The Scottish Parliament’s fifth term has now concluded, and the campaign to elect the ‘class of 2021’ is now well under way. This campaign looks set to be one of the most fascinating and intensely fought since the advent of devolution in 1999, with a range of parties – old and new – fighting hard for every single vote – including yours and mine.
While conventional face-to-face campaigning shall inevitably be curtailed due to Covid restrictions, opportunities will still arise to question candidates over the coming weeks. To do this intelligently, it is wise to consider what issues of concern we can expect the new intake to be considering after 6 May. While it is impossible to know the political colour of either the next Government or Parliament, we can estimate some of the issues which will be of interest to CARE and our supporters. For example:
- We await the Scottish Government’s response to their consultation from earlier in the year on whether arrangements to permit home abortions during the Covid pandemic should be extended.
- It is widely anticipated that a Bill to introduce assisted dying will reappear after the election, most likely in the guise of a Members’ Bill.
- The deeply controversial issue of gender identification will also inevitably re-emerge in some form, while Parliament may have a role in monitoring the free speech implications of the recently passed Hate Crime Bill.
Ultimately, Christians across Scotland shall hold a range of political views, and will vote accordingly. What shall unite us all, however, shall be a desire, in an age of increasing animosity in politics and the media, to pray for all politicians, and to ensure that our own contact with political activists (by whatever medium) be conducted in a Christ-like and God-honouring way.
As the LORD said to Samuel during the search for Israel’s king: “man looks on the outward appearance, but the LORD looks on the heart.” (1 Samuel 16:7, ESV). Let us therefore pray that God would touch the hearts of all those seeking the high privilege of elected office in Scotland, and that He would grant us the discernment to identify men and woman of integrity and character as we consider how to cast our ballots.