It’s Brexit Day when the UK will boldly go from the European Union into the brave new world of unregulated capitalism, led by a small section of its population who may become wealthier, supported by a majority of poorer people who are likely to become poorer still. This is a needless folly. After all, as Jeremy Corbyn knew, the EU is a reasonably successful capitalist club, which provided, as he failed to recognise, some of the checks and balances that might keep at bay the self-destructive arrogance of the worshippers of “more” – more production, more goods, more purchases, more food….more CO2, more global warming, more severe weather events, more war, more death. The slogan of ‘taking back control’ by abandoning the institutions, laws and rules which have controlled the worst excesses of greed and nationalism, is a moronic oxymoron.
Yes, nationalism. Brexit also confirms me in a nationalism which I find morally distasteful. I am only proud of being Scottish because I have lived here most of my life. I do not imagine that I or my fellow Scots possess human qualities which are any better than those of say, Iranians or Congolese. Nor do I detest English people, whom I have found to be just as wonderful or vile as Scots. Yet English nationalism, combined with its determinative majority in the UK, has made me a separatist: I would rather be part of Europe than of the UK.
This saddens me, for I recognise that the nation state, which originated as the extended fiefdom of a bunch of aristocratic thugs, has made a huge contribution to human misery in every time and place. My Christian faith, moreover, schools me in belonging to a multi- national, multi-ethnic body which at its best promotes peace and justice.
This fact reminds me the the EU grew out of an appalled recognition of the damage done by nation states, and an attempt to forge broader and less damaging allegiances. It has been a unique attempt to overcome nationalism by fostering economic, cultural and personal ties. In being forced to leave this beneficial union, I want to give thanks for what it has done, and to commit myself a) to opposing the nationalism that has brought about Brexit b) to enjoying and maintaining the international friendships of the church, especially in Europe, and c) with great reluctance to promoting the independence of Scotland, as a preliminary to rejoining the EU.