n.b. Nice work Alexander Johnson and your BXT mates – you got to me in the end too and I am part Irish, part Swedish, part Welsh and part English. The United Kingdom is history. I am proud to be a European; embarrassed to be English while The Great Clown is in Downing Street.
Cycling through the country lanes of Norfolk I found myself at this footpath. The English knew the money lay on The Continent in the C13th. The Weavers’ Way is a long-distance tourist footpath acknowledging the importance of the wool trade with Europe in the historical development of England’s economy.
If you would like a copy of the route so you can follow this path yourself, download a .PDF from Norfolk County Council here. The countryside of Norfolk is beautiful.
n.b. This piece of ironwork is a suitably trite jokey comment on the tenuous connections between England and France that stands in Boulogne-sur-mer.
Boulogne was an assembly point for the invading Romans, the forces of Napoleon’s armada that did not set sail, as well as the likely jumping off point for the Nazis, who thanks to the RAF (with its young pilots from the UK, Canada, South Africa, New Zealand, Poland and Czechoslovakia (amongst other places), also never set sail.
The economy of Boulogne was hit hard when cross-Channel ferries stopped calling there following the opening of the “Chunnel”, the 50km railway tunnel linking England with France. This wondrous feat of Anglo-French engineering started after UK Prime Minister Margaret Thatcher and French President Jacques Chirac signed off the project in 1987.
Following Brexit it is likely that smuggling will prove lucrative once more between the coasts of Northern France and Southern England, an industry that was prolific over 200 years ago when trade barriers and protectionism was in full force.
Incidentally it was protectionism enforced by the English on its thirteen colonies of North America that led to the Revolutionary War of 1775 – 1783. The French weighed in successfully on the side of the colonies from 1778 to ensure the Americans won their independence.
However, the expense of joining this colonial war contributed to the impoverishment of the French treasury leading in part to the French Revolution of 1789.
Who knows where Brexit leads? The notions of “United” and “Kingdom” both look increasingly fragile.