Thinking about which party to vote for...
Be careful about promises: At election time politicians like to make big promises. It is easy to promise, but much more difficult to make them happen. Ask yourself if it these promises are meant honestly, or if they are just a way of capturing your vote?
Look at who is on the party lists: We vote for parties, but the parties send individuals to the European Parliament to be our MEPs. They are there to represent us and our interests. Who are these people? You can find out who they are by looking at the lists published. Look up: www.europarl.europa.eu/unitedkingdom/en/european-elections/european_elections.html
Be careful about giving your vote to those who have shown themselves to be abusive, corrupt or incompetent.
Understand their policies: Some parties have good speakers; others can organise inspiring rallies. But when the speeches and the rallies are over, can they actually represent you diligently in the European Parliament? Will they support policies in the interests of all citizens? As Pope Francis asks in the quote below, do they have good, sensible policies? And do they know how to put these policies into place?
There are many important issues: The economy is important, but so is the environment and social welfare and peace. Poverty and inequality affects millions across Europe. Corruption and tax avoidance needs to be tackled, and so does violence and crime. Human rights, employee rights and freedoms need to be defended. We should not pick just one issue as the most important 'single issue'. Which party do you think has the best approach to dealing with as many of these questions as possible, as well as possible?
Check where the funding comes from: Some political parties have been very secretive about their donors and have been fined for breaking spending rules, and are under investigation. Ask the parties how they are funded? Are they funded from outside the UK?
A spiritual preparation for voting...
Come to the decision with openness to where God may lead you. Don't vote for a party because you always have in the past.
Gather information by reading and asking questions of the parties you are considering voting for.
Consider which party seems to be thinking and acting most closely to the values of Jesus.
Ask which party is most likely to serve the common good - not just my interests, or the interests of the economic elite.
Make a tentative decision and offer it to God in prayer, talk to God about why you have decided this.
Listen to the Holy Spirit in your heart - what is God's choice?
Look for a sense of deep peace - this is a clue that you have discerned well.
"People say 'I'm from this party' or I'm from that party', but effectively, they don't have clear thoughts about the basics, about proposals. The people are sovereign. I will only say: Study the proposals well, pray and choose in conscience." - Pope Francis
Prayer for the 2019 European Elections
Lord, as we approach the European MEP elections,
grant to us and across Europe the wisdom and courage we need,
to make the right choices.
Move us to carry out our duties as responsible citizens
with respect for the rights of all Europeans citizens.
By voting in a spirit of Christian fellowship, human solidarity and service,
may we bring hope to the poor, unity to all European people
and a commitment to stabilise the Climate and stop pollution,
for a more secure and peaceful future for all your children and creation.
Lord, do not allow us to become discouraged, or misled by hollow or harmful promises.
Fired-up by the Holy Spirit, inspire us to contribute to the re-building
of the European Peace Project with vigour and generosity.
Loving and merciful Lord, we pray that in our voting the world may be blessed,
we ask this through Christ our Lord.
Election advice from NJPN
Pax Christi International - 'The Europe we want' - manifesto on May elections of European Parliament
Article from Open Democracy
This has been adapted from a pamphlet issued by The Southern African Catholic bishops' Justice and Peace Department, in advance of that country's recent election.
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