Tuesday 9 March 2010

General Election questions to candidates from West Midlands Churches Forum

Preparing for the General Election 2010

The General Election must come before June 3rd 2010.  When it does come, how can Christians - and others - decide on how to vote?  Attending an Election Husting is one way of finding out what candidiates’ opinions are.  Could the Churches in your area get together to arrange a meeting?

The West Midlands Region Churches Forum have formulated some key questions that can be used by local churches as a part of an Election Husting.  The questions are not listed in a special order or meant to be exhaustive or exclusive.  They are intended to elicit answers which indicate the values that underpin rhetoric and policy.

Additionally, Churches Together in Britain and Ireland has prepared online resources designed to help groups wanting to set up an Election Husting.  These resources include a leaflet outlining the steps needed to organise a Hustings and a ‘Faith in Politics’ booklet with further questions and briefings on important questions of this election campaign.  Go to www.churcheselection.org.uk

Migration and Sanctuary
This question explores candidate’s understanding and response to the tension between open trade policies which encourage economic migration and border policies aimed at limiting inward migration.

Given the need for fair trade and fair migration policies, how can we fulfil our responsibilities to those individuals and countries who cannot help themselves, such as those fleeing persecution or poor countries in debt?

Society and the Economy
This question aims to find out the values that drive candidate’s economic policy

In light of the recent take over by Kraft of Cadbury’s, whilst acknowledging the value of foreign direct investment, how will you ensure that any change of ownership of UK companies takes into account the wider local and national interest and is not solely based on short term financial gains?

This questions explores candidates’ understanding of the complexities around social cohesion, racial and religious harmony, and living with diversity in society.

Research shows that people experience greater well-being in more equal societies – How do concepts of equality affect your political views?

Supplementary questions:  What positive role model could you give to encourage community cohesion?
How do you propose to prioritise spending so that it benefits the poorest in our communities?

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WMRCF: Preparing for the General Election, page 2 of 2
Unemployment: education, training and vocation
This question explores candidates’ response to the problem of underachievement amongst marginalised young people (and marginalised people of all ages).

During the post election period of stringency and cutbacks, how are you going to tackle the problem that the West Midlands has an above average number of young people who are not in either education, employment or training?

Supplementary question
How do you plan to rebuild the local and national economy so that people of all skill levels can be included?

Environment and Sustainability
This question seeks to ascertain candidates’ understanding and response to the link between the environment and the economy.

What practical steps will you take to address the problem of a decreasing supply of British oil and gas resources and the need to develop the green economy?

Supplementary questions:
How will you ensure that large corporations, such as Tesco or BP comply with environmental regulations?
How do you intend to improve transport networks and how will these projects be financed?
What provision would you make for access by public transport to rural areas?
Does the UK want self sufficiency in food?

West Midlands – an urban and rural region
This question seeks to explore the extent to which candidates understand the complex interdependency between the urban and rural areas of the West Midlands and the need for coordinated policy across the urban/rural divide.

What is your strategy for balancing the needs of rural and urban people?

Supplementary question
What is the countryside for?

General Questions
What values underpin your involvement in politics?

Is there a policy that would lead you to defy your party whip on a vote in parliament?

Revd Colin Marsh, Secretary, West Midlands Region Churches Forum, 3 March 2010



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