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Monthly Archives: March 2016

Should we stay or should we go?

Dr Barry Morgan, the Archbishop of Wales, reflects on the implications for Wales of the forthcoming EU referendum. He laments that most of the public arguments so far have focussed on economics – and on pretty shameless self-interest. He makes the case that belonging to the EU is not just about doing the sums. It is about belonging to a union of distinct nations, whose ethnic, cultural and linguistic diversities are protected by EU laws, who agree to work together for the common good, to pursue peace, and to help members who are less fortunate than others.

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Brexit and the rural community

Over 40 per cent of the EU budget is spent on farming but in the European debate it has largely been a footnote. In this blog Mark Betson makes the case that even though our landscape has shaped and continues to shape our culture – take the image of Britain portrayed at the opening to the 2012 London Olympics and its origins in a green and pleasant land – the future of our investment in it has not been addressed in the Europe debate.

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Managing complex identities – the modern European

David Chillingworth, the Primus of the Scottish Episcopal Church, explores the question of Brexit from the perspective of an Irish person who now regards Scotland as home. He makes the case that small nations with distinctive identities respond positively to the idea that they can also be part of something much bigger, which is why Scotland seems to be more pro-EU than the rest of Britain. For the same reason he holds that it would be in our best interests if a Brexit were to lead to the break-up of the UK. He makes clear that he will vote for Britain to remain in the EU but he questions whether the referendum campaign with its complexity of different issues is really the best way of deciding this issue.

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Strength in unity through diversity

Caroline Spelman looks at the diversity across the Anglican Communion to make the case that it is this breadth of diversity that gives the Communion its strength. She holds that it is the same for the EU. The diversity of the European Union benefits us, amongst other things, in terms of travel and trade. Diversity often appears to be the strength behind unity, offering a variety of different approaches, understanding and skills in the face of adversity in a way that homogeneity cannot.

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An interview with Robert Innes

In this podcast Reimagining Europe interviews Robert Innes, the Church of England’s Bishop of the Diocese in Europe. The interview takes a closer look at the challenges facing British nationals living in other EU members states. Robert is uniquely the only Church of England Bishop to live outside Britain and has a different perspective on the approach to the EU referendum.

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David Cameron’s deal with the EU

Two weeks after David Cameron returned from Brussels, Peter Ludlow takes a fresh look at the negotiated settlement that the Prime Minister secured. Ludlow argues that the February agreement institutionalises British exceptionalism. The British belong to the EU but are not of it. They are second class members and are never likely to be more.

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Reflecting on the 1975 referendum

Dick Newby reflects on the 1975 referendum campaign and its lessons for the forthcoming referendum on June 23. He makes the case that as the referendum battle intensifies and the economic statistics fly, we should spend some time thinking about peace, freedom and human dignity. These are not the conditions in which many of the world’s people live and yet this is an area where the EU has a vital past and has a crucial current and future role in promoting them.

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The nightmare of EU neutrality and the dream of theological acumen

Political theologian Adrian Hilton investigates further the appropriate role of bishops during EU referendum debate. He reasons that if a bishop feels compelled to express a clear view on such a matter one way or another, so be it, but let it be done kindly, without anger, scorn, bitterness or partisan point-scoring; and always with the qualification that it is a bishop’s personal view which he or she realises may not be shared by everyone else. This is a very Pauline disposition.

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Event: Keeping Faith in the EU?

Next month on 8 April a number of Reimagining Europe’s contributors will be taking part in a one day conference – Keeping faith in the EU? – to explore issues surrounding the EU referendum. The event is being organised by Winchester University’s Centre for Theology and Religion in Public Life (TRiPL) in association with Theos and the Kirby Laing Institute for Christian Ethics. Do please get in contact with TRiPL if you would like additional information.

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Nightmares and neutrality

Nick Baines, the Bishop of Leeds, responds to the charge made by Adrian Hilton in an earlier blog that bishops should remain neutral in the EU referendum debate. Baines makes the case that stating the Church will not push a particular position – for some a questionable stance – is not the same as saying that bishops have no position or should not engage in the debate in an iterative manner. If nothing else, it is entirely reasonable for a bishop to ask questions about the grounds for assertions that are not backed up by argument.

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