Perhaps votes should be weighted. Intelligent people’s votes should count more than idiots’. That would make my vote worth fifty times more than, say, Nigel Farage’s. Of course I can’t say anything so élitist; nor do I really believe it. The highly educated – and that’s the only practical way we have of measuring ‘intelligence’ – can be as wrong as the simpleton; wronger, if he or she is a post-modernist. (Joke.)
In the particular case of Britain’s EU referendum, however, there must be a case for saying that voters should have been weighted according to the number of years they could be expected to live under whatever form of government the result of the plebiscite established. Apparently a larger proportion of young people voted to ‘Remain’ than of those in my age-group. They’re used to living with people of different national origins, and as a result are far more relaxed about ‘immigration’ and ‘foreigners’. We oldies are still affected by prejudices from and fond myths about our monocultural and even imperial past, and so were over-represented among the Brexiteers. Yet we’ve only got a few years left to experience the consequences of the ‘people’s vote’ last June: five or so years in my case, if I’m lucky. The young have a whole lifetime of living in an isolationist, mean-minded Britain ahead of them; a Britain they didn’t vote for, by and large. Shouldn’t they have been given more say than us? In five or ten’ years’ time, after the rest of us have kicked the bucket, our children will be living in a country they don’t want. That’s our legacy to them.
On a personal note: I’ve had no response yet to my application for Swedish citizenship – sought in order to keep my European identity alive. But apparently there’s been a rush: https://www.theguardian.com/world/2017/mar/27/depressed-by-brexit-come-to-sweden. I’m just one of 1100. I must take my place in the queue. (Yes, Swedes are good at queuing too. It’s one of the things that makes me feel at home there.)
In the meantime I have a trip to Genoa next week, to speak at a Conference (http://www.limesonline.com/a-genova-dal-6-al-9-aprile-la-storia-in-piazza/97847?refresh_ce). I’m looking forward to bonding with more of my fellow Europeans. And to the food. I’ll report back here.