Engaging with the 2015 general election
The words of the Quaker election guide had great resonance for us. In the months before the election we explored how we might raise awareness, stimulate debate, and educate ourselves and others about important issues.
Our Area Meeting Peace Group brought Gloucestershire Friends together to develop our thinking. A workshop in February focused on three issues:
- What do we think the election campaign will be about?
- What would we like it to be about?
- How do we work to raise levels of engagement with subjects that matter to us?
To us, politics is not just for politicians, and not only about the election. We want to be in active dialogue with candidates about topics that matter to social justice and a peaceful world. The workshop was important for allowing us to think deeply about how to promote what we value and for helping us to focus on a number of topics:
- Social cohesion
- Fairness and justice in work
- Social Care
- Arms and defence spending
- Torture and extraordinary rendition
Following the workshop, we decided to:
- Write to all parliamentary candidates seeking their responses to our core questions [PDF - new window]
- Use the questions as a resource for inter-faith election hustings
- Collate and share candidates' responses [PDF - new window] within individual Meetings
- Make responses available to the public via our Area Meeting website and using local newspaper, TV, radio and social media
- Share our story nationally via The Friend and quakervote.org.uk
We are pleased that candidates across the political spectrum took this task so seriously and made time to offer thoughtful answers. For the detailed candidate responses please visit www.glosquakers.org/election_2015.htm.