I have been blogging on Brexit for over three years now. Right from the very beginning I have held that Brexit was a very bad move and, as events developed, around two years ago I claimed that only another referendum could resolve the problem. I described the Brexit Gordian knot and compared it to a poison chalice that 3 Tory prime ministers have drunk from.
Britain has now become a laughing stock internationally. Don't get me wrong. It is not position that cannot change. In fact it will change as soon as this situation is resolved, but I wanted to take some time out to list some of the lessons I learned, or to be more precise, been reinforced by Brexit.
Number 1: I wrote a book. Looking over it recently, I recognize its massive list of shortcomings, but the basic message remains, for me at least, unchanged. Modern day democracy has its roots around 1500 years ago in ancient Greece. In many ways it has become a religion, those that believe in it taking it as a holy doctrine that cannot and should not be challenged.
We know that many countries apply it and many ignore it. We vilify those that totally ignore it. But like many religions it has weaknesses, and today's Brexit has brought to the surface, a whole new group that I will refer to as, the poison evangelists. In the late 1970, James Warren Jones, an American preacher, gathered a group of followers, that in their final days committed mass suicide for their religion.
Today we have populists. In the name of democracy, they gather those that for one reason or another are unhappy with their lot, unhappy with the status quo, and unite against someone/(s) they consider to be responsible. In England there is a group of "nationalists" that never accepted the EU as being beneficial. I believe this group still lives in the days of yore, when Britain was an empire and they could do as they wanted. They used a strategy of divide and rule, and in the wake of their empire, left problems that years, decades later, have yet to be resolved. You want examples: Cyprus - north Cyprus Turks, India - Pakistan, Palestine - Israel and of course, Ireland and Gibraltar.
The EU is an experiment. It came about as a result of two of the worst human conflicts in history, both of which originated in Europe. It has succeeded, and centuries of wars on the continent have ceased. To be fair, there are many, many problems - but the peace persists. The value of what they have is such that even though many members are livid at the EU, they would never question the value of its existence. Unlike the English Brexiteers that think they can break apart the EU for their own benefit, and in this attempt are virtually writing the last will and testament for the United Kingdom. I said before and will repeat here, there is no Brexit of any sort, that will be accepted by Scotland and it is only a matter of time before they secede. Similarly, in Northern Ireland, if the troubles return, neither England nor the NI unionists will be able to resist a call to reunite Ireland.
But I started off by talking about democracy, and I will close by describing my solution to absolute democracy. At this point I risk losing any friendly readers that |I may have, but I will say it any.
Even in the most liberal of democracies we have rules. We do not, for example allow people to drive cars and trains just because they reached their 18th birthday. We do not allow them to open their own surgeries and examine the ill simply because they had the money to rent a building. We train them, test them and if they pass, we issue them with licenses. Not so in politics. Are we really saying that leadership is so unimportant we can allow just anybody with the gift of the gab to lead us? Are we really allowing control of our armies and country's economy to anybody that is popular and 'buys' our vote with promises?
I would claim this is foolish to say the least. My resolution to this, in a nutshell, is training for all, from the youngest of school ages. We cannot obviously force a standard, say by examination, but we can apply one standard. Attendance should be compulsory and recorded and all of those applying for politics should show their attendance records for approval. Obviously there is much more to this subject, but I leave you with the idea. Think about it!