Thinking about the Scottish elections?

How should you approach the Scottish elections? How do you find out what each party stands for? And how do Christians engage with the Scottish Parliament, politicians, and politics in general?

In case you’ve missed it, the next elections for the Scottish Parliament are on Thursday 5 May – less than a week away.

Whilst enthusiasm for these elections is noticeably less than it was for the independence referendum 18 months ago, they are important elections, and with the new powers coming to the Scottish Parliament in the next session, the next Scottish Government will have the power and responsibility to make real choices about spending priorities and raising taxes.

So, even if it seems like the result of the election is already settled, it’s still important to engage. The voting system used in Holyrood means there are lots of seats on the regional lists which are most definitely up for grabs, even if many of the constituencies won’t end up being very close.

The make-up of the opposition will also be important in determining how well the government are held to account – not just whether Labour or the Conservatives finish second and lead the opposition, but the number of seats each party has. So, there are two things to help you as you think towards the election.

First, I have collected as many election manifestos as possible, which are available for you to read and download. They’re often not very easy to find, which is why I’ve collated them together. Some may be missing, but it’s not a conspiracy – if any aren’t there, it’s because I couldn’t find them!

Second, I have been working to produce a booklet for the Evangelical Alliance in Scotland to help Christians engage with the new powers coming to the Scottish Parliament, exploring the opportunities and challenges they bring. It won’t tell you which party to vote for, but hopefully helps to think about more than just the standard issues which are discussed in election campaigns, as well as exploring how Christians can engage with politicians and politics in general. That booklet is available on the EA Scotland website. Unfortunately it’s not available as a PDF download, but if you would like a copy, let me know and I can pass a copy on to you.

Hopefully both these things are helpful. I may have some other thoughts about the election, but I’ll save them for another time.