put forward a number of candidates, it has not garnered many votes.

A good number of MPs have declared in one way or another that they are Christians, including Prime Ministers.  Unfortunately, this often means ‘Christian’ in name only.  They have not based their policy on biblical principles, and even if it is, they do not keep to those principles.  This has been evident in recent events over same-sex marriage, and homosexuality in general, all for political expediency.  To me, that makes you wonder if that individual can be trusted with one’s vote.  I could give a number of examples, but it would not achieve anything.  Now, as a Christian, one should seek to follow the principles outlined in the Bible.  Unlike others, we have a framework to base our thinking and practice.  Our understandings may vary from person to person, hence why MPs can stand for the various Parties and still keep their principles.  These biblical values means to stand up against their Party when a policy falls foul of the Bible; that means fearing God more than the Whip!

So, when are we going to hear of Christians who are prepared to stick up for their biblical principles, have a wholistic and integrated viewpoint and express it in an attitude of Jesus love?

(Having had a look at the various manifestos of the ‘Christian’ parties, I would not vote for them for a number of their policies are similar to those of the English Democrats, a far right party.  Also some of the attitudes that come across in their writings are not very loving.)

Below is a copy of the original ‘Westminster Declaration’ published in a publication of the Movement for Christian Democracy in the 1990s. (Not the one published by the CPA recently.)

HRP – VALUES – THE WESTMINSTER DECLARATION – MCD

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Politics – 3

Another election has taken place.  The results will not be fair and nothing much will change.  What we need is a different way of voting and Government structure.

When we come to vote, we decide on a number of issues:

  • who we want to represent us in Parliament  (ideally, this would mean that we no longer have political parties; the individuals standing for election need to have lived in the constituency for at least five years and can demonstrate their involvement in the community in a variety of ways)
  • who we want to lead the country (someone who has experience in bringing people together, has verifiable exemplary leadership skills, can speak at least one other ‘useful’ language, has a good working knowledge of all issues (both national and international), has travelled extensively, and is well educated in politics and world affairs)
  • who we want to lead the various Government departments (of which there should only be a maximum of ten, preferably eight) (each potential candidate should have demonstrable experience in the relevant field at senior leadership level of at least ten years, has potential policies to implement, has ‘people skills’ and has suitable qualifications in politics and world affairs)

All candidates should be able to demonstrate that they are people of integrity, have strong mental and physical health to be able to cope with the pressures of the work, and that their family (if married or in a permanent relationship) is wholly committed to the candidate standing and that it will not put a strain on their relationship.

Elections should take place every ten years so that Governments have time to make a real difference with their policies.

Policies should be decided by the Prime Minister/President and the leaders of the various Departments so that there is an integrated approach to all issues.

The ‘Cabinet’ consists of Prime Minister, Department Leaders and the ‘Civil Service’ Chief.  Each year, one of the Department Leaders would be the Prime Minister’s deputy.

I would like to suggest that all current titles are abolished and replaced with the following:

Executive Director (old Prime Minister)

Director – Environment, Transport, Housing

Director – Security (Defence), Justice

Director – Finance (inc Benefits)

Director – Health and Well-Being

Director – Foreign Affairs

Director – Business

Director – Culture, Media and Sport

Director – Lifelong Learning, Knowledge Management, Science

Director – Government Staffing (old Civil Service), Ethics and Legislation

Constituencies become smaller so that MPs can really engage with people and have time to serve on one Scrutiny of Policy Commission for each of the eight areas.

The House of Lords is abolished, the Houses of Parliament becomes a museum and a brand new Parliament building is created with the main auditorium created for 700+ MPs, and equipped with future-proofed technology (both visual and sound based).  Also within the complex, there is an office suite for each MP, their PA, and two researchers; suitable catering facilities; many meeting rooms for small gatherings of up to 50 people; medical facilities for basic healthcare; proper security facilities and control – the building is built so that there is only limited number of access points and can withstand a bomb attack.  All Government Departments are also located in this complex.  The design team for the building will need to consult with MPs, Government Department leaders, staff, security experts etc as what is required and it meets the highest environment standards.  The building should be located on a ‘brownfield’ site in the east of London, to help increase employment in a low job area.

All election candidates to be given a partially-refundable amount of finance for campaigning (but only to those candidates who meet certain criteria – what should they be?).  Donations cannot be given to make sure there is no fraud or potential favours given.

Unfortunately, none of the above will happen unless every member of the public who cares about this country takes hold of the above and writes to their MP and to the Prime Minister.  We would also need a few how profile people to take hold of the vision and get it discussed on the television, radio and the papers as well as on-line.  Anyone up for the challenge?

Any thoughts, suggestions on improving greatly received.

