Since the Brexit referendum I have become obsessed with UK political current affairs. This isn’t all bad. It has been a fascinating and very educational experience. It has been full of drama and I now know way more about the details of the British constitution than I ever thought I would.
But whatever, the whole thing has become a hugely absorbing distraction from just about everything else in my life. But it is just so fascinating, I have found myself checking the news first thing in the morning, regularly through the day and last thing at night. This is not an inconsiderable amount of time, but far more intrusive has been the amount of time I have spent thinking about it. This has got steadily more and more ridiculous. I am not a professional politician. I am not even a partisan. In fact until the referendum campaign itself I hadn’t even thought about the subject and had no idea whether I was pro or anti Europe. Quite why I found myself needing to keep up to date with it on an hourly basis I am not entirely sure.
But whatever, given that at time of writing the Conservative Party has just won the general election it is now a question of the internal politics of the Conservative Party that will determine the form Brexit takes. It seems like a good time to get Brexit out of my brain. Brexit has reduced the attention I’ve had available for everything. But its worst effect has been on my blog and my big blogging project, my long term review of Gibbon’s Decline and Fall of the Roman Empire. This has never been fast moving but has more or less ground to a halt.
So basically whatever the other pros and cons of Brexit it has ruined my blog. I have just realised that I have only done one post in 2019. This makes me sad because although almost nobody reads it, I do enjoy going back to reviews I have written to remind myself of stuff I have read. The trouble is thanks to Brexit although I am reading vociferously I am not actually reading history books.
So my plan is to more or less ignore politics for at least the next year. I’ll check in for the Labour Party leadership contest. A political crisis in the Conservative Party can’t be ruled out. But aside from that I am going to abandon the 21st century and get back to history in general and the Decline and Fall of the Roman Empire. Specifically, I have just finished reviewing the chapter on the Holy Roman Empire and I am now in the sands of Arabia following the career of Mohammad.
I have indulged in this kind of pseudo-hermit behaviour before. I missed the whole of the first Gulf War for example. I generally find that I end up feeling better informed than if I tune in to every news broadcast. You get a better idea of what is going on if you spend less time gathering data and more time thinking things over. That also has the effect, in my case at any rate, of leading me to drift to the left. Somehow the cut and thrust of daily political debate seems to favour the right. This is partly the bias in the media – which I think affects all of us. I don’t believe it is possible to ignore the continual criticism aimed at the left.
But there is also the fact that time horizons do affect what is a good or bad idea. If you are on a ship in a storm a good captain who knows what needs to be done is what you want. You can see the appeal of a Farage or Thatcher if you are concerned about the things that threaten us right now. (I am not sure about Johnson though…..) But if you want the ship fitted out to be able to weather a storm, a more considered person or indeed team of people is likely to do a better job.
But whatever, I am going to be spending more time blogging and less time consuming the broadcast media. Lets see where it takes me.