Brexit – Five First Quick Thoughts

  • My first thoughts on waking to the news of the result of the referendum on membership of the EU are not with the markets nor about sovereignty but with individuals. In particular, my thoughts are with the considerable numbers of members of my own congregation who have come from the rest of the EU to make a home here and indeed those who have moved the other way and who are living in other European countries. There will be considerable numbers of people feeling very uncertain about their own place in the world.
  • My second concern lies with those who will be the poorer for this decision. Financial volatility seems destined to affect the poor disproportionately. So far I hear no discourse in the media about the least financially secure. One of the reasons that this has happened is that there has been a collapse in trust in the ability politicians in much of the UK to speak for policies that would benefit most of the people.
  • I don’t think that the economic questions facing Scotland got any easier overnight. The calls for a second independence referendum are surely coming our way but on what terms? A Scotland in Europe hitched to a pound out of Europe? An independent Scotland committed to a Europe that fractures even more? Neither position is terribly attractive. It seems to me that there will be further attempts across Europe to persuade countries to leave the EU. That becomes much more likely after this vote.
  • I fear that there are more referendums heading our way whilst hating that way of making political decisions. We have representative democracy so that our representatives get to slug things out primarily so we don’t have to do so ourselves. Sadly I suspect there may be quite a lot of anger coming the way of our politicians. To some extent this result reflects the existence of quite a lot of anger already. However, politicians stand between the tyrant and the mob keeping both at bay.
  • The most frightening thing I saw over the last few days was the relatively powerful in the country having no contact at all with the disaffected majority. Again and again I heard people of the intelligentsia (a group I’d have to acknowledge I belong to as a card carrying member) saying that they simply knew no-one at all who wanted to leave and didn’t believe that it could possibly happen. We are divided and in ways I fear.

There will be more to say later.

Very much more.


  1. Rosemary Hannah says

    Almost everybody I meet on a regular basis, except my family and one educated friend, were voting out. and that in Scotland. I am shattered but unsurprised. My partner reports that, in her office, those with a degree and under 35 all intended to vote remain, and those without and over 35 to leave.

  2. Ruth Gillett says

    Some people I know didn’t vote at all because they were annoyed that their ‘first ever in their fairly long lives’ voting experience (Independence) didn’t go the correct way. Strangely two friends who spend half the year living in Europe (and benefit from the reciprocal healthcare arrangements) voted leave and I’m bewildered by a dear friend of 60 years who unexpectedly climbed angrily aboard the anti immigration juggernaut. I’d dared to hope (and ignore the signs online) because everyone else I knew seemed to be voting remain…

  3. Guy Whitehouse says

    I fear ultimately that Brexit won in part because the EU became a rather soulless bureaucracy to which people could not emotionally attach. Financial benefit does not always secure attachment on a large-scale and if enough people start to perceive themselves to suffer and not participate in those benefits then the inevitable happens.

    I fear the UK is going the same way but for different reasons. Since the 80s there has been a tendency amongst those seeking power to focus on groups and not the country as a whole; remember election night and the swingometer and the presenter saying things like “such and such an area has gone red but in order to win the Conservatives just need to win over Essex man and Worcester woman….”? Of course Labour did something similar in 1997 and in later elections.

    So any uniting sentiments have been undermined which means that the problem is no longer just with politicians but with the electorates also.

    I liked what Kelvin said in his referendum sermon, and more than ever the churches need to discover their ministry of reconciliation and think about what it means to try to offer everyone a spiritual home. It would be ironic if the church became the main place that differences could be dropped. but I have to confess I’m rather gloomy about even that looking at the way other controversial issues within the church have been dealt with.

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