Church's Vote Battle; Catholic Plea to Polish Workers in Scotland to Help Defeat Labour over Its 'Undermining' of Traditional Family Values
Byline: GRAHAM GRANT
THE Catholic Church in Scotland is to urge immigrant Polish voters to help punish Labour candidates for their 'antifamily' policies at the Holyrood elections.
Church leaders say First Minister Jack McConnell has ignored their pleas to ditch a raft of controversial measures such as gay marriage, 'quickie' divorces and same-sex adoption.
About 40,000 East Europeans have registered to work in Scotland over the past two years. They are mainly Poles - and more than 90 per cent of them are Catholic.
They will have the right to vote for the first time and political parties are vying for their vote at the Holyrood poll in May.
Their influence could prove pivotal in the battle for control of the Scottish parliament, amid growing speculation that Labour is facing a humiliating defeat.
If the migrant vote does play a decisive role against Labour in May, it will be a cruel blow for Mr McConnell, who wants to lure as many immigrants to Scotland as possible under his Fresh Talent initiative.
Catholic Church leaders say they will refuse to tell worshippers who to vote for but they are set to highlight Labour's failings on moral issues in the run-up to the election.
It is possible some election literature from the Church will be translated into Polish.
Traditionally, Labour has been strongly allied to the Catholic Church, but the Church hierarchy believes the link is largely redundant in Scotland, due to the party's failure to defend moral values.
The Church, whose congregations have soared with the Polish influx, believes the migrant population will prove receptive to its family values message and acknowledge Labour's failings by voting against 'antifamily' candidates.
Church sources believe the Scottish Tories' performance has been 'pretty dismal' on these issues, with the exception of one or two of its MSPs who have made a stand on key issues such as 'quickie divorces'.
The Church wants Catholics to gauge candidates on the basis of their stance on matters such as gay marriage and gay adoption. …