I was mortified to see in today’s headlines that Tony Blair has suggested the country needs another referendum to confirm that it really wants to follow the Brexit path. In what way is this a reflection of the British democratic values that the government insists we embed in our lessons at schools? How is this for a lesson: If you don’t get what you want the first time around, keep forcing the issue until you get your way? A lesson in respecting other people’s opinions and wishes? A lesson in fair-mindedness? A lesson in obedience? No, none of the above.
This is not the first time we have seen this kind of tactic. Sturgeon is continuing to campaign for a second Scottish referendum. The rejection of the European Constitution by the Netherlands and the subsequent attempts to force the matter also spring to mind. If our political elites truly valued democracy, they would submit to the will of the people. If they do not believe in the democratic process, then they ought to say so. If they do not value honesty, then there is no point in dialogue: their answers are untrustworthy.
Is this what we have come to? Dishonest dealings? Factionalism? It seems hypocrisy is everywhere. When we behave in this manner, we undermine the principles of authority and leadership and our position regarding dictatorship in developing countries. But we need to remember that while the system is flawed, which is a consequence of it being composed of human beings, Blair does not speak for everyone. He represents a particular strand of political thought that is not shared by Theresa May or many of her associates. Whatever her own thoughts regarding Brexit, she is committed to enforcing the outcome of the referendum. She is committed to achieving the best possible terms for a future re-structured relationship with the European Union and she is committed to pursuing new trade and security deals with our partners around the world.
We are a divided nation: there is no concealing it. As Chalcedon has stated elsewhere, we lack a shared vision, shared values, shared vocabulary. It is extremely difficult to have fruitful dialogue under the current zeitgeist. Divide and conquer: those are the tactics of our Enemy. As Christians our responsibility is to be a light in the darkness that helps people to make truly informed decisions. The world of politics is a messy one and we do not always see clearly: but in our personal ethics we can be an example that will foster unity at a grass-roots level.
Here at AATW we do not all have the same political values (and in truth few people fall entirely within a single system), but we have a shared Christian ethos and experience that binds us together as a fellowship: one Church; one Faith; one Lord. Lastly, it is the voice of our Lord speaking through our minds and consciences that keeps us in the Way. He is always speaking to us, even if we do not always hear Him.