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Quakers and the upcoming general election

The UK is gearing up for a general election. Grace Da Costa shares how Quakers can get involved.

A general election is a chance to talk to people in our communities about our values and the issues we care about.
A general election is a chance to talk to people in our communities about our values and the issues we care about.

A general election is a great opportunity for us all to influence how our country is run. At Quakers in Britain we've developed some materials to help Quaker individuals, groups and meetings engage with their local candidates and communities. You can find all the information at www.quaker.org.uk/vote.

Why it matters

I've experienced general elections as a voter, an advocacy professional, and a parliamentary candidate. For me, a general election is a chance to talk to people in our communities about our values and the issues we care about. We can encourage our country's leaders to put those values into practice when they're making decisions that affect us all. With the urgent, interlinked crises of cost-of-living, climate and conflict, now is a crucial time to be part of the national debate.

General elections can be times of great hope and but also division. Some of the biggest issues in the public eye are causes of great anger and hurt, from the war in Gaza to the deportation of people seeking sanctuary. Quakers can play an important role in encouraging respectful and truthful debate, and focusing conversations back to what really matters in terms of equality, peace, truth and sustainability.

Our priorities

The priority areas for our 2024 general election materials come from discernment by national Quaker bodies, staff expertise, and the work that Quakers are doing on the ground.

We encourage you to campaign on these issues and bear them in mind when choosing who to vote for. We know that many Quakers across Britain will want to champion other issues too and we support them in this.

The priorities we're focusing on are:

  1. Democracy, truth and integrity, including improving the processes and culture in Westminster and protecting human rights at home and abroad.
  2. Climate justice, including diverting government money away from fossil fuels and towards fair and sustainable solutions to the climate and cost-of-living crises.
  3. Peace and peace education, including working towards a just peace in in Israel and Gaza.
  4. Migration, emphasising the need for a humane, fair and efficient immigration and asylum system.

What you can do

Our election guide for Quakers sets out several ways you and your local meeting can get involved. These include:

  • Register to vote (if you haven't already) and encourage others to do so. Remind everyone that you now need to bring the right kind of ID when voting in person. Local meetings can become 'voter champions' to help spread the word about registration and voting – see www.voterchampion.org.uk.
  • Reach out to your local parliamentary candidates as a meeting and as individuals. You can start to build a relationship where you uphold their work for positive change, as well as trying to influence them.
  • Organise an election meeting (or hustings), where members of the public can listen to and ask questions of the candidates in their constituency. We and other churches have produced joint ideas and advice – please see the 'resources' section of this website: www.churcheselection.org.uk.
  • Run activities for your meeting and other members of your community – we suggest a fun 'hopes' activity in our main election guide. We also have packs for adults volunteering with children and young people.

Find out more

As well as downloading our resources at www.quaker.org.uk/vote, you can find out more about our plans and share ideas with other Quakers at two upcoming events:

  • An online meeting for all Quakers, hosted by Meeting for Sufferings, on Wednesday 22 May 2024 at 7-8.30pm. Please sign up here.
  • A Yearly Meeting online Special Interest Group meeting on Tuesday 9 July 2024 at 5-6pm. Please register for Yearly Meeting and sign up via the Yearly Meeting planner.

If you have any questions about our election plans or resources, please feel free to get in touch with me at politics@quaker.org.uk or 020 7663 1138.

Find all the general election resources