“God reigns, let the earth be glad, and isles rejoice each one,” including the British Isles.Psalm 97:1 Scottish metrical version.
Even the ungodly say “Thank God for that!” – but I mean it.
Most of my adult life I have looked forward to the day we would leave the EU, or its predecessor the EEC. The EEC (European Economic Community) began with duplicity and continued with sleight of hand and subterfuge.
After my 1984 campaign against the recommendations of the Warnock Report, I remember campaigning in 1985 against the Single European Act. The campaign became countrywide and began in earnest with Margaret Thatcher’s Bruges Speech on 20 Sep 1988. I remember reading about it the next day in The Times and kept the cutting. I knew it was significant. Today, I bought the commemorative issue of The Times with its Big Ben wrap-around to match this earlier cutting. For decades I have followed the political striving, watched with interest and agreement James Goldsmith’s 1997 VHS video explaining the issues, gave my support during the Brexit Referendum, while praying along with many others for the Lord to come to our aid.
Today’s newspapers record the moment, some with the usual triumphalism of the victors. The Daily Express congratulated itself on its successful 28-year campaign with a headline “Yes, We did it!” on its front page, alongside an outline of Britain covered with earlier Brexit-focused editions of the newspaper. The Express called it “the greatest campaign in newspaper history”, at least bearing testimony to how difficult was this change in national sentiment since the 1975 Referendum to remain in the EEC by two to one – 67% to 33%.
The facts are that Brexit was the result of a conglomeration of extraordinary events that hung in balance until it tipped in God’s providence towards the exit from the European Union. It was not down to any individual but the Express poll correctly nominates Nigel Farage as the most influential figure in securing Brexit. Now that Brexit has arrived, it is time for his long overdue knighthood for ‘services to the United Kingdom and to democracy’, being the one politician who single-handedly led Britain towards Brexit.
Because of the divided country, celebrations have been downplayed by officialdom. Boris Johnson’s cabinet seem to have been told to promote optimism in their public utterances, but at the same time they have been told, says the Financial Times, to downplay triumphalism on Brexit Day in the interests of uniting a post-Brexit Britain. There is some common sense in this. We await the outcome, whether there will be Remainers who want to positively spoil it, especially to dampen the justifiable delight among Brexiteers.
Big Ben sounded for UK Independence Day
Big Ben, the world’s most famous bell, had been silent for repairs during the Brexit debate, and although repairs were not complete, this moment of national significance merited its donning its sonourous sounds to boom out to the world our liberation from the shackles of the undemocratic European Union, some of whose officials would have made very good Nazi officials and commandants.
In truth, a countdown clock was probably more accurate and interesting than watching the clockface of Big Ben, and the sonorous bongs were genuine enough although electronically produced. Their reassuring bongs certainly added to the occasion, and each bong seemed to strike another death knell into the EU experiment.
The campaign for Big Ben to sound floundered on the short sightedness of those involved in public affairs. It may be a parable about those who failed to believe that Brexit would happen, today or any day. Many Establishment figures worked hard to prevent it, colluding with foreign powers to continue the UK’s servile relationship to the EU.
Instead, there was 1. an address to the nation from Boris Johnson the Prime Minister at 10 p.m. and 2. a lightshow and countdown clock was projected with Big Ben on to 10 Downing Street for the 11 p.m. deadline. 3. Boris Johnson held a symbolic cabinet meeting in Sunderland earlier in the day in acknowledgement of its being the first place to declare for Brexit on Referendum night on 23 Jun 2016. 4. a commemorative 50p coin was struck, initially for 31 Oct 2019, but recalled and melted down when Brexit No. 3 failed to materialise. However, the coin went into circulation from the first minute after midnight in the early hours of this morning. Until the EU Parliament voted in favour on 29 Jan 2020 we could not be absolutely sure it would happen. Possibly the Royal Mint had more confidence this time because the date on the UK MEPs’ identity badges had already been changed to conclude on 01/2020. Even then, the SNP MEPs voted against Brexit along with the Lib Dems MEPs. I ordered my pristine commemorative issue coin online today after the lengthy queuing system in the early hours of the morning gave misleading information preventing my securing one as soon as I could.
Possibly the new 50p coin was chosen as the half-£1 coin, reflecting the split in the country over Brexit and the EU. Those who don’t want Brexit can avoid the coin as it is not worth much now that the pound has devalued so much during our 47 years in the EU.
