Brexit: open letter reveals Bishops split 60:40 on Government’s approach

Aug 29, 2019 by

by Archbishop Cranmer:

The open letter on Brexit published yesterday by a group of Diocesan Bishops is interesting on a number of levels, not least of which is the fact that it is signed by 25 of their number, which is to say it wasn’t signed by 17 of them. The non-signatories might of course have been touring up the Amalfi Coast or plagued by IT demons and so unable to access urgent email winging its way from Leeds (of which more anon), but more likely is it that they felt they couldn’t put their names to it for one reason or other, and one wonders what those reasons may be.

Setting aside the fact that so many Diocesan Bishops have not in recent decades (/centuries?) issued an open letter on the moral degradation of the nation or the urgent need for repentance on salvation (which is perhaps not so pressing a matter for them as EU membership appears to be [or there is less unanimity?]), this open letter on Brexit is, at first reading, a perfectly reasonable appeal, prioritising, of necessity, and as Jesus exhorted, the potential consequences of a ‘no deal’ Brexit (that is, a clean, global Brexit on WTO terms) on the poor and disenfranchised. The Bishops exhort peace and reconciliation, which is what all Christians want. However:

..we also have particular concerns about the potential cost of a No Deal Brexit to those least resilient to economic shocks.

Note the use of ‘shocks’ here. There may, of course, be a shock or two, but since Boris Johnson entered No.10 and Sajid Javid No.11 and Michael Gove the Duchy of Lancaster (if one enters that), preparations for a ‘no deal’ Brexit (that is, a clean, global Brexit on WTO terms) have been stepped up considerably in order to mitigate if not totally avert any kind of shock at all. Yet the Bishops take the essential Guardian line (which is that of the Remainer establishment), that economic shocks are inevitable. They simply aren’t.

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