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Politics Today

Decision Time

todayJune 8, 2016 12

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The News Hour

The problem for the majority is that there are many complex issues involved, and deciding which matters most and which campaign to believe, makes our choice the more difficult. The tone of the debate has not helped, each side accusing the other of lies and scare stories. Perhaps it is naïve to expect a dispassionate debate, the campaigners care and the outcome will shape our nation’s destiny for years to come. So how do we choose between them?

We have to recognise that the EU and the world have changed since we joined the EU in 1973. There were 9 members then, there are 28 now and eleven of them are ex-communist countries that have chosen to become market economies. Globally, transport and communications developments have shrunk the world and migration has changed the ethnic make-up of national populations. Against this backdrop, has the significance of the nation state diminished, making trans-national cooperation more necessary? Does membership of the EU reduce the likelihood of European wars (that killed 40 million Europeans) in 20th century? What vision do we have for our nation’s future?

The free movement of peoples is a core value of the EU and immigration is a major issue for the Leave campaign. Is Britain already over- crowded or do we need skilled workers to fill gaps left by our ageing population? Are EU migrants unwelcome if they come to work and pay taxes? And would leaving the EU put some of our jobs at risk?  Stripped of emotive claims these are genuine issues for us to consider.

Another vexed issue is the loss of sovereignty from the Westminster Parliament to the EU institutions. There is no doubt that the EU has failed to take subsidiarity seriously and interferes in matters best left to national parliaments. Is that a reason to leave or a challenge to reform the Union? Could the UK give leadership within the EU to reform it or is that a naive hope? Historically the Westminster Parliament made a sovereign decision to join the EU and the people voted in 1975 to remain, so the nation chose to give up some sovereignty. Is the case for leaving that we made the wrong choice in 1975 or that the EU has failed to fulfil the vision that inspired that choice?

Faced with these questions, what guidance can we find in the Bible? There are no obvious texts that trump all other points of view in this debate. The identification of the EU with the ten horns in Revelation 17 is incredible now there are 28 members and were always bad exegesis. St Paul tells us to submit to the governing authorities for there is no authority except that which God has established and those that exit have been established by God. Does that apply to the EU? He also urges us to pray for all those in authority. So faced with this important and complex decision the need to pray for guidance that God’s will be done is essential.

Written by: Rufus Olaniyan

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