The low-key UK celebrations remind me of the Millennium ‘celebrations’ in 2000, when there was nothing that could unite the country, not even our language. Hopefully, Brexit Britain will revive itself into that long celebrated United Kingdom that has survived for several hundred years.
It is notable that the Irish Language Act featured in recent Northern Ireland politics and it is thought to be one factor in the new attempt to unify the island politically and divide the United Kingdom. The EU tried to use the Brexit negotiations for a landgrab, and it has not given up its intentions. Scottish Gaelic is now the default language for teaching new schoolchildren in the Western Isles. Yet language did not feature in the Brexit debate.
On BBC Politics Live today we were told that there was a lot of debate in the German press about Britain jumping into the unknown, which Germany would never do. This shows that English-speaking people are unable to follow the national mood of Continental countries speaking foreign languages. The foreign-language issue never surfaced in the Brexit debate but I mentioned it many times as a fundamental reason why the European Union cannot be a meeting of minds far less of hearts. Not only must a country have monetary and political union to function properly, but there must be a linguistic union otherwise there is a built-in democratic deficit. The attempt to promote Esperanto was not successful and it is time to recognise that language is as important as border issues in modern politics.
It is little wonder that many did not believe that Brexit would happen. It took a lot of faith. The deliverance of the children of Israel from Babylon was surprising to those who witnessed it, although the Lord’s prophets had said it would happen. The Brexit MEPs carried a sign Brexodus Express in front of them as they left the European Parliament, reminding us of the extraordinary and unexpected Exodus of the children of Israel from Egypt, commemorated in the Jewish passover, preparatory to the Christian sacrament of the Lord’s Supper.
Similarly, there were so many obstacles put in the way of Brexit, that it took faith or at least vision to see a pathway through. Just as Donald Trump on election night had only one route to the US Presidency while Hillary Clinton had six, one by one the routes closed down on Clinton and Trump came through. Similarly the Brexit Referendum result was a surprise to those who authorised the Referendum and even to Nigel Farage. Similarly every spanner was thrown into the Brexit machine, but it ground on in the Lord’s providence because He does not begin a work only to give it up.
So there is a good hope that the Lord will continue to deliver our Kingdom from the forces ranged against it. The Lord is shaking the nations Heb 12:26-27.
The EU Response
The UK MEPs were met at Brussels with a sign from the S&D coalition reading “It’s not Goodbye. It’s Au Revoir”. The BBC interpreted the message: “au revoir” literally meaning “goodbye until we meet again”. Rather, Goodbye means ‘God be with you’ and ‘au revoir’ is French for ’till I/we see you again’. So the message wished God not to be with the UK but it hopes that we will come back to see them. To be fair, possibly English was not their first language. However, it reinforced what Jim Callaghan had said so many decades before, at the time of Britain’s attempt to join the EEC. Jim Callaghan spoke against the dominance of France and French becoming the dominant language in Europe: “I will say it in French so that there is no misunderstanding – Non! merci beaucoup!” Indeed, the lesson from Brexit is ‘Never again’. We extracted ourselves by the skin of our teeth. We were within an ace of being permanently embroiled in the ever-centralising agenda of the EU.
After the European Parliament’s vote to agree to Brexit, Auld Lang Syne was sung, with its nostalgic reference ‘should auld acquaintance be forgot’ accompanied by flag waving, in marked contrast to Nigel Farage’s last speech to the EU being curtailed by cutting off his microphone, appropriately just as he came to the word “sovereign”, for his waving of the UK flag. This was contrary to EU Parliamentary rules, so evidently broken by other MEPs that this petulant action manifested the partiality and disrespect I have come to expect from Europeans when amassed in groupthink.
The UK flag was lowered in Brussels without ceremony and mothballed in a museum, while the SNP Government raised the EU flag, after being stuck halfway up its pole outside the Holyrood Parliament, in defiance of Brexit. There are those who hope to dust down the UK flag for a future re-think, but hopefully the museum will expand with more memorabilia bearing testimony to the folly of building international federation by diktat.
The final decision by the European Parliament on 29 Jan 2020 to permit Brexit proved to be a formality . The 683 MEPs voted 621 to 49 with 13 abstentions. The three SNP MEPs voted against permission for the UK to withdraw from the EU, as did the Lib Dem MEPs, some of whom said that they would be back.
