Time permits only a brief post today.
The British people have spoken via the ballot box.
Will June 24 be considered as the UK’s ‘independence day’? I hope so.
The results of the EU Referendum were 51.9% Leave and 48.1% Remain with turnout at just over 72%.
Unfortunately, our Prime Minister David Cameron resigned shortly after 8 a.m. today, Friday, June 24. He did this of his own accord. He stated that he would remain as PM until the Conservative Party conference in October, when a new party leader will be chosen.
Brexit may well trigger a second independence referendum in Scotland.
However, despite market upsets earlier today in stocks and Sterling, similar exit referenda might now be held elsewhere in Europe. I was listening to RMC’s (French talk radio) programmes today. The flagship morning programme took a listeners’ poll on the topic; 73% of them would like a referendum! A conservative French MP said that Brexit was a clear signal that EU elites in Brussels need to start listening to European citizens. He is absolutely right.
Columnist Brendan O’Neill said the same thing in The Spectator:
This result should send a clear warning to every politician and bureaucrat: do not dare to take the people for granted; do not presume that they think the same way as you do; do not underestimate their capacity to think about things and discuss them and to chuck out political ideas and systems they don’t like. There is plenty of time for breakdowns of how Britain voted, for tears among the Remain campaign, and for celebrations among Leavers; but for now, let us marvel at the fact that democracy works, that democracy is powerful, and that the people can think for themselves. It is rare that politics makes me get a lump in my throat, but today it has, because generations of people fought and died for the right we have just exercised — the right to determine the destiny of our nation and to change the world.
I can’t top that.
I will be celebrating in full today: lunch with a party to follow this evening.
More analysis will come in the coming weeks.
To all those who voted for the people and democracy, many thanks!
He was a Particular Baptist, meaning that he allied himself with the 1689 Baptist Confession of Faith which is essentially Calvinist, outside of adult baptism.
He is still widely quoted today and is known as the Prince of Preachers.
(Image credit: Wikipedia)
Spurgeon admirers may already be acquainted with Spurgeon.US, which is a repository of over 4,000 quotes from this great man. The topics are categorised alphabetically. This is truly a treasure trove of Protestant Christianity.
I enjoyed reading what Spurgeon had to say on eternity. A few gems follow. The numbers at the end of the quotes are the sermon numbers. Emphases mine below.
When the wheel turns, those who are lowest rise, and the highest sink. Patience, then, believer, eternity will right the wrongs of time. ME280
Time tries most things, but eternity tries all. 1736.465
Certain men in these days declare that “everlasting” does not mean everlasting, but indicates a period to which an end will come sooner or later; I have no sympathy with them, and feel no inclination to renounce the everlastingness of heaven and other divine blessings in order to gratify the tastes of wicked men by denying the eternity of future punishments. 1186.438
A new way of reading the Bible has been invented in these highly enlightened days. I used to get on exceedingly well with the book years ago, for it seemed clear and plain enough, but modern interpreters would puzzle us out of our wits and out of our souls, if they could, by their vile habit of giving new meanings to plain words. Thank God, I keep to the old simple way; but I am informed that the inventors of the new minimizing glasses manage to read the big words small, and they have even read down the word “everlasting” into a little space of time. Everlasting may be six weeks or six months according to them. I use no such glasses; my eyes remain the same, and “everlasting” is “everlasting” to me whether I read of everlasting life or everlasting punishment. If I clip the word in one place I must do so in another, and it will never do to have a terminable heaven. I cannot afford to give it up here when its meaning is joyous to the saint, and therefore not there when its sound is terrible to the sinner. 1413.271
What saith the Scripture? “Eternal destruction from the presence of the Lord”—not, a moment, and then it is all over; but eternal destruction. The Scripture has put the two side by side, “These shall go away into everlasting punishment, but the righteous into life eternal.” The same word applies to both. As long as heaven shall shine so long hell shall burn. As long as the saints are happy, so long shall those whose impenitence has made them castaways be wretched. 3324.497
We could do with thousands of Charles Spurgeons today.
Sadly, our seminaries aren’t quite up to creating great evangelists.
Still, let us be thankful we have plenty of Spurgeon material at our disposal.
People are leaving the Church for a variety of reasons.
I am weary of going face-to-face and having others think there is something wrong just because I look down or am not smiling. Could it be possible that in my despair or quietness, I am closer to God than ever before?
Yet, it seems that going to church now has to be a psychoanalytical, therapeutic exercise with the pastor or vicar silently summing up a newcomer or the occasional attendee after the service. Everyone is assumed to be an emotional cripple, and the clergyman is the guy (or gal) who will make that decision.
Why can’t we go back to the old days when we went to church to worship God? Why do we have to join at least one group or committee in order to be considered proper church members? Yes, I know there are verses from St Paul’s letters which encourage that, but his converts were also establishing fledgling Church communities. The Church grew into huge national and international denominational organisations.
Therefore, not everyone has to be ‘active’ in order to be a church member in good standing. Priests and ministers will disagree, but this is yet another reason why people shy away from either church worship or attending too often. They don’t want to be too well acquainted with clergy or other members. It could lead to further involvement.
Clergy and elders should really leave people alone and let them decide whether to get involved in groups and committees, most of which are surrogate forms of therapy.
Church is primarily for worship — spending structured time with God and Christ Jesus.
For many churchgoers, true worship is all that they want. Please let them be.
Although writing about a secular subject, author John M Barry wrote the following in his book The Great Influenza: The Epic Story of the Deadliest Plague in History. His words could also be applied to the church congregations of yesteryear:
They are simply a loose confederation of individuals, each of whom remains largely a free agent whose achievements are independent of the institution but who also shares and benefits from association with others. In these cases the institution simply provides an infrastructure that supports the individual, allowing him or her to flourish so that the whole often exceeds the sum of the parts.
