Petula Clark?

by cheri

I was so hoping to regale you with my report of Prime Minister Cameron’s answers to questions he fielded yesterday at 1:00 pm in the House of Commons. We just missed securing a seat in the gallery after waiting in a comfortable area, seated on a leather bench with heat flowing under our calves. Not to be.

“Oh well,” I sighed, and began to imagine how the  grand Westminster Hall, built by William II, the son of William the Conqueror (or Bastard, depending on your politics), might have looked in 1093.

Outside, the sun illuminated the gothic spires of the Parliament Building and of Westminster Abbey, right across the street. The Westminster Bridge seemed a perfect destination to evade the hoards of people swarming each intersection and tourist site.

On the bridge, I would be able to take a perfect picture of  the Parliament Building.

We were greeted with a hearty collection of vocal English men and women holding “Leave” signs looking over the bridge and down to the Thames, where fishing boats, small dinghies, and private boats circled by Parliament.



Then, a large cabin cruiser glided into the mix of boats with music blaring. Was I on a Petula Clark memory lane? The melody burst out of a sophisticated loud speaker:

“I’m in with the in crowd, I go where the in crowd goes…”

These party-goers were the Remainers, the In-Crowd.

The lady standing next to me, smoking–a hardscrabble woman whose hands and face were deeply lined and sun-damaged–told me that those people in the cabin cruiser were the “rich people” who want to stay in the EU because of their financial interests.

All around us were regular working-class people who want to exit the European Union, concerned about the easy and fluid immigration that is changing the British culture and the lives they had expected to live in their communities.

I could relate to what they were complaining about.




About Cheri

Writer, artist, cable television host, grandmother to four!
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20 Responses to Petula Clark?

  1. Richard says:

    Everything! In a nutshell.
    We miss you both already.
    Glenys and Richard.

  2. shoreacres says:

    I just shared this with a woman from Southhampton, who wrote about the Brexit and Bremain forces. I thought it was interesting that her ambivalence — one day “go,” the next day “stay” — resembles my own ambivalence about our presidential campaign. This may be the year I cast my first write-in vote.

    But London? My favorite. I’ve been lucky enough to spend some time there, and have wonderful memories. I hope yours are as wonderful!

    • Thank you for your link to this interesting blogger, whom I am now following! I heard about this incident. The boat that belonged to the tune blaring out “in” crowd was Bob Geldof’s boat full of celebrities. The main rival ‘out’ boat had UKIP leader Nigel Farage on board. The main demonstration came from British fishermen. They have lost their industries of work and are due to EU fishing quotas. They agree there should be quotas but resent Spanish fishermen being able to fish in their usual waters. In and Out is not really about Rich versus Poor – but I found Bob Geldof (a man I usually admire) protesting against fishermen pretty embarrassing.

      • Cheri says:

        Thank you Southhamptonoldlady!

        We learned some of what you posted that day on the bridge and yes, I agree that the referendum is not as simply as “rich vs. poor.” From what we listened to in conversation and on your British television stations, I’d say immigration is what is fueling a great deal of the movement.

        Until the horrible murder of Jo Cox, the Leave may have passed but many will vote In out of sympathy for what happened to her, don’t you think? I understand her husband and two children were there in a small boat that day that we witnessed the protests.

        Anyway, thank you so much for visiting my blog (which is 9 years old…)

        • I often wonder what we look like to foreigners – so really enjoy reading blogs like yours. Yes – it has mainly become about immigration, but should be about so many things – Wasn’t that shocking about the killing of Jo Cox? I didn’t know that she was there in a small boat too.

          • Cheri says:

            The killing of Jo Cox by a man with mental problems does not shock us in the US as much as it may have in England. We live in a crass society here where reality TV and professional sports are more important than any cultural event. It is my understanding that Jo Cox’s husband and children were in a small boat in the flotilla. The class war that our current president has nurtured has helped to create hatred toward the police and each other. He is no Churchill!

