June 27, 2016 7 Comments
Francis Phillips wrote today in The Catholic Herald a most interesting article, and yes, I know her slightly, and like her, from Jess’ site (and a few others). She’s an eminently sensible person and a very nice one. She may be, alone of my British friends, the lone supporter of Brexit, which isn’t as surprising as it sounds, my friends tend to be of the establishment, and quite highly educated, which are the two of the areas that Remain drew its strength. Luckily for me, they tend to be more tolerant of dissent than the actual left there, or here, as well as very good friends, indeed. I agree with Francis that Britain (and America, for that matter) need to get back to our Christian roots, but that isn’t what I found so interesting. here’s some of her article.
St John Paul II once pleaded with the EU to recognise its Christian traditions, but unfortunately his appeal fell on deaf ears
I was going to start this blog with a cliché like, “Now that the dust has settled on the referendum vote to leave the EU”, but then it struck me that the dust hasn’t settled at all. As anyone who read my blog for last Thursday will know, I voted for Brexit. This brought divisions within the family: one son actively campaigned to leave; one daughter voted to remain (while her husband, from Northern Ireland, voted to leave); another son-in-law, who is from an EU country, now feels he is unwelcome in the UK. My youngest daughter’s carer, who is in her 40s, has voted for the first time in her life: for Brexit. And so on.
Living in a village in Buckinghamshire I did a small bit of leafleting for Brexit on a former council estate across the road. Four out of five people made it clear to me that they were fed up with Brussels; “We want to have our country back” was their view – not so different from the highly educated Michael Gove and Boris Johnson. I only met one dissenting voice, an annoying lady who, whenever I tried to put a statement of fact to her, such as “When we joined the Common Market in 1973 we saw it simply a trade agreement”, or “The euro has been very bad for Greece”, glibly replied, “That’s your opinion”. You can’t argue with people like that.
It is a slur from the disappointed Remain camp to infer that those who voted for Brexit are “racist”. One of the keenest people who worked for my son’s campaign in a London borough was an 18-year-old Pakistani youth, the son of immigrants, who believes passionately in our country’s sovereignty. Three French people, two Italians and a Pole also helped him spread the Brexit message. Yet the members of my Book Club – middle-class, older women graduates and Guardian readers – all voted to remain, apart from me. So it is a complicated picture and it will take time, generosity and tolerance for the deep divisions in the country that the Referendum has opened up to be healed.
As Charles Moore wrote in the Telegraph on Saturday, “Democratic self-government – parliamentary democracy – is what the modern British nation is founded on… It was slipping away from us. Now we have reclaimed it.”
I think that may be a key thing with the vote. It seemed to me that many people let their education, or their economic interests override the very fact that control of their government was slipping away. In fact, one of my friends, who is both Headmistress of a girl’s school and trustafarian, told me that she was voting based on the advice of her financial advisor. One can’t really argue with that reasoning, if they don’t have the basis that we’re arguing from. And that is why, I think, that so many American
And that is why, I think, that so many American conservatives were so overjoyed at the results. We saw what maybe the British were too close to see, that Britain was quickly becoming a province of (nondemocratic) Europe, rather than the force of nature and freedom that produced the modern world, and America as well.
There is a lot of commentary that many voters were ill-informed, and it may be so, but what I saw here was Britain, and yes, especially England, reclaiming its heritage, and its government. That goes far deeper than the issues, it goes to the heart of what many Americans and Britons proclaimed on Friday, Independence Day, the British 4th of July. And in dealing with the Brexiteers, reading and commenting, I loudly claim that I saw very little racism, xenophobia, or little Englandism, I saw people who wanted what conservatives always want, to save the good and change the bad going always forward. As the Speccie said, “Out, and into the world.”
Yesterday, we quoted Christopher Monckton of Brenchley who said,
The people have spoken. And the democratic spirit that inspired just over half the people of Britain to vote for national independence has its roots in the passionate devotion of the Founding Fathers of the United States to democracy. Our former colony showed us the way. Today, then, an even more heartfelt than usual “God bless America!”
We pray God that it will be so. We also agree with that famous quote of William Pitt the Younger from about 200 years ago.
“England has saved herself by her exertions, and will, as I trust, save Europe by her example.”