By Tim Montgomerie
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The latest polling by Lord Ashcroft suggests it is going to be an uphill struggle for Chris Emmett to hold Corby in the forthcoming by-election. The contest is nonetheless giving the Conservative machine the opportunity to roadtest key messages and also trial new kinds of targeted literature. I've already noted the emphasis that Tory literature has given to crime and welfare. A newspaper targeted on local churchgoers has also been drawn to my attention.
In the leaflet Chris Emmett talks about her personal faith:
"My faith guides me in everything I do. It has also supported me through difficult times and it is important in a job serving the public to have the full support of my family and the greater church. I feel blessed to have both. I’ve been an active member of the Conservative Christian Fellowship for many years."
A local councillor David Sims gives his backing to Christine, mentioning her faith:
"It is a great encouragement to me to see an increasing number of Christians recognise their
call to serve their communities in public life, not out of a love of power, but persuaded by the power of love. This ranges from those who are prepared to serve the democratic process in relatively mundane and unseen ways, but also includes our Parliamentary Candidate, Christine Emmett, who needs our support."
"Take a country like Malawi which after years of drought has now staved off famine by British Aided vouchers to farmers to buy seeds and fertilizer when the rains come. Or the big push to eradicate childhood diseases like diphtheria, polio and tetanus in the poor countries, which our own children are immunised against, and which has seen over 12 million children vaccinated."
Beneath a picture of Chris and husband on a pilgrimage to Iona, Chris Emmett also addresses the sensitive issue of equal marriage:
"I fully support people who are both gay or straight in their desire to have monogamous, committed relationships. I recognise fidelity, commitment and love as really important and commend the ambition behind the idea of same-sex marriage. However, unlike Labour and the Liberal Democrats, the Conservatives will not be holding a three-line whip on the issue. I would fight any move by any party, if I thought that churches and vicar’s would be punished if their conscience prevented them from conducting same-sex ceremonies."
It is always sensitive to mix faith and politics but this newspaper does a good job of emphasising Chris Emmett's genuine belief withgout getting preachy. It talks very directly to Christians about issues that matter to them. I hope in future elections we see this model replicated with newspapers for people of other faiths and other important non-religious groups within communities, including public service workers, shopkeepers and schoolgate parents.