Saturday, December 24, 2016

Always look on the bright side of life.

The Archbishop of Wales in his last Christmas Day sermon before retirement will deliver a Hobbesian view of the world as being a "brutal, bloody, divided, torn world." This is only a partly fair analysis. He should have added that the world today is probably less brutal, less bloody, less divided and less torn that it has ever been in history. The world is richer and more peaceful, with less war and less poverty than ever. The Archbishop is far too negative. Don't think I'd want to go listen to his sermon if I lived in Cardiff. I'd prefer something that recognised the good that exists in our world as well as the evil.

The reason the reports of Archbishop Morgan's sermon caught my eye, were the examples he chose as witness to his view. Two of them, Syria and refugees I accept are terrible tragedies. But not the other two, Brexit and Trump - both shocks, but delivered by a majority of voters. It's certainly the case that the losing side in both these referendum/elections are utterly appalled. Cannot believe that voters can be so downright stupid as to disagree. Some of them write to me in deeply offensive terms because I voted Leave. Some just shake disbelieving heads.They cannot be said to believe in democracy if they do not accept the result, and try not to make the best of it. They attribute base motives to those who dared disagree with them. Well, it so happens that I too thought Donald Trump the most vulgar awful candidate I've ever seen, but I accept he won. We make the best of it. Hard to believe but he may turn out to be ok.

I find the continuing campaign to undermine the Brexit vote as rather more dangerous. I've read articles outlining various reasons why over 17 million of us are thought to have voted Leave. We are portrayed as racist, as hate-filled, as right wing headbangers. There may be one or two of course. But most of us just want our country back. We want to decide who comes into our country to work. We do not want European Court of Justice telling us what we can and can't do. Most of us knew we were voting for uncertainty, and perhaps leaving would not be in our short term financial interest - though I'm increasingly confident that might not be the case. It won't stop our media writing the most brain scrambling rubbish to fill its space. I read an article today telling us that The Queen is unhappy that the Prime Minister hasn't informed her of her withdrawal strategy. Laughed out loud when I read that. We will have plenty more of this. In fairness, some of it is quite funny.

It's fairly simple really. Article 50 will be invoked in March. Only limited negotiation will take place during French and German elections. Then we will get down to serious negotiation. Personally, I sense there will a positive approach from both sides, involving the UK joining a European trading block, and continuing some trade at least. But maybe not. That won't be the UKs wish. And if it all fails, we'll fall back on World trade rules. Main reason I'd worry about that is the damage it would do to the remaining EU members economies.

I don't think some of the Leave supporters are being realistic either. I don't expect immigration to fall much in the short to medium term, even if the UK controls it. I expect us to be paying a fair sum to cover liabilities as we leave. I expect some sort of transitional arrangements. But I do expect us to leave, to take back control, run our own laws and become an independent country once again. My vision of our future is optimistic. Now that's a sermon I would go to listen to.

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