Unless Nigel Farage's Reform UK Party fields plenty of candidates at the next General Election, those of us who oppose lockdown ideology will not have a positive democratic choice.
Despite the historic parliamentary speech by former Prime Minister Theresa May warning of the precedent-setting consequences of banning public worship, the latest lockdown measure cruised through the House of Commons because of the solid ideological partnership between the Johnsonite Conservatives and the Labour Party.
So, I wrote to Nigel Farage about the need for a Reform UK candidate in the Morecambe and Lunesdale constituency in north Lancashire where my wife and I live. The parliamentary seat is currently held by the Conservative MP David Morris, who voted for the latest lockdown.
This is what I wrote: "I would see it as my moral duty not to vote for parliamentary candidates in pro-lockdown parties, but would like to be able to vote for a positive alternative. Even if an individual candidate voted against the lockdown, their failure to leave the party whose leadership imposed the banning of church meetings would I'm afraid deprive them of my vote."
Nigel Farage responded positively:
A lot is to be decided but I am sure that we will be looking for good people, as and when the call goes out the Party website is the place to keep in touch: https://www.thebrexitparty.org/reformuk/
I think he might have thought I was offering myself as a candidate. But that is not the case. I would suggest that the Reform UK candidate here needs to be Lancashire born and bred, which I am not. It would also be better if the candidate had experience of serving as a local councillor whilst holding down a non-political job. If there were principled resignations by Conservative activists in this region, that would enlarge the talent pool available to Reform UK.
So, Nigel should be able to find a more suitable parliamentary candidate for Morecambe and Lunesdale than me. Furthermore, I have a limited belief in politics. A politician motivated by Christian principles certainly can do good, but the good that he or she does is inevitably fleeting in a fallen world and beset by unintended consequences. Activity effecting the salvation of eternal souls is much more important than temporal political activism. Or, to make the same point in an Augustinian way, the eternal city of God is much more important than the temporary earthly city not built on the foundation of saving faith in the Lord Jesus Christ. If I were out canvassing as a parliamentary candidate, such uncertainty about the efficacy of politics would probably not play well on the door.
However, I would like to see my country being 'godly and quietly governed', to quote the Anglican Book of Common Prayer. Lockdown parties do not seem conducive to that. Perhaps Nigel Farage's Reform UK Party would do better.
Unfortunately, Nigel has sometimes made noises in favour of scrapping Britain's laws against drug abuse. So I told him that my vote for a Reform UK candidate would depend on his or her supporting the rigorous enforcement of the existing legislation, including the law against the use and sale of cannabis.
Provided a candidate was sound on that issue, I would certainly be prepared to do some leafleting for him or her. It would be good, the Lord willing, to have an opportunity to play a part in trying to break the current lockdown stranglehold on British politics.
Julian Mann is an evangelical journalist based in Morecambe, Lancashire, and author of Christians in the Community of the Dome.
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