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 A/V REPORTS
The BBC's Philippa Thomas
"The prime minister knows his greatest problem in this election could be public apathy"
 real 56k

Michael Ancram, David Blunkett and Rev James Jones
Discuss the issue of negative voting
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Liberal Democrat Deputy leader, Alan Beith
"It is quite difficult to have independent scrutiny of MPs"
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The BBC's Carole Walker
looks back at negative poster campaigns
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Friday, 25 May, 2001, 07:36 GMT 08:36 UK
Archbishops' vote warning
Archbishops Dr George Carey and Dr David Hope
The Archbishops of Canterbury and York have warned politicians against indulging in negative campaigning.

In an open letter, the two leaders of the Church of England, Dr George Carey and Dr David Hope, urge political leaders not to "lose sight" of Christian values.


We urge you to vote, to see your vote as part of your Christian commitment and to use your vote that all may have life

Archbishops of Canterbury and York
The Archbishops' letter, to be distributed to church congregations this weekend, says: "At its best, politics is about values.

"A political life that loses sight of such values is itself diminished.

"Yet we all sense how tempting it can be, especially in an election season, for the short term, the negative and the self serving to dominate the political stage - to focus less on what is in the long-term interests of us all than on what can inflict the maximum short-term damage on political opponents."

The Archbishops stress that they are not supporting any particular party.

But they raise some issues that voters might want to consider.

"How might we gauge the cross we mark on the ballot paper shadows the cross of Jesus?"

Moral choices

The underlying beliefs of candidates in addition to the party policies should be considered, they say.

"How do these choices speak to the stranger in our midst and to those on the margins of our prosperity?

"How do they meet the challenge of loving our neighbour as ourselves, not just across the stairwell or the garden fence but across the deep divide between town and country?

"How do they value marriage and the family for the communities we build and the offspring we nurture, or the schools and colleges in which those children learn?"

They conclude: "So we urge you to vote, to see your vote as part of your Christian commitment and to use your vote that all may have life."

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