            • Shocking as we don’t have a history of gun culture and the only weapons aimed at MPs have been eggs until now. At the same time there is a young British man with mental problems who has been arrested for his attempts to assassinate Trump! The whole world is waiting to see who the next President of the US is.

    • Cheri says:

      Thanks Shoreacres…
      Home safely. Loved London but happy to be home among the squirrels and hawks again on the peaceful Rancho.

      When I am not so sleepy, I plan to post the best photos from Paris and London and add some commentary about meeting Richard and Glenys, who have been following my blog for a long time. Very fun!

  3. You know MY memories of London are great, and now that Kate is living in London I like to hear what’s going on there. There is no ambivalence in my view of our coming election—I cannot vote for either candidates.

  4. Richard says:

    The central issue in this referendum is freedom. Democracy is an expression of that freedom.

    We are so used to our freedoms that we take them for granted. It is as well that we remember Winston Churchill’s words from WW2 in the face of threats from continental Europe “a thousand years scarce serve to form a state. An hour may lay it in the dust”. The formation of that state is the history of this Britain’s winning and preserving freedom and democracy. The EU is a reversal of that progress, for it is based on a belief that the people should be ruled and decisions made by a supposedly virtuous elite. A philosophy inherited from Plato, Rousseau and others.

    Churchill said much about Europe and partial quotes do not assist in penetrating his true thoughts, which were equivocal and give rise to heated controversy. This much is true: he had a vision for a peaceful and united Europe, but not the decimation of British values, which were his motivation to stand alone at the start of WW2 against Nazi domination and later with the indispensable involvement of the US.

    Our parliamentary system allows us to call our rulers to account and to dismiss them. Neither option is available to us as far as our EU rulers are concerned. The European Parliament does not initiate laws and cannot call the unelected Commission, which does, to account.

    Although it is politics which makes the most noise, it is the daily work in our courts that truly guards our freedoms. This is largely as a result of our Common Law, adopted by the US in Article III, Section 2 of its Constitution. The Common Law has its roots in prehistoric times. Under Alfred the Great, local customs were dealt with in local courts so did not form part of a body of general law. William the Conqueror then preserved the ancient customs. Under Henry II, in the 12th Century, and for largely pragmatic reasons, the Royal courts began to establish themselves and to apply local customs nationally. It was this and written records that gave rise to the law of precedent and constituted the Common Law as a source of law. The Common Law is the result of real issues between real people and the true foundation of the peaceful (as opposed to an imposed) rule of law.

    The Common Law did not prevail over the elite and imposed Justinian Codes and Canon Law until the seventeenth century. It was this supremacy that enabled Lord Denning in modern times to recall the words of Chief Justice Coke from a period of absolute monarchy, and bring the Attorney General to account in Appeal Court 1: “Be you ever so high, the Law is above you.“. A ringing affirmation of equality before the law.

    The Common Law is relegated and made subject to the pronouncements of the European Court of Justice, consisting of 28 judges assisted by 11 Advocate Generals, from different legal traditions, often merely following the opinion of a single advocate general.

    Look around the world and note how, for those who do not possess it, freedom ranks above all else. Above riches, above health, above religion, above life itself. It is freedom, and its expression, democracy, from which all benefit flows: peace, cooperation and the futures of our descendants. The referendum vote is a historic claim for freedom.

    • Christopher says:

      “…….The central issue in this referendum is freedom…….”

      I, on the other hand, concur with Cheri’s view that this referendum is mostly about immigration – well……..on the surface.

      As to the sorts of Britons who wish to “leave”, it appears most are English. However, most Scots and Welsh seem to want to “stay”. So, “leaving” appears more an “English” thing, than anything else.

      I put it to you, then, that what this referendum is really about, is English nationalism, with England having its own parliament, and all of that.