Many would like to see a return to that kind of outlook.
This is my final post on the EU Referendum before June 23, 2016.
All my previous posts on the topic are under Brexit. They appear when you click that link.
Emphases mine below, unless otherwise specified.
Two must-see films
The first is 35 minutes long and is an independent production from 2008. The late Sir Patrick Moore introduced it. Two journalists, one of whom is The Telegraph‘s Christopher Booker, an economist and a Russian refugee to the UK made the case for our leaving the EU.
It provides a useful history of the EU in short segments. One of the early segments explains how the EU was designed from the beginning to expand incrementally, step by step, not only in terms of territory but also in structure.
Writer and lecturer Vladimir Bukovsky had the final segment. He saw a direct parallel between the growth and structure of the former USSR and that of the EU. Chilling.
The second film is from Labour Leave. Lexit the Movie is an hour long. It traces the Labour Party’s historical opposition to the EU in the 1970s. It also describes how the UK declined by being in the EU.
The fisheries segment is particularly depressing. Important English and Scottish ports, which used to be bustling with hundreds of boats and hundreds of fishing industry employees, have shrunk to a handful of vessels and a few dozen workers. The fishermen who came of age in the 1970s tell their stories most ably.
Labour politicians, union leaders and workers explain why leaving the EU will benefit Great Britain. I strongly encourage my Labour-leaning readers to take an hour out of their day to watch this. Kate Hoey is in it. She is a remarkable politician. George Galloway and Jim Sillars are also interviewed. Keep in mind that those three entered politics around the time of the first referendum in 1975 (see next part of the post), so that experience no doubt formed their thinking on the subject. All make excellent points, even though I am not at all keen on Labour or George Galloway.
Several of the people interviewed said the big banks, such as JP Morgan, are the ones encouraging Remain, because that is what would benefit them.
Two short clips and some history
Labour – 1970s
In 2013, not long before his death, the former Labour MP Tony Benn addressed the Oxford Union and discussed the EU, which he said would
frighten and demoralise people
into remaining. This clip is two and a half minutes long. Again, I was never a Benn fan, but he was spot on regarding Brussels:
Benn spearheaded the effort to give the British people their first referendum on EU membership in 1975. He warned how dangerous remaining would be. And so it has proven 41 years later.
Unfortunately, people were so fed up with the antics of Labour in general under Harold Wilson’s second term that the party did themselves no favours. Even today, people aged 50+ have vivid and unpleasant memories of strikes, three-day working weeks and limited electricity. This discontent ran from 1973 through to 1979. This is why Margaret Thatcher took such a tough stance when she won the 1979 election. She also actively campaigned for Britain to stay in the European project in 1975.
As a result, the British voted overwhelmingly to remain in the Common Market, as it was known at the time. Not surprisingly, everyone believed it would remain a trade-based construct. The truth was in the name, wasn’t it?
Now it is called the European Union, with a bevy of unelected officials and highly-paid bureaucrats who want to break down the nation state and replace it bit by bit with a centrally-controlled federation run by anonymous, unaccountable men and women who influence our law-making and destroy our distinctive history.
Luxembourg’s Jean-Claude Juncker exemplifies this perfectly. The Telegraph has a few of his most outrageous quotes, which include the following (emphases in the original):
On EU monetary policy
“I’m ready to be insulted as being insufficiently democratic, but I want to be serious … I am for secret, dark debates”
On British calls for a referendum over Lisbon Treaty
“Of course there will be transfers of sovereignty. But would I be intelligent to draw the attention of public opinion to this fact?”
Are Remainers understanding the bigger picture now?
Norway – 1994
On June 20, BBC’s The Daily Politics had a short feature on the pressure put on Norway to vote to join the EU in 1994.
Jo Coburn interviewed Norwegian politician Anne Tvinnereim, who described the Project Fear rhetoric. Much of what she cited sounds exactly like what the Remain camp have been telling us 22 years later — especially the figure that each household would lose per year in income.
Tvinnereim said that Norwegians heard they would be a small, meaningless country; they would never have trade agreements again and they would experience long-term financial disaster. Of course, none of that happened. The Norwegians wisely declined to join the EU and are part of the EEA. Tvinnereim said that the agreement is not perfect, but it is workable for the time being. Kate Hoey was on the panel and said that, if Britain votes Leave, the EEA could have subsequent scope for reform. Hoey, incidentally, stated that she does not believe Britain needs to be part of the EEA or any other formal trading bloc.
Who’s saying what
Now for a round-up of the latest soundbites.
George Soros – Remain
Amazingly, The Guardian had the chutzpah today to lead with an article written by, of all people, George Soros.
It seems he is their latest and best poster boy for Remain.
If that doesn’t want to make you vote Leave, I don’t know what will.
Physiocrat, a Catholic blogger from Britain who lives in Sweden, dismantles Soros’s reasons for Remaining and asks:
I wonder how much Soros stands to lose from a Brexit vote?
Theo Usherwood, London’s LBC radio Political Editor tweeted:
Market speculation – George Soros… Job creation – Anthony Bamford, James Dyson, says Boris Johnson.
Emmanuel Macron – Remain
On June 17, France’s economy minister Emmanuel Macron said that if Brexit wins:
Leaving the EU would mean the ‘Guernseyfication’ of the UK, which would then be a little country on the world scale. It would isolate itself and become a trading post and arbitration place at Europe’s border.
Gosh, that sounds remarkably like what Anne Tvinnereim said Norway was threatened with!
We’ve been the world’s fifth largest economy since 1970 — well before our accession to the EU!
Macron, who previously worked for Rothschild, told France’s RTL radio:
the June 23rd referendum was “dangerous” and that Britain had “taken the rest of the European Union hostage”.
