Those of us who have elected to use postal votes will or should have received them already and some of us may already have voted. I intend to wait a while longer to see if any more sensible arguments emerge, not that I am too optimistic. So far, most of the arguments have been based on relatively short term matters and there has been little attention paid to longer term issues, such as those I discuss below.
There is an argument for remaining in the EU, although it could be argued both ways. Many, maybe most, of the member states are relatively recent democracies. Many of you will remember the fall of the Berlin Wall in 1989, which was followed by the reunification of Germany and the gradual dissolution of the old Soviet empire.
For many people, the certainty and stability of a dictatorship seem preferable to the theoretical freedoms of democracy. Whatever the reason, authoritarian parties seem on the rise in Europe, and some, I am thinking particularly of Hungary and Poland, appear to be in government.
Even many of its proponents accept that democracy in the EU is inadequate, but they argue that we can only have any influence on this from the inside. Our democracy, flawed though it was and still is, is one of very few that have lasted for centuries. Without our stabilising influence, the forces of authoritarianism would have that much less resistance.
Of course, there is an opposing argument. Despite our long democratic history, we could be overwhelmed by an authoritarian majority on the continent. Maybe we would be better as a democracy separate from Europe.
You pays your money and you takes your choice!
Those people who took a holiday here during this half term will have been in luck. The weather has been great. Although I believe the official temperature statistics put the highest temperatures in our town in the upper teens, they measure temperature in the shade and who is going to deliberately stay in the shade when on a seaside holiday? In my back garden mid-afternoon, every day the temperature has reached at least 20C. When the sun has been out, it has climbed even further and, in direct sunlight, regularly got up to 30C or even 35C. That is what our visitors will remember.
Do you read Focus? If you don’t, you should. I find it invaluable. There’s loads of information about forthcoming events in town – how often have you heard someone say that they didn’t know until too late that an event was happening? Read Focus and you will find out in time. Ads for local businesses are also useful, and then there are the regular features. Events4Ilfracombe has a page, as do the museum and John Woodcock, who brings us excerpts from old newspapers. Focus is free and is generally available from many shops in town, as well as the library and the medical centre.
This month, the museum talks about a sunshine recorder we once had on Capstone.
And how about this from a newspaper dated 29th January 1852:
“an addition has been made to our local magistracy in the person of Sir James Meek, CB …… This increase of the magistrates we hope to see followed by the establishment here of a petty sessions to remedy the great inconvenience and expense of parties having any business to the Bench being compelled to go all the way to Combmartin.[sic]”
I wonder how our predecessors would feel today, having to go all the way to Barnstaple or even Exeter! What about that inconvenience and expense? I don’t imagine they would be too happy about having to go to Barnstaple or Exeter for a hospital, either.
Which reminds me – have you written to Jeremy Hunt yet?