As I write these words

we are just two weeks away from polling day in the 2019 General Election. Will Boris Johnson win an outright majority for the Conservative Party or will Jeremy Corbyn win the day for Labour? Or will voters be split down the middle once more and return a hung Parliament?

For me, the election campaign has been an interesting but anxious time. It’s been interesting in the way that election campaigns always are. But it has, and is, anxiety-inducing because of the fact that Jeremy Corbyn belongs to the far-left of the Labour Party, and the thought of that faction holding the keys to Downing Street is, to me, a detestable one. This has been compounded by Corbyn’s failure to deal with the issue of anti-semitism within the Labour Party.

Right now, the polls are suggesting that the Conservatives will not only win the election but will do so with an outright majority. I would say good except that I am a very ‘wet’ Tory who does not believe that Boris Johnson is fit to be Prime Minister. He is lucky to have Corbyn as his opponent, otherwise I would be tempted to sit this election out.

What to do about it all? Practically speaking, one can only cast one’s vote and hope for the best. In my case, I can only do the latter: Jeremy Corbyn is my MP and has such a huge majority that my vote will not count a jot.

As a Christian, though, I can – and must – do something else:pray: pray for Boris Johnson, pray for Jeremy Corbyn, pray for all politicians. And pray hard. For the forgiveness of their sins (as well as mine, of course). For their wisdom. Especially their wisdom.

I wish there was a theology of election campaigns, spiritual guidance for how to not only survive election campaigns but turn one’s response to them to good. I imagine, though, the guidance would boil down to one thing: prayer.

I wish we had a theology of election results as well. Whoever becomes the next Prime Minister, be it Boris Johnson or Jeremy Corbyn (whether in a Labour majority or minority government) we will have a leader who has his plus points but also negatives – some of them profoundly bad. For the next four or five years, he will be on our TV screens and computer monitors daily. He will need prayers. Lot’s of.

And so will I. Politics is a very turbulent business and it sometimes feels like social media puts us, the voters, into the eye of the storm. Where we stand, all may be calm, but we see the savage conditions around us and can only be adversely affected by them. The answer, of course, is if gets like that, then quit. But there is so much that is good about social media that it can make quitting a hard thing to do. And why should I quit when it is other people causing the problem? Sometimes, though, hard decisions simply have to be taken. In the meantime:-

This is my Theology of Election Campaigns and Results

  • Prayer for Boris Johnson and Jeremy Corbyn
  • ~ for the forgiveness of their sins and wisdom; I dislike Corbyn most so an especial amount of prayer for him
  • Prayer for myself
    ~ for the forgiveness of my sins and the grace to endure
  • Prayer for the new government
    ~ for its wisdom
  • An active determination to get angry at those in politics whom I do not like
  • Prayer before the exposed Blessed Sacrament wherever possible
  • Prayer at Mass
  • In all social media interactions, be positive; don’t hate. Remember: those I dislike are humans, too; they deserve the dignity of the children of God. That’s a bare minimum

One of the reasons I started Sehnsucht and Wine

was so that I could talk about politics and religion. I haven’t discussed the former since my first post so let’s do so now.

My Political Background
The first thing I have to say is that when I talk about politics, I do so as an outsider. As I mentioned in my first post, I am right-of-centre and used to be a Conservative Party member. I let my membership lapse after a year or so. Since then, I have watched on as political events have unfolded from the sidelines.

As a result, I have not made much of an effort to really understand the whats and whys of those events. From now on, and so I can write slightly more knowledgeable blog posts, I am going to try and correct that. Goodness, we have a terrific resource in the BBC website and Guardian Online, which is free to read, and I have a subscription to The Spectator, which I rarely read, so I really have no excuse.

The Current Situation
It’s the morning of 21st March 2019. Britain is in a political mess; not generally, but in respect of Brexit. The Prime Minister, Theresa May, has been unable to win support from her MPs for her deal to withdraw the country from the EU. Last night, she gave a statement outside Number 10 Downing Street that, judging by the responses I have seen on Twitter, went down very badly. I didn’t listen to it but it seems she presented herself as the champion of the people against recalcitrant MPs.

Brexit Mess: How Did We Get Here?
Theresa May’s lack of a significant majority in Parliament. This has given power to anyone wishing to rebel against her authority in order to advance their own cause.

It may be that even if May had the same kind of majority that Margaret Thatcher and Tony Blair enjoyed, the Conservative Party would still be riven but though I speak under correction I find that hard to believe.

Who Is To Blame?
On Twitter yesterday, a political journalist held a poll inviting people to say who they thought was to blame for the Brexit mess: Theresa May, the EU, MPs, all of the above. I think I would have voted for ‘all of the above’.

I respect the Brexiteers, Remainers and EU’s right to fight their corner but there does come a point where one must lay down one’s weapons and come to an agreement, and no one appears to have done this.

This, however, is not a thought I can dwell on because I don’t know in what spirit the various parties have pressed their cause. For example, perhaps the EU bent over backwards in order to meet Britain’s demands for the Withdrawal Agreement. I’d be surprised if they did as that would be bad diplomacy but I just don’t know. So far as is possible, I need to find out more.

Something I Do Know
Last night, Theresa May held talks with the various Parliamentary leaders; or, tried to; when Jeremy Corbyn realised that Chuka Umana, a member of The Independent Group had been invited, he walked out.

Reading the tweet on the left, I get why Corbyn walked out, and actually, I sympathise with him. What is one supposed to do if one feels like one has been taken for a fool? However, I don’t think he acted proportionately. It would have been far better – statesmanlike – if he had simply registered his disappointment at what had happened and let the meeting continue.

We are, after all, in a national crisis. The time has come for all politicians to swallow their pride and do all that they can to find a way through the mess. This especially applies to Corbyn because of the people he has been perfectly happy in the past to meet.

I had no expectation that Corbyn would accept he acted wrongly last night, but certainly didn’t expect him to make the statement recorded by Kevin Schofield in his tweet, below. At this point, all I can do is throw up my hands in despair.

So, what do I know? That on 21st March 2019, Great Britain needs statesmen, instead we have a Prime Minister who can’t lead and an opposition leader who is a rank hypocrite.

What Next?
Someone, somewhere has to give way. Ideally, some people from both sides of the divide should give way so that no one feels they alone have been forced to act against their wishes.

What shouldn’t happen is the revocation of Article 50 leading to the cancelation of Brexit. This would be a betrayal of the decision of the electorate to leave the EU and would make it impossible to ever trust Parliament again.

And neither should there be a second referendum. This is a tough one because it seems reasonable to ask voters if they are happy with Theresa May’s deal. But what if the choice is Yes – Leave; No – Stay in the EU? And the result goes narrowly in favour of No – Stay in the EU? The minute the terms on which we decided to stay changed, that would for fairness’ sake, require yet another referendum. And on and on it would go.

Politically, these are very exciting days. We are living through events that will be discussed in politics and history classes for years to come. If the story is to have a happy ending, though, our leaders needs to make a great sacrifice. Are any of them capable?