David Beckham – Remain
David Beckham says we should think of the children.
Victoria Beckham – Leave
Victoria Beckham, mother of David’s children, supports Brexit:
The Euro bureaucrats are destroying every bit of national identity and individuality. We must keep our national individuality.
Steve Hilton – Leave
I remember the meetings on immigration towards the end of my time in Downing Street. Everyone around the table, in some way or another, was working hard to try to deliver the government’s commitment.
We were presented with analysis of the numbers of people coming to Britain through various routes, the impact of policy changes we had already made, and projections stretching into the future.
The news was not good. We were way off target; indeed, the numbers were going in the wrong direction. We explored various policy options — and I’m sure that process continued after I left the government in May 2012. But I recall very clearly one of the points that was made to us by the expert officials in the room.
We were told, directly and explicitly, that it was impossible for the government to meet its immigration target as long as we remained members of the EU, which, of course, insists on the free movement of people within it.
Theo Paphitis – Leave
Theo Paphitis, entrepreneur and star of Dragon’s Den, favours Brexit:
though he added short term gaps in employment should be filled by immigration.
He said: “A trading alliance is really, really good.”
But the businessman, who was born in Cyprus, added: “It has moved more towards federalism than trading, which has brought bureaucracy that makes it difficult to be competitive outside the EU – and also within the EU.”
The big question
I shall leave British readers with the following question, which Leave proponent Conservative MP Andrea Leadsom put forward in the ITV debate a fortnight ago. Christopher Booker reprised it for The Telegraph:
if we weren’t already in it today, is it conceivable that we would now wish to join the European Union as it has become?
Please take the time to read his article in full.
I’ll have more post-referendum once the dust settles.
There is so much to write about the EU Referendum that it would take days.
However, here is a penultimate post with a set of topics to consider before voting on Thursday, June 23.
Tone of the arguments presented
The Chancellor of the Exchequer, George Osborne, has threatened the UK with a ‘punishment’ budget if we vote Leave.
This makes no sense because we already have our budget for the year and, even if Leave wins, we are still fully part of the EU for the next two to four years until the government negotiates our full exit.
Therefore, one can conclude only that this is the final scare tactic of Remain’s Project Fear.
One of the comments following The Guardian‘s story on the ‘punishment’ budget makes excellent points about the way both Remain and Leave presented their respective arguments (emphases mine):
LEAVE is about hope, independence and a national identity our children can be proud of. REMAIN, is all about fear, threats and bullying. In the history of the UK peoples, when have we ever given in to threats and fear? Because the electorate simply WON’T do as our elitist, privileged superiors tell us. They threaten Armageddon, they use fear for they lack reason and honesty. The Guardian is legitimising FEAR as a means to subdue a democracy. Wonderfully liberal, precisely what the wealthy, know best political elites have done for decades. A vote to remain, is a vote for the same. Or we refuse fear, we refuse bullying, we vote to leave and raise two defiant fingers to their smug arrogant faces!
Five questions the government won’t answer
The surge in EU migration to the UK in recent years has raised questions in people’s minds — sometimes prompted by television documentaries, newspaper exposes or personal observation — about UK benefit money sent abroad. Child benefit figures prominently.
On June 15, the Daily Mail had an article describing how four Conservative MPs have accused Cabinet Secretary Sir Jeremy Heywood of showing ‘contempt for Parliament’ by refusing to reveal the amount of child benefit sent to other EU countries.
The MPs have accused Sir Jeremy of politicising the civil service in order to protect Prime Minister David Cameron’s Remain campaign. Other ministers are also implicated.
These are the five questions the government refuses to answer:
Q. To ask the Secretary of State for Education, what her policy is on taking account of the effect on the demand for school places caused by immigration (a) in general and (b) from nationals from other EEA countries.
A. It has not proved possible to respond in the time available.
Q. To ask the Chancellor of the Exchequer, what estimate he has made of annual claims made for (a) tax credits and (b) child benefit by EU nationals who remain in the UK for less than one year in each of the last three years.
A. The information requested is not available.
Q. To ask the Chancellor of the Exchequer if he will estimate the cost to the public purse of child benefit payments paid to non-UK citizens in each financial year since 2010-11.
A. Around 7 million people are receiving Child Benefit. To extract and collate the value of all payments made to EU migrants for children living outside the UK in the format requested could only be provided at disproportionate cost.
Q. To ask the Secretary of State for Health, how many nationals of other EU member states registered with a GP in each of the last 10 years.
A. The requested information is not collected centrally.
Q. To ask the Secretary of State for Work and Pensions, how many people from other EU member states were in receipt of housing benefit in each of the last 10 years; and what the total cost to the public purse was of those people claiming that benefit in each of those years.
A. The information requested is not available and could only be provided at disproportionate cost.
Conservative MP William Wragg co-ordinated the written complaint, supported by fellow MPs Bernard Jenkin, Anne Main and Karl McCartney.
The public will be appalled and surprised to learn that the Government refusing to tell us how mass uncontrolled migration from the EU is affecting these vital public services.
Remaining in the EU means that there will be more demand on the NHS, more pressure on schools, more pressure on social housing, and more costs to taxpayers in benefits being paid to EU migrants, some of whom send benefits home to their children who do not even live in the UK.
However the public will be shocked to see that the Government either don’t care, or lacks the courage to admit this.
The Cabinet Office had no comment.
Fishing stocks and quotas
On June 15, an early evening edition of Question Time on BBC1 featured Justice Secretary Michael Gove answer questions from the audience about his case for Leave.
Nearly all the questions he received were from people who backed Remain.
At one point, Gove brought up the control we would have over our fishing stocks. He described how his father had to close his own fishing business in Aberdeen in the 1980s because of EU rules. Notional moderator David Dimbleby said that was untrue, because The Guardian had interviewed Gove’s father who said EU regulations had nothing to do with it per se. There were a myriad of local factors which caused him to wrap up his company.
