Focus on 'ethics election' not party posturing, says thinktank

Focus on 'ethics election' not party posturing, says thinktank

London, UK - APRIL 6, 2010 The think-tank Ekklesia, which examines the link between beliefs, values and politics in public life, says that populist party agendas should not be allowed to obscure the deep ethical issues underlying the 2010 General Election.

Ekklesia has coined the term 'the ethics election' to signal an alternative agenda concerning greed and corruption at the heart of our political and economic systems - realities exposed recently by the scandal over MPs expenses and the financial crisis.

The think-tank's co-director Jonathan Bartley explained: "Underneath the headline General Election will be an 'ethics election' based on real evidence about people searching for hope, for integrity and for meaning in public life. This is also a story about wasted votes, no-change safe seats, and groups who are marginalised or ignored by 'mainstream' electoral politics."

"The true meaning of the 2010 General Election will only become clear when we see past the dominance of corporate party politics to this key ethical dimension," adds his co-directorial colleague, Simon Barrow. "We need to change the system, not just choose a new set of beneficiaries. The General Election is one moment in this larger task, not the be-all and end-all."

Throughout the campaign, the 'ethics election' concerns Ekklesia will be highlighting include:

* Social, global and eco-justice and peacemaking issues underlying slogans like "fairness" and "change"
* Vote swapping initiatives to re-empower people
* What smaller parties and independents are doing
* Scottish, Welsh and Irish challenges to Westminster/London bias
* Local concerns that undermine headline polling data
* Why a hung Parliament is being seen as a more just result by a substantial part of the population
* The scandal of vast numbers of votes cast which will have no direct bearing on the election result
* Which parties are being most accurate with facts and statistics
* The concerns of those who do not have a recognised election voice - including many migrants, asylum seekers, children, the elderly, disabled people, the unemployed, prisoners, the poor, and the planet
* The role of religious and non-religious groups / NGOs
* The corporate and money interests behind the established parties.
* the case against racism and xenophobia

Ekklesia will be running regular commentary on the campaign from an 'ethics election' perspective. It will examine upcoming agendas and publish a 'Subverting the Manifestos' briefing highlighting alternative approaches to the General Election and beyond.

ENDS

Notes to Editors

1. Founded in 2001, Ekklesia has been listed by The Independent newspaper as among 20 influential UK think-tanks. According to Alexa/Amazon, it has one of the most-visited religion and politics / current affairs websites in Britain. More: http://ekklesia.co.uk/content/about/about.shtml

2. Ekklesia's regular analysis, comment, news briefing and 'forward agenda' thinking on the 2010 General Election, the underlying 'ethics election' and beyond can be accessed at: http://www.ekklesia.co.uk/tags/7286

3. Ekklesia can offer independent, innovative and expert-based comment on election issues - and the concerns and people the election is overlooking - through its experienced team of directors and associates. Email: office@ekklesia.co.uk, or ring 020 8769 8163

4. Ekklesia has been an active partner in the broad, civil-society based Power2010 coalition, which is mobilising grassroots public opinion to call for major political reform in Britain. See: http://www.power2010.org.uk/

5. Ekklesia's key research report on 'The state of independents: alternative politics' was published in June 2009. See: http://www.ekklesia.co.uk/research/independent_politics