A deeply political book called ’Those Who Show Up’, written by Portadown man Andy Flannagan, made a big impression in the lead up to last week’s General Election.
The book is so important that Archbishop of Canterbury Justin Welby has penned the foreword, praising it as the way forward “where we can effect radical and transformational change across our society”.
The former Portadown College head boy graduated as a doctor, but is now director of ‘Christians of the Left’, working through the political system to have MPs with a Christian ethos voted into the House of Commons.
There were 30 of the Flannagan ilk in the last ‘House’ – through the Labour Party – and Andy campaigned the length and breadth of England in a bid to double that amount. They work hand-in-glove with parties like the Conservatives and the Lib Dems who also have Christian members at Westminster.
The book exhorts everyone to make sure they vote in the elections – “Not just to stand on the sidelines and criticise” .
He added that a system that creates food banks, debt problems and soup vans requires radical change, and he leads a team that aim to change things.
He is the son of former Portadown College headmaster Tom Flannagan and Sylvia Flannigan. Both are stalwart members of St Mark’s, Portadown, which supports Andy’s work to the hilt.
Andy went from the college to Queen’s University and spent a year working as a junior doctor at Craigavon Hospital. But his rather unorthodox Christian life led him in a different direction. He’s a UK-renowned singer-songwriter and a rather formidable opponent in a discussion. He has often appeared on national TV.
He moved to the ’Youth for Christ’ organisation in England and developed towards the ‘Christians of the Left’ movement where they campaign hard to percolate national politics.
Now in his early 40’s, he is also involved in street pastoring, and he is convinced the movement will gather momentum. The message of ‘Those Who Turn Up’ is that politics must reflect life and that politics are too important to be left to politicians. As the Archbishop says in his foreword – “Andy Flannagan’s call to action, in tandem with the important work of Christians in Politics and the ‘Show Up’ campaign in the run up to the General Election, is challenging and encouraging in equal measure.”
It is in the form of an e-book and can be downloaded onto I. Pads, Kindles and other electronic devices. He is married to Jenny, who is involved in Tear Fund and they have an 18-month-old son Jesse.