Gove accused The Guardian of misquoting his father. The paper then reprinted the full transcript of the reporter’s conversation with Gove Sr. The Mail reported:
After the newspaper approached the Cabinet Minister for reaction to his father’s remarks, a clarification was issued.
Mr Gove Snr said he would be voting Leave and was proud of his son for standing-up for people who lost their jobs due to the EU.
“I don’t know what this reporter is going on about,” Mr Gove Snr said, according to The Guardian.
“Everybody in the north-east knows it was Europe that did such damage to the fish trade. The common fisheries policy was a disaster not just for Aberdeen but all of Scotland. There wasn’t any future for my business. It closed as a direct result of Europe,” the statement added.
However, how did the UK get into such a situation? A 1996 article from The Independent provides the answers. Excerpts follow:
Everyone agrees that too many European boats are chasing too few fish. Britain, along with other EU states, has agreed three Europe-wide programmes to pay off fishermen and scrap their boats. But the British Government refused at first to fund its share (30 per cent) of the compensation, so for many years the scheme was not available to British fishermen.
Why not? The Treasury blocked the scheme because it would have reduced the annual UK budget rebate from Brussels. Whatever the EU spent on paying off British boats would be deducted from the celebrated Thatcher cash- back scheme, which reduces Britain’s net budget deficit with the EU. The Government preferred to spend both its money, and the EU money, in other ways. Fisheries were not a priority.
Spanish and Dutch fishermen became a problem during the 1980s because of the way the British government allowed our fishing boats to be sold and the rights that went with the sale:
British trawler owners sold their boats to the Spanish and Dutch. Or in some cases they sold them to British brokers, who sold them to the Spanish and Dutch. Why? Because they were offering the best price.
The main alternative – EU scrapping grants – were not on offer in Britain. Why were the foreign skippers so keen to buy British boats? Because under British, not EU, regulations, if you bought the boat, you also got the licence to fish and a guaranteed share of the national quota.
It is a purely British government policy to break down the national quota boat by boat, and allow the sale of quotas, in this way. Other EU governments have other ways of enforcing (or in some cases failing to enforce) the Common Fisheries Policy.
In case of a Leave win, this would be renegotiated. One would hope so. Two suggestions follow, although both have a direct negative impact on British fishermen and fleet owners:
Britain could, for instance, insist that all British fishing boats must land a proportion of their annual catch (say, 30 per cent) for sale or processing at a British port. Until now, the Government has declined to do this. Why? Because many Scottish boats, in particular, like to sell their catches directly to Spain or France, where prices for some species are much higher.
Alternatively, EU officials say, the Government could introduce a law insisting that the crews of “British” fishing boats be covered by British social security and health insurance. This would drill several holes below the waterline of the economics of quota-hopping.
The Government has been reluctant to follow this up. Why? Because it would impose a new burden of regulation on British fishermen, as well as quota-hoppers. Many British fishing crews, who operate on a casual basis, would have to come fully into the social security system.
The television documentaries I’ve seen on fishermen over the past two years show them being paid in cash. Some of these men are regular crew. Others are occasional workers.
Fleet owners continue to sell directly to Europe, not only in Scotland but also in Cornwall.
Changes to either arrangement would be as challenging as they would have been 20 years ago.
No one says that leaving Europe would be easy.
However, is freedom and independence worth a few years of pain?
It is, when we consider the alternative of the EU evolving and expanding with new demands placed on us every year.
No one can accurately predict what sort of Britain Leave would produce.
However, nor can anyone predict what the EU will decide over the course of the next few years.
This is our last chance, Britain! Vote wisely on Thursday, June 23!
Tomorrow: Two must-see films on the EU
This post explains the urgency of considering various facts — rather than emotion — in the run-up to the EU Referendum being held on Thursday, June 23, 2016.
Below are links to my more recent posts on the referendum, specifically Brexit. (To see all of them, just click on the ‘Brexit’ link in the previous sentence.)
The most important ones are highlighted in bold.
The Church of England’s prayer for the EU Referendum (2016, includes bookies’ view)
If you can only spend an hour or so, please watch Brexit: The Movie at the aforementioned link. That film has brought many an ardent Remainer to the Leave side.
For those who have only a few minutes, SpouseMouse suggests The Referendum Game, which is a four-minute song. Never mind the music, just read the lyrics which perfectly — and wittily — encapsulate Leave’s position.
It is an independent video, by the way, and not affiliated with the Leave campaign:
On June 16, The Telegraph reported that Leave has gained momentum because the British voters are sick and tired of ‘experts’ and the media telling them what to do, much of which goes beyond common sense:
Over two thirds of Leave supporters – compared to just a quarter of Remainers – say it is wrong to rely too much on “experts”.
A YouGov survey that they cite — details in full — shows that Leavers do not trust them. The Telegraph article has a helpful, easy to read graph of the survey’s findings.
Leavers find well-known business owners the most credible: 27% trustworthy v 55% untrustworthy.
That’s pretty bad.
It gets worse.
Senior religious figures came fourth from bottom; 68% of Leavers do not trust them. Only 10% find them trustworthy.
Count me in with the 68%. (I was not polled, by the way.)
Below senior religious figures, in descending order, were newspaper journalists, politicians from Britain and political leaders from other countries. The last group were found to be untrustworthy by 85% of respondents. Only slightly over 1% found them credible.
Now, part of the religious figure percentage might be because of the fact that so many Britons are secularists. On the other hand, many of our clergy just seem to be living in a bubble. Furthermore, their religious pronouncements are rather rubbish. It’s no wonder our pews are empty.
