from Howard Jacobson's diary
Jacob Rees-Mogg is not only, by self-definition, a democrat, he is also a mind-reader. Jacob Rees-Mogg ‘knows precisely what the British people voted for; a remarkable feat of clairvoyancy.
My wife has taken to keeping Lucretius’s On The Nature Of Things by her bedside. I don’t know what this signifies, but I’ve responded with Seneca’s Moral And Political Essays. I’m only dipping in at the moment, but already I’ve found the following: “The best should be preferred by the majority and instead the populace chooses the worst.”
Just another 1st-century metropolitan elitist, you might think, but mistrusting majority opinion doesn’t necessarily equate with looking down on people. In a letter to Lucilius, procurator of Sicily, Seneca warned against condescension. “You must inevitably either hate or imitate the world. But the right thing is to shun both courses: you should neither become like the bad because they are many, nor be an enemy of the many because they are unlike you.”
So how does one put this sage advice into practice when it comes to the will of the British people, the concealed prevarications of the Labour party, the open warfare within the Tory party and all the other Referendum-related vexations – including and in particular Jacob Rees-Mogg – that try our patience in the day and trouble our sleep, if we’re getting any, at night? Answer: I have no idea, but I’m going on reading.
What’s becoming plainer is that we can’t continue in our deliberations, both with each other and with other countries, until we accept the fallibility of the majority. The next time Rees-Mogg is given television time to tell us a) how cute he finds his own persona; and b) that we are bound by the “will of the British people”, I will break the television.
Rees-Mogg is not only, by self-definition, a democrat, he is also a mind-reader. He knows precisely what the British people voted for: how long they expected negotiations to last, how big a divorce settlement they were prepared to pay, where they stood on transition, the Single Market, the Customs Union and countless other legal and financial particulars on which their views coincided exactly with his. Given that the British people only voted yes or no to the question “Should the United Kingdom remain a member of the European Union?” this is a remarkable feat of clairvoyancy.
I’m sorry Lucretius didn’t write On The Nature Of Brexit, since no two Brexiteers are able to agree as to what it is, what it’s for or where it’s going. And if we are in the dark now, how much darker was it when we cast lots? Whatever happens – and I favour another referendum to declare null and void all referendums past and to come – there is one lesson we can learn: beware those for whom “the will of the people” is a euphemism for “the will of me”.
If today's news is anything to go by it's getting more expensive by the minute :-( :-( :-(
But then I'm just a remoaner ;-) ;-) ;-)