In keeping with our flag waving moment, a minor thread on English history and what we know of it.

Or how it occurred to me that I didn't actually know what the oldest intact building in the country actually was, though I gather there are some stones in Wiltshire
Congratulations to those of you who saw that first tweet and immediately said, the Roman lighthouse at Dover. In truth not absolutely 100% intact, but enough I think to qualify. When did we ever hear about that?…
Now as far as the general historical knowledge goes the country more or less closed down after the Romans left, until William the Conqueror arrived, though it seems strange we define our history by successive invaders. But plenty of churches from this time survive.
I was vaguely aware of the venerable Bede though can't confess to have read his "Ecclesiastical History of the English People". Then surprised to learn that part of where he lived, St Peter's Church in Monkwearmouth, is fully intact dating back 1350 years.
To find something old in easy range of London we're probably onto more recent 850ish AD Greensted church near Ongar, possibly the oldest wooden church in the world, or oldest wooden building in Europe - nice walks exist around there...
Now if you want really old stuff in the British isles you have to venture to Orkney and Shetland, which I can't confess to have done. But again, how many people know that without looking it up?
All of which has little point really except as a Saturday morning diversion, and to wonder again whether those who would wave the flag and create Brexit museums might actually first think of a UK history museum, as we don't have one and isn't it more important we know who we are?
Some interesting additions to this morning's old English buildings thread, it doesn't quite fit but one of my favourites is Roman fort Arbeia, incongrously located in a housing estate in South Shields, and before excavation known as Roman Remains Park!…

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More from @DavidHenigUK

2 Apr
Very very slowly UK government, politicians and businesses are realising what third country means to the EU, no special financial services or food paperwork arrangements, largely symbolic joint committees, and hard work to change anything.…
Too many people have taken the joint committees established under the Withdrawal Agreement and Trade and Cooperation Agreement - these are not serious bodies in other EU agreements (the NI Protocol arrangements are - rightly - more substantive).
Any UK requests for changes for improvements to EU trade will require heavy lifting - whether to streamline paperwork, get better visa conditions for musicians, or establish proper financial services equivalence. That's how loose trade arrangements work.
Read 8 tweets
1 Apr
Right then, new paper time, this time on whether China makes everything. In short, no. Here for example are the five leading categories of UK manufacturing imports from China. Basically an awful lot of cheap consumer goods. So what should we do?
Firstly, we should understand the facts of manufacturing outside China. Rising outputs but falling employment. I just deal with some of this in my short paper, but you can get fuller details from @scottlincicome here - similar idea.…
What about fighting covid, hasn't this shown that we're dependent on China in a crisis? No. Multiple studies have in fact shown a variety of suppliers.
Read 7 tweets
31 Mar
I'm afraid the level of ignorance and deliberate misinformation in the UK about the EU is only getting worse. Provisional plans become permanent anti UK conspiracies, regulatory decisions even when shared with non-EU countries similarly.
And that's no kind of pro EU bemoaning, but a wish for objective news which too many in the UK media with anti EU sentiment now wish to avoid. Their view, I think, that the news used to be pro EU and now its their turn. Except the eurosceptic view was always reported.
Vaccines is such a good example. The anti EU voice is one long incompetence with no redeeming features leading (as ever) towards EU breakup. The balanced view isn't great for the EU, but would for example recognise regulatory decisions are not ridiculous.
Read 6 tweets
31 Mar
Guess what, media yelling has been apparently followed by the UK government doing as the EU asked. Almost like we've seen this movie before...
Meanwhile, shellfish latest...…
Some suspicions of what the UK Northern Ireland road map will contain, fair, but the point is it was demanded after the UK government unilaterally extended grace periods. Now we're back on the road to joint implementation of the protocol.
Read 4 tweets
31 Mar
Well this is quite the statement -

"The fact is the trading system has not delivered – by not being fair to people across the world or relevant to their lives"

Especially from a self proclaimed champion of free trade.
So why does the UK government think the current global system is unfair. Though not making progress on new issues is mentioned, the major issue is unfair subsidies. Where of course the UK record and recent history is somewhat mixed.
Of course not being naive this wouldn't be the first time UK speaking points on the problems of the global trading system seemed like a reworked version of what the US is saying - on WTO dispute settlement or the evils of China.
Read 6 tweets
29 Mar
The boat is free and globalisation probably isn't dead. Again.…
Useful for talking about the impact of the Suez Canal, and indeed potential decoupling from China, over 50% of UK goods imports form China by value come in these five categories. From an upcoming paper.
Modern globalisation explained - the ability to get specialists when you need them wherever they are (or to get cheaper production if that's the goal). You can regulate, but not switch it off.
Read 6 tweets

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