Need to tell our stories
I was surprised, and encouraged, that a key message that came out of our conversations was that the Labour party wants to engage with faith groups because they are a force for change. MPs said that the Churches are one of the few agencies that can speak out, and because they are involved with communities, they have individual stories to tell. That is what MPs need. Even if an MP is passionate about an issue, they need to be able to illustrate it with case studies and examples. Then they can find other MPs who are interested, so they can force a debate.
An issue they felt strongly about was mobilizing opposition to the extension of Sunday Trading. The reasons they gave were
- Grinding down shop workers
- Taking time for children and families to be together - Cat Smith’s family are shop workers and she told us that 5.00 on Sunday was the only time in the week her family were able to have a meal together.
- Shift in culture and commercialization of values – ‘shopping’ is the only thing to do.
- Which day isn’t important, but people need ‘down time’ to spend together