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Flower arch over decorative fountain at RHS Wisley
Flower arch over decorative fountain at RHS Wisley: click for a full view.
That's another fine mess you've gotten us into David

The consequences of the outcome of the EU referendum have shattered the expectations of several nations. The divisions within the UK produced a result which has already caused many recriminations. In other words the split has hit the fan.

The Brexit victory was so narrowly won that the final result could have been swayed by a smallish faction with strong views. It is likely that individuals who were anti-immigration or overly protective of our sovereignty tipped the balance. Theirs was a simple policy in what is in reality a very complex political scenario and it does not stand up to impartial scrutiny. Their political leaders (for want of better words, for previously we referred to them as the clowns), favouring the Leave option were guilty of lies designed to appeal to this impassioned section of the electorate. Their voters included those who felt rightly disenfranchised. Some for example lived in regions of low employment and also did not share in the affluence or benefits of the London-centric administration. Unfortunately there was also a racist minority. Too many were not able to give sufficient credit to those many immigrants who make a critical contribution to vital services, such as the NHS and other jobs seen as unattractive, in Britain.

David Cameron was in the driving seat and he believed we should Remain. Why he didn't use his privileged position to lead the nation we do not know. Perhaps he had faith in our imperfect democracy or the cynical might argue he was covering his back. Either way he made the wrong call in opting for a referendum and, just like a good football manager whose team narrowly lost a vital match on penalties, he had to pay the price and resign.

What we would have liked to have seen was a decision to Remain which, we believe, could have heralded increased future prosperity, improved the prospects for long term peace and given us some influence over the future of the EU. The European community and the whole of the UK would have been better off but the most important beneficiaries would have been the young. Apparently many of the older UK voters didn't seem to care about them or, perhaps, didn't have the vision to see beyond their own narrow points of view.

At the time of writing, events are unfolding dramatically and we can't keep pace but in summary this last few weeks have been most depressing. We have been witness to an anomalous referendum result with serious ramifications for the UK, some overt racism, political shenanigans including lies and treachery and little hope for a correction in view of an opposition Labour party meltdown produced by their own political machinations.

The appointment of the next leader of the Tory party turned into the coronation of Theresa May when Boris Johnson and Andrea Leadsom inexplicably and suddenly withdrew from the race. Both of them got good jobs after the reshuffle but we cannot claim that there was any connection between their actions and their rewards. That would be too cynical wouldn't it? The future for the UK holds many surprises in store and the PM will surely be tested in the extreme. We hope that there will be more good surprises than bad. So far she seems to have loosened the grip of the Eton gang and is prepared to reach out to a wider section of the electorate. Whatever, it seems likely that British politics may never be the same again!

Current events demanding instant action from the new PM include a shocking and unforgivable act of violence in France leading to many tens of deaths and hundreds of serious physical injuries to civilians. Almost certainly this stemmed from illiberal religious fanaticism. Although we are not great admirers of Francois Hollande we respect that he presides over a country which has a population with strong religious leanings but is nonetheless a militant secular state.

These matters put the miserable performance of a vastly overpaid bunch of English footballers in the Euro 2016 championship in the shade but even that was depressing. Sporting performances appear trivial when compared to the tragic events described above, however there was some good news in this context for the UK. First there was the success of Wales in the Euro championship when they reached the semi-finals: no titles but it was a worthy achievement and gave them a ranking above England. Then there was the tennis news which gave us a welcome vicarious pleasure.

There were six Wimbledon 2016 tennis titles for GB and all were tremendous accomplishments. First we mention two that Great Britain's Gordon Reid won by adding the men's wheelchair singles to the doubles title he won alongside Alfie Hewett on the previous day. Then Jordanne Whiley and her partner Yui Kamiji won the ladies’ wheelchair doubles for the third consecutive year. On the same day, Heather Watson with her partner, the Finn, Henri Kontinen won the mixed doubles title in a thrilling match made all the more so because theirs was an impromptu partnership with no experience nor ranking. Last but not least Andy Murray won his second Wimbledon men's singles title in a hard fought final against Milos Raonic. Refreshing medicine!

We should not be surprised if, by the time you read this, events will have unfolded that we could not have yet predicted.

A ballet of seagulls on the river Mole, Cobham, Surrey after the floods of 2013-2014

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By Gordon Shaw.

Pink Blossom in Oaks Park
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Page originated: 20 July, 2001,  Last updated: 17 July, 2016