Politics – 2

Every so often the media raises the issue of donations to political parties and yet nothing much is done about this and the subject of expenses. I think it is time to simplify the situation.

I would like to suggest that all political parties are funded purely by its members paying a fixed rate, so everyone is treated equally and no donations are to be accepted to prevent fraud.

All members also would be given one vote to be used for the following purposes:
– to vote for – their party leader
– party secretary
– allocation of funds inc campaigning
– party auditor
– to vote in – manifesto policies
– constitution

This way, political parties will have to listen to their members, otherwise they will put themselves out of ‘business’. If any party goes bust, the members of Parliament would stay in post, but will have to become Independents.

For Independents to stand for election, they will be allowed a fixed amount for campaigning and office expenses.

As regards expenses, the following is to be covered by the Treasury:

MPs should be given a en-suite room in a building built specifically for them and is only available to those whose constituencies are outside the Greater London area. All utility and cleaning costs are met. Meals and other costs whilst staying there are to be met out of their salary.

As regards travel expenses to and from their constituency, they are given a fixed allowance per month as part of their salary, whatever their position. If there is foreign travel required, an allowance is given plus cost of tickets to travel second class.

Also an allowance should be given to pay for staff (a PA and two researchers) and a constituency office with slightly bigger allowance for London constituencies.

Salaries should be based an average pay for a middle manager plus an entertainment allowance (less than they get now).

This would save the Government money and reduce fraud and make it fairer for everybody concerned

Politics – 1

Letter to the President of the United States

Guantanamo Bay Naval Station

May I through your good offices, urge you to find ways of closing the Naval Station completely and returning the land to Cuba, its rightful owner.

This issue has now been festering for many years, especially regarding the illegal detention of prisoners at a base which should come under normal laws that apply in the United States itself.

I would like to suggest the following actions are taken by yourself and your Government:

 As President and Commander-in-Chief of the Armed Forces of the USA, you are entitled ‘to grant reprieves or pardons’ of the 126 prisoners of war. Thus, as many of those held in Guantanamo Bay are not a national security threat, they can be released, either back to the country from where they were taken, or to the USA mainland. As part of that repatriation, it would be very helpful if they are given compensation, including help to find suitable and sustainable employment.

 Those that do constitute a ‘threat’ could be transferred to a purpose-built maximum security prison (in a non-death penalty state), for the purposes of facing a trial based on the 14th Amendment of the US Constitution (…nor shall any State deprive any person of life, liberty, or property, without due process of law; nor deny to any person within its jurisdiction the equal protection of the laws). As a temporary measure, Alaska could hold them in a suitable well-protected prison. I would suggest that the trials are held without a jury due to the sensitive nature of the evidence. But, I would propose that independent persons from Human Rights Watch, Amnesty International (but not the ACCL) and the International Red Cross (a non- American) be present to make sure that the Law is upheld and the prisoners are not tortured or mis-treated in any form. So, access is to prisoners is important.

 To solve the main issue, an Executive Order could be issued to the Department of Agriculture to ‘buy’ the land of the Naval Station for the purposes of creating an area of wildlife conservation or to return it to agricultural land. Once bought all the papers stored there would need to be removed and transferred to the National Archives for use of the defence and prosecution lawyers in the legal cases brought against those who have been detained but under strict but fair conditions of access. As regards the buildings, airfield, etc, they should be all cleared and the land prepared for its future use. But, the fencing should be initially kept until the work is complete within nine months.

 And finally, the whole area is then returned to Cuba, as the original ‘owner’ and whose territory, it was only ‘leased’ under treaties from the early 20th century. This last point could be part of ‘normalising’ relations with the country. The USA has had diplomatic relations with communist countries in the past, so it need not be any different today. (Getting rid of the Naval Station, would help reduce the Defence budget, yet it would not decrease the capability of the US Navy because of other more suitable bases on the American mainland being available.)

Such actions would improve the standing of the United States through-out the world, especially in such places as Iraq and Afghanistan.

However, further action to improve the perception of others with regard to prisoner treatment, and the ‘extraction’ of people, could be undertaken.

 One area would be to develop policies on improving prisoner treatment and to allow regular access to them by their lawyers and the International Red Cross.

 Another would be to set up strict protocols as regards the control by your Office of the military in terms of its finances and operations, and to uphold the highest standards of prisoner treatment. (With regard to that last point, it might be helpful to bring all the intelligence agencies under one roof to prevent duplication and to increase a better sharing of knowledge.)

Such actions would also reduce the draw to those organisations which seek to destroy and kill westerners and locals who oppose them.

I do hope this letter will not end up in a corner somewhere in the White House, not seen by anyone of importance. For I believe that my suggestions are important when we are talking about justice for all peoples and not just the USA. I have many American friends and there is much good in the country, but this is one area which needs to vastly improve!