As we all know by know, the people of the United Kingdom have, albeit narrowly, voted to leave the European Union.
Some will be cheering - others will be fearing.
Some will see this as an opportunity to regain sovereignty and put the 'Great' back into Britain whilst others will see this as us condemning ourselves to becoming a small minded nation on an even smaller offshore piece of land outside the rest of the world.
Much like the peasant's revolt of 1381, this was as much a revolt against those who govern and the taxation and nation's spending as it was about the other much proclaimed issues - although that said, the majority of the 'Leave' voices brought the issue back to immigration (more on that shortly though). The Peasants Revolt was also about and end to serfdom - what I was taught of as 'unify' labour - whilst this was, for many, about 'free labour'!
So here we are, about to go it alone and this for me means that we should, immediately, look to Article 50 of the Lisbon Treaty and start the two year exit process rolling. Many people are calling on us to hold fire with this because the effect it will have on us nation but it seems to me that this newly recovered sovereignty and national identity, as with everywhere in the world where people have fought to become free, comes at a price.
This price, thankfully, is not paid in blood or lives (unless you consider the assassination of an MP to count - and I do) but in cold hard cash. Freedom is never cheap and we will have to grin and bear the rises in the cost of living, the fall in our house prices and the jobs that are lost as the price we are all willing to pay for our breaking free from the bonds of European membership.
As we make our journey we need to realise that we are now looking towards the goodwill of those who remain in the EU and, like any divorce, this might not be a generous as we think we deserve. To quote European Commission President Jean-Claude Juncker:
"Britons decided yesterday that they want to leave the European Union, so it doesn't make any sense to wait until October to try to negotiate the terms of their departure - I would like to get started immediately."
You see, Europe would like us to be gone and whilst what some exit politicians are asking for is akin to a divorces settlement where one party retains the right to have meals cooked for them, their washing done and conjugal rights to continue - the other is looking to distance themselves from their estranged partner as quickly as possible, and despite the well meant words from family gained through marriage when divorce comes, the relationship are rarely continued and when they do, never the same!
Those who preached exit are now telling us that migration into the UK will continue - it has to, that's how the rest of the world lives these day - and that the money saved might not be what was first preached to be - that we will have to abide by EU laws if we want to trade with them and more besides.
So perhaps our exit is not going to be the paradise it was billed to be - but the trigger has been pulled and the bullet has left the chamber, there's no going back and the challenge for us is to work out how we can regroup and reform our national identity and that takes public will and solid and intelligent government. The key is for us to become a United Kingdom (talk of referenda regarding the Union from Northern Ireland and Scotland aren't helping this) and to look at the positives that being British bring.
We need to be open and honest about our views and seek a middle way - something the Church of England excels in - if that happens then this will indeed be something quite positive coming from the result.
I think we need a new government, not a new Conservative Prime Minister, because the government is looking at areas and actions never spoken of in a manifesto nor voted of at the last election. This is time for a new leadership across the board in the house of Commons.
One of the hopes of those who preached on the exit side of the debate was that we would return to our national roots and this, and of course I would say this, means a return to the biblical values and standards that shaped us and a putting aside of self and selfish ambition. We need to establish a nation where humility, not the nationalism that brought about a global conflict, is the hallmark. National pride not nationalism being the bedrock upon which we look to exhibit mercy and crave for justice as that which we value and live by.
We need to continue to welcome the oppressed and marginalised, to act to support those in other lands who face genocide and oppression, to stand with our neighbouring nations to work together for peace and freedom for all.
And oddly - if we do, it won't look much different from that we've just voted to leave!
So pray that 'God's will be done' rather than 'give us our own way!'
Going to be a very interesting time - and when the going gets tough (and I'm sure it will) look to the words and example of Jesus, the Christ, rather than the self-serving needs of our fallen race.
|No man is an island - even when he lives on one!|