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21 April 2016

What Kind of Holyrood? Scottish election update  

We're now into the final fortnight of the Scottish election campaign with all the main parties vying for our votes. In a campaign that so far has been dominated by the personalities of the party leaders, Nicola, Ruth and Kezia (we seem to call them all by first names now) have all been sharing their thoughts and visions in the merry-go-round of TV debates, party broadcasts and campaign photo ops.

Policy-wise the debate has been dominated by the new powers coming to Holyrood during the lifetime of the next parliament, particularly those on income tax. With Labour, the Liberal Democrats and Greens all promising to increase tax rates to pay for public services under budget pressure there is now some clear water between those parties and the SNP who will maintain current arrangements and the Conservatives who will look to pass on the rise in the personal allowance for higher rate tax payers announced in the UK budget (the SNP will not pass these on). Education and Health have also been major topics of discussion.

It's sometimes hard to know how to engage with all this information at election time, to understand what candidates stand for, and also to keep up-to-speed with the ever changing powers of the Scottish Parliament.  It's for these reasons we're running a nationwide hustings tour taking in all of Scotland's regions.  It's also why we've produced a short new resource to help Christians engage with the new powers of Holyrood.

Taking the What Kind of Nation? themes of family, economy, civil society and environment, the resource looks at the new powers in relation to these areas, highlights some questions to ask candidates and suggests some ways to connect with MSPs once they are in office. We recognise there's a real opportunity for us to encourage our politicians to step up and build a better way of doing politics in Scotland so we've called the resource What Kind of Holyrood?

Copies are available online, in our office or at the hustings events over the next couple of weeks. Care for Scotland have also produced some fantastic resources including voting records on particular issues and these are available at http://www.engage16.org.uk.

Details of the events are available on our website and we are looking forward to a wonderful series of events kicking off in Edinburgh tonight. Please come along to one of these events if you are able and do promote them in church on Sunday. (Please note the Mid-Scotland and Fife and South Scotland events have been amended from the original publicity)

Finally we are called to pray. Please pray for the electoral process, for the campaigns, for Christians working in all the parties and those standing for office, and ultimately for good and Godly governance to be established in Scotland following the elections. Pray for Scotland have produced an excellent daily prayer guide for the 40 days leading up to the election. Please do sign up to receive this by joining their mailing list to pray for our nation at this crucial time. (If you are on Facebook the posts are being posted daily on the Pray for Scotland page)