Tuesday, October 09, 2018

Narrow Wins

I got called an elitist. I think I may own it for a bit.

A narrow sporting triumph has stayed with me over the years even though the specific details are hazy. It was a Team GB rowing eight in the Olympics, winning a final against Australia in the 1990s. Sir Steve Redgrave was one of the crew. What I recall is this. The two leading boats were neck and neck but not taking their strokes at the same time. So the lead alternated. If the race had been either 1995 or 2005 metres the Aussies would have won. But at 2000 metres it was Team GB who were ahead, just. This struck me as a brilliantly exciting way to decide something as arbitrary as the colour of a medal, when it was the sport of rowing that was clearly the winner.

However (I've been watching Great British Menu, forgive me). Is it really the most sensible way to decide anything of national or international importance?

I do not feel able to comment on how Brexit is going or how we should progress it. Watching something happen I all along thought was a stupid idea and still do leaves me feeling frustrated, sad and pretty empty. I am fuller of  'if onlys' than I have ever been.

If only Cameron hadn't staked his country's future on a single throw of pitch and toss.
If only it had been treated as an advisory referendum.
If only the closeness of the result had influenced the way the government responded and used it as a chance to deal with the issues people felt the EU was to blame for.
If only the new PM had not said 'Brexit means Brexit' so soon.
If only the new PM had said 'No Brexit is better than a bad Brexit'.
If only we had some big hitters with power and influence and not oh I'm bored but you get me.

I don't believe it would be particularly sensible to change our minds and go back because I think the Brexiters would not take defeat as democratically as the remainers. We can't go back because the less smart people will throw things through windows if we do. Shout project fear and anti-people all you want, but everyone I know who wishes the referendum result could be changed wants it done democratically rather than by turning cars over and setting them on fire.

But I guess my question is this. If a second referendum is deemed to be against the spirit of the Brexit vote for the moment, then when is it not? How soon is not too soon? If it doesn't go at all well, when is the right time to have another think? The fittest rowers have another shot every four years. The 2016 referendum was the second after a 40 year gap. So the answer must be somewhere between about two and forty years.

I know the spirit of the smarter people in our country will prevail and we will somehow make the most of this. We will never know if the most of this is better than the what we had. Why? Because I'm part of the liberal elite that's why. We talk. We vote. We make messes better. Bloody elitist me.

Light the bull touch-paper. It's red and raggy.

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