‘…Do the hokey-cokey and you turn around, that’s what it’s all about!’ So goes a favourite song of our church Toddler Group, not that they are always so sure about which is in or out, let alone left or right!
I’m going to risk talking politics for a moment. This week David Cameron announced the much expected news that the Conservatives promise a simple in/out referendum concerning our membership of the EU at some point in the future. This has been welcomed by many who are sceptical about the benefits we get from the EU over the perceived costs. Others have expressed concerns about the simplistic nature of an in/out vote and the potential confusion and harm that could be caused by our uncertain situation over the next few years before the vote – a bit like our toddlers crashing into each other as they try to work out which arm they should be waving and where it should be waved!
My concern is a different one. It reminds me of a well known conversation about the Old Testament command to love our neighbours. Jesus was asked how we can know who our neighbour is. His response was the famous story, ‘The Good Samaritan’ in which he turned the question back on itself, saying don’t ask who your neighbour is but be a good neighbour. It makes me wonder what he would say regarding our future referendum. I have a sneaky feeling he would side step the question and ask not are we getting best value from our European neighbours, but, regardless of how we vote, how can we be a good neighbour.