This is one of a series of articles in which representatives of the main parties make their pitch for the Catholic vote.
The encyclical Rerum Novarum, issued by Pope Leo XIII, sets out the rights and duties of every Catholic towards the conditions of the working classes. The document can be more or less summed up in a simple yet potent quotation from it: “there underlies a dictate of natural justice … that wages ought not to be insufficient to support a frugal and well-behaved wage-earner”.
I believe that Ukip is now the only party that is willing and able to fulfil these obligations. Our manifesto commits us to lowering the tax burden on lower earners and the self-employed. We’re committed to increasing the standard of living for workers, and we’re the only party with a realistic and radical approach to the housing crisis, using prefab modular homes and brownfield sites.
We’ve also been consistent in this concern for workers in terms of immigration, and are the only party committed to ending free movement – something cynically lobbied for by big employers to compress wages and saturate the jobs market.
It can be very easy for Catholics to fall into the intellectually flabby and simplistic trap of “welcome the newcomer”. Of course, on an individual level, we are obliged to do so by the words of Our Saviour. However, on the governmental level, immigration poses other questions with implications that require more sophisticated moral discernment. Ukip has been the only party which has made real ethical points about the effect of continued mass immigration on the working conditions of the poor in this country, as well as the issues faced by the countries that skilled immigrants leave behind.
In matters social and cultural, Ukip is the only party which has consistently argued for the need to protect our Judaeo-Christian heritage, as well as the liberty of conscience for Christians. Indeed, it was for that reason we refused to back same-sex marriage; we foresaw (rightly, if the Ashers Bakery case is anything to go by) the problems that would be faced by religious people in acting according to their beliefs. We are also the only party with leading figures who have expressed concern about the teaching of sex education, including LGBT sex education, to primary school pupils.
How to continue reading…
This article appears in the Catholic Herald magazine - to read it in full subscribe to our digital edition from just 30p a week
The Catholic Herald is your essential weekly guide to the Catholic world; latest news, incisive opinion, expert analysis and spiritual reflection