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10 August 2019

Unity and truth are key to solving Brexit

Matt Bunday Matt Bunday Church member
Southampton Above Bar Street

This is the first of two posts offering Christian perspectives on Brexit. The first is from someone who supports remaining in the EU, the second is by a supporter of leaving the EU. Matt Bunday writes the below as a remain supporter. The second post is now available here.

“And you will know the truth, and the truth will set you free.” (John 8:32)

Since 2016 I have tried to understand what ‘Taking back control’ actually means, as I cannot think of a single counterproductive law that has been forced on us from Brussels. I have tried to understand what being ‘Sovereign’ means, as the UK has always been hugely influential on the world stage.

Brexit has pushed aside serious challenges like climate change and the NHS, all in favour of something that is estimated to have already cost £87 billion (Goldman Sachs, 2019) . Working out to £600 million per week, this is a very different promise to the one made on that bus!

There are some who feel huge resentment towards the EU, but have we truly understood why? Is it a lack of optimism about our own situation after 9 years of austerity (that some think Europe has contributed to), or have we simply established that leaving would be a better idea regardless? (If so, I am yet to see proof.) We need to decide why we are doing this and what the risks are. Surely any business making a big change of course would conduct similar extensive due diligence?

We have been part of the European Union for many years. A fast exit may make our NHS vulnerable to American Big Pharma, compromise our national security, or cause growth reduction. These may be risks that as a society we would agree to take through a strong united decision, but surely not with a 52/48% vote split. Many of the 48% are young people, who haven’t even explored Europe yet, but who may bear the brunt of any fallout. It seems unfair to them at the very least.

In order to unite and move on, I believe we must properly address the misinformation campaign and spending limit breaches that occurred during the referendum. What impact did they really have? What was their influence on the end result? When I hear that I’m not ‘respecting the result of the referendum’, I wonder if it is a fair argument because of the dubious way that result was obtained. True accountability appears some way off.

Whatever happens on 31 October, there will be winners and losers – so some creative thinking seems required. This would go a long way right now, and could help us make positive changes to society too. This will not be easy with current levels of Brexit fatigue, but Christians have a real opportunity here to help society embrace facts, challenge lies, and encourage forgiveness.

For example, pausing Brexit for further research doesn’t close the argument completely, but it would acknowledge that leaving has huge unforeseen complexities, and could be quite dangerous to many people. How we look after those less fortunate than ourselves is a big part of who we are, and just ploughing forward with No Deal is hugely irresponsible at this stage.

‘Pick your side’ just won’t work with such a complex issue!

I am a remainer who respects the democratic process, but I believe what is happening now is deeply troubling. Any huge steps we make as a country should be well thought through, made with confident strides, and taken in a united direction!

“Finally, all of you, have unity of mind, sympathy, brotherly love, a tender heart, and a humble mind.” (1 Peter 3:8)

Matt Bunday is a member of Above Bar Church and also a councillor on Southampton City Council for the Labour group.

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