Why I’m Voting Remain image

Why I’m Voting Remain

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Christians can, and do, reach different conclusions about Britain's membership of the EU. Although there are bad reasons to vote Remain (e.g. greed) and Leave (e.g. xenophobia), there are good reasons on both sides as well, and a great many Christians will vote tomorrow on the basis of one or more of them. For most of the campaign, I have remained neutral; my main concern has been for members of my church to understand the arguments, think the best of one another, and where necessary, to disagree well. But today, the mask slips. Here are ten considerations that have led to my voting Remain.

1. The primary motivation for voting on this issue, for the Christian, is love of our neighbours—especially those neighbours who are poor, marginalised, oppressed or disenfranchised. I’m sure we can all agree on that.

2. There is a virtual consensus amongst the experts, including many who are independent, that the UK economy (for sure) and the European economy (in all likelihood) would be adversely affected by a Leave vote. When that kind of thing happens, it is not the rich who are hit the hardest, but the poor.

3. Experts, admittedly, get things wrong sometimes. But that isn’t a reason to disregard everything they say, especially when there is consensus, as there is here.

4. Immigration is good: for immigrants, for the UK, for Europe, for the world. Just throwing that out there.

5. Planting churches in Europe, which is a significant part of the calling of the group of churches to which I belong, is made far easier by membership of the EU: it means church planters in European cities can get a job. Taking that away would make things harder.

6. Religious freedom in Eastern Europe, and any countries looking to join the EU, is enhanced by the existence of the EU. Supporting it is therefore helpful.

7. The reason we elect representatives to make decisions for us, in normal circumstances, is that most of us simply do not understand the issues involved, or at least not well enough to make an informed decision. The vast majority of our elected representatives think we should vote Remain. That should count for something.

8. As much as ad hominem arguments are generally bad form, it is notable that the unhelpful rhetoric from the Remain side (“this thing we agreed would be OK a few months ago is now an economic disaster”) has not been as inflammatory or socially divisive as that from the Leave side (“breaking point” and so on). Clearly, there are many far more responsible advocates on both sides (Michael Gove and Dan Hannan spring to mind), but it seems to me that a vote for Leave would give fresh momentum to some of the more unsavoury varieties of Leaver (mentioning no names), and I don’t want to do that.

9. Given that the Labour Party will probably not be elected with Jeremy Corbyn as leader, a Leave vote would likely lead to Boris Johnson being Prime Minister until at least 2025. Crumbs.

10. Internationally, almost all our friends are telling us to vote Remain. And, cheap shot though it is, the people wanting us to vote Leave (Le Pen, Putin, Trump) do not inspire the same levels of confidence.

Needless to say, I am well aware that there are many other issues in play here, that this list is selective, and that an equivalent post could be written by someone on the Leave side, and no doubt has been. But it’s my blog, so it’s my list.

Matt will respond in a short while, no doubt!

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