Posts Tagged ‘General Election’

It’s been over two months since the 2015 election. I feel that there has been enough recovery time, for the winners and losers, and so now seems to be a good time to write this.

Anyone that knows me will be aware that I worked tirelessly, with others, for Amina Lone to get elected in Morecambe & Lunesdale on behalf of the Labour Party. We suffered a significant defeat that was much in line with the national swing. I have my reasons for voting Labour but this blog is not about that.

The recent election saw an increase of those that did not vote for the traditional three party’s. It also saw two leaders resigning which is normal, and now we’re experiencing a period where there is little scrutiny being given to the current Government.

Through the elections I witnessed relationships torn apart; people being labelled racist (even though they’re not!); elected representatives make horrible comments about those less fortunate than themselves; candidates trying to instil hatred into the hearts of people that trust them; promises being broken; and communities divided all in the name of politics.

I have fallen prey, at times, to that culture and taken part in some of the aforementioned tragedies of the most recent election.

I’ve come to the conclusion, and somewhat conviction, that it is my duty as a citizen to only speak well of those that lead our nation and vehemently pray for them – especially those that I disagree with.

The truth is, as a Christian, I want to build others up, encourage people to exercise their democratic rights, and engage with politics free from persecution but not without appropriate challenge.

The Bible shows (Rom 13:1-2 & 1 Peter 2:13) that we are to submit to governments and uphold them honourably; even when they don’t act justly we are still to do so. Hate will always breed hate but love will breed hope and genuine, real change.

I want to apologise to anyone who has ever been pressured by me to think or vote in a certain way. Equally, I want to publically declare that I am so thankful for people like David Cameron, and those that he leads in Government, for committing to a life of public servitude. I am so grateful for having leaders that allow democracy and do things as best as they can.

I will continue to pray for our Government, and anyone reading this is invited to join me in doing so.

I end this with a plea to the Christians reading this: always seek to highlight the good that the Government is doing and seek to build relationship with your local representatives. Equally, continue to engage with politics, social issues and current affairs; when trying to make change you believe in – do so with love and grace. Let’s be known as individuals that are productive and encouraging – let’s be known as the church God intended us to be known as within the sphere of politics.

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Trigger Warning: This blog has content about homophobia, misogyny and murder. Please be advised.

I was not going to write a blog on this issue, and honestly did not expect to feel the need to do so – there’s enough discourse floating around for me to abstain from the ‘debate’ at large. I also, at this point, run the risk of being accused of trying to regurgitate the issue for the sake of it; but I genuinely do not think this raging row is over.

The recent murder that happened in Woolwich has got me thinking about a few things, it’s made me question myself. I absolutely condemn the merciless attack that happened, and by no means am I questioning myself on knowing that my Islamic friends are peaceful, loving and genuine people.

I am far from questioning Islamic theology and religious practice. For me, I’ve started to question myself about the people I surround myself with. I’ve seen increasing amounts of racist remarks made on Facebook and Twitter. How have I befriended these people to then be visually attacked by a poisonous rhetoric I never knew they had?

This is where writing this blog gets harder and I run the risk of being accused of plat-forming racists… They are good people making the racist remarks! I’ve enjoyed the time I’ve spent with them; I’ve loved getting to know them and marvelled at how special some of them are… where has it all gone wrong?

It’s been horrible to watch that the EDL have marched in protest against Muslims, attacked mosques and targeted immigration as a problematic issue all because of a murder committed by Michael Adebowale; a man that happens to be black and claims to be a Muslim.

The rhetoric that they use against non-white people, ‘foreign’ faiths, and those that oppose them is becoming a disease and its infecting good people.

I am going to suggest something that some people may find problematic, maybe even offensive, but it is an element of the issue that I feel is being missed; or at least it has with what I read. I want to explore the possibility that there has been a systematic failure in the education system, ultimately something the government has control over, and that has led to the tragedy of good people getting swallowed up into the EDL rhetoric.

I think it is right for us to distance ourselves from genuine racists, but I also believe we have to try and stop people in the future getting swallowed up. Let’s continue to take the EDL head on, in creative ways. Let’s work with local Mosques and invite them in for a cup of tea, (an example that lately warmed my heart) whilst continuing to ensure they don’t have a plat-form for their hate speech.

Alas, I think there are thousands of people that have come through the education system and are, in their very nature, activists. They’ve gone through a system with no real political education, have never been engaged by Politics (with a capital ‘P’ – and therefore even the small ‘p’ on politics switches them off) and have never been presented with statistics, facts and challenging points of view that get them thinking about the big issues intelligently.

We need to tackle racism, homophobia, misogyny and disabalist behaviour along with many other hate crimes. There’s many ways of doing this, and I am not suggesting that my way is the only way – but I want to fight for better political education in schools which includes liberation, immigration, political systems and religion.

I honestly believe that this is the way we can efficiently tackle this behaviour in the long term.
I believe that we can save our friends from being swallowed up into poisonous rhetoric’s, friends that have been presented with the wrong facts and wanted to be activist about something in general.

The murder in Woolwich has opened up opportunities for the EDL to engage in their hateful ways, and the way the murders have been spun will only increase their popularity.

I passionately believe in the power of education to change lives, and I believe that the only way to combat hate crime in the long run is through education. We can still no platform racists, homophobes and their like but we can change the future for the next generation also.
Let’s work together to lobby MP’s ready for the next General Election and get them to introduce politics into the curriculum so that we can move to a better, more cohesive and ultimately more accepting society.

I hope this blog hasn’t offended people and that my point about political education to fight hate crime has been clear.

Edd Graham-Hyde