Even economists fare better:
While 63 per cent among Remainers trust economists on the referendum, 57 supporters of Leave don’t trust them.
None of these groups seem to share the same experiences of life that Leave voters do.
I am coming to the conclusion that middle-aged Remain voters must be doing very well for themselves or that they have taken that stance ‘to get down with the kids’, their own EU-loving offspring who know no other way than Brussels. Those parents should be educating those children — even if they are adults — on the phone, around the fireplace or at the dinner table.
Across the pond, Americans who have been following the Brexit stance have been rightly comparing it to Donald Trump’s race for the White House. Both Brexit supporters and Trump followers are vilified as being ‘stupid’, ‘idiotic’, ‘delusional’, ‘racist’, ‘bigoted’ and ‘low information voters’. We shall see at the polling station.
Along with several others in the online world, I predict that a Brexit win on Thursday will give a huge boost to Trump’s chances in November. As I’ve said before, voters will be choosing between globalism and patriotism.
I am looking forward to seeing what happens when the Donald lands in Scotland on July 22. I am hoping he will stay silent until after the polling stations close. If he can’t do that, may he remain non-committal. He returns home by the weekend.
On Big Pink, an Independent voter pro-Trump blog — one which I read regularly for US campaign news — one commenter had this to say in response to a post linking the mood of Brexit with that of the billionaire’s supporters (emphases mine):
Osborne’s “punishment budget” with “punishment taxes” and “punishment immigration policies”[:] IF the public votes to take back their sovereignty is exactly what NeverTrumpers, Dems, and Obama are doing now in the US with the very “thought” of electing Trump. Mass immigration is “punishment”. Anything the public does that these globalist flunkies are supposed to stop, threaten them with, terrorize through social, fiscal, economic, and loss of civil rights. Give up your guns or more mass killings in soft target locations. Give up your speech rights or an economic crash. Give up right to assembly or we will beat your head in with foreign rent a mobs with the assistance of LaRaza police and DoJ/ISIS approved minders and judges. You must or bad things will happen because we must punish you.
You must do these things or we will let the mobs, ISIS, mass migration, and our toadies in the media help terrorize or murder you or humiliate you on live television. We are way down the rabbit hole. The Brits have a lot more push back by their party (both parties!) leaders and members than is in evidence here. Both of our parties, elected reps, and executive branch is owned by globalism. They are showing their hand everyday just like that [so-and-so] Osborne did in the UK. This is globalist fascism.
It’s not the most eloquently expressed comment but it got me thinking, ‘Why can’t more people — especially long-in-the-tooth Remainers — see what is happening right now?’
In closing on Brexit for today, The Guardian had an article about Gibraltar’s fear if Brexit wins. They have had a difficult relationship with Spain, particularly over the past few decades, despite the fact that tens of thousands cross the border both ways to go to and from work. One commenter offered a good analysis of the alternatives, should Brexit win. Excerpts follow:
… Although I and many others do appreciate Gibraltar’s position, I still think it valid to point out that this referendum is about the future of the entire UK. So while, as already stated, I believe we owe a duty to Gibraltar to support her and her interests to the limit of our power, those of 65 million Britons, along with their prerogative to vote [on] what they perceive to be our nation’s own interests and independence, must take precedence. Omho, that means a vote for Brexit and withdrawal from an inherently unaccountable and economically sclerotic EU …
More generally, I think that assuming a Brexit vote, Gibraltar may indeed be subjected to another bout of petty minded shenanigans by Madrid, but alas, this cannot be helped, although I do also expect a solution will be negotiated in the medium term at worst. Hopefully the plight of 10,000 Spanish workers needing daily access to Gib, plus a large number of additional jobs in Spain herself that are dependent either directly on those, or on other Gib/Spain business links, will expedite such a resolution.
Somehow Gibraltar managed before we entered the Common Market, which evolved into the EU.
Even in the EU, Spain stirs the pot with Gibraltar most effectively. Every few years, Madrid comes up with something irritating that requires extensive negotiation.
Therefore, a Remain result will not resolve Gibraltar’s problems with Spain.
More to come on the referendum tomorrow.
The three-year Lectionary that many Catholics and Protestants hear in public worship gives us a great variety of Holy Scripture.
Yet, it doesn’t tell the whole story.
My series Forbidden Bible Verses — ones the Lectionary editors and their clergy omit — examines the passages we do not hear in church. These missing verses are also Essential Bible Verses, ones we should study with care and attention. Often, we find that they carry difficult messages and warnings.
Teaching About Divorce
19 Now when Jesus had finished these sayings, he went away from Galilee and entered the region of Judea beyond the Jordan. 2 And large crowds followed him, and he healed them there.
Matthew 18 records Jesus’s teaching session with His disciples at Peter’s house in Capernaum.
In Matthew 18:1-4 He says that believers must become as humble as children. He was responding to the disciples’ question about the greatest in the kingdom of heaven. This is more evident in the parallel passages of Luke 9:46-48 and Mark 9:33-37. The latter, incidentally, is in the three-year Lectionary.
Matthew 18:5-6 deals with the gravity of people causing believers to sin. Jesus said it would be preferable for them to have a millstone around their neck and drown in the middle of the sea. As my post explains (see link), drowning was a horrifying punishment that was unknown to the Jews until the Romans came to rule over them.
Jesus went on to say in Matthew 18:7-9 that it would be better to remove an eye or a limb that causes us to sin rather than be condemned to hell.
Then, He gave them the Parable of the Lost Sheep — Matthew 18:10-14 — as an example to follow once they become evangelists and leaders of the fledgling Church. They did not understand it as such as they had no comprehension of what would happen to Jesus.
Jesus concluded with two lessons on the necessity of forgiveness, following the divine example of God the Father.
