Kevan Christie: What Plato had to say about Brexit
The European Court of Justice ruling that Brexit can be unilaterally halted by the UK, '“ meaning we can put a stop to our two-year bender and come home with our tail between our legs '“ should have led to parties in the street.
It means the UK has our very own ‘get out of jail free’ card, allowing us to get back with the EU – provided we agree to behave, drink a bit less and do more jobs around the house. What an opportunity.
But no, rather than grasp this chance to jump into the liferaft, Theresa May and her kamikaze special attack unit decided to ignore the ruling and plough on with their own version of ‘Deal or No Deal’.
Off she went to get Angela Merkel telt over the Irish border backstop so she could eventually call a vote in the Commons that might have a chance of going through, thus avoiding an embarrassing defeat.
However, her failure to negotiate the car door on arrival in Germany left her with a bigger riddy than any gubbing she would face in Parliament, including the confidence vote.
This immediately put her on the back foot in terms of trying to renegotiate our messy divorce settlement and likely blew any chance she may have had of gaining custody of the Simply Red CDs. But she might still get that DVD of Funeral in Berlin.
I imagine she felt the same as a ScotRail passenger tasked with opening a train door with an outside handle, while a group of angry office workers wait to alight.
At this rate, May will be “coming to a garden centre near you shortly” to while away the time drinking coffee and eating traybakes when she is eventually handed her jotters.
Meanwhile, the Irish passport office has been inundated with Scots asking for their 80 Euros back after realising they were a tad hasty in pretending to be from the Emerald Isle, just to get past airport security a bit quicker.
“But I’ve never even been there, my grandad died before I was born and no I haven’t met my cousin Plunkett ... I don’t even like Guinness.” Of course, I jest but this Brexit malarkey is no laughing matter.
As self-appointed spokesperson for ‘most people’ – in this case, the ones who voted for Remain – I’d like to say I did so in the belief that voting to stay in the European Union was the right thing to do.
Born and bred in the Athens of the North, I consider myself an enlightened Renaissance man of upper working-class stock. I can order both a coffee with milk and the bill in Spanish and have been to the Majorcan holiday resort of Santa Ponsa no less than 14 times. You don’t get more European than that.
However, my knowledge of the EU was scant to say the least and, if forced to name a Member of the European Parliament before the referendum, I would have said ... Nigel Farage and left it there. It was something to do with Ted Heath, that rang a bell in the back of my mind, and I always found the Sun headline ‘Up Yours Delors’ funny.
So, no I didn’t really have a clue what I was voting for other than to maintain the status quo.
This is why I find it a bit rich when fellow Remoaners belittle those who voted Leave with the standard accusation that they, like me, didn’t know what they were voting for.
Granted some of them didn’t have a clue and fell for the populist propaganda around the immigration issue and not wanting to let “that Isis” into the UK.
There was all the nonsense around migrants being military men of fighting age as opposed to 12-year-old bairns looking for shelter – so they must have been part of “that Isis”, looking to set up a caliphate in Sunderland. Here’s to you, Tommy Robinson.
Then there was the £350 million sent to the EU every week that could supposedly be spent on the NHS, according to Boris and the battle bus. A mere drop in the ocean – NHS Tayside chiefs would have spent that in a fortnight.
But there were genuine concerns around the make-up of the EU, seen by some as a bastion of corrupt neoliberalism as national populism swept across countries like Hungary, Italy, Poland and Austria before landing in the good old US of A.
No less a figure than Jeremy Corbyn (where’s he been hiding?) can barely disguise his contempt for the European Union and the current new version of Old Labour has concerns about the threat migration poses to skilled workers in the frozen north of England.
Of course, the real baddie in all of this is David Cameron.
‘Cam the Bam’ made the schoolboy error of asking the public what they thought. He offered them a choice to keep things as they were or opt for the specials board at the local Wetherspoons, which was offering homemade sticky toffee pudding and ice-cream with a hard Brexit.
This was an open goal to Vote Leave who were ahead of the curve in judging the public to be fed up with elites and feeling their elective representatives did not speak up for blue-collar workers or indeed no-collar workers in the shape of the so-called underclass.
Back in 360BC, Plato the Greek philosopher knew his onions when it came to referenda and the masses.
He believed that “a good decision is based on knowledge and not on a number” and was scared that a majority of people would make poor choices and could be too easily influenced by demagogues.
This is something characters like Farage and Trump have exploited to the maximum but old Plato predicted this kind of thing all those years ago. And yet people still express surprise at the results of the EU referendum and the US election.