The most important things

letterAn open letter to Mr Cameron and my local (Conservative) MP, Heather Wheeler, on what I see as two of the most significant issues facing us.

Dear Mr Cameron and Mrs Wheeler,
congratulations on your victory. This was quite an achievement and is clearly testament to the hard work that you put in.

At the start of this parliament I’d like to raise two two issues, which I am deeply concerned about and I believe need to be urgent priorities for the incoming government. I don’t believe that these are particularly party political issues, but, rather, issues which whatever party gained power would have to deal with. I’ve preached about them in the run-up to the vote, and would have written a similar letter to whoever became my local MP and whoever became Prime Minister.

1. Over the last few years here in Swadlincote, in South Derbyshire, the use of foodbanks has massively increased. This is reflected across the country, with both a significant increase in the number of new foodbanks being opened and in the increased use of existing foodbanks. Many of these are run by churches or supported by Christian volunteers. My challenge to you over the next five years is, please put these foodbanks out of work. Please allow us as churches to focus on some of the many other social problems that exist, because there is no more need for people in one of the largest economies in the world to rely on this sort of support.

2. Later this year, many of the world’s governments will be meeting in Paris to discuss our collective response to the growing problem of global warming. This will be the most crucial issue that you face over the next five years, as it has the potential to affect our lives more than any other. Many of our major charities, such as Christian Aid which I and my church support, have identified climate change as already having a significant impact on the poorest people in the world. I’d like to pay tribute to your continuing commitment to the Overseas Aid budget, but the impact of this commitment will be substantially reduced unless you are able to take a positive lead on reducing and mitigating the impact of climate change.

As one part of this, it means ensuring that most of our current gas and oil reserves remain unexploited and underground. Please take local, national and international leadership on this issue. This, more than anything else, will be your most lasting legacy, for good or ill.

Congratulations once again; I will be praying for you.

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