The first concerns what to do if someone sins against us (verses 15 to 20). Verse 18 says:
Truly, I say to you, whatever you bind on earth shall be bound in heaven, and whatever you loose on earth shall be loosed[f] in heaven.
Whatever we hold against someone in this life will be held against us in the next unless we mend our fences with that person.
Verses 21 to 35 relate the Parable of the Unforgiving Servant. It begins with this exchange:
21 Then Peter came up and said to him, “Lord, how often will my brother sin against me, and I forgive him? As many as seven times?” 22 Jesus said to him, “I do not say to you seven times, but seventy-seven times.
The parable concerns a merciful master who forgave his servant’s debt. The servant, however, did not forgive someone who owed him. Not only did he choke the man, he had him put in prison. When the master found out, he became angry with the servant for not showing mercy to his debtor:
34 And in anger his master delivered him to the jailers,[k] until he should pay all his debt. 35 So also my heavenly Father will do to every one of you, if you do not forgive your brother from your heart.”
Now we come to Matthew 19:1, which tells us that when Jesus finished ‘these sayings’ He left Galilee for Judea ‘beyond the Jordan’.
Although the next two entries will concern divorce, it is important to understand that Matthew 19:1-2 are not incidental verses but mark an important point in our Lord’s ministry.
Matthew Henry tells us that Galilee was a region that was looked down upon and that Jesus’s attire reflected its humble character (emphases mine):
it was an instance of his humiliation, and in this, as in other things, he appeared in a mean state, that he would go under the character of a Galilean, a north-countryman, the least polite and refined part of the nation.
Although He moved from Nazareth to Capernaum, both towns were in Galilee. Therefore, He stayed in the land of His upbringing until He completed His preaching and healing miracles to and for His immediate people. Henry says that He had accomplished all that His Father had wanted him to do. Those in ministry today can also take a lesson from this:
Note, As Christ’s faithful ministers are not taken out of the world, so they are not removed from any place, till they have finished their testimony in that place, Revelation 11:7. This is very comfortable to those that follow not their own humours, but God’s providence, in their removals, that their sayings shall be finished before they depart. And who would desire to continue any where longer than he has work to do for God there?
Jesus drew a line under Galilee at this point. Although He returned there, it was on the way to other places.
It is important to understand that the Galileans might have followed Him in fascination, but very few believed He was their Messiah.
The Nazarenes tried to kill Him. He read a scroll with verses from Isaiah and announced that He was their fulfilment. The Nazarenes asked each other, ‘Isn’t this Joseph’s son?’ They were unsettled by His words. Here is Luke 4:24:
And he said, “Truly, I say to you, no prophet is acceptable in his hometown.
He then related the story of Elijah to illustrate that just as the prophet cleansed the Syrian leper — an enemy and a foreigner — so He would minister elsewhere. His townspeople became angry with Him, chased him out of town and attempted to throw Him from a cliff. Luke 4:30 says:
But passing through their midst, he went away.
Nazareth would neither know nor experience His miracles and His teaching.
Recall that, even though He had been living in Capernaum with Peter and his family, the townspeople rejected Him. Because the people in Capernaum actually saw and heard Him, yet disbelieved or were indifferent, Jesus says their punishment would be greater than that of Sodom, Tyre and Sidon.
His next — and final — ministry concentrated on Judea and Jerusalem, including areas that were near the Gentiles:
Thus Christ intimated, that, while he kept within the confines of the Jewish nation, he had his eye upon the Gentiles, and his gospel was aiming and coming toward them.
He travelled south. John MacArthur describes the geography:
He came into the region, or area, or borders of Judaea beyond the Jordan. Now you know the land of Palestine, don’t you? It’s split down the middle, really, by the River Jordan. It runs from the very far north into the Lake of Chinnereth or the Sea of Galilee, and it runs down from there to the Dead Sea.
And the Jordan River is a very important point in the center of Israel. Galilee is in the north and Judah is in the south. Galilee is a rural area. Judah is the more populated area where Jerusalem is.
Jesus took a particular route:
… instead of going straight down to Judah he goes east, crosses the Jordan River, goes down the back side of the Jordan on the eastern side, and the will cross again south by Jericho, ascend up the mountain to Jerusalem. That’s the route that he takes.
As verse 1 tells us, He was going ‘beyond’ the Jordan. MacArthur says the Jews called that locale Perea, from the word peran, which means ‘beyond’.
Jesus went there for historically religious reasons — to avoid the Samaritans, whom the Jews considered defiled:
Also, any Jew traveling from the north to the south would go that way, because if he went straight south, he would have to go through the land of the Samaritans, and they didn’t want to do that because they thought the Samaritans to be a defiled people, and also a rather dangerous people.
Another reason for going to Perea was Passover, which was imminent:
So they would go east and down that area of Perea, which meant that this close to the Passover and the feast season, there would be a lot of pilgrims going that way, as well. So the Lord would be able to minister to the inhabitants of Perea, as well as to the pilgrims on their way to Jerusalem. So it was a very careful thing the Lord did as he approached Jerusalem from this route.
So he goes east and down towards Jerusalem from the back side of the Jordan.
This explanation helps us to put verse 2 in a more meaningful context. Large crowds followed Him in Perea and He healed them there.
A parallel verse can be found in Mark 10:1, which I wrote about in 2012. The only difference is that Mark used the word ‘taught’ and Matthew ‘healed’.
These healings were the manifestation of his Messianic credentials. They showed his power and his compassion …
So it’s very much like the Galilean ministry: A crowd gathers, he teaches, and he heals them, giving them the Word of God, and affirming its truthfulness and Himself as the spokesman of God by his miraculous compassion and miraculous power.
MacArthur reminds us that Jesus knew His death was imminent. However, instead of being preoccupied with the horrifying crucifixion to come, in His infinite mercy and love, He taught and healed people.
