The referendum on Brexit has been a severe blow to European unity. This development will have a far-reaching negative impact on both Britain and the rest of Europe.
Although, for once, the British had the opportunity to vote in a clear manner, where every vote counted, almost 30 per cent did not vote on such a crucial issue. The result was an indictment of a political class that believes that it knows it all and treats the electorate patronisingly.
The immigrant crisis, which is spiralling out of control, was exploited to the hilt by the anti-EU politicians and activists, who in their campaign proved even more dishonest than their opponents.
The Brexit result should be a wake-up call for all Europeans, especially those who claim to have Christian values.
For too long, the political and social development of a united Europe has been reduced to economic rationality. The Christian philosophy of social democracy has been dented, and the core values that inspired men like Alcide De Gasperi, Robert Schuman and Konrad Adenauer have long been given only lip service.
Lobbying should be declared and open, so that people are able to judge what is at stake
Such people, who really passionately believed in a united Europe, were those who came through World War II and believed in a democracy based on solidarity and subsidiarity. Such men of principle no longer exist. It is now mostly a matter of short-sighted, short-term, political and financial advantage.
Yet the rot in Europe runs deeper. Rabbi Jonathan Sacks, this year’s recipient of the prestigious Templeton Prize, pins it down. Sacks did not mince words. Our civilisation is in imminent peril, despite all the advantages and comforts that modern technology has bestowed. He mentions four crippling flaws.
Firstly, we are addicted to debt. This is portrayed in the fiscal irresponsibility abetted and exploited by the financial world. Secondly, the breakdown of the family unit. This has been accelerated by easy divorce and the virulent gender ideology that has led to the virtual destruction of the concept of the traditional family.
Thirdly, the growing gap between the super-rich and the rest. Finally, the demise of the West is the result of an intractable demographic crisis in which the current generation rejects the responsibility of child-rearing.
These four realities are all interlinked and a consequence of the abandonment of Europe’s Christian identity, reflected now by an unrepresentative, bloated bureaucracy where policies are often determined by underhand lobbying.
A prime example can be seen in the series of trade negotiations being carried out, mostly in secret, between the EU and the US by the Transatlantic Trade and Investment Partnership. It has been branded an assault on European and US societies by transnational corporations.
The spectre of lobbying in the EU is hardly referred to in the local media. Yet in Leħen Is-Sewwa (July 24), Dun Anġ Seychell, quoting a local paper, pointed out that despite the EU managing, after much effort, to force lobbies and their budgets to be registered, two countries refused to publish this information – Britain and Malta.
Instead of engaging with the EU to improve its performance, Britain chose to block transparency on such a vital issue. So much for blaming the EU for all its ills. It is the political class at the national level that bears the blame for corrupting wholesome political development in Europe.
These lobbyists are not just covering business interests. There are also pressure groups, such as LBGT groups, that conceal their role and funding. Such behaviour is the antithesis of sound democracy. Lobbying should be declared and open, so that people are able to judge what is at stake.
A further example of the abuse of political clout is the pressure in the EU by powerful interests such as that of billionaire George Soros, one of the US’s richest men, who uses funds to destabilise the current, democratic, pro-Catholic government in Poland and now also aims to fund groups fighting Ireland’s restrictive law on abortion.
Meanwhile, in Malta, the government continues to undermine the family and promote laws that threaten the sacredness of life.
Christians are expected to involve themselves in the political arena and fight these negative developments. Otherwise, Europe has no future.
Dr. Klaus Vella Bardon is vice-chairman of Life Network Foundation Malta.