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Monday, 27 June 2016

Statements on the EU Referendum result

On the St Martin-in-the-Fields website, Sam Wells states:

'We now face a new future grateful to be in a democracy where the people’s voice speaks – even when it says what many experience as horrifying. The decision means the nation will leave the EU; it doesn’t automatically mean a war on immigration or economic catastrophe; it must not be allowed to bring about a rise in intolerance and exclusion. It’s up to the whole country now to show that what we have in common is greater than what divides us.'

Angus Ritchie asks some apposite questions of those of us who voted to remain and view the prospect of Brexit as horrifying:

'By far the best piece I have read on the referendum is John Harris's extended essay in The Guardian. Harris, who voted to Remain, warns at the "deep anger and seething worry" which has gripped so much of the country, outside the economic powerhouse of London ...

Harris demands that we listen to a world beyond the metropolitan and middle-class. It is easy to denounce the "bigotry" of the Leave campaign without acknowledging one's own social and economic location. Remainers need to be careful not to fall into our own Pharasaism, for we have sins which require repentance. We speak of social solidarity now, but how much has it inspired us to action on behalf of those in our own land who have been left behind by capitalism? And, when we have acted, have we been motivated by a genuine desire for change or by a shallow self-righteousness - more interested in signalling our virtue than in achieving genuine change?

It is tempting to respond to this week's vote with shrill denunciations, flattering ourselves that this counts as a "prophetic" response. But Harris's essay suggests a more appropriate reaction. We need, first of all, to listen - and to listen in particular from the Nazareths of England and Wales; the unglamorous, left-behind places, which modern capitalism does not value.

For, as these areas will soon discover, the triumph of the Leave campaign is unlikely to address their plight. The challenge for Christians (however we voted in the referendum) is to listen to their genuine and justified grievances, and to help them organise for justice - making common cause with the migrant communities which the worst of the Leave campaign encouraged them to scapegoat.'


Beth Rowley - Nobody's Fault But Mine.

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