As Matthew’s Gospel enters its concluding accounts of our Lord’s ministry:
we have the final presentation of the king, and the final rejection by the nation of Israel. So we’re moving into the final section. He presents himself, and is ultimately, finally rejected, crucified. While that seems to be the sweeping focus of this final phase of Matthew, keep in mind, too, that all the while, he is teaching his disciples.
So you have Jesus presenting himself in Judea and Jerusalem, you have him moving toward his passion, the crowds are there, the people are there, the popul[ace] is there, but interspersed and woven through all of that lessons, and more lessons, and more lessons for the disciples who are to carry on the ministry. So it’s a great time of transition for the Lord.
These two verses made me think about the way I learned about Jesus at home and at school in my youth. Whilst I have little to criticise, if I were teaching an adolescent about our Lord in either place, I would intersperse the big picture of His ministry with the reality that people, by and large, rejected Him. Sure, He had huge crowds but they did not ensure His ‘success’ on earth. In fact, their disbelief and yearning for political salvation led to His death — for their, and our, sins. Yes, it was destined to happen, but, by the time we get to Good Friday and Barabbas, teens should no longer be surprised or puzzled by the mob’s decision.
Teens can understand nuance — just about — so, it is important to present Jesus’s ministry as fully as possible.
The same holds true for adults. It’s only because I’ve been doing this series that I have come to understand the complexity of Jesus’s ministry, His people and His enemies. The mob’s reaction on Good Friday is no longer a mystery, which it was for many years. I also understand that Jesus did not come to earth to deliver His people politically but spiritually.
His message was never going to be popular. Our world is of a similar mindset today. We want a utopia, which is never going to happen. People say, ‘Oh, if only we practised Christianity properly, we would have world peace, an end to poverty and complete happiness.’ That can happen only in small measure, and, whilst Western civilisation is based on Christian values (even for secular humanists) and has improved the lives of countless millions over many centuries, we still live in a fallen world.
Jesus died on the cross to forgive our sins and rose again to bring us to life everlasting: a totally different proposition. Yes, we are to love and care for our neighbour, do the right thing and improve our world — but, in doing all those things, we are to focus on the life beyond the present. That is where our eternal future lies. May it be with Him.
Next time: Matthew 19:3-6
Conservative Party election strategist Sir Lynton Crosby has pointed out that (emphases mine):
Awareness of the referendum date is now much higher among those intending to vote Remain. Overall, three quarters (75 per cent) of respondents correctly think that the referendum is scheduled for the 23 rd June. This includes 79 per cent of Remain voters but only 72 per cent of Leave voters.
Well over a quarter (29 per cent) of Leave supporters either don’t know when the referendum vote is scheduled for or think that it will be held on some other day (not the 23rd ).
Registered voters should have received their polling cards earlier this month. So, it is odd that, on June 13, when The Telegraph reported Crosby’s finding, this should have been the case.
In an analysis of the polls in the same article, Crosby notes The Telegraph‘s own poll of June 13 shows that:
the Leave camp now leads among those definite to vote on referendum day, according to the ORB’s latest poll for the Telegraph.
Leave has increased its vote share by two points to attract 49 per cent of definite voters compared to Remain’s stagnant 48 per cent, reversing its net position from a one-point net negative position last week.
Unlike last week, however, Leave’s gains have now also translated to the trend among the electorate as a whole, suggesting that last week’s figures were a reflection of a broad change among public attitude and not just a fleeting bump in the poll numbers.
The Guardian also published similar poll results on June 13:
Support for leaving the EU is strengthening, with phone and online surveys reporting a six-point lead, according to a pair of Guardian/ICM polls.
Leave now enjoys a 53%-47% advantage once “don’t knows” are excluded, according to research conducted over the weekend, compared with a 52%-48% split reported by ICM a fortnight ago.
The phone poll is particularly important, because supporters of unpopular issues — conservatism and Brexit — are less likely to admit them aloud for fear of being impugned as a racist and a bigot, expressed silently with a sigh or tut-tutting on the part of the pollster.
Results of an IPSOS Mori poll done for the London Evening Standard and published on June 16 reveal that:
The campaign to quit the European Union has surged into a six-point lead with exactly a week to go, a sensational Ipsos MORI poll reveals today.
In a dramatic turnaround since May, some 53 per cent now want to leave and 47 per cent want to stay, excluding don’t knows.
A Survation poll done this week shows 45% of Britons backing Leave and 42% Remain. All these polls are leaving Donald Tusk, the President of the European Council (unelected), less hopeful that the UK will remain in the EU.
In the case of the IPSOS Mori poll, immigration has now outflanked the economy as being the primary issue on voters’ minds.
Strangely enough, the day that poll was published, the Daily Mail led with a front page story about 11 illegal immigrants — eight adults and three children — who had just arrived by lorry in East London. They were soon taken into police custody.
It should be noted that the Mail is a morning paper and the Standard an afternoon one.
Still on the same day came news that Jo Cox — a young Labour MP representing the West Yorkshire constituency of Batley and Spen — was shot, stabbed and fatally wounded. Condolences go to her husband, two young children and other family members at this sad and difficult time.
The gunman is a 52-year-old British male who made his own handgun. He also has a history of mental illness. Whether he actually said ‘Britain first’ is unclear. In the reports I have read and heard, some witnesses heard it, others did not.
In light of Ms Cox’s horrific death, both Remain and Leave campaigns have suspended activity until Saturday, June 18.
Some columnists have blamed her death on the ‘mood’ of the referendum campaigns. The left-leaning Mirror put paid to this knee-jerk perspective:
There’s nothing Nazi about voting UKIP or to leave the EU. The party was founded by sane, intelligent individuals with a point to make …
The reasons for Jo’s death are yet to be revealed. But it won’t be due to any one of the reasons you’ll be given.
