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.

Sunday, 26 June 2016

Brexit - a German view

This morning I received the following e-mail from an Anglophile German friend. With his permission I am reproducing it:

" This morning I have read an article in which the Shakespearian quality of David Cameron's fall was assessed: a man who wanted to tighten a union and who ended up destroying two.

But arguably the more tragic characters are Johnson and Gove. They have now won a victory after which their troops might turn against them once they realise that the NHS will not receive 350 million pounds a week from tomorrow onwards and immigrants keep coming to the British shores. I also fail to see whom they want to build this independent Britain with as they have alienated a good deal of the elites (the sneered-at experts, the belittled leaders of pro-EU parties and lobby groups, British industry) they now need to move forward.

The most puzzling fact, however, is that the British nationalists of the UKIP kind have spectacularly scuttled the Unions of 1707 and 1801 by moving into unchartered waters where the Scottish and the Northern Irish will be very reluctant to follow. After the closely fought Scotland Referendum two years ago in which the pro-Union camp rightly played the card of Scotland in the UK meaning a Scotland in the EU and thus within a reasonably safe economic environment, the 'nationalists' should have known that they could not come back only two years later and take this very economic security (to the extent that the EU does provide it) away. I have never been a friend of Nicola Sturgeon, but I can see why she now makes a move towards a new independence referendum, and I see why Sinn Fein feel they have a point when they clamour to have a unification referendum in the six counties.
To boot, Gibraltar is also facing quite some problems now. Surely this was forseeable, but apparently Johnson, Farage, etc. did not want to take these constitutional problems into account. To me, it appears that they have not the shred of a plan where they want to take the country after
having cut it loose from the EU.

I truly feel despondent about the situation. It is a small consolation that yesterday evening, at a birthday party of a colleague of mine, the soccer results seemed to be more important than Brexit."

To which the Clever Boy will merely add that he agrees with every word of it.

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