Next week Scotland goes to the polls. We have an election…again.
Currently we have a SNP led government in Scotland. The SNP did very well in that last UK elections, sending 56 MPs to Westminster. This was a huge shift from the 6 that were there before. It is anticipated that the SNP will regain power in Scotland and will strengthen their mandate to govern. All of this has happened since the referendum on Independence for Scotland when the country voted with a relatively wide margin to remain part of the United Kingdom. (55% voted to remain, 45% to leave)
The election campaign for the polls on the 5th of May is in its final 10 days – and I am not sure if my Scottish RevGals will agree, but to me it has been pretty lacklustre. It is almost as if we are heading for the inevitable. Nicola Sturgeon will be crowd as our leader. (She doesn’t really get a crown, by the way!) There have been some light hearted moments and I have really enjoyed the short interviews each of the party leaders have given to one of our Scottish comic ‘characters’ Gary Tank Commander. Here is him with Ruth Davidson, the leader of the Conservative Party in Scotland. I am looking forward to the TV show tonight with them all. (If you need help with translation, just give me a shout!)
I have to confess to being pretty frustrated that I cannot do more to help the candidate of my favoured party. I used to be so involved locally in politics and once stood for elected office. My time is restricted but I also feel restricted by my role. Our constituency is relatively small and almost but not quite reflects the Presbytery my parish is in. I have never and would never use the pulpit to tell people how to vote – I might encourage people to vote (and having watched the film Suffragette last night would pray earnestly that they do.) but I would never abuse the position to suggest who to vote for. Although I have heard of ministers who have done this.
I want to help my candidate so what can I do? I can help him leaflet and indeed spent a morning of my holidays doing just that. Although I was clear that I had to be careful as to where I was willing to leaflet.
The problem I face is one of recognition. As parish minister people in my community know who I am – so no leafletting or door knocking in my village. I am Interim Moderator in another town – so no leafletting or door knocking there. I have been IM in a few other places too – so have to be careful about that. I lived in another town until coming here – so can really go back there either. This is frustrating. I have an unusual and recognisable name – so the same dangers exist if I were to join the telephone canvassing team. And no, I would not change my name for convenience– that feels like lying.
Ah I know what I can do! I can make the tea in the campaign office, I can chat to my candidate and I can pastor to him! The ultimate in the pastoral being political? What do you think?