Once I was a clever boy learning the arts of Oxford... is a quotation from the verses written by Bishop Richard Fleming (c.1385-1431) for his tomb in Lincoln Cathedral. Fleming, the founder of Lincoln College in Oxford, is the subject of my research for a D. Phil., and, like me, a son of the West Riding. I have remarked in the past that I have a deeply meaningful on-going relationship with a dead fifteenth century bishop... it was Fleming who, in effect, enabled me to come to Oxford and to learn its arts, and for that I am immensely grateful.

Friday, 31 July 2015

Calais crisis

I know I am a bit odd but when I hear of MPs wanting troops sent to Calais or see newspaper headlines such as "Army ready to act over Calais crisis" I begin to wonder if I, or the media, have time-travelled back to 1436, when Duke Humphrey saved the day, or 1558, when we lost Calais to the French after 211 years.

Are we going to liberate the town and Pale so that it can once more send, as it did from 1540 until 1558 two MPs to Westminster? Has we retained that bridgehead on the continent our view of Europe might well be somewhat different. It could be our Ceuta or Mellila.

Could this be for the government what the Crimea has been for Vladimir Putin?

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