Chilcot, Brexit, and the Future of the U.K.
31st July 2016 at 8:15 am #1267PrabhuGuest
The Chilcot Report into the Iraq War concluded that there had been a comprehensive failure of the UK’s government, its armed forces and its intelligence services.
That is a pretty sweeping indictment – which has, however, been widely used to blame one man.
However guilty that man was or wasn’t, and however wrong or right he may have been, does the Chilcot Report not raise much wider questions?
If there was a comprehensive failure of government, military and intelligence, is that to say that there was no failure on the part of the courts – or the media? Or, for that matter, no failure on the part of most ordinary citizens?
Further, on whichever side of the Brexit debate we may have been on the day of the vote, and whatever our view of the result of the vote, is it at all possible that factors similar to those that led to the earlier comprehensive failure were also at play in relation to the way the Brexit debate was conducted?
I wonder whether Chilcot’s link with Brexit has something to do with character and something to do with conscience.
In a recent piece in The Atlantic magazine (USA), Paul Barnwell points to “Students’ Broken Moral Compasses”.
However, does the behaviour of most people exposed by Chilcot, and involved in the Brexit debate, perhaps hint that it may not be the moral compasses of only American students that are broken?
If so, what has caused such widespread malaise?
Barnwell blames unrealistic academic targets which force schools to track and measure the academic achievement of all students, “a goal lauded by most, but one that (has) ultimately elevated standardized testing and severely narrowed curricula”.
If the pressures of national academic standards have pushed character education out of the classroom, as Barnwell argues, has that happened only for the current generation in the USA, or did it start happening in the USA, the UK and other countries as long ago as the Sixties?
I too am a child of the Sixties. In pointing to that time, and to others, I am also pointing at myself.
So I pose the following questions to myself as much as to anyone else who cares to think about them:
– if trust is essential to public and private life, is the revival of trust in our institutions possible without the revival of character and conscience?
– what practical steps do I take regularly or frequently to refresh my own values and examine my own character and conscience?
– what practical steps can we take, individually and collectively, to emphasise character in the practices of our institutions, whether in our schools and universities or in our politics, our military, our intelligence services, and our government?
It is worth reminding ourselves that William Wilberforce and the circle of people around him (never numbering more than 15 at the centre) took the UK, from being one of the most corrupt countries in the world in the 19th century, to becoming one of the least corrupt in the world – all within one generation.
Singapore accomplished a similar “miracle” in the 20th century.
Could we accomplish something equally audacious again in the UK in our generation?1st August 2016 at 7:02 am #1268Hal JonesGuest
Posted by Michel Basse in behalf of Hal Jones
I am so glad Prabhu is bringing this up.
It makes me want to throw into the mix of this the issues of:
a. the loss of the christian/biblical world view in the social contract and b. the negative influence of Pietism on the world view of the Christian not including Government as a legitimate sphere to be salt and light.
hal5th August 2016 at 10:57 am #1270ColinGuest
This is a test response. Please ignore.
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