Last Tuesday, 22nd May, the Christian Socialist Movement (CSM), in association with Faithworks, hosted a hustings for the Deputy Leadership of the Labour Party election. All six candidates addressed the audience of mainly CSM members at church.co.uk/waterloo and each answered six questions from the floor.
I have no vote in this election and Faithworks, of course, has no party political affiliation, but we were pleased to have the opportunity to be involved in challenging senior politicians to consider what the Christian faith and its followers contribute to our society. Some of the candidates were very clearly engaged with that agenda and the phrase "the Labour party owes more to Methodism than Marxism" was perhaps the most used of the evening. Harriet Harman and Hazel Blears both paid tribute to particular churches within their constituencies that are delivering effective solutions to local problems.
I found it refreshing to hear these members of parliament express the motivations behind their politics and to hear them passionately outline their views on the way forward on issues such as climate change, the second chamber, equality, immigration and poverty.
Perhaps my favourite question of the night was asked to, but not answered by, Jon Cruddas. The question "is there any place in the Labour party for someone who is socially liberal but morally conservative?" would make an interesting discussion all by itself.
I will watch the results of the election with interest when they are declared on 24th June.
“The question “is there any place in the Labour party for someone who is socially liberal but morally conservative?” would make an interesting discussion all by itself.”
Let’s have a go; The answer being, ‘Yes, as long as the morally conservative bit stays private.’ Equality trumps morality; What else is there that one can conclude after the SORs debate?
By the way, there are those of course who would say the Labour Party is today more accurately described as socially conservative and morally liberal.
Of course another very interesting question that follows from the linking of Methodism to the Labour Party is to ask who did better out of the transaction? Contrasting the relative strengths of the two institutions then and now and asking the question ‘why?’ would perhaps be highly relevant. I think James Kurth calls it ‘The Protestant Deformation’.