Church of Eng­land ‘still the Tory Party at prayer’

The Church of England - - NEWS -

A NEW RE­PORT from in­de­pen­dent think-tank Theos has shown that re­li­gious be­lief does make a dif­fer­ence to na­tional vot­ing in­ten­tion.

The re­port says that there has al­ways been a link be­tween reli­gion and party pol­i­tics, most con­sid­er­ably a no­tice­able af­fil­i­a­tion be­tween Angli­can­ism and the Con­ser­va­tive Party.

The re­port found a link be­tween reg­u­lar­ity of Church at­ten­dance, higher among those who are likely to vote Con­ser­va­tive as well as a gen­er­a­tional in­crease in sup­port for the Con­ser­va­tive Party among Catholics.

The re­port says that reli­gion is a telling in­di­ca­tor of party di­vi­sion, and once stood as its ‘prin­ci­pal source’, way be­fore Peter Pulzer’s com­ment, “class is the ba­sis of Bri­tish party pol­i­tics; all else is em­bel­lish­ment and de­tail.”

The re­port says: “The per­sis­tence of re­li­gious cleav­ages in con­tem­po­rary po­lit­i­cal be­hav­iour may be a relic of past po­lit­i­cal con­tro­ver­sies”, and so re­mains a telling fac­tor of to­day’s po­lit­i­cal al­le­giances among re­li­gious groups.

The re­port looks at re­li­gious af­fil­i­a­tion and vot­ing be­hav­iour be­tween Angli­cans, Ro­man Catholics, Non­con­formists, Pres­by­te­ri­ans and those with no re­li­gious af­fil­i­a­tion, stretch­ing from 1959-2010.

Among the find­ings the re­port also says that Angli­cans in non-man­ual oc­cu­pa­tions were more likely to sup­port the Con­ser­va­tive Party, whilst their co-re­li­gion­ists in man­ual oc­cu­pa­tions gave about equal sup­port to the two largest par­ties.

Ro­man Catholics in white-col­lar em­ploy­ment were slightly more likely to vote Labour than Con­ser­va­tive, whereas the dif­fer­en­tial in party sup­port was much larger amongst Catholics in man­ual em­ploy­ment.

Among Non­con­formists, the re­port says, those in white-col­lar work were more likely to sup­port the Con- ser­va­tives, but, as with Catholics, those in man­ual work pre­ferred Labour in 2010 by a large mar­gin.

Ac­cord­ing to Pro­fes­sor Linda Wood­head, 33 per cent of self-iden­ti­fy­ing Angli­cans are classed as ‘Non-church­go­ing doubters’, the same group of Angli­cans mir­ror­ing Prime Min­is­ter, David Cameron’s faith, which he re­cently de­scribed, quot- ing Boris John­son, as “a bit like the re­cep­tion for Magic FM in the Chilterns: it sort of comes and goes”.

Mean­while Labour Leader Ed Miliband de­scribed him­self as a ‘Jewish Athe­ist’ and Lib­eral Demo­crat Leader, Nick Clegg, as ‘ag­nos­tic’.

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