I can’t imagine that many residents of Padiham or Hapton are impressed with the recent proposals made by the Boundary Commission. The suggestion is that we should be removed from the Burnley parliamentary constituency and put in with Accrington. Of course we’ve got nothing against the good folk of Accrington; it’s just that they’re in a different borough to us and so it seems a very unnatural change to make.
The driving force behind the Boundary Commission’s work is the desire for social justice. At present the populations of UK constituencies vary considerably and so my vote in Burnley where we had an electorate of 64,477 in the 2015 General Election carries almost twice the weight of the vote of a Vicar in the Isle of Wight where there were 108,804 registered voters. It’s argued that this is unjust and so we must re-draw the boundaries have constituencies of roughly the same population at the next General Election.
I understand the argument but I struggle to get indignant about the variations in constituency sizes. If we do a study on the word ‘justice’ in the Bible then here are three of the references that come up:
Exodus 23:2 ‘Do not follow the crowd in doing wrong. When you give testimony in a lawsuit, do not pervert justice by siding with the crowd.’
Isaiah 1:17 Learn to do right; seek justice. Defend the oppressed. Take up the cause of the fatherless; plead the case of the widows.
Proverbs 29:4 By justice a king gives a country stability, but those who are greedy for bribes tear it down.
The situations where God loves to see justice are where the guilty are found guilty in court and the innocent are found innocent; where wealth, or lack of it, makes no difference to the outcome of a trial; where corrupt, oppressive, self-serving despots are removed from power and replaced with honest servant-hearted rulers.
I can’t believe that our present parliamentary boundaries cause God great distress. Surely it’s the appalling situation in Aleppo that makes his heart grieve? Or the gung-ho attitude of some police to-wards black people in America? Or racist attacks by thugs on the streets of Britain?
Yours in Christ