Caroline Lucas sings 'Knockin' on Heaven's Door' outside Parliament...
So, today I met Caroline Lucas, Green Party candidate and MEP for Brighton. It was a 20 minute chat. I was able to gain a reassurance that she will meet George and Diane, friends of mine who have been treated woefully by all Government agencies and impress upon her my despair at a political process which canvasses select demographics of the United Kingdom at the expense of others. I told her that until I see a politician standing up for the very poor and marginalised in society, those without a voice in the political process (including the unborn), I could never give them a vote.
On reflection, a part of the reason that the Catholic Church and those marginalised groups for whom She is all too often a lone voice in the wilderness, do not curry favour with the political process is because we are so poorly organised. The LGBT community among other disparate groups vying for the attention of our elected representatives are incredibly well mobilised and organised, something which the Laity of the Church has not been for perhaps a long time. It is, of course, true that Our Lord said that His Kingdom is not of this World, but that does not mean we should not be campaigning proactively for Justice. That does not mean that we should not strive to change people's opinions on issues which go to the very heart of what it means to be human and to have dignity.
She asked me, specifically, about the Soup Run. She wishes to come to the Soup Run and to meet the homeless who St Mary Magdalen and the SVP feed every night, 52 weeks a year. Now, while it is true to say that this could be a 'photo opportunity', credit where it is due, because she is at least agreeing to meet people and hear the stories of people who do not receive a fair deal from Brighton. The homeless are in the receipt of a great deal of stigma and prejudice and were her meeting with them to go public, it would not necessarily be a vote winner for her to place herself in solidarity with them. For a start, the Council wouldn't like it, because the Council publicly maintain that there are only 7 homeless people in Brighton and the homeless constitute a community who many in society, even in 'diverse' Brighton, regard and treat with utter contempt.
I told her that the views of the Church from sex education, to the Human Fertilisation and Embryology Act, to the Abortion Act (1967) to civil partnerships had consistently been ignored by major political parties and so asked how on earth I, or my brothers and sisters in the Church could possibly think of voting for any of them. I did ask her whether she was interested in a forum where she could meet St Mary Magdalen's parishioners along with other candidates and tell them what they would do for them, but she seemed a little less enthusiastic about that. Still, one step at a time, eh? It is important that these prospective candidates meet every demographic in Brighton and hear our views as well, even if they don't like them.
I had, ironically, been on the phone to a canvasser for Nancy Platts, standing in place of David Lepper MP, 5 minutes before, who was so intrigued by my tirade against Labour and all it has done, while still claiming to be the natural party of Catholics, that she asked if I had ever considered entering politics myself. Let's face it, in Brighton, I'd probably get shot if I stood for election, if only for the reason that nobody would be able to shut me up. I'd probably die mid-rant, having declared that I would make Brighton & Hove the first English city twinned with Vatican City.