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So what to do with Brexit a few days on….

I remain devastated by last Thursday’s decision, which I believe not only to be a momentous mistake at the time but also that my conviction is being confirmed daily by the exposure of Brexit deceit and the complete lack of any firm plans on what to do next – to say nothing of the present dangerous economic and political upheaval.  At the moment, it seems that mssrs Cameron and Osborne have being doing what mssrs Gove and Johnson have abjectly failed to do, and that is prepare as best they can for the road out of the EU.  It is quite scandalous really and underlines the feeling of being duped now felt by many Leavers and Stayers alike.  It’s also very disconcerting to hear today from the Police about the substantial increase in racial assaults since the 23rd.

However, though my head longs for a technical way out, my heart tells me that that would only exacerbate the divisions that threaten to – and may already be beginning to – let loose something extremely ugly in our society, and that is the last thing we need right now.

So I would like to suggest three areas for starters that need to be attended to if we are going to make the best of where we are and where we are going, and stave of the worst of the political and social unravelling that appears to be happening now.

First, we need leadership to lead us forward that represents us all, NOT just the Brexiteers. This is vital.  We need to get the best out of the forthcoming process of disengagement with the EU, and that means wide representation.  That needs to be cross-party, cross-national, ie. with representatives from the home nations, with at least clear consultation with both business and unions, as well as minority ethnic groups and young people who might feel completely disenfranchised by this whole exercise.  For me, Boris Johnson is the last person in the world to lead us through this next process, because of his ‘Johnny-come-lately’ opposition to Europe and his evident lack of craft to do the job.

Two, we need some party or coalition to hold the government to account.  The lack of an effective opposition is unacceptable.  Whether that is based around the Labour Party – given the dramatic unfolding events there – or some progressive coalition I don’t know. But someone needs to stand in the gap to represent an alternative, more progressive view to the Tory mantras – which can only be good for democracy.  For those of us who believe that a right wing Tory ideology is a greater threat to the UK than the EU ever was, it is important that there is a voice that challenges effectively those in the seats of power.

Thirdly, I know personally EU nationals and other immigrants who feel extremely fearful about the future since last Thursday – some experiencing intimidation (like the EU national friend of mine whose boss ‘joked’ to their workers that they’ll all soon be being sent packing back to their home countries).  So we ALL need to make every effort to reassure the young and the many minority groups, especially European residents in the UK and third-world immigrants, but also many small businesses, that they have a future here and that their voices are valued, ie. heard and acted upon.  That will take some doing and won’t happen by accident, but by a determination to build the necessary bridges and channels of communication.

It’s still only a fortnight since the death of Jo Cox, but her witness to a better, more honest and compassionate way of doing politics mustn’t be forgotten. We need a politics of love, respect and inclusion more than ever now.  We need everyone of good will – however you voted and whatever you feel now – to commit to that, or God help us all!

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It’s the day after the horrific murder of Yorkshire MP, Jo Cox, and the stirring up of national feelings of shock about what happened, anger that it could happen here in the UK, concern about…

Source: Hope and love out of tragedy?

It’s the day after the horrific murder of Yorkshire MP, Jo Cox, and the stirring up of national feelings of shock about what happened, anger that it could happen here in the UK, concern about what it might be saying about the state of our nation, and, above all, a growing and deeply felt wonder at the emerging picture of an amazing human being, have caught the nation’s breath – even paused the referendum debate.  Shock and sadness is perhaps foremost at the moment.  Anger and acute national self-reflection about the event and what it means for us all is in the atmosphere.  But rising above all is the example we are learning from what’s coming out about the life of this special person, and the response of her husband, Brendan, who identifies the enemy, not as a person or an ideology, but as hate itself.  Hope didn’t die yesterday.  It was just – like a stake dragged across the earth – forced deeper into the ground of our national consciousness, if we have the whit to notice.   And through the horror and tears and testimony of friends, love shines strongly through the whole, sad episode.  Is it too much to hope that this devastating event could be a watershed for something better to emerge?…

In many ways, Jo Cox represents a kind of politics that we don’t see much of.  But it would be grossly unfair to suggest that she is an exception to the rule.  There are many parliamentarians who, like Jo, are there to make a positive difference.  But it is rarely seen enough and masked by our national (media-fed?) negativity about our politicians.  And it is barely seen higher up the echelons of power either.  I’m sure there are good folk ‘up there’ too but all the feints, constraints and institutions of political power seem to mitigate against the common good the higher up you get.  But stepping back from the personal to take in the systemic, there seems to be something fundamentally wrong in the way we do politics in the UK – and, indeed, in the EU and beyond.  This is no time or place to argue the usual polarities about political systems and practices.  It is attitudes that are suddenly under close scrutiny, though different attitudes would lead to different approaches and, I believe, a different and better kind of politics .

My good friend Roger Mitchell has been talking for awhile about how much we need today what he calls a politics of love. This is not some soft, mamby-pamby thing.  Brendon Cox showed how tough love is when instead of turning the pain of the tragic loss of his MP wife on her killer, he said we needed ‘to fight the hate that killed Jo.’  So what do we fight hate with?   Well, what else can we fight hate with but love?   Of course, it means inconveniently and often sacrificially giving of ourselves to others.  It means passion and compassion, listening and understanding, peace activism and non-violence, patience and kindness, wisdom and tolerance, justice and mercy.  Love must be about loving the ‘other’ first, not ourselves, or that’s really just self interest.  It means respecting those you disagree with, overlooking flaws to see the best in others – even if isn’t obvious and hate seems to ‘fill the screen’.  It is a completely alternative and excellent way to come at the problems of our neighbours and the world.

Or to put it another way…

Love is patient, love is kind. It does not envy, it does not boast, it is not proud. It is not rude, it is not self-seeking, it is not easily angered, it keeps no record of wrongs. Love does not delight in evil but rejoices in the truth. It always protects, always trusts, always perseveres.‘ (New Testament: 1 Corinthians 13)

It seems from all we hear from all sides that the late Jo Cox MP measured up as well as anybody to these love standards.  The best legacy for her would for us all to endeavour to do the same – especially anyone involved in, or even dipping their toes into, politics.  I’m convinced love is the only thing that can pull this world back from the brink and make it flourish again. Love is the far better way.

God bless!

Well. Having set up this blog on Dec 9 last year, and entirely forgotten that I had done so, I now put my toe in the water….

There – not as cold as I thought!

I would like to share ideas more than events, but am not sufficiently inspired this particular moment – though I know what is most likely to follow will be ‘thinking things through’ ideas, with maybe some ‘blue sky’ moments, but mainly about how to press on with increasing understanding into a fuller sense of living (fulness).

So there…!