Brexit: A Clash of Values

If there is one word that so captures the angst and preoccupation of the British people at this time, then beyond peradventure it is ‘Brexit’ (British exit from the European Union). Its root lies in a clash of values, of different perspectives and above all, of vision.

In June 2016, the UK held a national referendum to decide on whether it should remain in or exit from the European Union (EU): a group of 28 European nation states, bound together by legal treaties, common aims, shared values, co-operation, and underpinned by four freedoms: the movement of goods, services, capital and peoples. It was a binary choice, ‘in-out’, and at the time, just over half the electorate voted to leave (52% to 48%). A deeply fractious and robustly contested ten weeks of campaigning and political debate preceded the referendum, including tragically the fatal shooting of an outstanding national politician. Sadly, with the passage of time, rather than heal, these divisions appear to have deepened.

A United States of Europe

Let us not forget that just over 70 years ago Europe was ablaze, the sound of warfare all around. Many villages, towns, and cities were devastated, infrastructure in ruins, peoples traumatised and displaced, and economies bankrupted. But, shortly after the war, there emerged the faint beginnings of a new European order, inspired by visionary thinkers and leadership, to safeguard future generations from the scourge of hostilities and totalitarian dictatorship. Addressing an audience in Zurich in 1946, Winston Churchill spoke about the need: “to recreate the European fabric, or as much of it as we can, and to provide it with a structure under which it can dwell in peace, safety and freedom.” He called upon nations to build: “a kind of United States of Europe” 1. Many other great European statesmen and women too such as Konrad Adenauer, Ursula Hirschmann, Robert Schuman and Simone Veil contributed to laying the foundations of a unity in Europe, based upon friendship, democracy and co-operation.

In its long evolution, the EU has passed through various iterations: the European Coal and Steel Community, the European Economic Community, the European Community and to date the European Union, and all the while working towards closer economic and political union. By and large, it is this closer union (and to some its perceived threat to national sovereignty), the question of immigration (the freedom of movement) and the ‘apparent’ disconnect between the establishment and the people that have precipitated the present crisis in the UK.

The Goals and Values of the EU

The UK’s relationship to Europe has long occupied the attention of political and economic thinking and discussion in the UK. Europe has been the epicentre of culture, art, music, philosophy, science, political ideals and debate for many centuries. Its past colours the landscape of human achievement. History has been defined as “the emergence of ideas, their acceptance, their transformation into ideals, and their eventual superseding by the next imposition of ideas”2. The outer world in which we live is but a reflection of human consciousness. Great conditioning energies (ideas) emanate from the spiritual Hierarchy of the planet, the Elders of the Race, in Whose responsibility lies the evolution of the human family. No doubt the noble idea of greater European co-operation, friendship, and ever closer ‘union’, was an hierarchical initiative. And, after nearly seventy years, it is still a work in progress, facing great challenges at this time.

Quite possibly, in the future, its influence in the world can serve as a beacon of hope over despair, of co-operation over narrow selfish interests, and as a symbol of ever increasing unity in a sea of diversity. Few would doubt that the EU is imperfect, but it has by and large provided stability, economic prosperity, and humanitarian principles in diplomacy, against a bleak and tumultuous background over too many centuries of warring nations. One has only to reflect on the goals and values of the EU, to recognise its worthy aspirations and noble principles. Its values, for example, speak of the need to uphold and cultivate human dignity, freedom, equality, and the rule of law. And, in 2012, the EU was awarded the Nobel Peace Prize for promoting the causes of peace, reconciliation, democracy and human rights in Europe.

The Heart and Soul of a Nation

Simmering for many decades, the red hot molten magna of separatism and nationalism over the debate on Europe, has forced its way into the clear light of day, like a volcanic eruption, creating seismic fractures within British society. Painful as they are, these events offer all those involved to think deeply, and to bring the light of wisdom to bear upon the burning issues of the day. All profound national crises can be seen as a battle for the heart and soul of a nation. And, like individuals, nations states too face challenges, and can grow in stature and nobility as a result, but if the wrong choices are made, then dire consequences can follow.

