It’s not ‘me first’.

My blood pressure has been rising each day as I watch the BBC news. Living in the UK, it would be easy to think that nothing of any consequence is happening in our world, except Brexit the UK exit from the European Union.

It would be easy, too, to think that an overwhelming majority of people in our country voted to leave, when in fact, the leave voters were 52% of those who voted. Since we live in a democracy, then of course we should accept the result – or should we? Should we accept the result of a referendum where the campaign was clearly based on lies?

The Vote Leave Campaign encouraged people to vote to leave the EU and gain £350 million/week for the National Health Service. This was never going to happen, yet people believed it. For they were told we’d take back control of our NHS, we’d take back control of our laws and we’d take back control of our borders.

Take back control – does it sound familiar? I know another electorate who were promised control, who seem to have voted on false promises. Now we are told that the Russians interfered in our referendum. I’ve heard that across the Atlantic too. It’s so easy to blame the EU for everything that’s wrong in the UK. That flawed logic sounds familiar elsewhere too.

The problem with all of this rhetoric is that ‘taking back of control’ is about the ‘me first’ mentality. America first. Britain first. No-one else counts. It’s about keeping what we have for ourselves and not sharing. It’s about keeping others out. The fact that we have control is irrelevant to this mentality.

The UK and the EU are currently discussing the so-called divorce bill. The UK wants to start trade talks. The EU won’t talk about trade until we’ve sorted out the money, the Irish border and EU citizen’s rights. No matter how many times we’ve been told this, our government ministers repeat their view that trade talks must start simultaneously. The negotiations are becoming an embarrassing farce.

I want to shout out, ‘not in my name’. These discussions are nothing to do with the good of our country. They are to keep a weak Prime Minister in a job. Mrs May has to appease those in her party who want us to leave the EU, or they’ll kick her out of office.

The irony is that Mrs May is the daughter of a vicar and uses this fact when it suits her. Yet her government’s policies are so far away from any Christian concept I understand. I have yet to find the biblical reference saying that we should keep people out.

EU workers are essential to our economy and bring diversity to us. Yet they are living an uncertain future now, being the pawns in the Brexit game. The Brexit effect means our universities and businesses are losing out too, being denied opportunities for research grants or contracts. European agencies have already started to relocate from London to other European cities.

Every aspect of our lives is affected by Brexit and money seems to be no object for the bill. Meanwhile, the poor get poorer. The numbers using foodbanks continue to increase and this includes people in work. The scourge of homelessness is still with us.

Elsewhere in the world, people are denied food and basic human rights, with no access to clean water. Millions face hunger and disease because of climate change. Displaced people are left to sleep in the cold. Yet Brexit dominates the headlines.

I want us to take back control, where we prioritise people, feed the poor and give people homes where they can live with dignity.

Maggie Roderick is a Church of Scotland minister, currently serving the Parish of Menstrie in a small county in central Scotland and sharing God’s love for all. She is passionate about social justice and equality, believing we are all equal in the eyes of God. Maggie loves being involved in community events and being as creative as I can be within ministry. She has a husband, two children who are now adults and a gorgeous collie dog. All views expressed are her own and do not represent the Church or any other organisation.

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