The people have voted for (Small) Britain to leave the European Union. A bloody shame. (Pardon my French.) There is research a-plenty to support the wisdom of crowds. (See James Surowiecki and Francis Galton. Wisdom of crowds appears most accurate when estimating the weight of a cow. The particularly variety of the cow is not specified.
“Britain leaving the Union”, by Roy Lichtenstein. At Pompidou.
There is also a wealth of empirical data on the madness of crowds. See Nuremberg in Nazi Germany in the mid- to late thirties or the Chinese cultural revolution in the the sixties. Wisdom or madness of crowds? I never thought I would write – let alone think that – but maybe we have reached the limits of Democracy? (And I have lived under the rule of enough dictatorships not to say that lightly). (No names). But maybe it is time to change the rules? 52 for leave vs. 48 for Remain leaves no room for questioning under the current rules. Democracy is 50% plus one single vote. And that is fine. In most cases. Now, in many countries, a Constitutional amendment or change requires two third of votes of both Houses of Parliament. Maybe that rule would preserve the wisdom of crowds and keep the madness at bay. For certain key decisions. Such as Remain or leave?
Regardless, Boris-Judas Johnson will no doubt be handed his forty Crowns of silver at number 10, Downing street. Please, please, my British friends do not allow that.
A thoroughly scientific analysis of Mr Johnson, Esq. and Donal Trump the Zero’s hairdo makes me wonder whether the constant application of peroxide to the hair may have some impact on brain cells. I call for further research on the matter.
On the “Continent”, politicos have rushed to the microphone. Former Frog President Sarkozy has called for a renegotiation of the European treaties. On what grounds? He is not even an elected official, not even a declared candidate. Marine Le Pen calls for a Frexit referendum. 😦 “Worries come not single spies but in battalions”. Signed, the gentleman of Stratford-upon-Avon)
I was mulling about this sad turn of events this morning at my nearby café. Nearby? 8,744 steps back and forth according to my Dumbphone. Six clicks. I was having a Mocha, cocoa with Veracruz coffee. I wished I had a drop of whisky to add, before the price of whisky goes up, and a name came to my mind. A name from the past: Jean-Louis Ansermet.
Jean-Louis Ansermet was a childhood friend of my father’s. Both were raised in Ismaïlia, a quaint little town on the Suez Canal, between the two wars. They went to the same school. Probably chased the same girls when the time came. Went to the same weddings:
A wedding at Ismaïlia, Egypt, on the Suez Canal, c.1938-1939. Just before WWII.
Jean Ansermet is on the left, with a pretty young lady on his arm.
In June 1940, when France capitulated, and only the British would say: “We shall never surrender”, Ansermet joined the Free French Forces, under De Gaulle’s command, and integrated in the joint British-American allied command after Pearl Harbor. Jean Ansermet fought the entire war on many fronts of WWII. After the end of the war, he stayed in the Army. Until 1947.
This is the last known photograph of Jean Ansermet, taken in Bir-Hakeim, Lybia, in 1947. Bir-Hakeim was one the major battles in North Africa in 1942, opposing the Free French Forces under the command of General Pierre Koenig (whom my mother would later work for in Berlin but that, “best beloved”, is another story) and Rommel’s Afrika Corps. The French fighting at Bir-Hakeim slowed Rommel’s advance, and facilitated Montgomery’s victory in June at El-Alamein.
Only a few days after that photograph was taken, as Jean Ansermet was preparing to return to civilian life and peace, he was killed on a land-mine.
Private Ansermet’s tomb in Bir-Hakeim. 1947. The double cross at the foreground is the symbol of the Free French Forces.
Jean Ansermet must be turning in his grave now. “leave”? You must be joking.
So now, what do we do? Well, two things: one, rethink the European Union. NOW! Before more peroxided politicos finish the job. Two: to my British friends, should you wish to seek temporary or permanent asylum in Frogland, I’m sure we can work something out. Just bring the beer.
And until some wisdom comes back to the crowds, and we find you a way back in, an old song comes to my mind: “Bring back my Bonnie (Britain) to me”. Do click on the link(s) below, it is a beautiful song, one the first english/scottish songs my father taught me. Two versions, the first by Dean Reed, the second by Pete Best and the Beats (Don’t mind the spanish intro, song is in proper english). Which do you prefer?
All alight at Trafalgar Square. This train ride is over. There will be others. Bring back my Bonnie!