A Pandora’s Box

Brexit, quite probably, has relevance and lessons beyond these shores. In many respects, the crisis in the UK is a shared experience with many other nations and cultures, revealed in different ways, yet nevertheless having common origins, and moral implications. We might ask: “are not the fires and embers of separatism igniting all around the world, undermining communities, polarising societies and turning neighbour against neighbour”? These global events are indicative of a deep struggle within the consciousness of humanity, and, at their core, have a common lineage, the momentous clash between different values, ideals and perspectives – broad and inclusive or narrow and separative. Because of the success of the evolutionary process, and the rise of progressive, visionary thinking, embodying the Aquarian principles of co-operation, sharing, and goodwill, the response of the opposing forces, has been swift, uncompromising and unrelenting.

The Brexit debate is drawing out far sighted spiritual principles and at the other extreme, deep-seated prejudices and selfishness. The Referendum opened a ‘Pandora’s Box’ and forces have been unleashed that will reverberate throughout the national consciousness for some time to come. Brexit has been a defining moment, and one thing is clear, (politics and) life in the UK will never quite be the same again. All has been laid bare. Collectively we look into the abyss and see the horror of isolationism, and the spectre of being dragged back to the past, to the ‘good old days’, which were never particularly good. Perhaps the real issue is one of direction. Will it lead to a closer integration and co-operation in Europe, of shared political values, of deepening friendships in the great family of nations or fragmentation and separation? Many fear for the worst, but hope for the best.

Nonetheless, there are encouraging signs in the UK and beyond, a vast movement of like-minded thinkers, drawn from all corners of the world, inspired and motivated by a vision of wholeness, of a broad and deep perspective of life, and enriched by a spirit of goodwill, is underway. The potency of their collective thought is starting to shatter the crystallisation of centuries of age old practices and ideologies. Their inner organisation is growing. Quite probably, at some stage, in the not too distant future, a critical point will be reached, when the power of these thinkers, motivated by goodwill, will be equal to the forces arrayed against them. This will mark a profound turning point in human and in planetary affairs.

I serve

Spiritually, the motto of Great Britain is: I serve. Will the British people rise to the occasion, inspired by the soul of its nation, bringing its accumulated wisdom, skill in government, and sense of justice to bear upon the national crisis or will it assume its ‘John Bull’ persona (a satirical character created by Dr. John Arbuthnot, an 18th century Scottish satirist and polymath) and withdraw into the ‘laager’, isolated, a diminished power, and failing to fulfil its spiritual destiny?

The history and destiny of each nation is inextricably linked to the collective consciousness of its citizens, who embody its heart, mind and soul. People of goodwill in all lands through their constructive, incisive and inclusive thinking, can play a pivotal role in drawing out the spiritual essence of their nation, radiating its qualities, and serving its purpose and direction, and at the same time acknowledging the great family of nations, the international community, and the part each can play to serve the greater Whole .

Just as the birth of countries springs from the bringing together of apparently disparate elements, such as duchies, kingdoms, regions, principalities, counties and states into independent, sovereign nations, so likewise the world is slowly moving towards a ‘loose’ amalgamation of nation states, and blocs, sharing common values, interests, aspirations and purpose, whilst all the while maintaining their independence, culture, and unique contribution to the wider world. All tends towards synthesis and the bringing together of ‘apparently’ unrelated elements into a greater Whole. Out of this global flux and turmoil something better can emerge if there are enough people thinking truth, radiating goodwill and who are prepared to sacrifice personal interests for the good of others.

What can we do to bridge the divide and heal the chasms between the many well meaning and sincere people who reject constructive change for fear of losing their ‘way of life’ and those that embrace it with open hearts and minds? It is perhaps to reassure those who doubt that there is nothing to fear from the tide and march of evolution. If past generations had been indifferent and insensitive to progressive ideas, then we would not enjoy the fruits of our present culture and civilisation, imperfect as they are. The hard worn fruits of evolution, earned through great struggle and sacrifice, must be cherished and celebrated, until such time as they too are superseded by a new wave of visionary thinking in line with the pulse of evolution. There is a time and a place for all things, and change is in the air. Underlying Brexit is a clash of values. The ‘voice of the people’ is, slowly but surely, reaching a crescendo and articulating those ideas and truths which are indicative of the Aquarian age.

  2. Destiny of the Nations, Alice Bailey, p. 7



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