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Brexit, Baby!

February 6, 2019 by

Since this is my first post of the New Year, 2019, I’m going to start with a bang. The happy little feel-good blog posts about kids and animals can wait; with 2019 opening out like a new furrow, I’m going to reach down into the freshly turned soil and come up with a double handful of wriggling worms for the can. Brexit, baby! What does it mean to you? What should the Christian response be? Does it matter?

It’s interesting how fast we are to judge, how well we think we understand others and what their motives are without ever talking to them, how selectively we gather evidence to support our point of view. As someone who has followed British politics with interest over the last decade (one of the many traits I share with Churchill and Boris Johnson is that I’m a dual national) I’ve never known a more uncertain or divided time. Brexit has become the defining political issue in the UK, with both sides hunkered down and lobbing rotten eggs, encouraged from overseas by everyone from Steve Bannon to The New York Times, bless its little heart.

two men arm-wrestling for money

I voted in the 2016 referendum and no, I’m not telling you which way I voted. We may no longer have such a thing as reasoned debate in our society, but I’m going to hang on to the idea of a secret ballot with my teeth if necessary.

As far as I’m concerned, the only really important manifestation of my faith is my relationship to the people around me.

But what I really care about is this: when the UK had a referendum on Brexit two years ago it was a pretty even split; whichever way you voted you knew that about half the country did not agree with you. I’m going to go right out on a limb here and suggest that not everyone who voted Remain was one of the cosmopolitan elite conspiring to abolish the idea of the UK as a nation state. By the same token it could also be argued that not everyone who voted Leave did so because they were pig-ignorant racist xenophobes.

My Christian friends from the social justice/anti-Starbucks end of the spectrum do tend to be a little partial to virtue signaling and getting shouty about politicians. I’m not saying one should never do it, I’m just saying it’s pretty easy to do if one doesn’t have skin in the game. And I wonder how well they relate to taxi drivers, and chip shop owners, and wheelie bin men (I did say “men” on purpose there by the way). As far as I’m concerned, the only really important manifestation of my faith is my relationship to the people around me. As in, I think having a friendly discussion with someone I passionately disagree with is a thousand times more important than a lengthy bitch session with someone who shares my views.

Best thing to do with worms is to go fishing. If you would like to have an in-depth debate with me on the pros and cons of the Irish Backstop, “Crashing Out,” the Norway model, and the despicable Chequers Deal, give me a call and we can head out to the English Channel.


About the author


Ian Barth

Ian lives at the Darvell community in East Sussex, UK with his wife Olivia and their four boys.

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  • I really like what I just read. I must say that in addition to the good sense of it, it made me smile and it soothed my soul. Well done, gratefully received!

    Elizabeth Buercklin
  • Thank goodness someone is talking sense!

    Edward Hogben