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, 24 June 2016

Living in interesting times

Well, what a turn of events!

I retired to bed at about midnight and lay in the dark listening to the Referendum results come in on Radio 4 through the night.

As was predicted weeks ago Gibralter was first to declare and for interests very much her own, very positively for Remain.

Then the tremors started in Sunderland and they continuerd to spread. As the political earthquake spread my mind moved from thinking "Surely not but just possibly" to amazement and then bemusement as dawn rose outside my bedroom window and the dawn chorus was that of Brexit.

I nodded off to sleep and then awoke to hear the distinctive tones of Mr Cameron announcing his resignation. Now that is one definitely good thing to come out of this. Good riddance. He has certainly earned his place in history with Referendum written on his heart, and one of the most spectacular downfalls of any modern Prime Minister. This was his Suez. He has indeed fallen like Lucifer through his over-confidence and misguided policy.

When I went out into the city mid-morning it was still with asense of bemusement at what had happened overnight. The first friend I met and I shared this sensation, of having expected a narrow Remain victory and finding that as a nation we face a rather different and very unclear future.
Am I surprised? Yes I think so, but I would add that I did sense yesterday, however vaguely, that we were perhaps sitting on the edge of the unknown.

In terms of recent history this is the equivalent in shock and momentousness of the events of November 1989 and the fall of Communism in central and eastern Europe, or the final collapse of the USSR in August 1991. What this result portends is not clear.

It was not until this evening that my mood turned from bemusement to dull anger at what has happened, and at a move to uncertainty and the unwise abandonment not of a stagnating but tiresone EU but rather of a vision of Europe asa great and civilising force.

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