From the Daily Telegraph
“These days, all of us are engaged in politics. Fanatically engaged. Furiously engaged. Twenty years ago, when I was in my teens, apathy was all the rage. In the newspapers, practically every political column was about the lack of interest in politics. Anxious MPs thought apathy was a bad thing. They assumed it meant people felt powerless to change anything. Certainly that was true, for some. But maybe the rest didn’t actually want to change anything – nothing big anyway. Maybe they took no interest in politics because on the whole, they thought life wasn’t too bad. A lesson for the future. Mass engagement is a sign things are going wrong. In a healthy democracy, no one would vote at all. (Michael Deacon in The Daily Telegraph)
Last night there was a live television debate between Brexiteers and Remainers, an event that threw me personally into a profound few hours of utter misery. How, I thought, could anyone do this (potentially wreck the country, manfully doing the work for a delighted Putin in Moscow)? How could we have arrived at this position where a group of lazy-minded, irresponsible politicians can impose this disaster upon the country, without ahead of time doing even a single morning’s work on the snags, the pitfalls and downsides – often known as “planning” – of what they were doing, nil, nada. That is, break up the United Kingdom, and, quite possibly, the EU itself? Does no one know any European history? No one has asked the British people if they want their country to become world No.1 tax haven, the Panama of Europe, welcoming every sleazy crook in the world, each a business opportunity for politicians obsessed with money; and meanwhile, reversing regulations on health, safety, job security, housing and help for the poor. In the old days we executed those who did this much harm; now we install them in No. 10, Downing Street.
Yesterday, I suggested that one should try to remain optimistic when all around you are in despair, rationing the intake of depressing news. Whatever helps one achieve ataraxia. Clearly, the writer is wrestling mightily to restore that magic moment! Understatement of the morning.