ADVERTISING
 
Monday, May 21   Sign in or Register
 
Evangelical Focus
 

 
ADVERTISING
 
 
FOLLOW US ON
  • Twitter
  • Facebook
  • Google +
  • Instagram
  • Soundcloud
 

Newsletter
Newsletter, sign up to receive all our News by email.
 

POLL
State and Religion
Should religious symbols be displayed in buildings of the public administration?



SEE MORE POLLS
 

 
TOP 10 MOST VIEWED



Michael Gowern
2
 

Brexit - Where is it going?

Christian organisations are hesitant to openly express any opinion because they know that their members are very divided.

FEATURES AUTHOR Michael Gowen 09 MARCH 2018 08:54 h GMT+1
Theresa May, in Tallin (Estonia) in 2017. / Aaron Urb (WIkimedia Commons 2.0)

This week in the news briefings that I read I came across two very interesting statements in relation to Brexit and passporting for financial services, the system by which a financial product licensed in one EU member state can be traded in all the other 27 countries without further approval being needed.



Statement No. 1: Theresa May, UK Prime Minister, in her Brexit speech on 2 March:



“If we were to accept passporting we’d just be a rule-taker, we’d have to abide by the rules that were being set elsewhere and given the importance of financial stability of ensuring the City of London, we can’t just take the same rules without any say in them.”



Statement No. 2: Carolyn Fairbairn, Director-General of the Confederation of British Industry, speaking on the radio show ‘Pienaar’s Politics’ on 4 March:



“Passporting really matters for financial services firms. Something needs to be put in its place.”



These two statements, side by side, show the essential problem of the Brexit negotiations. The UK government rejects most aspects of the status quo with the EU (customs union, single market, financial services passporting, etc.). There is a certain area where the loss of the status quo will create enormous difficulties. The government acknowledges the difficulties, but fails to come up with any meaningful proposal for addressing them. And financial and professional services are no trivial issue: they make up 11% of the UK’s GDP and provide 2.2 million jobs.



We see the same problem in relation to Northern Ireland. Everybody agrees on the undesirability of a hard border between the Republic and Northern Ireland. The UK government rejects the EU’s suggestion of Northern Ireland remaining in the customs union but, almost a year after the notice to leave the EU was given, has failed to come up with anything meaningful which could form a basis for negotiation, talking only vaguely about ‘technological solutions’. And this too is a crucial issue: the peace and security of British and Irish citizens is at stake.



Those who voted Leave in the Brexit referendum did so for a variety of reasons, such as regaining national sovereignty, leaving a doomed project, taking control of immigration, no longer having to pay £350 million every week into the EU coffers. From the people I have spoken with, most of these Leavers thought that these objectives could be achieved with minimal disruption to Britain’s economic and political life.



Hardly anybody realised how difficult it would be to extract the UK from the EU, because the public had been, and is still being seriously misinformed by large sections of the press. ‘I never thought it would be this hard to get out of the EU,’ lamented one man interviewed on TV last week. ‘Why do we need a transition period as long as two years?’ The UK government seems to be suffering from much the same kind of myopia – and they have far less excuse than the general public, because they should have taken the time to properly inform themselves.



The road ahead in the Brexit negotiations reads, ‘Danger!’ But the UK government seems to be ignoring the warning signs. Sometimes the Prime Minister seems more concerned to maintain unity within the Conservative party than to negotiate seriously with the EU. She and her ministers continue to produce platitudes and vague ideas, but no firm proposals. ‘We are waiting to see what the EU offers us,’ I have heard ministers say. But it is the UK who took the initiative to leave, so the onus is on the UK to say what it wants, as a starting point for negotiations.



Where are the British Christians in all this? Nowhere to be seen. Why? Because they are just as divided on this issue as the country as a whole. Opinion polls show that the near 50/50 split in the referendum is much the same today, and this split is reflected in the church, where there are a whole range of views. At one extreme are those who consider the European Union to be a work of God, initiated by men with a strong Christian faith, to bring peace and prosperity to Europe. At the other extreme are those who equate the EU with the harlot of Babylon or the beast and urge the UK to ‘Come out from among them and be separate’, so as not to be defiled. And there is everything in between. Christian leaders and Christian organisations are hesitant to openly express any opinion because they know that their members are so divided.



Where is it all going? There are now only 7 months left in which to come to an agreement, since the EU has said that it will take from October to get an agreement through its internal processes before March 2019 – and approval for whatever is agreed is far from a foregone conclusion. The closer we come to that deadline without tackling the key issues such as those that I have mentioned above, the more likely it is that the whole thing will end in tears.



Every day we come closer to October without meaningful proposals from the UK government, without a significant breakthrough in the negotiations, the chances of an agreed settlement diminish. Without such a settlement, there are only two alternatives: either the UK crashes out of the EU on 29 March 2019 with no agreement – which would delight many Brexiteers on the right of the Conservative party, but would be far more damaging than most people realise – or there is some cataclysmic event which causes a significant shift in public opinion, and the UK ends up remaining a member of the European Union. One of these two options is looking increasingly likely, so long as we continue on the present path.


 

 


2
COMMENTS

    If you want to comment, or

 

Ian Major
10/03/2018
15:53 h
2
 
That's a personal assessment with personal encounters with some Brexit voters. It does not represent other Brexit voters like myself, who view the government's lack of clarity on appeasing Remainers in the cabinet rather than ignorance of the way to go. A Hard Brexit should be our starting position, one we are content to live with, but an agreed settlement with the EU being a preferred outcome.
 

