Ekklesia's Jonathan Bartley on sabbatical during GE2015

By Press Office
April 2, 2015

Our co-director Jonathan Bartley is taking a short unpaid sabbatical from Ekklesia, starting at Easter and running until after the General Election. This is because he is running as a parliamentary candidate, and both he and Ekklesia wish to avoid any confusion between those two roles.

Ekklesia is a non-party think-tank that strongly adheres to its ability to operate independently of political, corporate, commercial or church / denominational interests.

During the 2015 election campaign Ekklesia will continue to challenge all participants with clear principles and alternative policies that seek to reshape the landscape of public and political life, as well as emphasising the core Anabaptist-influenced Values Statement that lies behind our work.

Though we have critiqued the current Lobbying Act as a restriction of legitimate free expression for NGOs, unions and non-party campaigns (one which also does nothing to tackle corporate lobbying), we will continue to comply with Electoral Commission guidelines and the law.

In particular, we will not endorse or be endorsed by any party or candidate. Our staff, associates and contributors belong to a range of parties and none, as well as a range of belief backgrounds. That pluralism is important to us.

Instead, our 'Vote For What You Believe In' principles and report (PDF document) are aimed at helping people align their choices during this 'moment in democracy' with their deepest convictions, and particularly the ten key values/principles we have developed and enunciated:

* A commitment to favouring the poorest and most vulnerable
* Actively redressing social and economic injustices and inequalities
* Welcoming the stranger and valuing displaced and marginalised people
* Seeing people, their dignity and rights as the solution not the problem
* Moving from punitive ‘welfare’ to a society where all can genuinely fare well
* Promoting community and neighbourhood empowerment
* Food, education, health, housing, work and sustainable income for all
* Care for planet and people as the basis for human development
* Investing in nonviolent alternatives to war and force as a basis for security
* Transparency, honesty and accountability in public and economic life

Follow our developing, independent election commentary here and on twitter at #votebelief and as part of the generic #GE2015 hashtag.

For comment on these and other matters, please contact Ekklesia co-director Simon Barrow and chief operating officer Virginia Moffatt through the usual channels. Our administrator - back after the Easter break - is Henrietta Cullinan.

Although the views expressed in this article do not necessarily represent the views of Ekklesia, the article may reflect Ekklesia's values. If you use Ekklesia's news briefings please consider making a donation to sponsor Ekklesia's work here.