Cameron’s Folly – The British IN or OUT of the European Union Referendum – Diatribe, Debate and Tessellation

The question of whether or not Britain should be a member of the EU is too complicated and subtle even for ME, let alone the average British elector to decide upon. It is JUST the sort of question we elect a parliament of professional legislators, able to commission a wide range of expert advice, to determine. But, ironically, these elected savants have determined  to leave it up to us, the ill-informed electorate, to decide, subject as we are to the winds of contingent events and the plausible posturing of high-vis rogues on both sides.  I and many of my acquaintances despair of the wisdom, even of the goodwill, of our government. Actually, this is my permanent state of mind.

Well, if we must have this stupid referendum, at least we should follow the usual constitution of societies and public bodies, for instance that internationally insignificant Derbyshire village body, the Cromford Community Association and require a two-thirds to one-third majority of members (and a simple majority of the Council ) before taking the momentous step of changing our long-established Constitution. What is the UK to do if (as is quite likely) the vote is 51% to 49% in either direction. Should such a divided nation LEAVE despite a tiny majority in favour of STAYING? Should a two-thirds/one third majority be required for us to stay IN, taking OUT to be the historical default situation?

Afterword; as you may know, the vote was 52% to 48% – little different to my “forecast” and so close I’m not bothering to confirm which way it went, though a statistician would confirm that such a split of some 34 million votes means there is a “highly significant” deviation from a 50:50 coin-toss hypothesis. One reaction to this result can be enjoyed on my twitter page:

Anyway, in an attempt to hear some substantial arguments, rather than the national media’s head-count of moguls, Scarthin Books of Cromford are sponsoring an IN/OUT debate on Saturday 9th. April at the aforementioned Cromford Community Centre. The contestants are Edward Spalton and Brian Mackenzie, both experienced in international enterprise and trade,both committed to their views beyond the economic arguments, both worthy of respect. Here is the poster, and also a parking/access plan as our industrious  village which, with its shops, hotels, stone quarries, engineering and service businesses,historic mills and housing, restaurants and pubs, is a HUB and often congested.

EU Debate


Of course, Britain will probably be OK either OUT or IN the EU. We’ll all try to make the best of whatever situation we find ourselves in. The result of the referendum will be subject to huge random (i.e. inexplicable and unpredictable) factors; we might just as well have tossed a coin – HEADS WE’RE IN, TAILS WE’RE OUT – you could say that tossing a coin is exactly what we ARE doing.

One afternoon in the the Chemistry Laboratory at Northampton Grammar School, a teacher stuck a pin into a list of Cambridge Colleges and thus randomly allocated a College to each of us five Science Boys. The 100% success record of Alan Bennett’s History Boys was not achieved; the two most promising  did not get in (they shone at Imperial College, London, instead), three of us did – to Pembroke, St Catherine’s and St. John’s. Had I not found myself at John’s, I would not, on my way to Cavendish Laboratory lectures, have passed and become addicted to David’s bookstall  – and Scarthin Books, my children and this blog would all vanish “in a puff of smoke”. But surely another life, not empty of colour and creation, would have come about in place of the life I’ve actually been living. So will it be with Britain, in or out of the EU.

WHAT ABOUT A TESSELLATION ?! The EU referendum takes place on June 23rd., so here is Trefoil Lattice Labyrinth (23,6), first of all the usual pretty pattern of just six supertiles, each comprised of 23² + 23×6 + 6² = 703 equilateral triangles. I’ve produced it in the EU flag colours. You could call it the Brussels Labyrinth, Brussel Labyrint, Le Labyrinthe de Bruxelles.

Trefoil (23,6) EU 6 finalBUT, there are 28 nations in the EU. Here they are in all their waning and waxing variety fully interlocked and symmetrically disposed, three nines, about one central supertile (I wonder who that can be?). If the UK leaves, the symmetry will certainly be destroyed

Trefoil (23,6) EU 28

The Lattice Labyrinths workbook  is available from the publisher or you-know-who , or from a good independent bookshop or via Google.


About davescarthin

After a brief academic and local government career, long an independent bookseller/publisher at Scarthin Books, Cromford, Derbyshire, UK. An antiquarian bookseller in two senses, now also has time to be an annuated independent post-doc, developing the long dormant topic of lattice labyrinth tessellations - both a mathematical recreation and a source of compelling practical tiling/paving and textile designs. Presenting a paper and experiencing so many others at Bridges Seoul 2014 Mathart conference was a great treat, as was the MathsJam Annual Conference in November 2016. I'm building up to a more academic journal paper and trying hard to find practical outlets in graphic design and landscape architecture. An 8 ft square tiling design was part of the Wirksworth Festival Art and Architecture Trail 2016. I love giving illustrated talks, tailored to the audience. Get in touch to commission or to collaborate.
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2 Responses to Cameron’s Folly – The British IN or OUT of the European Union Referendum – Diatribe, Debate and Tessellation

  1. Martin Pearson says:

    I agree entirely that the whole exercise is a a waste of time and energy when we have have elected a government to debate, decide and legislate on such complex issues beyond the scope of the average voter. I also think it is an exercise which is divisive and destabilising for the governmet, the country, the European Union and perhaps the rest of the world as well. . I also think that the outcome, especially if close, will very probably resolve none of the issues but leave everything in a more confused state than before.


  2. davescarthin says:

    Thanks Martin (who never misses a chance to converse in French or German, quoting poetry if there is any excuse)


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