Tuesday, 12 May 2009

EU Parliament Elections

Today at my Hull home we received polling cards for the European Parliamentary election on June 4.

For Catholic/pro-life people the voting system for this poll is somewhat controversial. Issues like abortion, embryo research and population control for the main parties are generally considered as conscience issues and not matters subject to party policy. But the election is done by proportional representation, a party list system.

Whereas in a general election you vote for a particular candidate and the person with the most votes wins, in this election you vote for a party and that party decides who gets a seat for them if they get enough of a proportion of the votes. In a general election you can ask your constituency candidates for their views and how they would vote on life issues in the House of Commons and base your vote on this information. But, in the list system, you don't know how many seats a party is going to get. So, if the person first on the list is strongly pro-life but the second is a complete rotter, the Catholic/Chrisitian/pro-life voter is left in a dilemma.

In the last election I contacted candidates close to the top of the list of several parties either by email or by phone. The problem was that some of the answers to questions were less than clear and were quite clearly dodgy. "I would like to see a more restrictive abortion law", is a quote you'll often get fobbed off with.

There are some parties that may have official policies on these issues, which would ease the problem of who to vote for in conscience. Without trying to influence the way anyone votes, it's interesting to note that the Christian Party is fielding candidates in the elections. Although I can't find their manifesto on their website, it's quite clear the party itself is against abortion and hopefully adopts a pro-life position on other issues. There are also a few names familiar to me that are involved in the pro-life movement on their lists.

Less clear is new party Libertas' approach. The "pan European movement dedicated to creating a new, democratic and open European Union" is headed up by Declan Ganley, the man who led the "no" vote in the Lisbon treaty referendum in Ireland. Mr Ganley is understood to have used anti-abortion activists to campaign in the referendum but, on the other hand, is said to have personally chosen Eline Van den Broek who is pro-abortion and pro-euthanasia to top his list in the Netherlands, according to one report. It seems that Libertas' position is by no means clear.

However Catholics vote, it's clear that the life issues are crucial in this election as in any other. One look at John Smeaton's blog uncovers a whole load of instances where the EU is endangering the lives of the innocent through abortion, embryo research and that old (dangerous) chestnut of "sexual and reproductive rights" provision.


liamnjs said...

I am a recent convert from Anglicanism to Roman Catholicism, and I have been desperately seeking guidance on the upcoming EU election, but come up short. As you rightly say proportional representation makes approaching individual candidates rather pointless, and all parties collectively duck the question. I have approached each party with the "five non-negotiable issues" and been rebuffed by all. I think you are right in recommending the CPCPA. I will either vote for them or for the NO2EU.

People Korps said...

I am a Roman catholic, vote with your political conscience and avoid parties that promote hate and war.
Do not vote for Libertas or the BNP

ErrrorWayz said...

Ha ha, good old Catholics. The clue why your "five non-negotiable issues" were rebuffed is in the semantics: "non-negotiable". Guess what, not everyone in the world wants to live by 2,000 + year old, laughably arbitary rules. Most people are even, shock, horror, prepared to compromise or even, and this is shocking, just let other people get on with their lives, rather than trying to enforce their own morality on society. So glad democracy has slowly managed to undo the massive damage done to the world by all religion, mostly by keeping nutters with "non-negotiable issues" out of power. Bashing secularism, I mean come on, what year is it 1632?