It’s a pretty momentous day for Britain as we go to the polls and cast our votes as to whether we stay in or move ourselves out of the European Union. Now, as a point of note – and this has been commented to me on several occasions over the past few weeks – if we do choose to depart, it doesn’t mean we’ll be picking up anchor and sailing ourselves over to another continent as we’ll no longer be part of ‘Europe’. Mind you, judging from the news coverage of the Euro 2016 football, plus our consistent track record of coming bottom in the Eurovision Song Contest (key indicators I’m sure you’ll agree), I’m pretty sure the rest of Europe wouldn’t object if we did …… maybe that’s where we’ve gone wrong? It may possibly have been a better option to ask the rest of Europe if they wanted Britain to stay. I think we all know the answer they would give us …… 😉
Talking of news coverage, I’m only glad we haven’t been in the UK for the full media run-up. It seems that whatever decision is made will either prompt the ending of the world, trigger World War 3, spark financial ruin or promote another series of Big Brother. On a more negative note (!!), it could just be like all the preparations that were undertaken as we moved into the new Millennium, when, – guess what? – nothing happened …….
British news does get coverage over here, and indeed, it has been taking more and more of a prime slot as we’ve moved closer to the event. Almost everyone I’ve spoken to over the last week, has made reference to it during conversation, and it’s notable to me that British news gets such high billing on the media platform. That said, so does Trump and all the American antics associated with the presidential elections – another key event which is scheduled to take place later this year. It certainly seems that 2016 is a pivotal year in world history ……. let’s hope it’s remembered for promoting fundamental change and improvement, rather than complete catastrophe.
I was reminded about Britain’s illustrious past only last week during yet another school trip to the Edmonton heritage park, ‘Fort Edmonton’. Named after, and housing the original fort which was constructed during the height of the fur trade when Edmonton was first established back in 1846, it reconstructs a further 3 distinct time periods in Edmonton’s history – 1885, 1905 and 1921. I was accompanying the Grade 1’s, and they were spending the day exploring the 1885 street, with all the various buildings and ways of life that existed during that time. It’s wonderfully done – with fully functional houses from the time, and staff in costumes depicting the era.
One of the first places we saw was the schoolhouse. All the class were asked to take a seat at the desks, girls on the right (hats could be left on), whilst boys to the left (hats removed as a sign of courtesy). And no talking. The very first action was to all stand and sing the national anthem, to which the entire class starting reciting and singing, ‘Oh Canada’. The school mistress brought them to a halt after 2 lines of the verse and admonished the class by stating that whilst melodic, this was not the Canadian national anthem of the time. Could they now recite, ‘God save the Queen’. Rather like a familiar tune coming over the airwaves on the radio, my youngest kid remarked, ‘oh, I know that one!!’, whilst her fellow classmates looked slightly bewildered around her. I couldn’t have been prouder …..
After this, they were instructed to draw the national flag on the chalkboards in front of them. As expected, they all started to illustrate the Canadian flag with the red maple leaf. Unimpressed, the schoolmistress was aghast that a piece of broccoli was on the Canadian flag, and could they all please behave and draw the Union Jack. A knowing smile resonated from my youngest kid, and I did chuckle ……
Britain has clearly left marks on the world and today’s vote will no doubt have repercussions no matter what the decision is for decades to come. The well-known song, ‘Should I stay or should I go now?’ by The Clash back in 1982 had the following refrain, ‘if I go there will be trouble, and if I stay it will be double’. Let’s hope it doesn’t come back to haunt us ……