Shortly following last night’s Commons rejection (second time around) of four quite different where to go next Brexit proposals (indicative votes) a friend posted “All indicative votes have failed again! Praise God” and another friend responded “Nothing for praise there!” Both happen to be strong Christians. Besides recognizing not only is the Commons sharply divided so is the country, including Christians. I suspect among those holding opposite opinions there are many who sincerely want what is best for their country. While I believe leaving the EU is God’s will, even with no deal (as now seems the case), many good Christians see things differently, begging the question where we go next, with the next deadline for leaving, 12th April, now only ten days away.
The BBC headline this morning was: “Brexit: No-deal more likely but can be avoided – Barnier”. The report begins: “A no-deal Brexit is now more likely but can still be avoided, the EU’s chief negotiator has said. On Monday night, MPs voted on four alternatives to the PM’s withdrawal deal, but none gained a majority. Michel Barnier said a long extension to the UK’s current 12 April exit date carried “significant risks for the EU” and that a “strong justification would be needed” before the EU would agree”. The report ends: “Speaking on Tuesday morning, Mr Barnier said: “No deal was never our desire or intended scenario but the EU 27 is now prepared. It becomes day after day more likely.””
That BBC headline was replaced this afternoon by another: “Brexit: MPs push to prevent no-deal in law”. The report begins: “A cross-party group of MPs has put forward a bill to prevent a no-deal Brexit in 10 days’ time. If passed into law, the bill would require the PM to ask for an extension of Article 50 – which mandates the UK’s exit from the EU – beyond the current 12 April deadline”. Another article by the Leave campaign group Westmonster, titled: “Cooper puts forward Bill to block No Deal Brexit” concludes: “Yet another Remainer power-grab in Parliament after Speaker John Bercow yesterday also allowed four pro-Remain amendments that were all thankfully defeated. Let’s hope this Bill is rejected so that the UK can finally become an independent country on 12th April. Westmonster will never u-turn. We will always fight for a proper Brexit. If you believe in what we do, please support us”.
While I hope to leave on 12 April, I doubt that will happen, especially without a deal, but whether or not that is the case will depend on whether the Cooper – Letwin cross party proposal will succeed. I have no foresight in the matter and like the rest of the population look forward with a mixture of anticipation and trepidation to what happens next and with little confidence in our elected representatives, who have repeatedly let us down, lacking the spine to confront the EU leadership who show scant respect for the will of the British people. I regret the division that has arisen because of the events of the last few days, and indeed the last three years, and look forward to closure and moving on. I regret the betrayal of the British people by the political class. I regret good people reject the wisdom of the likes of much maligned Melanie Phillips whose latest Brexit article is titled: “Hold your nerve, Brexiteers: there is a way forward and it’s called leaving with no deal”. But all this is by and by for not only is not up to me, my influence on the final outcome is minuscule (although it won’t stop me trying). I am even up for a another people’s vote recognizing a lot of water has flowed under the bridge since last time and we have an angry standoff between Remain and Leave stalwarts, who need to be won over. But if that is the case, it needs to be decisive and immediate – we stay in the EU or we leave with no deal.
So back to the “God” perspective I started with. I have no doubt he does care and will have the final say and I suspect the way it will finally pan out will be with reference to worldwide happenings, and it will surprise most of us. Ours is a nation that has lost its way and the only way forward is if God were to have mercy on this nation.
Update: This evening’s predictable BBC headline is “Brexit: Theresa May to ask EU for further extension“. If nothing else, it shows the government turning away from that which is staring them in the face, seeking an alternative to a no deal Brexit although this is little different to those proposed earlier: “Theresa May will ask the EU for an extension to the Brexit deadline to “break the logjam” in Parliament. The PM says she wants to meet Labour leader Jeremy Corbyn to agree a plan on the future relationship with the EU. But she insisted her withdrawal agreement – which was voted down last week – would remain part of the deal. Mrs May said she wanted the extension to be “as short as possible” – before 22 May so the UK does not have to take part in European elections. The UK has until 12 April to propose a plan – which must be accepted by the EU – or it will leave without a deal“. Unsurprisingly, Westmoster in there article: “May: We will seek further Article 50 extension” is critical: “Prime Minister Theresa May has announced that she will seek a further extension of Article 50 instead of the UK leaving on 12th April without a deal. Absolutely disgraceful” I cannot help thinking how wrong she is to pursue this strategy and there will be consequences.