The main UK-wide parties have released their manifestos, setting out a series of pledges that they see as priorities for the next parliament if they are elected into government.
These manifestos are the parties’ public declaration of their intentions and vision. CARE has put together a summary of the main points of each party’s manifesto which relate to family, life and justice that you can access here.
Manifestos have consistently fallen into the trap of over-promising, which means that when the winning party is elected to serve, because of changing and often unforeseen circumstances parties often have to compromise or U-turn on their pledges.
However, this reality does not absolve us of our duty to get to know our candidates, read the manifestos on offer and ultimately vote when Election Day comes around. What it does is remind us that our government is subject to the same shortfalls that we also struggle with because it is the result of a fallen world.
As Christians we only have to turn to the Bible to see the reality of what a promise entails. The Bible is full of God’s promises to His people that He never fails to fulfil. Therefore, as Christians we have a fixed idea of what a promise looks like from reading the Bible and due to our own relationship with God.
It’s important therefore to take a multi-layered approach to how we view promises. If we hold manifesto pledges to the same standard as our expectation of promises that we take from the Bible, we will always be disappointed in what political parties actually deliver. But we can prayerfully consider these manifestos and the party’s intentions, whilst at the same time being aware that often promises are made which are not always able to be kept.
This does not mean we cannot hold parties to account once they take office, but instead this approach manages our own expectations of what we can realistically expect parties to achieve. It encourages us to not be disillusioned when promises sadly cannot be fulfilled and instead gives us an opportunity to pray through the difficulties, lifting up our MPs and government to the One who fulfils all of His promises.