- Too much false information and lies were presented before the first referendum. (e.g. £350m a week to fund the NHS). In a court of law any conviction based on false information would lead to the conviction being regarded as unsafe resulting in a re-trial.
- Probability of illicit use of personal data during the campaign by Cambridge Analytical/Russia etc.
- Probable gross illegal overspending of campaign funds by Leave campaign.
- To leave EU is a major constitutional change and should require at least a 60% majority before being put into effect, not a 52:48 split. Even golf clubs require a 60% change before constitutional changes are made. The EU is far more important than golf club issues.
Remember the other referendum in the 1975? The country voted by a huge majority to stay in. That’s what I call, ‘The will of the people’.
- There are so many issues associated with Brexit that a simple yes/no question is completely trite. We need to know what the details are of any proposed deal are and we must have the option of staying in the EU.
- We’re loosing control. Currently we can effect /change the regulations concerning the world’s biggest single market. By leaving it we’d have no control. Furthermore, in an answer to Ken Clarke’s question ‘Is there a single law you can name where the British government have wanted to oppose it but the EU have overruled them?’ David Davis replied ‘There isn’t one. It’s about the principle ‘. Brexit’s theme of ‘taking back control’ is totally erroneous.
- The Leave campaign promised that there would be enormous opportunities by leaving the EU. So far I haven’t heard of a single one. Indeed the only ‘opportunities’ I’ve heard about are deals with the USA which would require us to import chlorinated chicken, and hormone treated meat from Australia. India and China are both more interested in trade with the EU than with the UK. In the negotiating room, the UK is small fry compared to the EU.
- Leavers don’t want a second referendum. If they were interested in democracy they’d support it. Farage himself said a 52:48 split would be unfinished business.
Today is one of those days that you hope will never come. This morning I heard that my dear friend Alan Kreider died yesterday, May 8, at 08:08.
I first met Alan in the late 70’s! A mutual friend suggested that I really ought to meet him some time. I had been spending some time thinking about my faith’s response to violence and war, and Alan was a major thinker in the UK Christian world on that subject. At one time he debated on The Arms Race with the former Chief of Defence Staff, Sir Neil Cameron, at the church I was attending. Sir Neil, like Alan, was a committed Christian who tried to allow his faith form his opinion on social and political subjects. As it turned out, as a debate it lacked a certain something. Quite early on in the discussions, Sir Neil lost his voice! I wonder whether it was the surprise response Alan gave to one of his key points: Take care lest we forget (with particular reference to the traumas to two world wars, that we dare not forget the suffering and commitment so many made to opposing tyranny in Europe). Alan reminded Sir Neil that the text was taken from the Hebrew Scriptures (Deut 6:12 “…take care that you do not forget the Lord, who brought you out of the land of Egypt, out of the house of slavery” NRSV), and explained that the warning was not to forget that it was by God’s mighty hand that the children of Israel were delivered, not by the force of men.
But one of my first formative meetings with Alan was at a study group on War and Peace hosted by The Shaftesbury Project, which Alan and Neil Summerton co-chaired. The gathering, though small, was quite a heady bunch, including a general, some with Doctorates in War Studies, teachers, Navy Chaplains, and one lowly ignorant civil engineer trying to make sense of his faith and world issues (your’s truly). It was a fascinating Saturday’s study where I just sat back and tried to absorb as much as I could from these learned people while having nothing to contribute myself. The gathering concluded around 4 in the afternoon so I made my way to the nearest MacDonalds (confession time) on Oxford Street for a strong coffee. I was somewhat surprised when Alan turned up and sat with me (somehow I imagine he must have been drinking tea rather than coffee)!
He inquired of my perspective on the meeting that day. I recounted that I found it incredibly useful and stimulating but that I’d probably not come again because it was a ‘study group’ and as such was on a completely different plane to where I was at and that I had nothing to contribute, being a ‘beginner’. I was completely taken aback by his reply. “The group will have to change then!” What!!!
As it happened, I did return to the group and eventually found my place where I could contribute, not by adding to the content of the message, but by helping with some practical matters of producing and distributing materials which the group had developed.
Such was Alan’s grace. He valued ‘a nobody’, and it made a huge impression.
A few years later I went on to join his church, the London Mennonite Fellowship (which later became the Wood Green Mennonite Church). The early months of attending the congregation were incredibly meaningful for me. I was a bit depressed at the time, and being an introvert found it hard getting to know new people, but Alan seemed to give me a great deal of his time. After worship together in Highgate and a simple bread and soup lunch (served by Liz and Bill Barge) he’d often take me off for a walk and a chat in the beautiful green spaces around that part of Highgate, North London.
