Margaret MacMillan, who writes for the BBC History magazine, quoted the title for today's blog and thinking about it, it is what people are doing all of the time. Some of those people may be considered 'the great and the good' while most are just ordinary people like me and you from down the road.
Elizabeth Simcoe was a little known Canadian diarist who wrote in the 1790s, about the time my great great great grandfather was 4 years old, with the intention of leaving them for those she'd left behind in England. She wrote of walking through a forest in Upper Canada where a fire had swept through recently and described the sights and smells she encountered. There was still smoke about and occasionally tongues of flame leaped from the charged finger that was left of a smouldering tree. A little like an enchanted wood.
Three hundred years earlier Babur was a prince in Central Asia and decided to set down his thoughts and experiences in a journal. He wrote of falling in love and being tongue-tied every time he met the girl he loved. He was eventually famous as the creator of the Mughal Dynasty that ruled India from 1526 until 1858.
The point of this is to remind everyone who writes the gift with which you are providing future societies. This is not a matter of quantity, quality or subject. What we are providing is edification, enlightenment and entertainment as it pertains to our society today. There are hopes and fears, loves and hates, biases and beliefs all of which are being recorded in our writings that in their turn may provide knowledge about our society, how it works and the economics of our world currently.
Charles de Gaulle and Harold MacMillan
One such example would be the European Union referendum coming up in June. There is a policy of fear being exercised by the stay in side as if there was no life before the country entered the Common Market. They strive to unnerve the electorate by stressing the unknown but people of my generation and older can remember life before the EU and it was fine. In fact it seemed that we manufactured more, apprentices led to real skills and fewer people were unemployed. I was too young to fully understand why the government were hurt by President de Gaulle's repeated 'Non' to Prime Minister MacMillan's repeated overtures.
In fact we refused to sign the Treaty of Rome with the original six countries in 1957. Monsieur de Gaulle described us as 'insular and maritime' and rebutted our application on two occasions. It was in fact Edward Heath in 1973 who guided us into the Union after de Gaulle had left office.
I believed that it was a bad decision 43 years ago and still believe the same. There is even more evidence against such a 'club' in 2016 when there are 28 other countries now. It is too large a u
nit to remain together successfully. I am of the 'small is beautiful' persuasion who firmly believes that smaller units work more efficiently. Having spent hours in studying group dynamics there is a school of thought that says for any committee to operate effectively there should be no more than 7 delegates. It works on two levels. Firstly, every voice will be heard, and secondly, there is no opportunity to keep in the background. I am not a great political thinker but I would predict that in the future the EU will break up into smaller groups. The signs are there already.
The internet has provided a forum for all who wish to write and express opinions and feelings on a variety of subjects. We can all be heard and in the fullness of time make a difference so keep writing.