After the important Brexit vote in the UK, I felt that I ought to write something, but because of all the emotion that I have been caught up in I was unsure what to write. Come in Fr. Ed Tomlinson.
Fr. Ed has written a post on his blog which demonstrates an enormous amount of wisdom and an ability to stand back and reflect which I am still unable to do. So I hope he will not mind that I repost his thoughts here. Fr. Ed has also posted videos of four talks by Catholic leaders which give the Catholic standpoint(s) on leaving the EU very eloquently:
After the EU: restoring order
by Fr. Ed Tomlinson, June 26, 2016
Enough with the division, hatred and anger. The fallout from the EU debate is turning ugly and threatening the stability of our nation. We now need peacemakers, on both sides of the debate, to be heard; that we might reconcile differences and be brought back together in love. For who doesn’t have friends and family with whom we disagree on this matter? People we know to be principled and decent whose friendship we would miss should politics divide us long term.
Whatever our personal views- we must look forward not back; it is our duty, I sincerely believe, to accept the vote in the interest of democracy- whether thorough gritted teeth or a smile- and then commit ourselves one to another afresh. What might we learn from this episode of history? How might we bring the very best of each other’s views to the table? Because- when people are not slinging mud -they tend to accept there was something to be said on either side. Seeking compromise and therefore common ground would be wise now. The alternative being too bleak to even consider. Let us be brave enough to seek the path of love not hatred.
For the reality is that both sides of this debate have something sensible to say. At least the better part of each side of the debate does! The most noble voices in the remain camp reminding us to be open to strangers, to work in collaboration with our neighbours and be inclusive in our attitude to life. The noble in the out camp reminding us that we cannot work towards this goal of loving neighbour as a nation if our leadership is not committed to the same! The enterprise fails, and so does democracy, when elites become self serving, greedy and detached from grass roots. Brussels and Westminster failed to speak with moral force because both have been found guilty, in recent years, of corruption and the rise of big business over the interests of all. Free markets giving way to self serving quangos.
Before you splutter outrage let us admit to the worst of both camps too. It is sadly true that the worst Brexiteers seem to be motivated by fear and hate. There are xenophobes amongst them who would show disdain to the stranger, whose small minded vision would lead to a vile and resentful little England. But it is equally true that the worst Remainers demonstrate an awful bourgeois arrogance, snobbishly discounting the voice of all others in a cast iron belief of their own moral superiority; yes, to the point of suggesting betrayal of the democratic process!
A curse on both those houses! We do not need haughty voices or fearful ones at the table of our common future. It is the best of the arguments, the best of the people, that we need to locate that they might be heard. Let us hunt down those who can work together and help us build a future in which all feel represented.
How then might a compromised future look? Well it might require our nation to go back to basics. To reflect with maturity on how we might encourage principled leadership to lead us back to the table with renewed confidence.
Perhaps this last week will spark a revolution and a brighter future? The old crusty order dying that something better might emerge? Who knows? Nobody at present for the dust has not yet settled. But what I do know is this; the future is only going to be as good as we ourselves behave. Together we stand and divided we fall. It is time then to silence the bigots and raise up the wise and loving. Those able to listen to those they profoundly disagree and find common ground. That together we might forge a better future.