Politics and tennis
Regular readers of this blog may have noticed a lack of reference to current affairs lately. This is partly because the intricacies of Brexit negotiation and government meltdown are too confusing for a simple person to follow; and partly because current affairs are currently almost too depressing to write about. However, this past week, I did post a little comment on Facebook, in which I weighed into a major debate of our time: namely, whether a tie-break should be introduced in the fifth set of major tennis tournaments, possibly at 12 games all, in order that the likes of Kevin Anderson can play at his best two days after a gruelling semi-final.
I commented: “My twopennorth: 1. Please remember that these marathons are very rare; 2. They occur because people are unable to break each other’s serve, which is something champions should expect to be able to do; 3. I like the suggestion that after 6 – all (or 12-all or whatever) you lose the “right” to one bad serve per point. Also who else thought a disproportionate amount of the final was taken up by watching Djokovic bounce his ball?”
I think it’s safe to say the All England Club will not be calling me in for consultation.
However, posting the above may have whetted my appetite for social media controversy, for I woke up a few days ago wanting to post daringly about Brexit, and the question of a second referendum.
I was honing the finer points of my proposed post when I realised what I was thinking, which was roughly as follows:
“Facebook is not just about contacting my friends and promoting my books. It’s also about getting my views, or my holiday snaps, or the cute video of my pet OUT THERE. The world is waiting for my online opinion! If I share my wisdom, and it’s wise or witty enough, it will GO VIRAL. Questions will be asked in Parliament, government policy will change. I will improve the world, with a few taps on my PC.”
No, really, Wallace, get a grip.
The egoism and stupidity of the above view is terrifying, but which of us Facebook and Twitter users hasn’t occasionally succumbed to it? (Only me, then. Right.)
Of course this isn’t a purely modern phenomenon. I also send emails to newspapers. And campaigns to bring about change by means of letters/petitions etc do succeed. Amnesty International was founded on just such a technique. But these are campaigns, organised collective hard work, not just a casual brilliant or unbrilliant thought thrown onto the net.
So I’m not going to go direct to Facebook with my doubtless unoriginal take on the referendum. I’m going to put it up on a blog on which others can comment – (and maybe copy to FB from there.)
So, ahem, cough, are you listening at the back?
Some people say we should have another referendum. Others say that this amounts to a sinister and undemocratic disregarding of the will of the British people. Which, if you’re a Brexit fan and believe that the establishment was largely pro-Remain, is an understandable perspective, if maybe a bit paranoid.
But surely wrong. I am old enough to remember 1974, when we had two general elections in one year. Was this a disregarding of the electorate’s will? Harold Wilson just wanted a bigger majority, and he got one. It’s allowed, because the electorate is allowed to change its mind.
More seriously, there was a narrow vote in the referendum in favour of an ill-defined concept of leaving the EU. Let’s not go into the overconfident negligence of the Remain campaign, or the undoubted dishonesty of (parts of) the Leave campaign.
The fact remains that nobody voted for the mess we are now in.
Following the will of the people, the government has spent two years honourably, incompetently and unsuccessfully attempting to work out how to disentangle the UK from the EU. No one has even come close to solving the conundrum of the Irish border. It’s plain that hard and soft Brexiteers are irreconcilable.
In these circumstances, a re-run of the referendum seems plain common sense to me.
But because such a re-run would be suggesting a major change to the status quo (which is Brexit), any alteration should need more than 50% approval, say 60%, or even a requirement that a certain minimum percentage of the electorate actually bothers to vote.
Which of course should have been the case last time. It’s easy to be wise after the event.
Love from the PPI Blogger