He and the church mentored and helped to bring me inner healing and spiritual challenge! As such, I have no hesitation in describing him as the most important influence on me in my adult life.
So now he has gone.
I feel a piece of me has died.
Well, not died, but taken on a new form. Even though I’d not seen him for about 4 years, what he gave me lives on and I hope is bearing new fruit. Only others can say whether that’s so or not.
He modeled so much of what I understood the gospel to be; not just teaching it, but living it out. While I still have a long way to go I’ll never forget something (actually there are many things) he once said. Hold on to those you might regard as your enemies. Sounds like Jesus talk to me!
I’ve often heard that as Christians we must sing praises to God at all times. Such things are pretty difficult. But whenever I would ask Alan how he was doing, he’d always reply “I’m grateful”. Not in a ‘happy-clappy’ sort of way but in a gentle, thoughtful, meaningful way which conveyed that he had a ‘renewed’ perspective. I’ve tried and am still trying to model that myself. I think Alan called it ‘re-reflexing’; cultivating new responses in a way that they become habit-forming.
So I’m grateful, for the life of this lovely man.
Perhaps he’s grateful too with his ‘new body’ now that the old one has perished. And it seem entirely fitting that he died on 8th May at 08:08, knowing that he’d named his house “The Eighth Day” with it’s reference to future things, resurrection, assembly and completion.
So fare thee well, Mr Grateful. I’ll miss you but never forget you.
And many blessings to Eleanor, Andrew and family during the difficult days ahead.
Yesterday we visited the temple where Yvonne and I spent our first day together over 7 years ago. It seemed a lot bigger than I remembered!
While it’s over 1,000 years old, most of it was been rebuilt about 150 years ago.
Here’s a video slideshow if you’re interested. Just click on the image.
A few years ago I led a guided walk around my locality (Wood Green, North London) on the subject of remembrance.
Beforehand I spent an afternoon in a local museum reading the original handwritten records of the bombings from WWII in the area. Explosive bombs, fire bombs, V1s, V2s etc as well as related matters like the internment of German speakers in Ally Pally. That afternoon was a heart breaking experience and I left in tears.
It opened my eyes to the ‘new’ buildings in old streets; tell-tales signs of homes and lives destroyed by bombs. I also read the press reports of incidents, like the one where people sheltering from the bombing only to be sent to their maker by a bomb that ran down the ventilation shaft and wiped everyone out.
And then there was the opening of the local war memorial just opposite the Haringey Civic Centre. Of course, every community had their own memorials. But for this little local one, over 60,000 turned out! That’s more than fits in the Spurs ground! The war affected everyone, and everyone had a story to tell and traumas to be remembered.
So this coming 11-11-11, open your eyes to the signs of trauma that are around but most often passed by and ignored.
And lets remember those still suffering from new wars. Those with mental as well as physical scars. Those with horrific memories which are too awful to verbalise, and which may destroy the person from within. Yes remember with sorrow those killed in wars, but also the homeless vets who can’t hold it together now they are back home.
And lets look forward and be a bit more creative. Lets offer sanctuary to today’s refugees. Don’t let them be like the Anne Franks who were rejected by America to face a fate we already know about.
Let’s cultivate a little compassion.
(Photo album of Guided Walk around Wood Green: https://www.flickr.com/photos/willnewcomb/albums/72157651239099843)
When sitting on my favourite spot for contemplation I considered that I was becoming spoilt! Our new house has a combination toilet in the en-suite shower-room which has a heated loo-seat. Yesterday I took a bath (in the spare bathroom) and was ‘shocked’ when I came to sit on the traditional loo. Aaagggghhhh, it’s COLD!
Yes we’re one of the few households with these new combination loos (toilet and bidet in one).
Isn’t it interesting how quickly a technological development can become an ‘essential’ for modern living! Remember the old Bakelite telephones hard-wired to the junction box in the hallway compared to the latest smartphone, or the 12 inch B&W set we grew up with (bought to watch QEII’s coronation in 1953) compared to todays’ large HD screens, or ‘push-bikes’ with a single gear compared to lightweight index-geared quick-released wheel jobs so widely available today (OK, if you live in Amsterdam or some other places, old ‘bone-shakers’ are still the norm).
For now I guess I’ll have to accept that I’m spoilt as it’ll take a long time, if ever, for combo toilets to become the norm.
And why have a bidet in the first place? – DON’T ask!!