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The EU Debate

June 21st, 2016

‘It’s all there in chapter 39 of Genesis.’

Despite last week’s rain prompting suggestions that ‘Noah’ would have been a more appropriate musical to perform, I think we can all agree that ‘Joseph’ went rather well. Our cast played to two packed audiences and the level of enthusiasm during each night’s final act’s sing-along was palpable.

Tim Rice and Andrew Lloyd Webber wrote this wonderful musical for a preparatory school, way back in 1968. The themes are biblical, of course: favouritism and betrayal; grief and suffering; opportunity and redemption. Despite its populist overtones, there is a good smattering of understanding of the Hebrew story, from the Bronze Age to more recent times.

But Rice and Lloyd Webber would have certainly not envisaged its relevance to our referendum on Thursday. The challenges of region wide economic unevenness, immigration and the trans-migration of people, different loci of authority and the difficulty of predicting the future are all there in the musical.

These themes are also all here in the current debate. OSH itself has hosted for and against debates, pupils have attended televised debates and will go off to hear a cabinet minister speak hours before the polling booths open.

Who knows what will happen after Thursday? One thing both sides agree on is the ability of the people of these islands to make it work, whatever the outcome.

I’d be inclined to agree. But I’d also agree with Pharaoh who sings that: ‘we were in a jam, that baffled Abraham but now that we’re a partnership, that’s just a piece of cake.’

Let’s hope that whatever path we choose, we don’t turn our backs on the importance of working with others and backing ourselves to succeed. At all costs, and do excuse this final reference to Pharaoh, our next seven years need to yield a bumper crop.

Paul Kilbride