There are millions of mentally ill people who aren’t a danger. There’s no earthly reason a referendum should make anyone kill.
It’s not due to the expenses scandal or the media or trolling people on Twitter.
Those are the symptoms, not the cause.
Back, then, to the respective campaigns. The Telegraph‘s Tim Stanley wrote about his take on where they are at the moment. As of June 16:
Leave is remarkably coherent and positive. Remain is tearing itself apart.
… if the referendum were held today, I’d guess that Leave would win …
Remember that each side has cross-party alliances. This is not a party-specific issue.
This week, Stanley took part in a debate addressed to a group of Catholics at London’s Westminster Cathedral Hall. He wrote:
This was a gathering of city workers, Catholics (who have been told by many clergymen that it’s a moral duty to vote Remain) and the descendants of immigrants – not your classic Brexit audience.
No doubt Protestant churchgoers are getting the same mood music: good Christians should vote Remain because Christ wants unity. Hmm.
Our vicar hasn’t said anything, but one can tell by the tone of his voice when reciting an adaptation of the Anglican EU Referendum prayer that he desperately fears Leave. He sounds most plaintive.
So far, only one prominent clergyman — a Catholic — has come out for Brexit. Good man.
Stanley says that before he spoke for Leave, the event’s organisers polled the audience, who were for Remain. However:
After the debate, it was for Leave.
In terms of media endorsements, The Sun backs Leave. Their front page headline read:
BeLEAVE in Britain
The Spectator link — open in a private window — has the full front page. The print is large enough to read in full.
The Spectator is also backing Leave, the same position they took in 1975, when our last referendum on the subject took place. Excerpts follow:
The EU’s hunger for power has been matched only by its incompetence. The European Union is making the people of our continent poorer, and less free …
What we refer to as British government is increasingly no such thing. It involves the passing of laws written by people whom no one in Britain elected, no one can name and no one can remove …
Free movement of people might have been a laudable goal before the turn of the century, when the current global wave of migration started. But today, with the world on the move, the system strikes a great many Europeans as madness. The EU’s failure to handle immigration has encouraged the people trafficking industry, a global evil that has led to almost 3,000 deaths in the Mediterranean so far this year …
Last week, a Pew poll showed how far dismay about the EU extends across the continent. In Greece, 71 per cent now view the EU unfavourably; in France, it’s 61 per cent. In Britain, it was 48 per cent — about the same as Spain, Germany and the Netherlands …
Then there is this reason:
Talk of anyone being made ‘worse off’ by Brexit is deeply misleading. Of the many economists who have made projections for 2030, none have suggested that we’d be poorer. The question is whether we’d be, say, 36 per cent better off or 41 per cent better off by then. Not that anyone knows, given the monstrously large margin of error in 15-year predictions. So these studies offer no real reasons to be fearful. This is perhaps why George Osborne had to resort to concocting figures, such as his now notorious claim that households would be £4,300 worse off. If the economic case against Brexit were so strong, why would the Chancellor have to resort to fabrications?
That is one of the biggest reasons why Brexit has gained so much support amongst voters in recent weeks.
Project Fear have done themselves no favours. And that’s great news for Leave.
More to come on Sunday evening.
Along with other cycling fans in Britain, I am delighted that ITV4 was able to secure the rights to broadcast the Critérium du Dauphiné last week.
It is the last big cycling contest before the Tour de France, and one which I’d long wanted to see. ITV4 did not disappoint. We had highlights of the Prologue and Stages 1-5. Even better, they treated viewers to live coverage of Stages 6 and 7 at the weekend.
It was great to see so many of the Tour riders and hopefuls. Britain’s Chris Froome won for the third time. He joins a select group of five riders, including the legendary Bernard Hinault, each of whom have won three times.
Joining Froome on Sunday’s podium was fellow Briton and Team Sky member, Stage 7 winner Stephen Cummings. How Cummings powered through that mountainous climb with 40km to go is anyone’s guess, but he made it — spectacularly. It was his first ever Dauphiné stage win.
Overall Dauphiné winners stand the best chance of winning the Tour de France in July. Froome was one cool customer in coming up against Alberto Contador, who won earlier stages and finished fifth overall.
Best wishes to Chris Froome in a few weeks’ time.
Bilderberg took place between June 9 and 12, 2016, in Dresden.
For years we were told that anyone who believed Bilderberg took place was a conspiracy theorist. So it was surprising to read this answer to a question on the lack of media coverage (emphasis mine):
Bilderberg Meetings has never sought any public attention. An annual press conference on the eve of the meeting was held for several decades up until the nineties, but it was stopped due to a lack of interest. However, the list of participants, main topics and the location are always published a few days before each meeting.
I did not know that. I hadn’t even heard of Bilderberg until 20 years ago. It was in the 1990s, possibly with the rise of the Internet, that the ‘conspiracy theory’ meme arose around the event. Most people I knew told me, ‘There’s no such thing as Bilderberg’.
This year’s topics included privacy, which the group decided is dead for the average person. As The Guardian points out, there appears to be plenty of privacy for Bilderberg participants, however. In other words, ‘For me, but not for thee’. Here’s Peter Thiel — sadly, one of Donald Trump’s delegates in California:
Perhaps it is time to reinstate that press conference. One wonders just how much would be revealed — and what emerged from past decades’ press conferences.
Watch and listen from this example from the 2016 conference when a reporter chases a running General Petraeus, then decide for yourself:
You might think that Rob Dew, the reporter, is a Leftist. He is much closer to a Libertarian.
Perhaps the best quote to remember comes from the late, great John F Kennedy:
The very word ‘secrecy’ is repugnant in a free and open society.
He was correct. May we bear it in mind, now and in future.