I’ve stayed far away from the new barbarians with their choppers, tank-like cars, home theatres on board, and fridge-shaped super yachts that terrorise sea life. In fact, dolphins escorted us in to Kyparissi, a tiny village on the eastern Peloponnese 60 kms from Sparta, my grandmother’s birthplace. German and Spartan; not a bad combination, especially if one thinks democracy is a biological contradiction, which I do. Just look at the Remoaners and you’ll see what I mean.
Back in the good old days, we Athenians knew how to practise real democracy. All Athenian males over 18, irrespective of wealth or status, had the right to attend the Assembly, which met every nine days and was where they decided how Athens should be run. War, peace, taxes, who remained in power and who was deprived of it were decided by vote. The strength of the system depended on the ferocity with which the Assembly punished anyone who let the side down. Hammond wouldn’t have lasted, and Corbyn would have been put to death at the start for high treason.
The system lasted from 508 BC to 322 BC, when the Macedonians ended it. Its magnificence, wisdom and fairness have never been replicated. But I’m not here to tell you about democracy, a sham if ever there was one. All one has to do is look at the EU, the most undemocratic institution since the Russian government under Lenin. People actually believe that by paying their taxes to Brussels they will have a say in what the bureaucrats over in that rainy little place decide. It reminds me of the kind of big lie practised by the New York Times, when its own columnists quote a fact invented by its own hacks. (The latest emetic vulgarity is the promotion of freak lifestyles.