The Brexit Meltdown - what next ?
What a mess. The UK Government seems paralysed, the perception of politics at an all time low - who is acting in the National Interest anymore ?
Let's review what has happened since Brexit happened.
2 years ago on the 23rd June 2016, 72.2% of the registered voting public in the UK, participated in the vote (one of the highest participation figures in years).
Brexit as it's now called became a reality. It was an absolute shock to British politics, but did fulfil a Conservative Pledge under David Cameron to offer a full referendum, Cameron resigned and hasn't really been seen since. 52% of the vote went to Brexit, with promises of using the money we pay Europe to further fund the NHS and be free of the rules and regulations imposed by the un-elected leaders in a move away from what could have become 'The United States of Europe'. People like Boris Johnson, Nigel Farage and Andrea Leadsom became the loudest voices, making their case, which resonated with the public.
The European Union itself was also in shock and quickly rallied to no doubt make the exit progress as difficult as possible to avoid a complete collapse of 'The Europe Project' that has as been worked on since the Second World War. Let's not forget that when Britain voted to join the common market (later the EEC) in 1973, the full extent of what we entered into was never fully understood by the public. Our entry was bumpy back then, it needed a referendum to just remain involved in 1975. Since then our membership of what was initially a trading relationship has grown and the EU now has substantial influence over Britain on Trade, Immigration, Transport, Law and soon to be Tax and Military.
After nine months of deliberation article 51 was triggered, and a time frame was set of two years to prepare all Government departments for the Brexit process and then negotiations with the EU over the terms of our exit began.
The Government quickly realised the depth of the ties to Europe. A compensation package for the EU was tabled, which initially ran over £100 Billion. Then the question of the hundreds of thousands of Europeans living here and UK passport holders living there - what would happen to them?
From the outset there have been calls to reverse the process, calls for a second referendum because people didn't understand the implications. Former Prime Ministers openly talking about reversing the democratic vote. It's obviously in the EU's interest for no other member states to follow Britains lead.
All of the pressures around this has lead to where we are now. Theresa May has been constantly attempting to negotiate 'the best deal' with the EU, when they know she doesn't have consensus in her own Parliament let alone political party. In her spoken determination to honour the original referendum result, there has been so much compromise and so many influences to appease what we have left is vote after vote being turned down, leaving May with a bag of rotten apples to say the least.
Theresa May's slightly revised deal was rejected by a majority of 149 on Tuesday. This landslide defeat was no doubt fuelled by the Attorney General's statement that the legal position of the Northern Ireland Backstop was unchanged.
This opened up a frantic series of votes on Wednesday. What is now known as the Malthouse Compromise. The suggestion being that a Brexit by default would be stopped and we would hold off until 2021 to allow more time for a managed no-deal (Malthouse plan B). This would have been five years after the initial referendum, no one had the stomach for it seems and this vote was defeated by 374 votes to 164.
The next vote becoming known as the Spellman amendment, which suggested a No no-deal ever of Brexit, was won by a majority of four - 312 to 308. What I was surprised by was finding out Conservatives were told they could abstain from this and four significant votes did exactly that. This vote doesn't yet change the legal consequence of a default departure 'no deal brexit' on the 29th March.
The second vote last night was probably the toughest - Not to leave the EU without a deal. This was won by a resounding 321 to 278, piling the pressure on Theresa May.
She has tabled yet another vote today to extend article 50, there is no guarantee the EU will even agree to this without a consensus in Parliament. May has threatened that 'If her deal is not agreed, then Brexit itself is at risk'.
All of this of course while the opposition party has called for a vote of no confidence in the Prime Minister, called for a General Election and last night called that Parliament in a suggested cross-party move take over the Brexit Process itself.
MP's from across the house have setup the Independent Group, while not giving up their seat back to the party they resigned from, Nigel Farage has also established a new Political party and vows to fight anything that doesn't result in giving the EU a bloddy nose. The best Boris Johnson is seen in the press to have come up with in the last 24 hours is to say that the monies spent on investigations of historic child sex abuse crimes was a waste of money - shameful.
There is not currently in UK politics a figure that demands such respect and is revered enough to draw everyone together and push a deal through the EU. While our government is in disarray, the EU is circling over the remnants of our indecision like a vulture determined to kill off Brexit in a slow and steady way.
So let's get to a spiritual point in all of this. There have been hundreds of thousands of Christians praying for God's will above all else to be done in our Nation. For our Sovereignty to flourish and our place in the world to be strengthened. How do we reconcile those prayers to what is happening on the ground ?
I'm reminded of a particular story in Exodus 3, where the people of God were praying for their release from their oppressors 'Egypt', God heard their cry and that started a chain of events which eventually lead them to the Promise Land. Of course writing that one sentence overlooks, the plagues, 40 years in the wilderness, God's recruitment of Moses the reluctant deliverer. It also overlooks that the people themselves said they wanted to return to captivity, that five times Egypt offered impossible 'compromises' to appease an agitated group of slaves. It finally also overlooks that Egypt in the end, sent it's armies to kill over approx. 2 million people rather than let them go. I needed to gulp when I wrote that point.
It's not the first time in our history that we've had trouble with Europe. Back in the 1500's when we proclaimed our religious sovereignty from Rome (during the reign of Henry VIII), Spain launched an armada against us. In more recent history, Europe as we now know it would have never existed if we with America had not stood our ground during World war II.
Sadly Britain has contributed massively to create what the EU has now become.
So from a prayer perspective, can we hold our nerve and pray for God's will and purpose above all else ? Trusting that what ever the outcome - God has His hand in whatever happens from here.
Exactly two months ago I suggested these points and a prayer, the link is here.
I've revised the prayer to bring more focus to where we are now.
A Prayer for Brexit
Almighty God, we ask in your mercy and grace to guide our Nation at this time.
We pray wisdom and guidance for our elected politicians, that they would lay down every vain ambition for the sake of our family of Nations.
Lord, we humble ourselves before you, and ask that Great Britain once again be a strong, Sovereign Nation, willing extend an arm of friendship and help to so many countries around the world.
Let us stay focussed in Prayer Lord, in spite of the immediate circumstance to pray that Your will be done, and Your Kingdom come, we pray in Jesus name. Amen