Brexit: 1. Intro & Referendum Results

6 10 2016

Brexit Blog 1: Referendum Results

Why write

I suppose before I really start writing I ought to acknowledge why I am writing about this particular subject on this blog. I suspect it is because I have a feeling that history is rushing by and, as I have come to notice recently, so often we miss so much of what is going on around us, and then we look back with a sense of loss. It is, I suppose, the inevitable outcome of being in a news saturated society, and a world that is so busy and constantly changing.  One of these days someone will, no doubt, write a book cataloging just what went on in this momentous year for Britain but all I hope to do is catch up in a most basic way on some of the key aspects of the referendum and the Brexit phenomenon.

Unlike my other blogs, this one has no intention of being spiritual as such. My qualifications for writing are that I have a background of Law and Economics which have given me a certain ability to read and legalese and to observe the goings on of governments, and I am a keen observer of the reporting of the media. It is my intention to pick up on a number of aspects of the referendum and of Brexit, noting particularly what others say and making some basic comments thereon. In this first blog of this subject, I will simply catch up on the results of the referendum as a starting point.

What Happened

It is now over three months since that momentous vote that said ‘we want out’. To remind ourselves the results for the UK as a whole were

                      51.9% (17,410,742 votes) votes for out, and

                     48.1% (16,141,241 votes) voted to remain.

The results for the individual parts were:

England: Leave 53.4% (15,188,406 votes) Remain 46.6% (13,266,996 votes) Turnout: 73.0%

Wales:  Leave 52.5% (854,572 votes), Remain 47.5% (772,347 votes) Turnout: 71.7%

Northern Ireland: Leave 44.2%(349,442 votes), Remain 55.8%(440,707 votes) Turnout: 62.7%

Scotland: Leave 38.0% (1,018,322 votes), Remain 62.0% (1,661,191 votes) Turnout: 67.2%

England and Wales went for Out, Scotland and Northern Ireland went for Remain. It is interesting that the two ‘Out’ regions both had higher turnouts than the other two.

The Significance of the Vote

I realise I have now used the word ‘momentous’ twice above. The dictionary defines that as of great importance or significance, especially in having a bearing on future events,’ which I think is a pretty fair description of what has happened this year and is why I am now writing.

A Guardian writer called it ‘historic’: “The UK’s historic decision to end its 43-year love-hate relationship with the European Union represents a turning point in British history to rank alongside the two world wars of the 20th century.” (Patrick Wintour – The Guardian – 24 June 2016) Dictionary: ‘historic = famous or important in history, or potentially so’.

What is interesting about those two words is that one seems to look forwards to the future outcomes and the other looks back and compares it with comparable events in the past. Whether it ranks alongside the two world wars, I’m not sure and only time will tell.





Monday

28 01 2008

Monday, for most people, is the start of a new week. For God’s chosen people the seventh day was Saturday and so Sunday was the first day of the week, but for most of us now it’s the start of another ‘working week’.   Life experiences are full of new beginnings. Every New Year we step out of the old year with hopes for something new in the year that is coming.

We come back from holidays and start out afresh into a new bout of work. Teachers come back from holidays and start a new term. We wake up each morning to a new day. I once picked up a new life. I’m not sure I was really looking for it; it was more like it came and got me. I went to a Billy Graham Crusade because I was interested in communication and had heard he was a great communicator. I came away interested but untouched. Another time I went to hear him again, confident in my previous experience that this was safe ground. I went because I was trying to take out a Christian girl and this was the only thing she would come to with me. It was safe ground.

 This time The Life turned round and attacked me. My life was challenged and suddenly I realised I was not comfortable with it. I wrestled with The Life and left the stadium exhausted but triumphant. It is very, very tiring battling the truth. But I came out unchanged but I must have looked like I’d been run over by a tank. As I left her that night she said something about needing to make decisions. I returned to my dingy bed-sit in Acton in West London feeling like I’d been run over by a tank. I sat on my bed and contemplated this experience. Everything the man had said about me was true. I couldn’t stay like this. I’d heard it all but how much I took in I don’t know. This was decision time.

I needed to pray, but how do you? I’d seen pictures of people on their knees praying, so I got down on my knees. I’d seen pictures of people with their hands together praying so I put my hands together. They had had their eyes closed, so I closed my eyes. But now what? Pictures don’t give you the words. If in doubt, keep it brief. “God if you are there and you want my life, here it is, please take it and make me anew. Amen.”  The ‘Amen’ was an echo from the past in school prayers. That was it.

I got off my knees, tumbled into bed and fell asleep.  Next morning I woke up a new person. No, not just feeling new because of a good night’s sleep but something was radically different. I had planned to visit a cousin. I spent the day with him trying to convince him to become a Christian. Where did that all come from? However you might try it explain it psychologically,  I felt a new person.  For the likes of the new crusaders, the atheists, this is a very inadequate story, childishly simple and foolishly naive. You could have argued my socks off – and you’d have been better at it then than me – but you wouldn’t have convinced me. I was what Richard Dawkins calls ‘a faith-head’. I’m not certain what it means but I think he means someone who is impervious to argument. The content came later and I’ll have a go at giving you an answer to any theological question you might have today, but then, I was just convinced.

I love that account in John’s Gospel where Jesus heals a man who has been blind from birth and gives him back his sight. Jesus moves off and the man is left to explain it to his family and the religious people who were after Jesus. Eventually they get really irate with the man and say of Jesus, “We know this man is a sinner.” John doesn’t say it, but I can imagine this man grinning at them as he replies, “Whether he’s a sinner or not, I don’t know. One thing I do know. I was blind but now I see.”

Isn’t that fabulous! All I know is that I was blind but now I can see. You can’t argue against that and if it’s never happened to you, I understand that it is frustrating. For me, and millions of others, that was a life transforming experience, and you can’t argue against it. Well you can, but you’ll be wasting your time. Today I can give you lots and lots of supportive things that follow that experience – millions more experiences and lots of knowledge. Those things don’t make me any better or worse than I was back then,  but they add a lot of content, and I think that’s what this site is supposed to be about. So, as the days go on, I’ll hopefully add some content: beliefs built on learning and beliefs built on experiences and if anything I say can help someone, then great!