Jeff Fountain
10/03/2018
05:18 h
1
 
At last, a clear analysis of what is at stake. Thank you Michael Gowen for an informed perspective and a sober wake up call for Christians.
 



 
 
YOUR ARE AT: - - - Brexit - Where is it going?
 
ADVERTISING
 
 
 
AUDIOS Audios
 
Ruth Valerio: A lifestyle that cares about creation Ruth Valerio: A lifestyle that cares about creation

Are Christians called to make a difference in environmental care? What has creation care to do with "loving our neighbours"? An interview with the Global Advocacy and Influencing Director of Tearfund.

 
Kathy Bryan: Online sex trafficking in the USA Kathy Bryan: Online sex trafficking in the USA

“Prostitution is nobody’s dream,  it’s a very traumatic lifestyle”, says Kathy Bryan, director of the Elevate Academy. She mentors former victims.

 
Christians in politics? Christians in politics?

What is the role of Christians serving in politics? An interview with Auke Minnema, the new General Director of the European Christian Political Movement (ECPM).

 
Michael Ramsden: Communicating the Gospel in today’s societies Michael Ramsden: Communicating the Gospel in today’s societies

RZIM International Director Michael Ramsden responds to questions about the secularisation of Europe, the role of Christians in public leadership and the new ‘culture of victimism’.

 
Michael Schluter: Relationships are the key to build Europe Michael Schluter: Relationships are the key to build Europe

The economist summarises the manifesto “Confederal Europe: Strong Nations, Strong Union” and explains why personal relationships should be at the centre of our economy, education and democracy. 

 
Efraim Tendero: Relationship with Roman Catholicism and other current issues Efraim Tendero: Relationship with Roman Catholicism and other current issues

The World Evangelical Alliance Secretary General participated in the Italian Evangelical Alliance assembly (Rome, 8-9 April). In this interview with Evangelical Focus, Bp Tendero talks about the need to listen to local churches and to face challenges like the refugee crisis and climate change. 

 
Greg Pritchard: European Leadership Forum Greg Pritchard: European Leadership Forum

Pritchard explains the vision of ELF, comments on the 2015 event in Poland and reflects on what it means to have an "evangelical identity".

 
PICTURES Pictures
 
Analysing current issues in the light of the Bible Analysing current issues in the light of the Bible

At the 2018 Apologetics Forum in Comarruga (Spain), Michael Ramsden, Pablo Martinez, Ruth Valerio and José de Segovia analysed how society and the Bible approach the issues of personal identity, integrity, sexuality, pop culture, and environmental care.

 
European “Bridges to Inclusion” gathering 2018, in Riga European “Bridges to Inclusion” gathering 2018, in Riga

The network of Christian ministries working for the inclusion of people with disabilities, celebrated its tenth continental meeting in Latvia with the participation of 12 countries.

 

 
Coexistence in the church - a model for society Coexistence in the church - a model for society

“Gospel, identity and coexistence” were the themes of the General Assembly of the Spanish Evangelical Alliance. Two days in Palma de Mallorca to reflect about the role of evangelical churches in society.

 
'Ungi kulimi changana' 'Ungi kulimi changana'

Educator and journalist Jordi Torrents shares images of the Sekeleka social centre in Mozambique. About 50 children live there, many with some kind of disability. All photos were taken with permission.

 
The President in an evangelical church on Christmas Eve The President in an evangelical church on Christmas Eve

For the first time, the President of Portugal attended a worship service in an evangelical church. It was in Sintra, on Christmas Eve.

 
Stamps to commemorate the Reformation Stamps to commemorate the Reformation

Poland, Lithuania, Namibia and Brazil are some of the countries that have issued special stamps on the 500th anniversary of Martin Luther’s 95 theses.

 
VIDEO Video
 
Pitfalls that Christian artists should avoid Pitfalls that Christian artists should avoid

Delta David Gier, Conductor and Music Director, on some of the dangers for artists.

 
Why are Christian leaders particularly vulnerable to sexual temptation? Why are Christian leaders particularly vulnerable to sexual temptation?

“The reasons why somebody might have sex with a prostitute are very different from the reasons why somebody might want to have an affair with a member of their congregation”. An analysis by John Stevens, National Director of FIEC (UK).

 
Be safe on social media Be safe on social media

A video about the way traffickers target teenage girls online, produced by anti-slavery gorup Abolishion.

 
In Mission In Mission

A 360º lyric video about how all followers of Jesus Christ are called to serve God. Duo in Spanish (Alex Sampedro) and Portuguese (Marcos Martins).

 
Heart Heart

A short animation film by Swiss cartoonist Alain Auderset tells the message of the Bible in four minutes.

 
Philip Yancey interview Philip Yancey interview

An 8-minute interview with Philip Yancey on the role of Christians in a secularised society. Recorded in Madrid, September 2016.

 
An interview with Prof. John Lennox An interview with Prof. John Lennox

New atheism, the definition of "faith", Christianity in Europe, the role of the Bible in mission, and the need to listen more. An exclusive interview recorded at "Forum Apologética" (Tarragona, Spain) in May 2016.

 
 
Follow us on Soundcloud
Follow us on YouTube
 
 
WE RECOMMEND
 
PARTNERS
 

 
AEE
EVANGELICAL FOCUS belongs to Areópago Protestante, linked to the Spanish Evangelical Alliance (AEE). AEE is member of the European
Evangelical Alliance and World Evangelical Alliance.
 

Opinions expressed are those of their respective contributors and do not necessarily represent the views of Evangelical Focus.