A good friend of mine lamented in the pub that Leave voters were really seeking a sense of turning time back. They wanted to recapture a time of Spitfires and warm beer.
I then read at the weekend that the most accurate indicator of voting habit in the referendum was not in fact social class but, simply, whether one would vote to bring back the death penalty.
What a terrible irony. Our MP’s would never let the public vote on a referendum to bring back hanging. Neither should they have gambled away our membership of the European Union to an electorate, as my friend I believe now rightly concludes, that largely sought a return to a time of Spitfires and warm beer.
Just as bringing back the death penalty makes no logical or ethical sense, neither does abandoning our near neighbours, a 50 year peace and trade project and taking a step back to isolationism. The restoration of the death penalty is the sinister side of searching for the past. The jovial and scoundrel milkman is the romantic flip side.
There is no romantic flip side, however, to this vote. People will still drink lager and Spitfires will still be flown at air displays as they have been all through our membership of the European Union. A belief in an illusion of past perfection is very dangerous territory. It presupposes that your value systems are right and that any failure in what you perceive is your ideal society is therefore the responsibility of someone, or something else. It throws aside logic.