Friday, May 20, 2016


People who want Britain to leave the EU essentially promise that they get to keep all of the good stuff while arbitrarily getting rid of the bad stuff which they're usually pretty bad at actually describing. Don't get me wrong, the EU is a flawed instititution, but the Euro/ECB is the main problem with it, and Britain already opted out of that. Free mobility for me but not for thee seems to be the promise.
Classical scholars must be struck by the parallels between the quality of this debate, and arguments between the Greek philosophers at the peak of their intellectual powers. You can imagine Plato posing the problem of how we can never define an object exactly, as every example is different from other objects that go by the same name, making it impossible to be precise about what anything is. And Boris Johnson would reply: “Yes, but on the other hand the Germans are a bloody menace. And the French.”

One of the joys of this campaign has been to unearth the full extent of Boris’s powers of persuasion. Every day he pops up on the radio to delight us with thoughts such the following: “Look, huh it’s really perfectly as was intimated by the paraphernalia contained, when one considers inter alia rather expurgated if I may say so the bloated incandescence we witness indeed as implicit in your in your in your ha ha your very question if I may be permitted to continue… was it not Bismarck or and let me say I have the greatest respect for Britney Spears, who sine que non as one of our more perfunctory antediluvian songstresses it seems to me perfectly, er er er er, perfectly clear the Hun are trying to steal our marmalade.”