      From what I read, the Scots and Welsh will likely secede (eventually) from the UK in the wake of a “leave” vote, thereby leaving England the sole master of its historic destiny.

      Even should the “stay” votes prevail overall next week, it likely won’t change the fact that most of the “English” will have voted to “leave”. Will this not ever after be a thorn in English hearts?

      • Richard says:

        There are many imponderables that qualify your stark statements, Christopher, as there are many doubts about the future and purpose of the EU.

        I take it you use the word “nationalism” in a pejorative way to raise spectres of the horrific inhumanities that have been committed under its cloak. I prefer the expression “self-determination”, a wholly respectable object which I am sure you encourage. There is no trace of ambition to dominate or override other cultures or ways of doing things. Would that the EU elite were as sensitive to identity and national preferences.

        Immigration is, of course, to be welcomed in principle, as is providing a safe haven to those under threat of life and limb. It is part of our tolerant culture, at least in relatively modern times. Invasion, however, is not welcome. Uncontrolled numbers are perceived by many as such by both indigenous peoples and recent migrants alike.

        You do not mention Northern Ireland. As far as I know, there is no real appetite there or in Wales for secession from the UK, and Scotland has already overwhelmingly expressed its support for the Union – an entirely separate issue from EU membership. The Scottish nationalists naturally seek to conflate the two to promote their political raison d’être. They can have as many plebiscites as they like as far as I’m concerned, if it makes them happy, provided they pay for them and extend the vote to all expatriates, including those living elsewhere in the UK. There is also a reasonable case for a plebiscite of all UK nationals. Ii they chose to secede, there should be no bar to their return. It would be nice if the EU were to be as nice to the UK, but that sort of true friendship and generosity is not written into the treaties.

        Naughtily, you have seduced me off the theme of Cheri’s post, so I conclude in confirmation of my acceptance of the outcome of the referendum, whatever it is, and I shall continue to live, laugh, cry and dwell at peace with my neighbours. That is what you call democracy. To behave otherwise is inconsistent with my passionate support for the voice of the people.

        • Christopher says:

          “…….I take it you use the word ‘nationalism’ in a pejorative way……..”

          Any nationalism contains at least some elements of xenophobia.

          You don’t appear to dispute my assertion that “leaving” is predominantly an “English” thing. That this is so is borne out in this piece in *the Telegraph*, which shows that, apart from in London, most denizens in all the areas of England wish to “leave”, whereas most denizens in all the areas of the UK outside of England wish to “stay”.

          I noted in the Telegraph piece that 91% of Guardian readers wish to “stay”. On the other hand, most Telegraph readers wish to “leave”!!

          You are of course right that the UK wouldn’t necessarily break up in the wake of the “leaves” winning. But, it’s a definite possibility. And, who knows, England might decide to secede from the UK in the wake of the “stays” winning.

          As I write this, the financial markets are showing that those who manipulate them are confident the “stays” will win this Thursday. Doubtless they know things which the likes of you and I don’t. It seems, then, that the forces of “good” will likely prevail on Thursday.

          • Richard says:

            “……..Any nationalism contains at least some elements of xenophobia…….”

            That is why it is important to recognise that the issue is a matter of self-determination containing little trace of hatred of foreigners, only resistance to domination by an elite.

            “….You don’t appear to dispute my assertion that “leaving” is predominantly an “English” thing………”

            This is difficult to call. The SNP is the prime mover of this assertion. The Party was wrong about the Scottish referendum result and so the UK remains a single country and votes as such. The SNP still seeks to further its central political ambition by continuing in its efforts to divide the country. Its support for power centralised in Brussels sits uncomfortably with its hatred of Westminster. That said, Scotland has historical links with France to oppose England in the hope of domination.

            “………..apart from London, most denizens in all the areas of England wish to “leave”……..

            I also read that piece in the Telegraph. Unfortunately, the Common Market and its successors have fostered the rise of an unhealthy elite in the City that will, understandably, vote according to its special interests and not in the interests of the country and our descendants. Again, the result in Greater London is difficult to call.

