Jonathan Bartley's blog

Ideas from Compass (supported by church groups) for Labour manifesto

Compass is lobbying Ed Miliband (manifesto co-ordinator) for the inclusion of some key ideas in the Labour manifesto.

They come in a document ‘Winning on the Doorstep’ and include quite a few ideas which church groups such as Church Action on Poverty and ourselves have been recommending:

The virtues and inevitability of a hung Parliament

It was good to see a few people making the case for a hung Parliament yesterday. Amongst them on BBC news 24 were the Green Party's deputy chair and candidate in Norwich South, Adrian Ramsay, and the Labour Minister Ben Bradshaw, who was a little more restrained for obvious reasons. It makes a change from many who bury their heads in the sand, and hope it will all go away.

Tory marriage policy may soon be on the rocks

Tory Phillip Hammond (NB not George Osborne) has just been on BBC News 24 skating around questions regarding the Tory promise to "recognise marriage in the tax system". They will soon announce what form it will take. But it is clear the Conservatives are going to encounter some significant problems between the moral appeal of the policy to their natural constituency on the one hand, and the social justice appeal by which they have sold it, on the other. They are caught between a rock and a hard place, and their love affair with the policy may soon be "on the rocks" as a result.

How 'fairness' and 'the Great Ignored' doesn't cover the election itself

The Electoral Reform Society (ERS) has today highlighted the unfairness of the current electoral system, where millions of votes will not really count because of the First Past the Post System.

Who are Cameron’s ‘Great Ignored’ ?

Cameron’s opening salvo in the election campaign was about the ‘Great Ignored’.

At first glance, it may look like he is talking about marginalised, excluded and vulnerable groups. Listen more closely to what he actually said however, and it seems to be more of an appeal to ‘law-abiding’ middle England. [HT to @doctorcdf who points out that this is a remix of Nixon's 'silent majority']

Making sense of the disparity in the polls

The final pre-campaign opinion polls seem all over the place this morning with ICM and YouGov polls showing a six point difference in the Tory Lead over Labour. This indicates that this may not be an election easily called on the usual basis of a swing from Labour to Tories.

Another way that political posters may backfire

Political posters, it is being suggested, will play the greatest role at this election that in any other since 1992.

This has of course a lot to do with the way the internet and social networking are being used, the spoofs and the way that the campaigns have the potential to backfire.

But what the parties that are spending millions on poster campaigns may not also be aware of, is the additional message that they are sending out in the current climate to people on the streets.

Don't be scared of challenging costs of Tory SEN school plans

Ed Balls will soon challenge the credibility of Tory school funding plans, which look set to be central to the election campaign.

When he does so, he shouldn’t shy away from exposing the potential cost of the Tory pledge to “end the bias towards the inclusion of children with special needs in mainstream schools" (p7 draft Tory manifesto).

Verdict on Nicky Campbell’s documentary on Christian ‘persecution’

Last week I set out 5 tests by which to evaluate Nicky Campbell’s BBC television documentary on alleged Christian ‘persecution’ in the UK, which was broadcast tonight, on Easter Sunday.

Ekklesia has been examining these issues closely since 2004. We produced a book which analysed the reasons for feelings about 'persecution' and predicted the growing trend towards confrontation over this, back in 2006. We also did a report in the same year on one set of conflict situations in universities. It suggested an alternative approach which was welcomed by Government and others involved. We have also spoken to many of the actors caught up in similar cases, on all sides, as well as observing what has been going on behind the scenes.

This is quite hard for me to write, as I know Nicky through doing BBC1's 'Big Questions' TV programme. It is right to be honest however, particularly given the work we have done in this area. (I am aware however it could lose me the Big Questions gig, as criticism seemed to lose me Thought for the Day, but here goes anyway....!)

Ten reasons why Jesus might not vote Labour

Andy Flannagan, director of the Christian Socialist Movement, has written a good blog on Labour List about why ‘Jesus might vote Labour’.