22 June 2016
Göran R Buckhorn writes:
As I mentioned in the article “HTBS is Doing Well” on 25 May, I almost daily check the ‘traffic’ on HTBS. While some articles soon fade away, other pieces find readers long after they were first posted.
In the latter category is “How a Cartoon of a Racing Shell Explains Britain’s Brexit”, an interview with French editorial cartoonist ‘Kak’, of the French newspaper L’Opinion, by HTBS’s Hélène Rémond. The article was published on 26 February and started out with a modest 133 readers for the month of February. Nevertheless, in March, the article picked up more readers and has increased HTBS’s readership by the hundreds every month since it was first published. By now, “How a Cartoon…” has had more than 2,600 ‘clicks’.
Shortly, Brexit is the question if Great Britain should stay or leave the European Union, EU. Britain’s Prime Minister David Cameron is seen relaxing in the bow seat in ‘Kak’’s cartoon after he managed to make a deal in February with the EU leaders that would give Britain special treatment within the EU, to influence the British people to vote for the country to stay in the EU. The British people will have their say at a referendum tomorrow, 23 June.
At the time of publishing Hélène’s article in February, Cameron, who is the figurehead for Britain staying in the EU, was pretty sure that his ‘In’ side would win the referendum. However, four months later, Cameron is not so sure anymore. A turning point came when Boris Johnson, then Mayor of London and a member of Cameron’s own party, the Tories, suddenly announced that, after some hard thinking, he had decided to join the ‘Out’ side and go against his own party leader. Johnson thereby joined other Tories, a few whom are members of Cameron’s cabinet, in favour of Brexit. In the exit group are also members of the populistic, right-wing party, UKIP.
Both Cameron and Johnson went to Eton and then to Oxford at almost the same time – no, neither of them rowed at any of these institutions – but they never seemed to be chums, despite being members of the same elite clubs and societies at the university. The now ex-Mayor of London, a popular figure known just by his first name, has earlier been named as a likely successor to Cameron as the leader of the Tory party. And if the British people will vote for an exit tomorrow, Cameron will have to leave both the posts as party leader and PM.
That David Cameron belongs to the elite class in Britain was one of the reasons that he ended up at bow in the shell in ‘Kak’’s cartoon, according to the cartoonist himself. When Hélène asked ‘Kak’ why he chose a rowing boat, one of the reasons ‘Kak’ gave was that, ‘The rowing competitions are a symbol of Oxford/Cambridge = UK elite, like Mr. Cameron’.
If Great Britain would leave the EU, there will be big consequences not only for Britain and Europe, new trade agreements have to be written with the USA and the rest of the world. It is also likely that other EU members, which have a strong opposition against EU within their countries, will start a process so also they can leave the EU. If this would happen, it would be the end of EU, as we know it.
Whatever happens at tomorrow’s referendum and in the future, there will always be The Boat Race and Henley Royal Regatta – thank god…..
Interesting piece but KaK ,like so many others , falls into the trap of ‘rowing = the UK elite’ stereotype .
I have nothing against the UK elite but ,as any one who knows anything about the sport in Britain, there are many oarsmen and women from novice to international standard who hail from all stations in life.
Men and women who left school at 15 or 16 , never entered a University in their lives , worked in the most prosaic of employment and yet played as big a part in the sport as any ‘old Etonian’ or rowing ‘Blue’.
Yours, doffing my cap, Bailey.