            “………….I noted in the Telegraph piece that 91% of Guardian readers wish to “stay”. On the other hand, most Telegraph readers wish to “leave”!!……….

            I do not read The Guardian since some time after it changed its name from The Manchester Guardian. We tend to read the papers that broadly reflect our own views. Rounding up to the nearest 100,000, The Telegraph circulation is 500,000, the Guardian’s 200,000. If you assume the support is 100% either way as you say, this is an advantage for Leave of 5:2. Statistics and models are dangerous things to play with. Unfortunately these are the stock-in-trade of economists and financial traders, such as the IMF, the IFS and the Stock Market, who were wrong about the ERM, the Euro and the British prospects for recovery from the recession in 2010. The problem lies in the choice of assumptions and the sterility of the models.

            ……England might decide to secede from the UK in the wake of the “stays” winning……..

            I see no prospect of England wishing to secede from the UK because of the strength of Scottish roots in England, only a desire to have an equal measure of self-determination with Scotland, particularly having regard to the tenfold size of its population and Scottish, like the EU, dependence upon England for money to spend as they wish.

            “………As I write this, the financial markets are showing that those who manipulate them are confident the “stays” will win this Thursday. Doubtless they know things which the likes of you and I don’t. It seems, then, that the forces of “good” will likely prevail on Thursday…….”

            Alas, the financial markets have been wrong before, so far as it is possible to read them, dominated as they are by statistics and doubtful models.

            Nor can we rely upon opinion polls which disagree by substantial margins. These struggle to come to terms with voters’ cross-party divide when constructing their models:


            I suppose we all have to brace ourselves against the forces of evil, which come in many guises, and oppose them. Whatever the result, acceptance is the essence of democracy. The forces of evil will continue, regardless of political leanings. In all of us, perhaps, just a teeny-weeny little bit.

            • Christopher says:

              “……The SNP is the prime mover of this assertion……..”

              When I asserted that “leaving” is predominantly an “English” thing I wasn’t aware the SNP had also asserted this. However, the Telegraph piece shows the truth of this assertion.

              “……..The Telegraph circulation is 500,000, the Guardian’s 200,000………”

              While this may be true, what’s far more important is “readership”. As *this report* shows, “readership” (print and online) for the Guardian is 5.2 million, compared with 4.9 million for the Telegraph.

              “…….Nor can we rely upon opinion polls which disagree by substantial margins……”

              As far as I’ve ascertained, the findings of the opinion polls are all fairly similar – saying the result will be close either way. For what it’s worth, it’s my belief that most of the estimated 10% or so of current “don’t knows” will plump for the status quo, and will therefore vote at the last moment to “remain”, thereby helping eke out an overall victory for the “remain” side.

              That said, it wouldn’t at all surprise me if the size of the “remain” victory turns out substantial. One need only remember what happened in…………1975.

              • Richard says:

                All very interesting, Christopher, but I do not share your faith in statistical models. The pollsters themselves are extremely doubtful. In particular, there is a marked difference between telephone and online polls.

                The conclusion generally is that the result cannot be predicted and depends on turnout. Even that theory has its detractors.

                Still, soon it will all be over and we shall be able to resume life and all that really matters – for the present, anyway, if governments of whatever nature and location allow us to do so.

  5. Cheri says:

    I am not living in Great Britain but were I a citizen, I would vote to LEAVE. The EU is feckless in so many areas of governance. It was an ill-conceived modern idea that has failed. Why do you think it is so frightened about one country leaving? If it were a strong union, one country’s exit wouldn’t make a difference. It is foolish to believe that individual countries with individual cultures (or what used to be countries with individual cultures) want to become “One Worlders.” Just because one wants to exit the EU does not make her racist or xenophobic but actually points to an economic thoughtfulness. Most of the people with whom we visited in London were for LEAVE.

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