Some important history lessons

chisnall-family-crest-chisnall-coat-of-arms-1Last night on Question Time one of the audience members proudly asserted that they could trace their history back 700 years and they would vote to leave the EU to retain the sovereignty which was part of their heritage. Its fascinating how many people in the debates surrounding this referendum have referred to history, as though their reading of it is accurate and reliable, and that there are no other points of view. Some refer to it in terms of sovereignty and others in terms of democracy, in many case like the person last night tracing these themes back for hundreds of years. I confess that my family is a bit of a mix, and in my case I can only truthfully trace my ancestry back to the mid 18th Century, thanks to the valiant efforts of my Aunt Irene. In an area near Wigan there is an exhausted coal mine called Chisnall Hall Colliery and the nearby  Chisnall Hall Farm. In a Church in Standish there is even a family coat of arms. It would appear that somewhere in our history, we had land owners and wealth which would have meant that someone would have been entitled to vote, and would have enjoyed a form of local sovereignty. Several generations later my grandfather started work as a blacksmith living in rented accommodation near a duck pond over 100 miles away from the family farm. This meant he was ineligible to vote until the Great war ended and any ideas of sovereignty would have been tempered with the need to put food on the table. I cannot imagine what William Chisnall felt like when he was first given the chance to vote in 1918, however we were privileged to have some South African friends visiting Brighton in 1994 when they were first eligible to vote. It would be easy to criticise the democracy of the 1990’s in South Africa, but for Maxwell and Bullelani, this was a life changing act. I disagree with those who argue that the EU is anti-democratic and has robbed me of my sovereignty, just because things could be better. Along with our own Parliament, the EU is far from perfect, but that doesn’t mean it is beyond reform. Fixing things that are broken is one of the motivations that I inherited from my Grandfather. Throwing things away just because they don’t work as well as they should is not the way he brought my father up. It is for this reason among others that I believe that remaining in is the right way to vote on June 23rd.


About ianchisnall

I have a passion to see public policy made accessible everyone who want to improve the wellbeing of their communities. I am interested in issues related to crime and policing as well as in policies on health services and strategic planning.
This entry was posted in Uncategorized. Bookmark the permalink.

Leave a Reply

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in: Logo

You are commenting using your account. Log Out / Change )

Twitter picture

You are commenting using your Twitter account. Log Out / Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out / Change )

Google+ photo

You are commenting using your Google+ account. Log Out / Change )

Connecting to %s