There have been various selfies of the various UK MEPs recording their final day at Brussels, but the average person hardly knows them, so little has been their contribution to UK politics. My experience is that the average person does not know either their six Scottish MEPs nor even the List MSPs in the Scottish Parliament. This shows how little impact these politicians make upon public life. The country needs politicians with a voice and especially a Christian Voice.
Daniel Hannan used his final moments as an MEP to remind members that many things have changed but some things never change and the EU is one of them. However, in his last speech he observed that whereas the UK had been poor tenants we would be good neighbours.
Too big to manage
The British Exit (Brexit) from the European Union is the beginning of international recognition that some institutions are too big to manage. As has happened so often in the past, Britain is leading the way.
The shotgun marriage at the Maastricht Treaty could never last. There was no meeting of minds far less of hearts.
The primary argument in favour of Brexit was the undemocratic nature of the EU institutions.
It is time for the UK to rejoice that we are free of the European Union after a long struggle against its tentacles.
The debate was over business, immigration, employment, freedom of movement of workers and citizens, infrastructure and ideology, the latter in particular. The EU is a secular vision based upon the fear of worldly superpowers. Jealousy of America on one side and fear of the USSR on the other hand, replaced by Russia and the growing economic power of China and India, riding on the back of stolen Western technology, the EU is not a vision derived from mutual Christian brotherly love but derived from collective fear, and it has failed to safeguard western Europe from the moral decline in Britain and Europe.
The nations of this world will yet have a brotherly relationship to each other, but currently they are at loggerheads with each other.
After violence, money is the language most people understand. This is what will continue the break-up of the EU as Greece defaults on its debt and Italy refuses to be pushed around as Greece was. Finally, Germany itself may decide not to shoulder the debts of southern Europe and call a halt to the experiment.
The reason why the Northern Ireland backstop was so critical to the Withdrawal Agreement is because the land border between the UK and the EU drew attention to the border of any country being the very essence of a country. Nothing else defines the essence of a country than its border.
Thus the EU four freedoms, including the free movement of people, is in fact a simple extension of its border. This is why the EU is on course to become a European superstate. The EU continually over-reached its borders, trying to give jurisdiction of the ECJ over EU citizens within the UK borders, in essence extending the EU border to include the UK.
All this has been reversed and corrected by Brexit restoring the proper doctrine of the nation state.
Independence Day and Sir Nigel Farage
Another lesson is the petulance of politicians. We can now officially recognise Britain’s ‘Independence Day’ and give Nigel Farage the knighthood that he so richly deserves for ‘services to the United Kingdom and to democracy’, being the one politician who single-handedly led Britain towards Brexit.
It is the Lord that did it
I prepared a blogpost on 24 Mar 2019 for Brexit Day on 29 Mar 2019. It never came, but it was postponed till Brexit Day 2 on 12 Apr 2019. Its failure to arrive was Theresa May’s downfall as the UK Prime Minister. She broke her promises and she was broken as a leader. She may blame the House of Commons but most people know otherwise. She lost her parliamentary majority at a General Election that she had said she would not call, losing a 20-point lead in the opinion polls during a campaign with non-existent Tory leadership.
So I protested in my own way at 11 p.m. on 12 Apr 2019. Although Brexit 2 failed, nevertheless I was hopeful. Why?
Because the Lord had begun to work and who would stop Him?
When the Lord begins a good work He will carry it on to the end. He does not begin something then give it up. How does this apply to Britain?
For decades I wondered what the outcome for Britain would be. We had broken covenant with God but I knew that He would not break covenant with us. So I pled frequently in public prayer as well as in private: “In wrath, remember mercy” Hab 3:2.
Yet mercy does not exclude chastisement, and for how long might this last? So with longing eyes I looked for evidence of the Lord’s mercy towards Britain. Instead things got worse and worse. Pessimistic amillennialists were bold to assert that the end of the world might come at any moment.
Up to the top of Carmel I climbed to look regularly for a sign of rain 1K 18:42-44. Then came a strong attempt to break up the Union of the United Kingdom, the most successful international union forged through a common faith in the Gospel of Jesus Christ. It was an attempt to replace one Union with another Union based upon the politics of fear and false religion.
