I was recently described to my face as an idealist. The speaker went on to announce that idealists cause all kinds of trouble and difficulty. He spoke pejoratively, and I heard enthusiastically. Yes. I am an idealist. One who considers ideals to lead to realities that can provide hope and fulfilment.
The exchange with my friend grew from a discussion over how each of us would be voting ion 23rd June in the EU referendum. Putting aside for a moment that I think I shouldn’t be asked to vote at all (David Mitchell makes some very good points), the opportunity to vote does require me to make some decision about what to do, and it’s here that we descended into a bit of a quandary together.
My friend was (you may have gathered) planning to vote to leave the EU. His arguments were strong, his facts no doubt sound, and his passion was tangible. He wasn’t (in case you wonder) one for whom our membership of the EU is a danger owing to the imminent arrival of billions of immigrants. He is not concerned at all with that particularly shameful line of anger and hatred. His stance is one of democracy and self-determination, and he has some vague point, I do accept, that the EU is hardly a paragon of democracy. But then, I pointed out, neither is Westminster.
It was then the name calling began.