Insight

Welcome to the blog of Commissioner Clive Adams. Leader of The Salvation Army United Kingdom and Republic of Ireland
 
 

Hobson's Choice

22 June 2016 - 10:56am
| by Clive Adams
|

“Oh yes, it does!”

“Oh no, it doesn’t!”

“Oh yes, it does!”        

“Oh yes, they will!”

“Oh no, they won’t!”

“Oh yes, they will!”

You’d be forgiven for thinking that I was quoting from a scene in an out-of-season pantomime.   But, the only thing farcical about these exchanges was that they were - quite literally - a travesty (a word to be found in the list of dictionary definitions for ‘farce)’; a serious perversion of the concept of debate.  Regardless of the subject being “debated” (and I used that word under protest, given the fatuous exchanges to which we have been subjected for months, and which culminated in the so-called “Great Debate” on BBC 1) statements received rebuttals, claims were countered with accusations of lying, “Yes!” was countered with “No!”, “It is!” was met with “It isn’t!”, “Project Fear” was pitted against “Project Hate”…

Burlesque-like, this parody of debate continues even on this last day before we vote, and whether the subject is the economy, immigration or sovereignty, claims and counter-claims leave many voters no less the wiser as to what the implications of our vote – leave or stay – might be.  The confidence with which pure speculation has been presented as fact by both sides has been vexing.  The deliberate distortions, the exaggerations, the scare mongering… What are we to believe?  Who can we trust? 

The woeful performances by both sides in addressing the question that we have to answer on Thursday when we vote in the referendum have left me deeply frustrated.  I expect that I am not the only one wanting to be able to make an informed decision, when I put my cross on that page!  Thursday, 23 June is a momentous day for everyone in the United Kingdom. We are being asked to vote on an issue of great and grave importance, which will impact our children, grandchildren and, indeed, generations to come.  To place it in perspective for salvationists, it is not completely dissimilar to the momentous decision taken at that first High Council in 1929 – though the extensity and immensity of Thursday’s vote must be magnified almost beyond calculation in comparison to the Sunbury vote - a decision on an issue that divided the people, with forecasts on either side of imminent disaster, where head and heart are not necessarily in sync as one makes the choice.   Many voters have not been able to distinguish between the so-called “Project Hate” and “Project Fear” campaigns, any good, solid, sound arguments, to unpick the core facts from the rhetoric and … urm… shall we be generous and call them, ‘veracity violations’?!  So it’s left to the heart… what does your heart say?

You see, despite my frustration at these debaters for being so intent on winning arguments that it has not mattered to them whether they are correct or not – either in their pontificating or in the methods they’ve employed - I will be voting in the referendum.  It is my privilege – especially since I am not British; it is my right –afforded me by the British voting system; it is my duty – as a tax-paying citizen; it is my responsibility – as a Christian… a Salvationist!

As salvationists, I urge you to take your precious democratic right to vote very seriously by giving earnest thought to the implications of your choice, as you understand them, in the light of your beliefs and the context in which we live them out. Wherever that thinking process lands you, I urge you to exercise your duty as citizens and your responsibility as Christians, to vote… with good conscience!

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