Contrary to the expectations of the Scottish Nationalists, who peaked in the polls in the week before the Referendum on Scottish Independence, Scotland voted to remain in the United Kingdom. I read this as the Lord’s kindness, mercy and grace towards our Christian United Kingdom. Grace is undeserved favour and mercy is favour to those in a low estate. If the Lord was to cast us off, this seemed an opportunity to do so, but He did not.
Then came the Brexit Referendum, a campaign of lies by ungodly persons, but contrary to the expectations of those who called the Referendum, including Nigel Farage, like the Scottish Independence Referendum, the UK voted to come out of this entangling alliance which was changing the Christian nature of our country over the past half century.
These are signs for good.
Hopefully the teenage tantrums so evident in much of worldly politics will give place to more mature politics and that Britain’s Exodus from the ill-conceived European Union will signal a change from grievance politics towards more mature political debate by more mature politicians.
Christian Voices will be a significant improvement and Christian values with the hopeful optimism of Christianity will contribute to a better future not only for Britain but for the world. It will come, only let it come sooner rather than later.
Let the United Kingdom be the catalyst for that global change.
The Brexit timeline.
23 June 2016: Where and when it all began. “Brexit” won the Referendum and the UK voted to leave the European Union in order to recover its sovereignty and independence from a domineering international co-operative – billed at the time to become Britain’s ‘Independence Day’. It seems, however, that 31 Jan 2020 is the new UK Indepence Day, although some Remoaners won’t rejoice till 31 Dec 2020.
31 Oct 2019: the list of failed Brexits.
27 Jan 2020: unbelief: the default position.
30 Jan 2020: summary by ‘the left’ of the corruption and control of the European Union.
1 Feb 2020: there was nothing inevitable about Brexit. BBC Newsnight’s Special Brexit edition considered it “fitting perhaps that we end our show with the man with which it all began”. Rather, it began with Sir James Goldsmith and his Referendum Party, but it was taken forward by Nigel Farage and his leadership of UKIP secured the Referendum, and his creation and leadership of the Brexit Party “reset the agenda” to use his own words. At four minutes after Brexit, Nigel Farage acknowledged yet again that both he and Ann Widdecombe were “really scared” in 2019 that Brexit might never happen, although David Cameron claimed rather unrealistically: “I always accepted the Referendum result and knew this day would come.”
It took one Referendum, two General Elections and three Prime Ministers to reach this point. No-one could have known it with certainty, and it took watchfulness, perseverence and faith to overcome the conjoint activity of the EU and those representing the British Establishment and recalcitrant Remain parliamentarians in both Houses of Parliament. It was a popular uprising. The EU officials’ attitude and resistance to calls for reform of its institutions only reinforced that popular response in the 12 Dec 2019 General Election to give Boris Johnson the resounding majority he needed to break the impasse created by nay-sayers in the House of Commons.
The Leave campaign had their celebration in Parliament Square outside Parliament. Nigel Farage addressed the crowd who sung the National Anthem, symbolical of what had actually happened by the return of sovereignty to Britain. Fifteen minutes after Brexit, he told ITV news that during his 27 years of campaigning he often thought that he could become the Patron Saint of Lost Causes. He said that his main aim now is to restore self-confidence in the country and to keep a watching brief on Boris Johnson delivering the Brexit he promised. Daniel Hannan made the comment that the happy faces in Parliament Square were a change from the angry faces he was used to seeing there.
1 Feb 2020: meanwhile Guy Verhofstadt is prophesying and preparing for the UK’s return to the EU fold. Possibly he has still to learn the proverb: ‘once bitten, twice shy’. Someone should teach him about the fate of false prophets. Macron of France plans to continue to play ‘hard to get’ and interfere with the UK steel industry.
1Feb 2020: the Remoaners have lost little time belittling Britain. Kenneth Clarke has called global Britain ‘rubbish’.
On the other side BBC Andrew Neil has accused the BBC of promoting ‘anti-British drivel’. In a CBBC video, Queen Victoria is mocked and Neil asks: “This is anti-British drivel of a high order. Was any of the licence fee used to produce something purely designed to demean us?”
There is little love lost on each side because “they are of the same opinion still” and their hearts have not changed. No wonder Jesus says: “You must be born again” Jn 3:7 and the apostle Peter: “repent and be converted … every one of you” Act 2:38 and Act 3:19.