Out of all the bitterness… comes something good (I hope)!
I live in East London, and therefore was subjected to the London Mayoral Election battle recently – which quite frankly was awful. No matter where you looked, politicians were trying to win our votes with campaign slogans, dragging each other through the dirt, and promising things they simply couldn’t afford. The two main candidates (and here I must confess that I’m still not 100% on the names of the others that were running) ended up using faith, culture and heritage as ways to bring the other down.
I spent a bit of time reading up about the candidates’ promises just before last week’s election and trying to decide who I should vote for. I read a few articles that were interesting, but I couldn’t get past the faith thing. Why is faith now being seen as a negative thing? Sadiq Khan (now London mayor – spoiler alert!) is a Muslim. But what has that got to do with the way he leads the nation’s capital? Why was it used so negatively by other parties (and when I say other, you can hardly fail to notice it was one in particular) to attempt to galvanise votes votes for their side?
From my perspective, faith is a good thing. It does things. It counts for something. Why is it something we are afraid of? Why is it something we cannot trust?
I’m not naïve – I understand that there are those who use faith as a way of justifying the killing of others. But I don’t believe that defines faith – and certainly not Islamic faith.
When I went to bed on Friday, after the announcement of who had won, I was pleased. Not because it was Labour, not because it was Sadiq Khan, not even because of the margin of the voting… but because the majority of Londoners didn’t buy into the dirty campaign where faith was portrayed as a bad thing. They used their judgement and voted.
I only hope that the next big voting opportunity – the impending EU referendum – doesn’t deploy the same slur tactics. But even if it does, I’d encourage you to get involved and cast your vote as a person of faith, whichever way you lean on the politics! Below you can see some links for more information on voting. Make sure you are registered to vote before the deadline to make sure that you can play a part in this country moving forward.
. You must be registered by 7th June in order to vote in the EU Referendum on the 23rd June.